Shadows of Northmere
Though there has been a lot of intermixing of the human cultures, there are still distinct regions in Mythkar where these subraces began.
The Ashearans are nomads from the Far East who roam the northern plains in search of wandering herds of animals for food. The Ashearans are a hardy people used to the harsh, cold climates of the north. Horses are central to their culture. They roam in tribes and have large, strong family units.
Ashearans are pale, often have darker colored hair, and have blue, green, or brown eyes. They are tall and lean. They often wear leathers and furs, but will sometimes trade for wool garments. Ashearan warriors are often skilled with bows they can fire from horseback, as well as spears that they can use as lances. Many use shields from horseback as well.
Astorians have lived in the fertile plains west of the Northmere for centuries. They were among the first to be conquered by the Calidorian Empire but quickly developed a sophisticated culture that took advantage of Calidorian technology. Astorians are very self-assured as a people, and many consider them arrogant. They follow a trio of good gods caled the Divinities—Suprias, Father of Wisdom; Thallin, Lord of Valor; and Allial, Lady of the Dawn. Temples are spread throughout Astorian lands, and they have attempted to spread their faith in their own conquests after winning their freedom from Calidor.
Astorians are also a horse culture and have the best warhorses in Mythkar, which are used by their powerful, plate-wearing knights. Astorians take advantage of skilled smiths to make superior heavy armors and swords. Though their engineers might not make as grand of fortifications and castles as the Calidorians, they are the finest builders in the north.
Astorians are pale and sometimes have freckles. They have light colored eyes, usually blue, gray, or hazel, and can have light or dark hair, an influence on their lineage from the Ashearans to the north and the Calidorians to the south. Those of the purest blood often have reddish hair, which they consider a mark of favor from the gods. They often wear wool and cotton and make use of colors and designs. Astorians make use of heavily armored knights, crossbowmen, bowmen, and footmen with medium armor and swords.
The Brell have lived around the Northmere Sea since ancient times, eventually forming the fabled Kingdom of Brellin. A simple, practical people, they tend to form villages, and small towns versus the bustling metropolises of the south. Much of the land the Brell have lived in is rugged or mountainous, and their willpower and disposition are just as strong and wild as the land. They have never been a people to embrace wealth like the other cultures, but instead believe in nurturing the wild and taking care of their communities.
The Brell venerate Earith, the mother of nature, who has taught them to respect the wilds. They also believe in reincarnation and a cycle of tests the soul under goes as it is reborn into the world. The Brell are not aggressive, but are fiercely independent and will stubbornly defend even the smallest patch of mud until they can no longer draw breath.
Brell have medium complexions and darker hair and eyes, though black eyes and hair are rare. They also tend to be shorter than other humans, with the exception of Rallas, which has some taller Brell. They tend to wear simple wool clothing and have an abundance of longbowmen and spearmen in their militia. They seldom have heavy cavalry, but save heavier armor for their veteran footmen. Rallas even makes use of heavy footmen with two-handed swords and axes!
The Bron are the fierce warriors of the frozen northwest. Throughout history they have been raiders and marauders, pillaging the coastlines of the warmer southern lands. Bron are prized as mercenaries because of their strength and large, powerful frames. Many of their tribes are nomadic, but some have settled small villages and towns, which often serve as trading posts. Hrugorn is an exception, in that most of the Bron there live in fixed settlements with wooden lodges, rather than the hide tends of the nomads.
The Bron follow four deities who represent the seasons in addition to other ideals. In Hrugorn, they hold Hrugoth in higher standing than the rest, and Hrugoth weaponsmiths are considered the greatest of humans. In fact, the Bron have been known to trade with dwarves and likely learned smithing from them. Bron society revolves around a chieftain, an elder shamn, and the warrior/hunter caste.
Bron are tall, muscular, and have pale skin. They have fair hair and lighter colored eyes, usually blue. They often wear thick beards and bread ivory or beads into their hair. Many wear bone necklaces or weave bones into their armor. Brell often wear leather and hide, mixed with thick wool. Their warriors often use two handed weapons, or axes and swords with shields. Hide armor is most common, but many wear scale and chain from raids, and the Hrugorn have been known to craft half plate and splint for their warriors.
The Calidorians are a passionate people who founded their early empire on ideals and philosophy. They made the best of their verdant, southern lands, which started an empire that reached across every coast of Mythkar at its zenith. Calidorians, often called Imperials, often embrace or rally behind ideals and have led humans in the advancement of arcane magic, engineering, and ship-building.
Calidorians have a plethora of deities they call upon for various occasions and for luck. They often pay tribute at temples, but lack the deep faith that Astorians and even Brell have in their patrons. With the Empire fallen, Calidorians live in smaller settlements that are a shadow of their former glory. They speak of the past as if it was a venerated deity that was stolen away from them, and grasp at relevance as their numbers diminish. They are a nautical people, and their settlements are usually near coasts or along rivers. Calidorians are savvy traders and are often charismatic.
Calidorians have darker, olive skin, dark, often black hair, and dark eyes. Some also have gray eyes, which is usually a sign of the noble lines. They often wear cottons and silks of quality worksmanship. They are of average height and often have trimmed beards, goatees, and mustaches, with the women wearing their hair in intricate braids and tails. Their warriors tend to wear quality chain, scale, and even plate armor. They have a full range of cavalry, crossbowmen and archers, and foot who usually use shortswords, longswords, and large shields.
The Vyshani are offshoots of the Calidorians. The land from which they are named, Vyshan, is a fertile, warm region known for its pastures and vineyards. They tend to live in overcrowded, bustling cities in which every wonder can be found. They are a maritime people who play the seas to every land that can be reached by ship. They are known for their unscrupulous merchants, skilled sailors, and even shadowy assassins guilds that take on contracts all over Mythkar. Their largest cities are ruled by self-styled princes who compete with one another over anything from the size of their cities and armies to which can host the grandest soiree.
Vyshani are passionate and place a high amount of respect upon station, wealth, and power. To a Vyshani, everything has a price. They hold themselves as superior to other humans and races and practice slavery in their southernmost cities.
Vyshani look much like Calidorians, with olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. Their skin is often not quite as dark as Calidorians, and some have blue or green eyes. They like jewelry and wear silks when they can afford them.
Vyshani armies are not greatly feared, consisting of typical footmen with spears or swords, crossbowmen, and medium horse. However, they can often afford mercenaries, including Bron and even Zalardaran. The princes also have the wealth to augment their armies with wizards. Vyshan’s naval prowess is highly respected, and they man the largest ships in Mythkar.
Zaladaran are from the far south, and the term actually encompasses many different cultures and tribes from the deserts and steppes south of Calidor. Zaladarans are like Vyshani in that they greatly respect wealth and power, but they are also fiercely protective of their tribes and families. Some Zaladaran realms practice slavery. Sorcery seems to be more prevalent in Zaladar than other realms.
Zaladarans have dark complexions and black hair and eyes. They tend to be shorter than other humans, and wear trimmed mustaches, beards, and goatees. The women grow their hair to be very long and decorate it with scarves, combs, and tiaras. Zaladaran wear a lot of jewelry and dress in loose silk robes.
Their armies tend to feature lighter armor because of the fierce heat, with light cavalry that wield bows, camel riders, and infantry armed with scimitars and shields. Some realms have chariots.