The Lands under Shadow
Humans are by far the most widespread of the major races and are found in even more shapes and colours than they are on Earth. Human communities are found in many different climates and range in size from small family farmsteads in the Heartlands to huge cities such as Waterdeep and Calimport. Human culture varies from region to region and includes nomads, feudal kingdoms, slave states and merchant-controlled city-states. They tend to alter the landscape wherever they reside, planting food crops, draining marshes and clearing forests, as well as building structures of all sizes. Most non-humans would also consider them prone to unnecessary violence, as human groups will fight over land, religion or even personal honour.
There are over a dozen different ethnic groups in present-day Faerûn, but only four are found commonly in and around the Dales.
The majority of Dalesmen are of Chondathan stock, descended from immigrants from across the Dragon Reach, with a second wave of incomers from Sembia and Cormyr to the south. Chondathans are slender, tawny-skinned folk with brown hair ranging from almost blond to black. They tend to be tall, and usually have brown or green eyes. Chondathans are unafraid to travel or take other risks if it means they have a chance to prosper, and often become traders, mercenaries or explorers. They are often not to so fond of pursuits that require study, such as priesthood, philosophy or magic.
The Moonsea region is home to a western branch of the Damaran people, hailing from the lands to the north of the Vast. Damarans are of moderate height with skin hues ranging from pale to tanned. Their hair is usually straight brown or black, although sandy blond is not unknown. Their eyes are usually brown, although this can vary widely. The stereotypical Damaran tends to see the world in black and white, in terms of Good vs Evil or Law vs Evil. Many dedicate themselves to religious causes and find it difficult to compromise with those who see the world differently. They tend to be slow to trust someone, but once that trust is earned, it is total.
A third group is also found in the Moonsea region, mixing the blood of the Damarans with that of ancient Netheril, the legendary empire of magic that now lies under the desert of Anauroch. Vaasans have darker skin, usually of an olive hue, dark hair and thick beards, with piercing blue eyes. Otherwise they resemble their Damaran cousins. Vaasans are a grim people, wrapped up in their struggle to survive with a tendency to see even their neighbours as competitors.
The Gur are a nomadic people, wandering the Heartlands in brightly-coloured wooden caravans. They are distinct from the people around them, speaking an exotic language from the far east among themselves. They are relatively short, at around 5 feet, and have dusky skin, with dark hair and eyes. The men are quite hirsute, often stout and muscular, while the women wear their hair in long elaborate braids. Gur are often gifted magically, and some manifest innate magical skills. They call themselves “Selûne’s Children” or the “People of the Highway”, but face a great deal of prejudice from more settled folk, who regard them as inveterate thieves.