Folk of Faerun
“Ah, humans now. There’re a lot of us, to be sure, flung far across all these lands, and more besides, across the sundering seas. We battle like orcs and dream like elves and work harder than all but the dwarves at their forges—and we cover Faerûn. There was a time when any fool could have told you where the folk of this land or that came from, but now we sail or ride so far and often that we’re all from everywhere. Even the most isolated villages hold folk who hail from they know not where.
Yet you can still tell something of where someone hails from by their hair and build and skin and manner, though any traveler knows not to assume too much from a quick glance. Remember that, and hearken:
If you look upon tall build, pale skin, hair of flame or straw, and eyes of hazel or blue, slow to speak, apt to frown at cities and go wide-eyed in wonder at finery or magic, then you look upon a Northerner of the Sword Coast. If such a one has darker hair, more muscular build and speaks swifter, he may be from the Moonsea North, or easterly in the Cold Lands. Both kindreds roar at war and in drink, and like to sing—long rising and falling chants. They spit and growl and can speak many words with their glares.
If folk are of medium height and all manner of hues about their hair and eyes, you gaze upon Heartlanders. They’re more stocky— burly, some say—in the Dales, and apt to be fine-featured and handsome in Cormyr and Tethyr, with more Southern blood (black hair, yellow or orange eyes, and dusky skin) in Waterdeep,
Amn, the Dragon Coast, and Sembia. Heartlanders are soft-spoken and careful, knowing well how easy it is to offend, with so many folk brushing blades past each other.
The folk of Turmish are dark brown in the skin and black in the hair. The Vilhon Reach and the Border Kingdoms about the Lake of Steam are crossroads where all folk mix and marry—and look it. Courtesy and fair speech are virtues in these lands, and these folk weave wondrous compliments into every greeting.
Calimshan, now, is a place of dusky skin—nut-brown to ochre— with much black body hair that the sun may bleach almost white. Shorn and shaved and oiled often, such hides turn golden. Thayans are much the same. Dark dun skins can be seen in the Old Empires, alongside red eyes and paler skins, many the hue of new parchment. The slaves there betray many bloodlines from other lands. Proud they are, all these people, and sharp of brows and looks, with finely chiseled features. In the lands around the Easting Reach they turn slender and shorter and agile, soft-spoken again like Heartlanders.
Beyond, in Rashemen and Narfell, skins go swarthier and manners are hard as a well-made blade. It is said that no Nar can rest until he avenges the smallest slight with blood, and any Rashemi is capable of finding an insult in the most innocuous of remarks.
Why the gods make us all different, only they know."
—Olram Faravaerr, Merchant of Mintarn