There are four broad Human cultures in the known world, with several that have died out. Information of these dead cultures is difficult to ascertain, and few know much about them or even where they were located. The four existing cultures are the Anari, Saxa, Finnar and Tuomi.
The Anari see themselves as the only civilized culture in the world. They are mostly urban, though they also have vast farmlands in certain areas with large-scale agriculture, viticulture and almost industrial-scale mining in some areas. The Anari also see themselves as technologically superior to the rest of the world, looking to the North where the nomadic Finnar roam and the wattle and to the wattle and daub roundhouses and drystone brocks of the Tuomi, and to the East where the Saxa live in log-built longhouses and steadings, and comparing them disparagingly with their own stone-built cities.
The north and west were once part of the great Anari Empire, but that long ago fractured, broken on the twin wheels of the coming of the Hellfrost which dismantled their northern colonies and the rebellion of the Saxa to the west. There are now several successor nations, none of which are anywhere near as powerful. The mighty Magocracy probably lays the best claim to be the heir of the Anari Empire, it's high wizards controlling a large realm by means of their magical expertise and their fine legions. If the Magocracy is the spiritual heir, Alantaris Isle is the physical heir, the once powerful Anari Imperial capital being located here until it was destroyed by a flying horde of hellfrost dragons, the imperial family killed to a man, and over 90% of the population of the Isle dead. Chalcis and Aspiria are the other two largest Anari realms, the latter as famed for its wines as the former is for its mines.
Elsewhere, many Anari can be found, tracing their ancestry to the bureaucrats, soldiers, and functionaries of the old empire. In some small states, such as the eastern Blackstone Barony and the cities and towns of the Crystalflow Confederacy, they even provide a majority of the populace. Buffer states such as Coglelund remain primarily Anari too, but even in the Freelands, sizable numbers of Anari make their homes.
The Anari tend to be either High Wizards (if from the Magocracy) or Convocationist Elementalists (if from Alantaris or the other Anari realms). They worship a wide variety of gods, tending to revere Maera, Var, Hothar and Hoenir as "civilized" gods, but Eostre, Neorthe, Tiw, Ertha and others remain popular amongst large sections of the populace.
Physically, the Anari tend to olive skin, dark hair, and average 5'6" to 5'10". Shirts and trousers are the norm for dress. Many have traditional names such as Bron, Delbaeth, Howel and Serin for men, and Aife, Branwen, Elianor and Lusiane for women. Surnames are usually found by adding ap- to the father's name, hence Bron ap-Howel, though in recent decades, some people have been taking their surnames from their trade (Taylor, Weaver).
Few of the Saxa realms have many large cities, the norm for the Saxa being steadings, collections of longhouses surrounded by farmed fields and commons for herding. Often ringed by palisades, the buildings are mostly built from logs, with thatched roofs. These steadings can be as large as villages, usually containing a clan of several families, with towns built up where the various clans come together to trade. Once under the thumb of the Anari, a rebellion several hundred years ago regained them their freedom.
The Saxa tend towards autonomy, with the High King ruling the country of Royalmark, and Kings ruling the other Saxa marklands of Angmark, Midmark, Nordmark, Ostmark, Sutmark, Vestmark and Veermark. There are some cultural differences between these realms. Angmark is more affected by Anari culture and somewhat more independent, the cattle-herding Midmark being on the verge of civil war, the miners of Nordmark only now returning to their work after the disastrous civil war that took place there recently, Ostmark the home of sea-faring traders, Royalmark the most traditionally Saxa of the lot, while Sutmark is cut off and besieged by the denizens of the Great Swamp, Vestmark has been halved by a huge horde of Orcs who have named their conquest Orcmark, and Veermark has always been two nations in one, the horse-riding easterners and the western farmers. Saxa can be found elsewhere too, such as the burgeoning Heligioland, Seithrby and Heldalund in the north.
The Saxa prefer elementalism, often concentrating on earth magic, and the skaldic song magic that the Anari look down on as primitive. The Saxa pantheon is large, with Eostre, Tiw, Kenaz and Thunor among those revered.
Taller than the Anari, the Saxa tend to rise to around 6' tall, with lighter hair, often blonde or brown. Moustaches and beards are plentiful, and hair is often worn long. Names such as Edwin, Leofric, Penda and Skuli are the norm for men, women being called Eadgifu, Gytha, Wulfwynn and Yrsa. Surnames usually have the father's name with -sunu or -sdohtor appended. Tunics and trousers are usually worn.
The Finnar have always been a nomadic people, so when the Hellfrost swept down from the north, they were able to survive more easily than some of the cultures which they lived alongside. Moving nearer to the Hearthlands, the Finnar now encroach into Saxa lands, and are starting to compete for the dwindling resources on offer before the creeping ice of he Hellfrost. They generally get on well with the Taiga Elves, the latter remaining within their forests while the Finnar roam the plains. Wooden-framed tents, portable by reindeer, allow the Finnar to relocate on short notice. They utilize as much from their resources as they possibly can, little ever going to waste.
The Finnar make their temporary homes in the Unclaimed Lands, the Lakelands, and the Icedale Freeholds in the north east, none of which have any real centralized government. Few Finnar have much to do with magic, preferring Skaldic song magic and elementalism in the main, though few join the Convocation. They tend to worship nature gods, Eostre, Ullr and Freo most common amongst them.
The Finnar average around 5'6" tall, have dark hair, and are often tanned by the sun reflected off the snow and ice. They wear thick tunics and trousers and furs. Names such as Arto, Kaiju, Tove and Vilho are common amongst men, and Hannu, Kaari, Pirkka and Tyko amongst women. Some common surnames are Aho, Jarnefelt, Paatalo and Stenvali.
The Tuomi of the north west are a proudly martial culture of clans and tribes. While their priests are diplomats, most differences are settled with physical might. They typically dwell in wattle and daub roundhouses, though in recent decades, more sturdy bricks made of drystone walling have been making an appearance, and some villages similar in nature to Saxa steadings have been erected with longhouses at their center.
Few in number, the Tuomi make their homes in the Drachenlands, where Dargar-worshipping despots rule over them, and the Battlelands, both areas far from the 'civilized' lands of the Hearthlands to the south. They tend towards skaldic song magic and elementalism, though as with the Finnar, few join the Convocation. In addition to the worship of the warrior god Tiw, the nature gods are worshipped widely, with few revering the urban gods such as Var and Hoenir. Some, especially in the Drachenlands, are turning to the worship of Dargar.
The Tuomi tend to be smaller on average than other humans, often only 5'4" to 5'6" in height, with long blonde, red, or light brown hair, but this is often dyed a variety of colours. Tattoos are common too. Male names such as Bili, Brude, Canaul and Gart are common, and female names such as Aniel, Cailis, Ila and Tamia can often be heard. A nickname ("the Red", "the Boastful", "the Bear") is often used in place of a surname, and the clan name is appended, such as the Argentocoxus, the Canutulachama and the Tolarggan.