The Dry Season
Humans Great and Small
Humans in the islands are a resilient bunch: usually poor and rarely the masters of their own destinies, they are nonetheless able to survive and sometimes thrive. Most humans are craftsfolk or hired laborers; good farmland almost always belongs to the dominant race of the island it lies on, though human farmers do hold farms in the rare patches of good farmland in gnome territory. Formal human military groups are rare, though they can be found in mercenary companies and auxiliary forces in elven lands.
Humans have a gift for enchantment magic and working with the natural world; the Vinemen and the secretive druidic orders of humans both put this talent to great use, though with different views of how best to relate to nature. Human enchanters are skilled enough to have their own orders and guilds even in orcish lands, where they are despised by the common people but tolerated by the ruling class. Druids are sometimes called in, albeit with great secrecy, to help elven and orcish lands facing natural disasters. Even beyond their necessity above the islands, however, druids are beloved heroes beneath them. Druidic magic and knowledge of plants is responsible for every crop that grows in the catacombs, and even what wood is available underground is owed to specially bred trees.
While none of the large islands hold human nations, some of the smaller ones do. These nations go unrecognized even among most humans, suffering from the dual disadvantage of being scorned by the larger and more powerful nations around them, and from being almost universally short-lived. Few human nations keep the same name, much less the same form of government, for even a century, though most have stabilized at some form of feudalism – which only invites the mockery of the elves and orcs, who view feudalism as a half-step above barbarity. Nonetheless, these nations have ships, soldiers and sovereignty, and can be havens for other humans, though they must be careful not to anger their mightier neighbors too much.