"The Realms of Man must not fall. Our fate is intertwined with theirs, and if they fall, so too do we. For this reason, I taught their first masters of magic, and for this reason, we must not abandon Men, despite their barbarous ways."
Mankind, also called Men and sometimes Humans, Humanity or Humankind, are a race of intelligent, mammalian humanoids dominant in the Old World and the Far East. Mankind was one of the last intelligent peoples of the Known World to become civilised. However, they are now one of the most powerful and populous species spread across the globe and might be considered the dominant intelligent race of the world since the civilisations of the High Elves and the Dwarfs entered their mutual states of decline. Men are the chief devotees of the Imperial god Sigmar, as well as the primary opponent of Chaos' continued incursions into the Old World and the Far East. In a severe twist of irony, however, Mankind is also amongst the Dark Gods' greatest and most numerous servants.
It is very common knowledge that the race of Men is known to be highly susceptible to the influences of Chaos due to the fact that they were the youngest and most unfinished of the Old Ones' mortal creations. Unlike the Elves, Mankind has only just begun the transition into a species that can fully utilise the Winds of Magic. As yet, very few Humans are able to cast spells, though this number is slowly increasing as the centuries pass. However, most Human wizards lack the mental discipline or inner strength to prevent themselves from causing arcane mishaps or the capability to access all the Winds of Magic simultaneously, like the greatest of the Elven Archmagi.
Humans have a highly developed brain, which is capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem-solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the hands for manipulating objects, allowed Men to make greater use of tools, much like the other humanoid intelligent races of the mortal world. Other, higher-level thought processes of Humans, such as self-awareness, rationality, and sapience, are considered to be defining features of what constitutes a "person," though such features are shared with the other major intelligent species Men share the Warhammer World with, such as the Elves, the Dwarfs, and the Greenskins (though some might question this last one).
Like most higher primates, Humans are social animals. However, Humans are uniquely adept at utilising systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organisation. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations. Social interactions between Men have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of Human society. With Humans present across the world and having adapted to every possible environment, they are currently the mortal world's dominant intelligent race. The current population of Men on the Known World numbers in the hundreds of millions.
Men are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate phenomena through the practice of science, philosophy, mythology, and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally, though cultural stagnation or even retrogression is possible, as the grim history of the Elder Races of the mortal world so readily demonstrates.
Origins in the Old World
According to Dwarf accounts written after the threat to the mortal world from Chaos was ended by the Elves' establishment of the Great Vortex, the first tribes of Men migrated to the Old World from the Southlands. They were few in number, used tools and weapons made from wood and stone, and settled initially in the southern lands that would become Tilea and Estalia. The Dwarfs largely ignored them, especially since the two races lived so far apart.[4a]
Just over two millennia later, tribes of taller, fur-clad Men arrived from the east and settled in the forested lands to the west of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Some even migrated to the other side of the Grey Mountains. These newcomers proved successful at farming the land, and in order to reduce their supply lines, the Dwarfs began trading with these Human tribes during the closing stages of the War of Vengeance.[4a]
The Dwarfs exchanged tools and weapons made of bronze for produce and meat. Then came the invasion of the Greenskins, and everything changed. While hordes of Orcs and Goblins assailed the Dwarf Holds, even more swarmed over the mountain passes into the Human lands of the west. Dwarf smiths taught the Humans many of their lesser technological secrets, such as how to forge iron weapons and armour. In the face of their mutual foe, Dwarfs and Men forged a tentative friendship. This friendship would later blossom into an alliance that guaranteed both the survival of the Dwarfs and the further ascension to power of Mankind.[4a]
Realms and Peoples of Mankind
"Men tend to understand each other's motives, so diplomacy between factions is simply a matter of balancing competing interests for mutual advantage."
- —A saying amongst Bretonnian diplomats.
The realms and notable ethnic groups of Mankind in the Known World include:
- Albion - Albion is an island surrounded by mist and fog. It is home to the mysterious Ogham Stones and tribal, woad-wearing human barbarians.
- Araby - Araby is a desert nation that lies to the west of the Land of the Dead in the Southlands and is comprised of both highly sophisticated commercial urban centres and tribes of desert nomads.
- Bretonnia - Bretonnia is the kingdom of Men located directly west of the Empire whose people are ethnically related to the barbarian tribes of Men that founded the Empire. However, the society is deeply segregated where the peasants of Bretonnia are highly oppressed by the ruling class, more so than other nations. The vast majority of male nobles are bred for knighthood, being larger, fitter and more robust than ordinary men, while female nobles are renowned across the world for their beauty and grace. The peasantry, on the other hand, are a breed apart, with many sporting deformities and disfigurements caused by poor genes and inbreeding. Bretonnia is the Empire's chief military rival, and the Knights that comprise its heavy cavalry remain the greatest in the Old World.
- Grand Cathay - Lying in the Far East, Grand Cathay is the largest nation of Men in in the world. It is a vast empire, and its ruler is known as the "Dragon Emperor." Despite its size and power, Cathay is greatly isolated from the rest of the world by oceans, mountains, deserts and hostile enemies. Like the people of the Old World, the Cathayans are in constant conflict with the mortal and daemonic servants of the Ruinous Powers of the northern Chaos Wastes. Another enemy the Cathayans face are the brutal Ogre Kingdoms to their west and northwest. Lore also suggests that Cathay may be at times riven by corruption and internal conflict.
- The Empire - The Empire stands as the largest and mightiest nation of the Old World but also a deeply corrupt and often unjust human society where many have fallen to the corruption of Chaos, yet it is still the greatest bulwark the Old World has against Chaos, pushing them back time and again. The Empire benefits from a great diversity of military units, black-powder weaponry and the various orders of wizards who comprise the Colleges of Magic, and is the home of the Cult of Sigmar. The Empire is quite large and diverse: there are broad cultural differences between the south and the north, as well as between people of Nordland (who have much Norse blood), Middenlanders (who prefer the god Ulric over Sigmar), Reiklanders, Sylvanians etc but broadly speak the same mutually intelligible language: Reikspiel. Despite being first united in 0 IC, the Empire became more and more politically divided beginning in about IC 1152, until being reunited in 2302.
- Estalia - Estalia is a peninsula southwest of Bretonnia in the Old World, far from the threat of Chaos, but without an external foe to unite them, the nation is a land of a number of rival Estalian kingdoms. Estalia was once occupied by forces from Araby, but the Arabyans were driven out by a combined effort by other Old World human realms like Bretonnia, the Empire and the Tilean city-states. Like the Tileans, the Estalians are politically fractured into multiple city-states, and they may be descended from the ancient people of Tylos.
- Khuresh - Khuresh, or the Hinterlands of Khuresh, are in the Far East of the Warhammer World. The few Humans who live there are said to be little more than food and cattle for the dreaded Snakemen.
- Kingdoms of Ind - Ind is an eastern nation southwest of Cathay and west of the Ogre Kingdoms composed of many different competing kingdoms. They are said to worship a large number of gods.
- Kislev - Kislev is a northern nation and an ally of the Empire that lies under constant threat due to its close proximity to the northern Chaos Wastes and the maddening Realm of Chaos. Kislev has 2 main ethnic groups, and one former one:
- Gospodars are the dominant group in Kislev, and appear to have once been related to the Hung, but split off in the distant past.
- Ungols are a nomadic herding people who inhabited Kislev since ancient times, but were displaced and subjugated by the arrival of the Gospodars
- Roppsmenn were a people of what is now western Kislev. They were destroyed by the Ungols, who in turn were fleeing the Gospodars.
- Nippon - The Empire of Nippon is the easternmost of the nations of Men, and is an island that lies off of the eastern coast of Cathay that is ruled by powerful feudal warlords. Little else is known about the country.
- Tilea - South of the Irrana Mountains and the Vaults in the Old World, the fractious city-states of the peninsula of Tilea embrace trade, exploration and civil war with equal passion. Mercenary companies form the bulk of the armies that see combat in these lands, often fighting on behalf of the wealthy rulers of the many Tilean republics and principalities or further north in the service of the Empire. Like Estalians, Tileans may be descended from the ancient people of Tylos.
- The Wasteland - The Wasteland is a low-lying land at the northwestern edge of the Empire that lies at the mouth of the River Reik and is home to Marienburg, one of the largest cities and commercial centres of the Old World. This region used to be a province of the Empire - when it was referred to as the province of Westerland - but seceded several centuries ago and is now fiercely independent. Perhaps out of spite, the people of the Empire soon after began to refer to the province as the Wasteland, sometimes due to the large marshes and bogs that surround the land.
- The Northmen - a general term for different ethnic groups who inhabit the Chaos Wastes and bordering regions. While technically Men, many of these tribesmen have been so mutated and hopelessly corrupted by their worship of the Ruinous Powers that they cannot be compared to the more civilised Men of the south. Due to the harshness and lack of resources of the Chaos Wastes, the Northmen constantly raid the more prosperous regions of the Old World and Cathay for slaves and other resources. Northmen include:
- Norscans - The Norse or Norscans inhabit Norsca and are known as great seafarers and sea-raiders, even having colonies in Lustria. Of all the Northmen, southern Norscans are the most likely to trade peacefully.
- Hung - The Far Eastern barbarian Hung inhabit the Chaos Wastes bordering Grand Cathay and Naggaroth, and are known as great horsemen and archers.
- Kurgan - The barbairan Kurgan inhabit the Eastern Steppes and parts of the Chaos Wastes north of the Old World and Mountains of Mourn
- Tong - The Tong are a barbarian people who are nearly extinct, and their remnants inhabit the most northern and dangerous areas of the Chaos Wastes, nearest to the northern Polar Gate into the Realm of Chaos.
- The Amazons - The Amazons are an ancient civilisation of Warrior-Women who have made the deep dark jungles of Lustria their home. Deep within the Lustrian jungle, death comes in many forms. No surer way exists than to incur the wrath of the elusive tribeswomen that dwell in its darkest heart.
- The Pygmies - Pygmies are the smallest of all Human races. Some Old Worlder scholars deny that they are human at all, whilst others refer to them as Lesser Men or Black Halflings. They come from the dense tropical jungles of Lustria where they live in small tribal groups.
- The Strigany - The Strigany are the mortal remnants of the former Necromantic kingdom of Strygos. Now living as gypsies and nomads, they are a desperate people, often clinging to the half-forgotten legends that say that their ancient Vampiric masters will someday return to lift them from their pathetic lives.