humans Species in The River | World Anvil
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Humans are a species with an astonishing ability to survive in a wide variety of environments.  First appearing 300,000 years ago in an arid grassland climate, they have since made themselves comfortable in deserts, jungles, mountains, wetlands, tundra, and more. The population currently farthest from their origin is a matriarchy with several settlements in the largest continent's southeastern peninsula.

Basic Information


Unique among the great apes, humans are adapted exclusively to upright bipedalism.  While this reduces the maximum running speed, it improves endurance when traveling at moderate speeds.  Most importantly, it enables humans to carry things while walking.

Civilization and Culture

Average Technological Level

Humans can create and control small fires.  They build structures, make containers, and can work in concert to transport items too large or heavy for a single person to carry.  Most tools are made of stone or wood, but some cultures are beginning to work with copper and tin.  Throughout their areas of influence, humans have domesticated thousands of plants and animals.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Humans have the most diverse methods of communication. No other species exhibits such a complex system of vocalizations. Speech is not instinctual but must be taught, as evidenced by the numbers of separated groups within the species that are unable to understand each other. Even humans within a single culture, such as that of the river matriarchy, have multiple means of communication, each with its own purpose.   For most interactions, they use a spoken language common to all the villages. Where vocal language is not possible or practical, they will find other means of communicating. A group of feral boys, never exposed to spoken language, adapted another species' gestures into a complete sign language. The boys associated with the villages, traveling widely and interacting sporadically, modify their environment to create messages that others can read.   Humans also are uniquely able to communicate deceptively. The traveling boys also have a code that overlays additional meaning onto words and phrases, so that they can say something to two people and only be understood by one. Women maintain an archaic form of the daily language for speaking about secret cultural knowledge. Girls use a language rich in slang that evolves so quickly that within three years of leaving the cohort, a woman can understand only half of what they are saying.   In a form of intuitive, unintentional communication, humans with a certain amount of water sensitivity can perceive other humans' emotional and physical states.

View from the future

Descendants of the river culture have spread even farther, crossing the ocean and settling in a volcanic archipelago. One individual has reached that same archipelago from the opposite direction, making humans the first land-based species to have circled the globe.

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Aug 7, 2023 03:40 by Molly Marjorie

What a creative response to the prompt! We humans do have a unique method of communication. I like how you took this and discussed how it specifically fits in with your world. I especially like the variety of communication forms you mention here--sign language, codes, plays on words, and linguistic evolution. I'm curious to know more about the water sensitivity of your people.

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Aug 8, 2023 02:29

Thanks, that's a relief to hear! I was a little concerned it would be considered cheating, especially since the blog post about these prompts emphasized methods of communication different from ours, but it just felt like a perfect fit.

The water sensitivity is what makes my worlds just a little bit "magic". It's the ability to detect water from a distance. Someone with strong sensitivity can tell how fast someone's heart is beating by the way their blood is moving, for example. It allows them to get a feel for how someone is feeling without seeing them.

I really wish I'd explained it more in the article instead of just throwing in the link. This is one of the entries I finished up late and under a certain amount of panic. I'm already itching for the awards ceremony to be over so I can fix it!

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.