The races are the sentient humanoid species that inhabit Eorzea. There are eight playable races. Each race has two separate clans, which have separate histories in the lore.
- from Travel Logs of a Lalafell, Jajariku Nanariku
The Elezen are an elf-like race and the original inhabitants of Eorzea.
The Elezen are a traditionally nomadic people who in former times claimed sole domination over Eorzea, their presence predating that of other races... They are divided into the Wildwood and the Duskwight Elezen. The Wildwood live in the forests and possess a keen sense of sight - a contributing factor in their unparalleled expertise as archers. The Duskwight are a reclusive clan who dwell in caves and caverns, which has given them a heightened sense of hearing. The two clans seem to dislike each other immensely.
The Hyur are a race that is more or less human.
Boasting the largest population in Eorzea, the Hyur came from neighboring continents and islands in three great migratory waves... They are divided into the Midlander and the Highlander Hyur. The Midlanders place a heavy emphasis on education, and are generally considered to be the most cultured people of the world. Physically larger and bulkier than their Midlander cousins, the Highlanders once governed the grand city-state of Ala Mhigo, which was invaded and razed by the Garlean Empire. With their homeland destroyed and their numbers decimated, the Highlanders now eke out their existence as mercenaries.
The Lalafell are a race of physically diminutive humanoids.
The Lalafell were originally a group of agriculturalists inhabiting the fertile islands of the south seas... They are of high agility and intelligence, are from the southern regions, and are divided into the Plainsfolk and the Dunesfolk. The Plainsfolk are a very earthy clan who thrive on the prairies. The Dunesfolk literally live on the backs of enormous beasts of burden and are known for wearing gemstones in their foreheads that signify their zodiacal signs.
The Miqo'te are a cat-like humanoids race.
During the Age of Endless Frost, as the seas turned to ice and passage over them became possible, Eorzea saw an influx of foreigners to her shores... The Miqo'te are very devout people, but are divided into two religious sects: the Seekers of the Sun, who are dedicated to the sun goddess Azeyma the Warden, and the nocturnal Keepers of the Moon, who are dedicated to the moon goddess Menphina the Lover.
The Roegadyn are a physically large and muscular race.
The Roegadyn are a maritime people whose largest concentrations are found in the northern seas, by way of which they came to Eorzea... They hail from the northern regions and are divided into the Sea Wolves and the Hellsguard. The Sea Wolves were once a band of fearsome pirates, but have since largely abandoned that lifestyle; presently they are normally employed as sailors or naval mercenaries. The Hellsguard, on the other hand, dwell in a volcanic region and are said to be masters of the magical arts, guarding the gateway to Hell itself.
The curved horns and beautifully patterned scales that characterize the Au Ra oft give rise to speculation that this Hyur-like race native to the Far Eastern continent of Othard are, in fact, the progeny of dragons. This, however, has long been disputed, with scholars citing several distinct differences in the two races as evidence of decidedly dissimilar roots—the first and foremost being the enhanced hearing and spatial recognition granted by an Au Ra's cranial projections (traits not attributed to draconian horns), and the second being the gross disproportion in body mass between Auri males and females (again, a trait widely unseen in dragons).
Of tall stature and slender frame, the Viera's physical appearance is strikingly similar to that of the Hyur and Elezen, save for their distinctive long ears. Adhering to a strict code known as the Green Word, they are prohibited from contact with the outside world under threat of exile. Their society is purely matriarchal, and males of age are seldom, if ever, found within the bounds of any village. They instead serve as protectors of the wood from the shadows, that no evil may ever encroach on their sacred lands.
Hailing from the distant shores of Ilsabard, the Hrothgar are a burly people of lionlike appearance—or the males are, at least. Females number staggeringly few among their population, and thus are rarely so much as glimpsed by the other races.
The Hrothgar's imposing countenance─mitigated not at all by their sharp claws and still sharper fangs—incited panic amongst Eorzeans upon their arrival. As they were also unable to communicate, initial interactions with the commonfolk often escalated into conflict. It was not until the Hrothgar gained mastery of the common tongue that fears were allayed, and in time they would be as neighbors, welcome in all corners of the realm.