Read even a little bit about FFXI on fan forums and you'll run into debates about which race people should play. One of the primary arguments on the side of 'race doesn't matter' is that Square put Race Specific Equipment (RSE) in the game which tends to balance out the weaknesses each race has. For example there's a set of 4 pieces of gear from levels 27-33 for each race. The Mithra set gives 41 def, 48 hp, 48 mp, 4 str, 5 vit, 3 mnd, 3 chr. The Galka set gives 41 def, 96 mp, 5 agi, 6 int, 3 chr. The Taru Taru set gives 41 def, 89 hp, 7 str, 4 vit, 3 mnd. Very different sets but used to bring the races closer together in terms of stats.
The 4 slots used are hands, body, legs, and feet. Combined my current pieces of gear in those slots have, I think, 8 def. Even if the RSE didn't boost the stats I'm weak in I'd want them anyway because they give SOMETHING. So I clearly should work on getting this stuff. Tom and I tried yesterday but were just a smidge underpowered for the zone we were in. (We could kill the mobs one at a time but if we pulled extras we died.) We eventually wiped a final time by clicking on something that spawned a really tough monster when we weren't expecting it to that was involved in a RSE ammo so I figured it would be a good idea to read about all the different pieces and how to get them.
27 hands, 29 feet, 31 legs, 33 body - From the quest The Goblin Tailor. You need to have fame 3 in Jeuno to start. (I got up that high by turning in 24 stacks of corn to a quest guy in Selbina. Right now there's a teleport service between San d'Oria and Selbina so I could teleport directly from the corn vendor to the quest guy.) Then a goblin in Lower Jeuno will send you off to a cave where you need to farm a key from level 31-35 monsters. Use that key to open a randomly spawning chest in the zone to get an item to bring back to Jeuno. Do so and you get to pick which of the 4 pieces you want. The tricky part here is there are 3 different caves you could be sent to and 8 different RSE sets (one for each gender/race combo) which can be collected. Only 1 of the 24 is active at any give time. Yesterday evening was Mithra in Ordelle Caves. We did get a key to drop for Tom, but it won't be time for Mithra to go to Ordelle Caves again until May 5th during the day. Basically each of the 24 combinations stays in play for one game week which lasts about 7.5 real hours. You can farm keys up in advance if you want to (they are rare so you can only have 1) but you need to wait for your week to come up before opening the chests. The next Mithra week is this Saturday morning in the Maze of Shakrami. A timer of who comes up when is available here.
30 ammo - Something of a side quest while doing the above quest. There are ???s scattered throughout the above dungeons. Click on one of them during your race's week to spawn a level 46ish NM. Kill him to get your ammo. The ammo actually seem to boost what you're good at instead of what you're bad at which seems a little weird, but means it's still good to have if you don't use actual ammo.
50 belts - drops from two different 50 BCNM fights, not exclusive so you can buy it
55 earrings - drops from a level 60 ENM which requires everyone who enters to be the same race (ENMs seem to be fights like BCNMs except you don't need any seals to enter. Instead there is a 5 day lockout for each zone.)
62 hands - 60 BCNM, not exclusive so you can buy it
62 feet - different 60 BCNM, not exclusive so you can buy it
70 belts - 2 different uncapped BCNMs, not exclusive so you can buy it
87 hands - drop somewhere in abyssea, not exclusive so you can buy it