Beyond the borders of the Theocracy in the north are savage seas, frozen plains and mountainous country, known to the human kingdoms simply as the Northlands. The people of this cold land are as hard and unforgiving as the landscape that they inhabit. They are the proud Nordländer, and they will not be broken by the elements. They make their homes in the treacherous mountain ranges of the Dragon Spine and the Spear Peaks, on the tundra beyond Dystermark and where mighty glaciers and long fjords shape the coasts of Nordländ.
The population of this bleak country is split into three distinct societies:
These are the people of the seas and fjords; who live along the coasts of the Northlands. They are master mariners, living much of their lives on the sea or at port aboard the fearsome Drakkar long ships.
When not raiding with their crews, Fjordsmen tend to their farmsteads, or make a living from the sea or chosen trade. They are wilful and creative, valuing Songs, wit and freedom higher than any Nordländer people. They are inquisitive and cunning folk, making them good scouts and skirmishers. They favour the quick, “hit-and-run” style so typical of their raids on Theocracy lands.
Their seafaring heritage means that over the years, people from other cultures have visited or settled along the coasts and fjords, either by their own choice or through enslavement in raids. Ship crews can be diverse in their appearance and due to this, it is not unheard of for an elf or those of old Sobekian descent to end up in a Drakkar crew.
The crews of the Fjords are the first line of defence in the Northlands, patrolling for signs of incursion by enemy forces. Long has there been the tradition of raiding Theocracy and Kingdom territories. As such, they are always on the lookout for retaliatory attacks from the forces of these lands, who view them as savages and heretics. Lately however, the Fjordsmen have been forced to make an uneasy peace with the southerners and turn their attention from pillaging other human settlements, to repelling attacks from the bone ships of the Lich King’s pale fleets that sail from the east. After several devastating attacks on their ports, the ever-creative Fjordsmen have made the brave decision to persuade reluctant Vala fire-born with them onto the decks of their Drakkar long ships. This move has seen a devastating effect against the vessels of the Undead. The Lich King has been successfully repelled up to now, but new innovations and resources are required to prevent them from Making Landfall in the future.
The Tundra Clans
The tundra clans inhabit the vast, unforgiving plains and cold forests of the extreme north. Hags and twisted unnatural beasts are some of the great dangers that these hardy clansmen must contend with every time they go out into the wild.
They live communally, in burghs made up of long-houses ringed by spiked palisades that defy the environments best efforts to remove them with snow and ice. These frozen communities breed some of the strongest and bravest fighters in all the Northlands. Their constant fight against the ravages of nature and the wildlife of the region makes the men and women of the clans into furious fighters. Known for their unhinged battle-rage, many tundra clansmen and women favour the use of two-handed weapons that they wield in great, swinging arcs at opponents. A fully enraged clansman will think nothing of charging headlong at the most challenging enemies with sadistic glee. Although they are fierce, raucous and bloody, the tundra clans are not entirely without civilisation. They even have their own city where the tundra begins, Dystermark, with busy markets, and home to shrines, craftsmen and taverns where troubles are forgotten and new clansmen made. Of all the Northmen,
The tundra clans have the strongest tradition of warrior lodges, particularly those of the Ghost Bear and Tundra Wolf.
The Men of the Mountains
From high in the mountain peaks the ancient families of the north rule Nordländ, making their home in great holds and fortresses carved deep into the mountains themselves. Of these, Yldenfel is by far the greatest, as it holds the Long Table and Father’s Forge.
These proud holds do not take up the mantle of leadership lightly. Every day, they carry out their sacred duty to keep order between the clans of the north and patrol the mountain regions, keeping them safe from the Mountain-Kin, the restless dead and other strange monsters that have appeared in the land following the Days of Fire. Woe unto any who would try to wrest this mountain birthright from them, for the noble mountain jarls and their huscarl elite are skilled warriors, famed for their strategy, integrity and resilience in battle. A pair of armoured huscarls once defended a breach in a mountain gatehouse from an attacking war band until the gap was sealed with the bodies of slain foes. As they control the deep mines within the great ranges, the mountain jarls and the fighters of their holds have access to valuable metal ores and can forge heavier armour than their lowland brethren.
Consequently, Men of the Mountains tend to emphasise endurance and survivability in battle, covering themselves almost entirely in protective chain and plating.