The Northwarde's New Dawn
In times long past, the ancient giants known as the Godsmen descended from the mountains and settled the lands that would later be called the Northwarde. During their time on this world, the White Witch Udvar led her own children peoples to cover the world in frost – an era known as the Worldwinter. The Godsmen were instrumental in helping the world push her back into the deepest reaches of the North, and their Sorcerer King Bradn himself cursed her children with the Burning Brand. Little else is known of the Godsmen other than their immense stature and their singular government, based around a hereditary god-king conqueror.
Their civilization fell apart to savage raiders called the Clanless. These animistic folks cared nothing for society, and reveled in tearing it apart. They are known to have had “questionable relations” with the Udvatchen (Udvar’s corrupted children), and their greatest shaman kings are believed to have paid homage to the White Witch herself. They too vanished from the lands, leaving only a few strange savage ziggurat ruins, and their burial lands which are now called The Stones. Today, those with more savage natures (like the barbarians of the Troll clan) are said to be marked by the bloodline of the Clanless, while those of extreme charisma and natural regal bearing (such as those of the Snow Leopard clan) are believed to descended somehow from the Godsmen.
Other migrants eventually came to settle in the lands, establishing the tribes that would go on to grow into the Great Clans. Much later they joined under a united council called the Njarparthan Council. Eventually that Council would join as a member of the Sardal Commonwealth, which fostered a new age of trade and communication between many peoples all over the greater continent.
A decade back, discovery of a new continent far to the south led to certain factions of the Commonwealth seizing greater control and founding the new Sardallion Empire. The northmen decided they wanted none of that, and pulled out of the former Commonwealth. The Empire said “fuck that” and tried to take the Northwarde by force. Nine years later, the Empire finally realized just how badly they failed at that, and retreated. Our 2nd campaign began just a month following their retreat.
Religion: The Old Gods
- Ashen, The Dark Star of Disaster
- Asula, the Huntress, the Moon and the Stars
- Iaig, the Earth Mother
- Pox, The Pale Rider of Famine and Pestilence, the Sower of Dissent and Rebellion
- Udvar, the White Witch of Winter, Mother of the Udvatchen
- Bradn, the Fire Tender (Flame and Fortune), Sorcerer King of the Godsmen
- Sigri, the Erl-Queen (who took the place of the Erl King)
- Valian, the Bringer of Victory
- Agnes, the Herald of Conflict
- Fable, the Cunning, the Storyteller, the Patron
- The Chained God
The People of the Northwarde
The Northwarde is home to a number of tribes great and small, the largest of which have joined their heads to form the loose Njarparthan Council. The lands were once considered part of the great domain of the Sardal Commonwealth, but when that nation recently decided to reestablish itself as an Empire (following the very recent discovery and colonization of the new world), the northmen said no thanks bubbo and pulled out. A nine-year war broke out as a result, but the Northmen successfully pushed the Empire back south after a bloody swath of violence wasted most of the lands closest to the White Wall. The Empire has been too busy with the Forthalome colonization to re-attempt with this breakaway, and given the hostile nature of the terrain between their lands, it’s unlikely they’ll give it another shot any time soon.
Now there are Nine Great Clans, each with their own regions:
Aurochs clan is mostly plainsfolk, the most migratory of the clans because they move in cycles to rotate grazing lands
Bear is hardy hillfolk, in the southern foothills this side of the White Wall. Bear suffered the most from the war, and is now trying to rebuild.
Elk was never fleshed out, but IIRC we imagined them forest folk
Raven clan is one of the oldest two (along with Snow Leopard). Long ago they sold their lands to others and became the first and only “corporate” clan. They are fairly prolific, serving as financiers and advisors to all the major clans, even the Sharks.
Shark clan is mostly raiders, from the distant western islands.
Snow leopard clan is said to be the oldest (contending with Raven), and is said to still have the blood of the Godsmen. Hardy ice-dwellers, many sorcerers among their people
Troll is an all-Orc clan, some say the first Orcs. Legends say they were once human, but their ancestors blessed them with a god-troll’s bloodline and gifted their descendants. Either way, they’re not “monsters” like D&D orcs, and quite respected (and it’s worth noting that there are Orcs in other clans too).
Walrus clan is one of the more prosperous, with the strongest seaports on the western coast.
Wolf is the most organized of the clans, with the biggest castles and the best gear. They benefited most from the previous relations with the southern lands somehow, and the others resent them for it.
Yeti clan is the “lost” clan, some say they were too tainted by the blood of the ancient Clanless and tore themselves apart with cannibalism, but no one knows the truth.
I’m thinking there are giant tribes too, like jotun and cyclopes. In fact, one of the greatest painters in the land is a cyclops, gifted with something akin to bardic shamanism, who uses animal blood and natural dyes as his materials. He lives in the Painted Tor, named after his massive murals. He is known to have The Sight of the Gods, and can perform great auguries for a price.
Of course, everyone has their stereotypes. Below are the common things that “everyone knows” about clans other than their own:
- Aurochs are simple-minded horse fuckers
- Bears are primitive hill folk
- Elk are uncultured forest hicks
- Ravens are suspicious and always collecting secrets
- Sharks are lying, thieving sons of bitches that will cut you
- Snow Leopards are isolationist snobs
- Trolls are stupid cannibal brutes
- Walruses are too-rich and too comfy with the Empire
- Wolves are greedy thugs
- The Yeti clan should never be mentioned
The Lands of the Northwarde
At the far Northwest of the great continent of Sarda lies a vast region known to residents and outsiders alike as The Northwarde. The Northwarde is divided into five main regions: The Foothills, the Hearthlands, the Western Coast, the Northmost Tundra, and the Reclaimed Lands.
Clans: Bear, Elk, Troll
Locations: The Stones (Clanless burial barrows), The Low River, The High Pass
Other Minor Locations: Imperial Prison Camp Mines (from episode 1C-001), Tulver’s Bend (destroyed trading post)
The Foothills are the region of land on the north side of the great White Wall mountains. They are the southernmost lands of the Northwarde, and stretch the entirety of the region from the western coast to the eastern frozen waters. Bear clan is the most populous here, with Elk clan ranging in the more easterly forested hills, and a few miles of Troll lands at the easternmost coastal run.
The White Wall
Separating the lands of the Empire from the Northwarde is a great stretch of high peaks known as the White Wall. There are three ways to pass them. The first (and most common) is the Low River, an underground waterway operated by a handful of dwarf clans (the undersailors are famous), which carries trade back and forth. The second are a small handful of High Passes, which are fraught with monstrous peril. The third is a way around, via the western seas, but the waters and shorelines are dangerous to all but the most skilled of sailors.
The Low River
Ever since the dwarves of the White Wall opened their subterranean canals to outside trade a few decades ago, the Low River has overwhelmingly become the major “overland” trade passages between the Northwarde and the southlands.
Clans: Wolf, Aurochs, Elk, Troll
Locations: Stonesthrow, The Contested Lands
Other Minor Locations: Corbray Monastery
The Western Coast
Clans: Walrus, Shark, Wolf
Other Minor Locations: TBD
The Northmost Tundra
Clans: Snow Leopard, Raven
Locations: Winter’s Maw (Bay & Town), Firstfire (dwarfholt)
Other Minor Locations: The Chainspire, Aufstok’s Claim, the River Tunnels, Alseid village
The Reclaimed Lands
Clans: Yeti, and a whole lot of Udvatchen
Other Minor Locations: Asula’s Grove, The Southern Watchtower
Beyond the Northwarde
Beyond lies a smattering of notes on some of the known lands beyond the boundaries of this particular campaign.
The Sardallion Empire
Taking opportunity from the discoveries of the New World far over the southern seas, the noble families of the Sardal Commonwealth quickly schemed and stuck knives in each others eyeballs until one of them came out on top. She renamed herself Empress Victriessa the First, and re-christened her nation to be the Sardallion Empire. The Nortwarde decided to secede, and that led to war, and that war just ended.
The Sultanate of Ket
The Sultanate of Ket lies far far far far far to the southeast, as far from the Northwarde as it is possible to be without leaving the great continent of Sarda.
Forthalome, the New Woorld
Forthalome is the newly-discovered continent across the southern seas, and the primary location of the original campaign that started all of this.