Northman

From World of Charun

"A bad rower blames the oar."
- Old Northman saying

Northman warrior
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Northman warrior

Contents

Description

The Northlands are a harsh and inhospitable region due to the everlasting winter and freezing temperatures. Hence the inhabitants have been formed into tough individuals well suited for surviving the climate and hardships they are faced with on daily basis.

They live in small villages, sometimes consisting out of only a handful of longhouses, scattered across the vast landscape of the Northlands. Those dwelling by the coasts make a living as fishermen, whilst hunting is the main source of food inland. Some of them sail southwards to trade. Sailing and fishing along the northern coastline is made possible by the Reef Stream. The Northmen are by far the most skilled sailors and navigators of Charun and they are the only ones with the knowledge and courage to face the perils of the Fierce Sea.

The Ulvhavians are as civilised as they get in the Northlands. They live in the thriving town of Ulvhavn that is the centre of trade in the north. It is where all goods from inland arrive, be they weapons, furs, or meat. In Ulvhavn one can find scholars and sages, trades shunned and looked down upon in the more uncivilised regions. There are no ships leaving the harbour of Ulvhavn with plunder in mind, only trade.

More about: Ulvhavn | Reef Stream

Life expectancy and Fertility Rate

Adulthood: 15 years
Life expectancy: 60 years
Maximum lifespan: 120 years
Total fertility rate: The average number of children born to a female over her lifetime is 3-6.


Etymology

When they began trading with the southern realms, the seafarers were quickly named as the "men from the north" - the Northmen.


History and Origins

Northmen used to live in many small tribes across the eastern and central parts of the Northlands, until a mighty warrior in one of these tribes rose and gathered many of them under his banner. The sagas name him Berse Veleifson, chieftain of the Ulv Tribe, later King of the Ulv Tribe that by then consisted of more than half of all the Northmen. The tribes that hadn't chosen to follow King Berse's path would soon thereafter form a great gathering themselves, that was given the name Hrafnir.

The sagas further tell that the Ulv and Hrafnir tribes lived in peace, trading with eachother and joining forces against common foes - until a wedge was driven in between them in the form of the Clandur. As the Clandur disembarked from their ships and set foot on the shores of the Northlands, they first encountered the Hrafnir tribe, who forced them to move further inland to the territory of the Ulv Tribe. The Clandur engaged the Ulv Tribe in battle and drove them from their homes. The Ulv Tribe later founded Ulvhavn on the eastern shore after defeating and driving away the Giron. The Clandur remained in the land they had conquered, which today is known as Clandurmark.

There are no written records of these events, and thus it is not known what exactly took place, or when, but the tales told amongst the Hrafnir and Ulvhavians conform the arrival of the Clandur and the skirmishes taking place inbetween the tribes.

The Northmen of today are thus descendants of the great Ulv Tribe gathered by King Berse Veleifson.


Appearence

Northmen have blonde hair and blue or grey eyes with pale skin that burns easily in the southern sun. The men favour beards, while the women wear their long hair in braids. Northmen are tall, probably the tallest of all human races on Charun. They are not of a weak build though, despite their length. They have deep chests and broad shoulders, with big feet and hands.


Language

The Northmen speak Nordska, an indigenous language that has influenced the tongue of the Three Isles, Islean, that today is used as the common tongue across Charun. A common feature of their language is the use of "kennings", that are figure of speech used instead of an ordinary noun.

More about: Kennings


Society

Governmental Form

Each settlement has a chieftain that they call "Hovthegn". The Hovthegn is usually the wealthiest man, for of the simple reason that wealth equals either great hunting or fishing skills, or bravery in battle. Inheriting wealth as in southern nations is unheard-of amongst the Northmen. Wealth is buried with the deceased for them to carry with them to the afterlife.

Some of the Hovthegns title themselves as "king", which is not quite the same thing as a king south of the Snowy Peaks. Some of the wealthiest chieftains may call themselves kings, depending on how many warriors they can hire and how pleased the commoners are. Pleasing the commoners is easy as long as they feel safe, have roofs above their heads, and their stomachs are full. The difference between a Hovtheng and a King is thus the size of the horde of warriors under his command. It is claimed that the Northlands hold atleast three dozen "kings". Two of the largest and most famous "kingdoms" are those of the Hrafnirheim and UIvhavn.


Social Stratification

Social mobility amongst the Northmen is a direct result of one's physical successes. Those who do well inevitably attract loyal admirers and followers, and the fastest route to social improvement amongst Northmen of moderate achievement is to gain the favor of someone influential and enter into their service.

Otherwise, Northmen guard their rights jealously, and while a simple farmer in the countryside will think carefully about angering a chieftain, he will be offended should the chieftain treat him poorly. On rare occasions this can even lead to "holmgang," which those of superior social status are extremely unlikely to lose...but also cannot refuse. A Northman who will stand on his rights even when likely to be defeated is generally regarded with a grudging respect even if personally unpopular.


Economy

he Northmen are a commercial society, and do a booming business trading raw materials for manufactured goods, some of which are created and exported from Ulvhavn itself.


Army

The Northmen don't have one force of men, but several, because they have three dozen kings and twice as many chieftains - all with a host of their own, known as a 'Hird'.

More about: Hird


Technology

The Northmen are surprisingly advanced in their technology, given their climate and surroundings. While they are by no means the equal of the Isles or Kanjo (let alone Mubuluk), the Northmen generally fit into the upper end of human societies in terms of being comfortable with technical crafts. Notably, however, the Northman tradition of ceramics is miserably poor -- there is a severe shortage of the sort of heavy clay soils with which to make it. They make up for this with extensive metalworking and fine arts using natural materials.


Culture

Diet

Northmen live from the sea or from the hunt, and supplement with as much imported oats and grains as they can afford to purchase. Vegetables are relatively uncommon, but cabbages and leeks are readily obtained. Certain nuts are readily available in the warmer sections of the Northlands, and the Northmen are also reasonably-accomplished brewers.


Customs

When a Northman reaches adulthood he is excepted to make both a name for himself and acquire enough gold to pay the dowry of his future wife. This, alongside with a lust to seek out adventure, makes many of the youngsters board a ship and head south, perhaps to trade or find service that pays gold.

Most conflicts amongst the Northmen can be solved through a "holmgang", which is a trial by combat. They are usually fought to first blood, even though fights to the death are known to happen if the experienced injustice is grave. Holmgangs are often fought by champions, if they can be afforded.

Death is unavoidable, and when it happens a burial ritual takes place where deceased is placed in a specially built ship along with all their possessions. After the ceremony the ship is torched and it is believed that the person's soul, along with all his earthly possessions is sent to the realm of the dead.


Marriage

Northmen are monogamous, and weddings are occasions for great feasts. Northmen work hard to afford the bride-price for their intended and will go to great difficulties to publicly establish themselves as worthy partners for their spouses. While unmarried Northmen adventure regularly, once married they are generally expected to focus on providing for their families, and will generally only adventure should they find themselves lacking, or if an expecially promising opportunity arises.


Clothing

Jewellery and decorated garments are rare, except perhaps with the wealthy merchants in Ulvhavn. Both men and women dress in long wool tunics and cloaks, as well as in leather and furs. The clothing is practical, easily repaired and replaced if need.


Arts

Northmen are frequently penned-in during bad weather, and have turned woodcarving into a fine art. This provides them with a focus not only while creating the carving, but afterwards, as their products tend to be extremely intricate and detailed. Northmen think nothing of taking a longhouse and slowly turning the entire dwelling into a work of art over the course of a few decades. Northman metal-working is not only good-quality technically, but is frequently heavily-adorned, serving both for battle and as a thing of beauty in its own right.


Games

Young Northmen of both sexes compete in running and physical games, and indoor games such as Nine Men's Morris and checkers are common. Alehouses in Ulvhavn are known to pay foreigners to teach games in exchange for room and board, should they know something particularly good.


Weapons and Armour

The Northmen wear mailshirts, hauberks and leather armour into battle, wielding axes and broadswords, often with a shield. Their items of war are decorated with ornamentations and carvings, both for beauty and blessing.

The smiths of Ulvhavn are masters at forging iron into weapons of utmost quality and performance. The iron mine north of the town, along with the furnace found within it, enable easy access to the metal. This combined with a long tradition of ironwork and weaponsmithing has resulted in iron weapons not found elsewhere in the world when it comes to balance and design.

For hunting, as well as ranged combat, the Northmen tend to use throwing axes or their famous bow, that requires an extremely strong person to use.


Religion

Religion, as many other things, differ between Ulvhavians and the rest of the Northmen. In Ulvhavn one can find shrines dedicated to the Spawn and the Enlightened One, as well as a large temple of Drakfar. Outside of Ulvhavn the most popular deities are Drakfar, unless a coastal settlement, where the Spawn is prayed to. Ferael is another god that has a rather large group of followers. The Northmen also recognise four of the Old Gods that have always been a part of their culture. The difference is that they have neither priests nor temples as the New Powers do.

More about: Northman Faith


Statistics

Location in Charun: Northlands & Ulvhavn

Population: 150.000

Settlements: Ulvhavn - 30.000

Army: Hird

Government form: Barbarian Monarchy


Player Characters

Northman names for your character: Northman Names


Faction

The Northmen are part of the Civilized Faction, along with other human cultures and the Mórail.


Genetic Modifiers

Northerners are a naturally tall and strong race. They are used to wearing armour combined with heavy clothing and furs to protect them from the freezing temperature. Thus the typical Northern fighting style resolves around hoping to outlast one's opponent, striking heavier blows and trusting to sheer strength to defeat him, rather than dodging his attacks.

The Northerner heritage has the following ingame effects:

Ability Modifiers:
+1 STR, -1 DEX


Cultural Modifiers

Seasoned Trader:
Of all the merchants, traders and sailors known across Charun, the Northmen of Ulvhavn and environs are among the most reputed. Expert navigators and sailors, the pursuits of raiding have long given way to trade in iron works of the utmost quality, resulting in traders and merchants of superb skill and craft. Northmen gain Skill Bonus: Appraise +2, Craft Weapon +2


Classes

The Northmen have the following cultural classes, which they can choose from during character creation. Following levels may be taken in the general classes (rogue, mystic, warrior) or in the cultural class chosen during character creation.


Languages

Native Tongue: Nordska
You can always speak your native tongue as long as your INT is above 0, but you will not have any "language slots" at INT 7 or lower.
If your INT is 7 or lower you will not be able to understand languages other than your native tongue, regardless of whether you know them or not.

Faction Common Tongue: Islean
At INT 8 you will be given your first language slot, which if starting with INT 8 or higher will always be used for your faction's common tongue. If the native tongue is the same as the faction tongue, the slot can be used for a secondary language.

Secondary Languages: Clandur, Giron
At INT 10 and each 2 INT after that you will be given another language slot, which can be used upon entering the game for the first time to pick a language from the secondary languages list. Language slots may also be used later to learn new languages.


Back to: Races | Human | Human Ethnic Groups | Northerner

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