Post by LiquidChicagoTed on Dec 3, 2018 1:36:43 GMT
Firun’s Breath - The Far North and the Nivesian Lands
Welcome to this guide on the Far North and the Nivesian Lands. This thread is meant to inform you about this region, with a focus on the people who live there, so that you can hopefully use this as reference for potential character submissions. My plan is to eventually give you an overview of each region, one by one, telling you more on the people and their customs, which in return should make it easier to submit characters. The next region spotlight will be the coast of Thorwal and its famous raider cities, as well as the lands of the Gjalskers, the feared shapeshifter barbarians of the north. However, if you have a request for a specific region you are interested in, let me know and I will make it a priority.
The far north of Aventuria is one of the wildest and least hospitable regions in all Aventuria. Stretching from the Gulf of Riva in the west to Icebreaker Bay in the east, across the northern mountain ranges and the infamous Grimmfrost Wastes, they are sparsely populated. Characters coming from these parts of the world are usually seen as strange by the southerners, for their unusual customs and their usually solitary way of life. This is a necessity, as the conditions to survive in the north are drastically different from those in the south. The sparse vegetation has supported the rise of dangerous predators, even beyond the ever present cold, which means that many who live in the northern parts of Aventuria don’t get to become particularly old. Among the threats that roam these cold lands are giant wolves and bears, as well as wild dragons. There are also rumours of worse, semi-mythical monsters who can be found in the most remote peaks of the northern mountain ranges.
The lands are barely explored, as the Nivesians themselves do not care to write down what they know about these lands and southern scholars know preciously little about it. Most of it belongs in the realm of legend, from the ancient high elven civilization that was once located here, to the secrets these northern wastelands hold even today. Expeditions to the most remote locations of the north are rarely successful though, as the landscape is unforgiving and barren.
The most numerous of the northern tribes, as well as the ones who gave the lands their unofficial name are the Nivesians. They are the most common sight in the north when it comes to civilized societies and their tribes can be found throughout its entirety. They are nomads, rarely staying in one place for long and their tribes don’t have any fixed settlements or cities. During the summer, they live roam the northern plains, whereas they travel to the southern regions of the Nivesian Lands in the winter. They live in coexistence with the nature around them, never taking more than they need and using everything from the trees and animals they chop down and kill.
Often red-haired and with tanned skin, the Nivesians have a striking appearance and can easily be recognized. They have a shamanistic culture and a special affinity towards wolves, whom they believe to be sacred. Indeed, their gods are giant sky wolves, whom southern scholars often consider to be servants of the gods, even if their actual place in the divine pantheon is highly debated. The sky wolves are a pack of a dozen creatures, gathered around Gorfang and his consort Greymane and even though there are few confirmed sightings of their divine intervention, the Nivesian shamans receive powers from them. The sky wolves protect the Nivesians and in return, they worship them and the wolves in general. Nivesian shamans are highly respected by their tribes and when they speak, everyone listens, even the tribe chiefs.
Nivesians are known to be peaceful and hospitable, freely sharing what little wealth they have with travelers. Those who accept their beliefs and respect their customs have found them to be friendly and true to their woflish companions, they believe that strength comes to those who work in a pack, especially in the unforgiving northern wastes. As such, Nivesians rarely get into a fight, knowing that bloodshed is usually senseless. Conflict is settled by the shamans, or, at most, in ritual duels. This peaceful society has indeed given the Nivesians strength and they are the most numerous of the northern people in return. No one should consider them to be weak, however. Experts in surviving in the cold, they are also highly skilled hunters and experts in fighting with spears. They know how to defend themselves and Nivesian warriors are always ready to punish those who seek to harm their tribes, or who do not respect their customs.
Many Nivesians are also curious, as exploration is encouraged by their shamans. It is not unusual that young Nivesians who belong to larger tribes, leave for years, to journey through the southern lands. This has the purpose to support their tribe by having less mouths to feed for a while, while also giving the Nivesian wanderer new skills and experiences, which they can use to permanently support their tribe. As such, Nivesians are known to every southern civilization, even if they remain a rare sight.
Rarely, a Nivesian has a condition known as the Wolf Blood. Such Nivesians have a particularly strong affinity to wolves, as well as physical traits that resemble them, such as sharper teeth, yellow eyes or fur. They can also occasionally outright transform into a wolf, though they remain in complete control of themselves during the transformation. They are not cursed werewolves by any means and are considered sacreds by the shamans of the Nivesians, as envoys between the Nivesian tribes and the sky wolves. Many Nivesians with Wolf Blood become shamans themselves, or respected advisers.
The Duchy of Paavi:
Paavi is perhaps the last anyone would expect in the far north. Located in the far north, at Icebreaker Bay, Paavi was originally a marginally important and neglected trading post, nominally sworn to the Middenrealm. Its golden age began almost a hundred years ago, when Geldana of Gareth arrived here. Geldana was a cousin of the newly crowned Emperor Perval and unlike the rest of her family, she was smart enough to flee the very moment Perval’s claim got confirmed. This saved her life, as Perval’s first order was to execute every single member of his family, who could become a threat to him due to their own claims, as well as his political rivals. Geldana was both, but Perval’s men were unable to follow her to the far north and the emperor eventually gave up on persecuting her, seeing how she was no threat to him up in Paavi.
Geldana found the small trading post with the help of Nivesian scouts and she took them and their traditions seriously. This brought her the respect of the local Nivesian tribes, who supported her and her small army of followers. Using trickery, Geldana claimed to be there on behalf of her cousin, the new emperor, and that she was supposed to become the new Duchess of Paavi. Nobody questioned this and before Perval was able to intervene, she had proclaimed Paavi’s independence. As the only actual state in the Nivesian lands, Paavi has become one of the most influential power players in the entire region. Geldana’s Middenrealm exiles and others, who later fled from Perval, or had to leave for other reasons, live there side by side with Nivesian tribes, who have sworn fealty to House Paavi.
Due to these two groups living so close together, Paavi has become a mixture of Middenrealm customs and Nivesian traditions, with the city itself being built in the style of a Middenrealm city, despite being surrounded by some of the most inhospitable lands in all Aventuria. Cultural exchange is encouraged and following Geldana’s tradition, as she married a Nivesian warrior who saved her life during her escape from Perval, the rulers of Paavi each married a member of the local tribes. This has led to the rulers of Paavi having strong Nivesian blood in their veins and though the Twelve Gods are held in high regards, especially Firun, the Nivesian Sky Wolves are openly worshipped. The current duke, Dermot, is Geldana's grandson and almost completely a Nivesian in terms of appearance and customs.
The Rime Elves:
The oldest of the elven tribes, the Rime Elves, also known as the firnya fey'e in their native language, are direct remnants of the old high elven civilization of the north. After their capital, Ometheon, was destroyed by Pardona and her Night Elves, the survivors fled into the wilds, where they split up into several tribes. These tribes eventually developed into the modern Rime Elves, but it would be wrong to consider them one unified people, or even a group sharing the same customs. Not counting their shared origins, the tribes often have highly different customs, from the Lightbringer tribe in the Brazen Sword, who are keepers of ancient knowledge, to the Wavedancer tribe near Amber Bay, who has a special affinity to the icy waters and the creatures that live within them.
Rime Elves are solitary and quiet. They have a reputation of being cold and aloof towards strangers, but the few humans they have accepted as guests in their tribe describe them as generous and kind towards each other and their tribes are very close-knit communities. Not aggressive by nature, they are nonetheless more than willing to fight hostile intruders with swift brutality. More often than not, they simply avoid contact and it is said that a Rime Elf tribe cannot be found unless they want to. They live in palaces made of living ice and the cold does not affect them at all. Usually, they are fair-skinned and fair-haired, but the different tribes have different characteristic appearances as well, so there is no such thing as the typical Rime Elf. They often live near ruins of the ancient high elven culture, or close to the border of the regions where the Night Elves or other northern threats roam.
The Fjarnings are an ancient human civilization, directly descending from the legendary Hjaldings, who are also the ancestors of the Thorwalians. However, unlike them, the Fjarnings hold true to the undiluted ideals of their ancestors. They believe in strength alone, having nothing but disdain for weakness, diplomacy or the comforts of the south. Their lands are the harshest parts of the north, where few humans can actually survive. As such, the Fjarnings are experts for living in the wilds and surviving the cold, as well as the other dangers the north has to offer. Those who can’t adapt to that die an early death.
Fjarnings are aggressive and their worldview, in which the strongest is always right, reflects the way they interact with their neighbours. Firun is their only god, in his purest, most unforgiving form. They hate the Thorwalians for adapting to the southern world, for accepting different gods and for living in the comfort of cities. Indeed, where the Thorwalians are feared raiders and fighters, they pale compared to the sheer ferocity of the Fjarnings. Often taller than most other humans, they are wild barbarians and highly feared for their stoic, unforgiving brutality. They have disdain for the Nivesians and utter disgust for the unnatural Night Elves. However, aside from the Thorwalians, whom they don’t share a direct border with, Fjarnings are mostly neutral towards other cultures. They occasionally trade with Nivesians and Norbardians, despite looking down on them and only rarely do their tribes actually attack strong settlements. The only people they have actual, honest respect for are the Gjalskers, whom they consider to be strong warriors, a feeling that is mutual.
Surprisingly, the Fjarnings have a peaceful tribal society among each other. Knowing of their small numbers, war between different tribes is highly looked down upon. Instead, fights are settled by competitions, where champions prove their worth in a set of physical trials. If a Fjarning does what no other Fjarning has done before, such as climbing a high mountain in a record time, or killing a giant bear, Fjarnings of other tribes often compete to do even better. If a Fjarning outdoes a previous record, his tribe can claim a reasonable reward from the tribe of the previous champion. This can range from material goods to certain tribe members and usually, these claims are accepted without complaint. Only in rare cases do they call upon respected champions from other tribes to decide on the matter.
The Night Elves:
The Night Elves, also known as the Shakagra'e, are twisted creatures, the remnants of experiments made by the corrupted High Elf Pardona, where she combined the survivors of her race with demons. The Shakagra’e, as they are called in the elven tongue, outwardly share the inhuman beauty of their distant elven cousins, but are often corrupted and depraved in spirit. They are technically chimeras, the combination of two unrelated races, but unlike most chimeric races, they are fertile and increase their numbers slowly. Perhaps not born evil, the Night Elves are corrupted by their demonic blood and especially by their society and its unquestioned worship of the Nameless One. Pardona is their ruler and in her name, they prepare for a great war to come. Not much is known about the Night Elves, aside from the fact that they exist and even that is not common knowledge to anyone but the inhabitants of the Nivesian lands. They do, however, live in the ruins of Ometheon, the Skytower, the old capital of the high elven civilization. From there, they have also taken over ancient cities built by the Mahrians, maritime servants of the Nameless One, who have since moved on to the deepest parts of the northern oceans. These ancient cities are located on the lightless ground of the ice-covered seas of Amber Bay and Icebreaker Bay and are protected from the water by black domes. Just what the Night Elves and their dark mistress are doing there is not known to anyone, but the wisest of Rime Elves.
Other settlements of the northern lands:
The most important city outside of Paavi is without a doubt Riva, in the western Nivesian lands, the city which has given the Gulf of Riva its name. It is a large, fortified city, with stone houses and streets, where travellers can still live in the comforts of the southern world. There is a rich trade with the Thorwalians and Nivesians, who each are a significant minority in the city and both have places holy to their religions in the nearby wilds. Furthermore, the merchant family of House Stoerrebrandt is powerful in Riva, as the cities benefactors. The Stoerrebrandt College is the northernmost magical academy in Aventuria and just one of several signs of the importance the family has in Riva. In general, Riva is closer to the cities of the south in looks and feeling, the only city aside from Paavi to offer such comfort.
The Thorwalians have founded the settlement of Leskari, on the Gulf of Riva, the northernmost settlement of Thorwalians, even if it is politically independent. Leskari is ruled by the openly corrupt House Darek, who pursue their power due to the lack of opposition in the area, much to the chagrin of many Thorwalians. Some of them have recently decided to leave the settlement, which means Leskari is slowly in a decline.
The northernmost permanent settlement of Aventuria is Frisov, a free village and whaler station, where whalers from Paavi come when their home ports are frozen over in winter. Frisov has no contact with the Thorwalians, as whaling is a sacrilege to the followers of Swafnir. However, there is rich trade with the Nivesians, Norbardians and the Duchy of Paavi.
Oblarasim was once a settlement where elves and humans lived side by side and even the solitary Rime Elves have been seen there. However, in recent years, gold has been found in the nearby river Oblomon, which has led to a drastic increase in the human population. The elves are more and more a minority in their own settlement and many of the Wood Elves have decided to leave, to live in one of the southern settlements closer to the Salamander Stones.