|Population||1,421,920 Common: (humans), Uncommon: (khazad, oruch, giantborn) Rare: (half-orcs)|
|Government||Monarchy and Sovereign Tribal Communities and Realms|
|Religion||Daeus, Maugrim, Kor, Angoron|
|Imports||Furs, livestock, wool, artifice, steamcraft.|
|Exports||Gems, gold, iron, silver, weapons, mercenaries|
|Alignment||LN, CN, CG, LG, NE, LE|
The region known as The High North and the realm known as Stormgarde consists of territories adjacent to the great ice waste and glacier known as The Emereth. Despite the inhospitable environment, several cultures thrive here and grow, not the least of which includes the nation of Stormgarde which has long been known for its martial prowess and great warriors. Much of this land is sparsely inhabited in the northern most reaches with the exception of roaming snow barbarians, giants and monstrous forces. Stormgarde itself is a nation of warriors. A land of battle hardened men and women and they are largely considered to have produced some of the greatest fighters on the continent. Great Mercenaries, Warriors, Shield Maidens and more, Stormgarde is a large and distant northern land. To the north it borders against the very mountains that form the Icegate Mountain Range in which Maugrim of the Old Gods made his citadel in ages in past. Here the lands are more densely populated, winters are shorter and the region more temperate. Separated largely by great rolling rivers and a massive cliff known as Ymir's Steps.
Life and Society
Stormgarde is a nation under reconstruction and rebuilding. Decades of war against its neighbors in the form of evil tribes of orcs, giants and gnolls coupled with its efforts to bolster the wars of its allies in the south lands have drained its resources and its people greatly. The country is friendly to visitors and mostly tolerant of different believes, especially those who are interested in the slaying of monsters. Friendly trade is maintained with lands like Myrddion to the south and with more independent realms of barbarians, dwarves and more that dot the landscape of the frozen north. The people of Stormgarde are hardy and work hard to rebuild their lands. They do not lament the past but look forward to the future while remaining ever vigilant against the dangerous forces that constantly loom from the north.
Though the kingdom of Stormgarde thrives here, the land is very much that of a frontier nation. Life in the harsh expanse of the frozen north has made of these people battle hardened warriors and mighty barbarians and soldiers of some fame. Fair complexioned with blond and red hair, great stalwart physiques and toughened by the need to survive against the monsters and fell creatures of the north.
Sorcererous talent runs in the veins of some of them and bardic talent is highly prized for they keep few written records of their histories. They instead pass down their legacies by the spoken word. Some are trained as Skalds and called to use their songs to bolster their warbands when they wage battle against the monsters of the north. Jarls rule over divided provincial regions in Stormgarde but they answer to the mighty lord who sits upon the throne in the Citadel-City of Volstengrad. Here some semblance of industrial undertaking is evident as the great city draws upon the heat of a dormant volcano to fuel its great furnaces to warm itself and surrounding settlements in the deeps of the winter. Dwarven communities dot these mountain ranges and cliffsides.
A strict martial tradition along with reliance upon sea-faring exploratory excursions and mercenary hiring of their people to wars in distant lands helps characterize the folk of Stormgarde. Stereoetypically, a Stormgardian is somewhat impatient and quick to action and believers in the thought that physical answers are the best answers to nearly all problems. In their great sprawling castle-fortresses, gladiator arenas and martial competitions are commonplace. Slavery and enforced servitude is not out of the question here either and is often common. Sometimes men are forced into servitude to another to pay a blood debt. Blood Prices to repay damage done, and martial duels to the death are not out of the question.
Women and men's lives are uniquely framed in Stormgarde. Either serve as warriors, but those in the home are referred to as "warmande." Wermun may be either male or female, and it is considered be an individual preference to take on this role. In this way, roles take on a unique flavor in Stormgardian structure. Within the home, a warmande's word is law--they carry a special dagger at their side to symbolize this role. Those who are not warmandes participate in war councils and politics. A wermande may sometimes partake in some political councils, though this is more rare.
Lord Ygfried Hamergostd rules Stormgarde with a powerful arm and just rule and his family has done so for the past five generations. Assisting him is a council of local lords and nobles who oversee a section of Stormgarde large expanse. These individuals are known as Jarls. Political strife is very rare in Stormgarde and the martial bend of the nation ensures that when such things do come up, often the strength of arms determines who is the victor over the strength of words.
The humans of Stormgarde are not the only culture that dwells in this distant and cold land. Dry, cold, flat grasslands are home to roving tribes of barbarians and orc tribes both neutral and evil. The Winter Reaches is a harsh realm where only the strong survive. Miles upon miles of snow only support scraggly grass and the people here, fierce horse-riders not unlike The Phurai Dae of the east, show disregard for those not of their kind. Tundra yeti dwell here as well as hordes of hobgoblins in the mountains that often threaten the more civilized lands of Stormgarde in the deeper south.
Even further north then this runs the great expanse of The Winterwood and beyond this The Emereth which is a great untamed wasteland of frozen moors and tundra. In ages past, deep in the heart of this wasteland, it is said that Maugrim ruled from a throne of ice and iron. During the dark years of the Age of Shadows, another power rose up in this land known only as The Witch King who made this realm the seat of his power. Miles of mountainside go unclaimed by any civilization with the exception of mighty frost giants who conduct ongoing raids on more civilized settlements upon their borders. Rumor of riches and tales of gems the size of a mans fist keep many well armed prospectors coming to the Icegate Mountains and the very edge of The Emereth but few are willing to challenge the wastelands of the distant frozen north.
Major Geographical Features
The High North is a landscape that varies dramatically but manages to maintain one universal feature; it is cold here. The landscape here ranges from flat plains and tundra's to unexplored mountainous regions and woodlands to civilized areas with impassable roads in the winter time and where keelboats and barges ply the cold swift waters in spring and summer.
The Emereth: The Emereth dominates the northern reaches of the continent. Known as the farthest north and Fell North, this massive glacier is bordered by the great expanse of The Icegate Mountains which itself is framed by the great deeps of The Winterwood. These mountains and forests of perpetual winter and twilight serve as a powerful shield from the worst of the arctic winds and kingdoms of Frost and Fog Giants that remain from the twilight years of the elder days of the world. The Winterwood and the southern face of the Icewall Mountains are home to these giants as well as others of giant-kind, goblinoids, winter wolves and other fell beasts that threaten the fringe settlements on these lands with constant raids and assaults.
Dimborgir Mountains: The Dimborgir Mountains stretch along Ymir'ssteps and here can be found the capital city: The massive castle fortress known as Volstengrad, which sits in the midst of a hallowed out volcano. Dwarven efforts have harnessed the heat within the mountains into great vast furnaces. The great armies of The Wintergarde stand watch here for incursions of Fog and Frost Giant warriors and great snow trolls, wendigos and barbarian orcs atop great dire wolves of the north forests.
Ymir's Steps: Although not a literal political border, many people consider the High North to begin where Ymir's steps begin. These mountains and enormous cliffs shield much of the south lands from the frigid weather of the north.
The Winter Reaches: This dry flat grassland is home to vast herds of northern wilder beasts, reindeer and other assortments of creatures and it is also the home of a nomadic horsemen and tribes of humans and orcs that consider themselves a separate culture and have little to do with Stormgarde proper.
A land caught between civilized frontier dwellings, monstrous holdings and nations and untamed empty expanses of nothingness there are nevertheless a few cities and regions of note.
Volstengrad (Metropolis, 68,112): The major city of the Stormgarde humans, Volstengrad is a virtual fortress-city. A prosperous trading city, it is the .end of the road. for many northern travelling merchants who do not wish to go to far into Stormgarde proper. Jarls send their servants and representatives to Volstengrad to deliver their own goods and to receive the goods that Volstengrad is given. Volstengrad is built, partially, into a hallowed out volcanoes that has been dormant for ages now and shows no signs of activity for many long years to come. Dwarven steam engines and equipment have been able to harness the energy deep within the earth and use it to provide warmth to the city that many other northern locations lack.
Ties to Alexandria
When the International Summit at which Alexandros announced its new freedom from Myrddion drew a Stormgardian ambassador, Jarl Lars Egilissen, and his entourage and family (wife Hallkatla and children Kolfinna, Asegir and Erikir) to Alexandria. The Stormgardian retinue have purchased a manor in the Nobles' District and appear to be here to stay for the time being. It is no secret that the ambassador and his entourage does not approve of even the remaining Myrrish presence in Alexandros.
Several prominent adventurers in the city are from Stormgarde. Also, Stormgarde is currently at war with Myrddion, though the war is not progressing at the moment as winter has put an end to the hostilities for the time being. The war is expected to continue come spring.
Few nations stood to profit from the recent chaos as Stormgarde. The chieftans and Jarls of this great and frozen region had sent a steady stream of mercenaries, for war, for peacekeeping, and bodyguards. They compete, usually genially, with Dran over contracts, which has led to a few well-publicized competitions in well-known cities to advertise their peoples' martial powers.
Recently, however, rumors of "trouble at home" resulted in many of these mercenaries being recalled. The warlord Arendt of Dran came take advantage of both Dran's sense of disillusionment and the wont of young warriors to make their mark in the world. He and his Iron Tide forged alliances among the North to remake the world in a warrior's image. He had captured the imagination of many younger warriors, and older firebloods, though he was ultimately proven to be under the influence of Heth's agents. That, and their ties to an attempted assassination of the Khazad Duin royal family, which is rumored to have involved Stormgarde in some way, have led to some restructuring among the North, if not embarrassment.