Mark of The Black Hand
The frigid northern lands of the Hrothgar Highlands are home to a variety of barbaric tribes of several different races. The north has long been a brutal and savage land rife with conflict. The northern barbarian tribes have long waged wars amongst themselves and a few times gathered to attack the southern lands. More recently the drow of the underdark have begun surface raids against the barbarians trying to gain a foothold in the surface world it is unknown as to what has caused this new aggression. The name itself is a reference to the ancient Barbarian king Hrothgar who held the human and goliath clans under one banner nearly eight hundred years ago the ancient battlefields and ruins still dot the landscape of the north.
Alti Glacier- Just north of the Skjorn Mountains is the Alti Glacier. Mostly a solid sheet of ice inhabited by very few creatures such as the Remorhaz and the Hastein Goliath tribe. Legends say the passage to Jotunheim lies deep beneath the Alti Glacier.
Arinor Plains- the snow covered plains of Arinor cover the lands between the Beorngar Mountains and the Frostfire mountains. Urdyn lake lies in the center of the plains with the ruins of Svolnar on its shores. The dwarves of the Iolair clan make their home on the eastern portion of the plains near the Hafthor Woods.
Beorngar Mountains- The steel blue mountains in the western portion of the highlands. Home to the Mathan Mör dwarves and the Volsung goliaths, the Beorngar Mountains are a rugged and unforgiving mountain range. Besides the dwarven and goliath tribes a large amount of massive brown bears call the range home thus giving it the name Beorngar.
Mount Ereth- A strange solitary mountain in the north western portion of the highlands. A holy place among most of the human barbarian tribes as it is the final resting place of both the barbarian hero Korth and the Ancient White Dragon, Ithdixarzith or as the barbarians know him Carrith the White Death.
Greyheim Mountains- The southern boarder between the Carthian coast and the Hrothgar Highlands is defined mostly by the Greyheim Mountains. These massive grey and white mountains are home to numerous creatures including some of the Ulfyr wild dwarves, stone giants and the storm giants.
Hafthor Woods- Located in the eastern portion of the highlands, the Hafthor Woods are home to the massive redwood trees known as Ymirwood trees. Among these ancient trees roam the strangest of all the goliath tribes the Asulf tribe who have long tamed the winter wolves of the Hafthor Woods.
Isle of Skarsgard- Home to the Njorn, this island is located west of the Beorngar Mountains. The Ysgard Wood lies at the center of the island and on the westernmost part of the island the volcano Surtyr rumbles from time to time. In recent years Surtyr has been strangely dormant. Just to the east of Skarsgard is the sister island of Mjor, a holy place for the Njorn.
Luftwyr Forest- Just north of the Greyheim Mountains lies the Luftwyr Forest. A dense forest of dark timbers and wild animals the Luftwyr is part of the Ulfyr clan hold. Strange sightings of upright wolf creatures lead some to believe the Luftwyr forest is home to a clan of lycans. The Ulfyr dwarves are highly territorial of these woods though they seem to try to keep people out as if they are protecting outsiders from the forest rather than the reverse.
Skjorn Mountains- This branch of the Frostfire Mountains separates the rest of the Hrothgar Highlands from the Alti Glacier and is home to Both the Thorc clan of dwarves and the Red Elk human tribe.
Thromgor Peaks- Known for the constant storm clouds that plague the Peaks due to a strange elemental conflux high in the mountains. The ancient guardians of this place are the Thorvald Goliaths.
Urdyn Lake- The Urdyn lake is a large body of water that despite the frigid temperatures of the land never freezes thus many of the non barbarian inhabitants of the highlands call the lands around the lake home.
Evenskjer Keep- A massive keep built by the Jotunar(Frost Giants) during their incursions from Jotunheim into Valnar. Located just west of the Skjorn Mountains. Recently strange lights and foul sounds have been emanating from the keep from some unknown source.
Korth’s Rest- The resting place of the barbarian who slew the Ancient white dragon at Mount Ereth. Rumors tell of ancient treasures hidden deep beneath his tomb that once belong to the dragon’s horde.
Ruins of Svolnar- just south of Urdyn lake lies the ruined city of Svolnar. Built during Hrothgar’s reign of the highlands. The city was brought low by the waning Valnari Empire and the dwarven empire of Khazadur .
Stones of Heidal- These strange massive stones are carved with ancient runes of unknown origin. Its a sacred site to most of the barbarian tribes and considered neutral ground.
Summerfield- small settlement about four days travel north of last hope. A strange cabal of wizards make their home here and have formed a small academy.
There are five major dwarven clans, the Mathan Mòr, the Iolair, the Ulfyr, the Thorc, and the Graumach. The humans tribes are divided into four tribes, the Kauls, the Njorns, the Red Elk, and the Erveri. And in the coldest regions of the lands are the four major goliath clans: The Thorvald, the Völsung, the Asulf, the Hastein.
Mathan Mòr- The totemic warriors of the Mathan Mòr are known across the lands for their ferocity and resilience. Deriving their name from the great bear spirit of Mathan Mor, the dwarves of this clan are honorable warriors but also temperamental. Their unique fighting style and kinship with bears are legendary due to Durin Greatclaw who literally rode his bear companion into battle. Fierce protectors of their ancestral home in the Beorngar Mountains. In recent years the dwarves of the Mathan Mòr are few and far between since a drow raid decimated their ranks nearly 10 years ago.
Iolair- The dwarves of the Iolair are sharp eyed and keen minded hunters of the plains of Arinor. The Iolair are named so for their namesake Iolair the Great Eagle, a mythical giant eagle that granted unique powers to the dwarves who saved some of his people from a massive Remorhaz. Both the Aarakocra and Iolair blessed the dwarves and have remained as staunch allies to the Iolair clan. It is not uncommon to see the Iolair dwarves hunting with Aarakocra scouts supporting them.
Ulfyr- Master trackers and skillful hunters who make their home in the Luftwyr Forest near the southern border and in the western portion of the greyheim mountains. These dwarves are rather territorial and do not hesitate attacking outsiders that threaten them. Named after the founder of the clan, Ulfyr Wildfang, who tamed the dire wolves that are common to the area. The Ulfyr give thanks and honor to their totemic spirit known as Vanagandr the Fen-dweller.
Thorc- Stewards of the ancient Skjorn Mountains just south of the Alti Glacier, The Thorc are a stout and stubborn clan of dwarves who revere Hildesvini, the Boar Spirit. Thorc warriors are commonly known as Razorbacks due to their wild mohawks and propensity for spiked armor. Named for their the originator of the clan Skadi Thorc, the Thorc and their battle boars are a frightening thing to behold in battle. Their relationship with the other clans is hostile at best as they are a very insular clan.
Graumach- The most wild and barbaric of the dwarven tribes are the battle ragers of the Graumach or simply the Grim. Known purely for their destructive rage and battle ferocity these dwarves give pause even to the other clans. They are nomadic savages who raid and pillage any settlement they happen upon. The Graumach are named both for their grim and fatalistic outlook and for their founder Fargrim Graumach who broke away from the other clans long ago. They decorate themselves with bones, black and white paint, and trophies of slaughtered enemies.
Kauls- The Kauls of the Frostfire mountains are among the hardiest of the human tribes. Known also for their viciousness and hostility towards other tribes. Constantly fighting in a long standing feud between them and the Thorc due to the proximity to each other.
Njorns- Living just off the coast of Hrothgar on the isle of Skarsgard the Njorn are master sailors and fishermen. Best known as the remains of Hrothgar Njornskar’s clan. Proud warriors who keep the tradition of Hrothgar alive. Southern lands loathe the Njorn as they tend to pillage and attack any non Njorn settlement.
Red Elk- The Red Elk tribe is the closest thing to the noble savage that the barbarians of the Hrothgar Highlands have. They are nomadic hunters of the plains of Arinor and friends to the Iolair dwarven clan. A lot of the younger barbarians of the Red Elk tribe tend to leave for an extended time to adventure but most eventually return bringing new wisdom and tales of heroics to pass to their children.
Erveri- The Erveri are best known for the hero Korth and his heroics at Mount Carrith. The Erveri are one of the few friendly tribes of barbarians who value strength and heroics of all sorts. Korth has become one of their most treasured members aside from their namesake Erveri the Fearless, a female barbarian warrior of great regard. This tribe is also unusual as the females and males are equally trained in combat due to the harshness of the Northern Ice Floes that they call home.
Thorvald- the Thorvald clan of goliaths make their home high in the Thromgor Peaks just east of Mount Ereth. It is exceedingly rare to see one of the Thorvald outside the Thromgor peaks. They are the ancient guardians of the elemental conflux and the ancient temple that houses it.
Volsung- The Volsung are friendly to the Mathan Mor and to most outsiders and vie for dominance of the upper peaks of the Beorngar against the hill giants common to the area. The most common of all the goliaths outside the highlands.
Asulf- Tamers of the winter wolves of the Hafthor Woods these goliaths make their home in the same woods making them unusual for their kind. Secretive and territorial the Asulf care little for politics outside the woods they call home.
Hastein- Natives to the Alti glacier and servants of the Jotunar(Frost Giants). The Hastein are as brutal as the land they inhabit. Known for their hatred of the lesser clans and non giants.