Hweat! Great are the tales of the Storm-Landaire
How they broke and bloodied their foes
How they tamed the storm wrought seas
Some tails sail. others sink
below the waves but no less true
Deep, mist-shrouded forests. Dark, night cloaked gullies that have never felt the touch of day. Dank, moss enveloped fens, where pools bubble and steam. monolithic glaciers where, seemingly at some malicious whim, can send great avalanches of killing ice to clear whole valleys. Chill, bone numbing winters that can last for seasons; and in some places, never cease. This is Osthem. A land where the grey skies and the foaming seas clash upon the cliffs, roaring as thunder, while bruised purple clouds roil like the marching of angry gods. A land of ancient pagan faiths and bloody sagas.
Reavers, mercenaries, heroes… all this and more the Stormlandaire have been called. Uniformly tall and pale of head and eye; with strong mighty thewed physiques honed by the deadly landscape that bore them. The peoples are divided into divided warring tribes each possessing a King and customs of their own. The center of each village is the Runestone. The physical and spiritual home to the gods of that village. The Stone is the heart of each township and should it be lost or destroyed the village is doomed. The meagre crops will wither, the fish will die, and the warriors will be cursed in battle. Around the Stone are the Great Hall and village proper.
Due to the scarceness of natural resources and arable lands, a fierce warrior raiding culture has developed. It includes strong laws regarding the rights of the individual based on his or her status and prowess. Of all the cultures in Mitgaard, a Stormlander woman has the most rights, and are equal to any man. A woman is allowed to raid, war, and possess property or station without prejudice. Some tribes have a long history of warrior Queens instead of Kings.
Clothing & Style
All the Stormlander peoples in Osthem wear similar clothing. While variations do exist, clothing styles are remarkably consistent. Men wear a woolen tunic that is tight fitting across the chest with a broad skirt. Below this are wool breeches which can be either loose fitting or tight, usually worn with wraps about the shins. Women wear a long shift with a suspended overdress. Both men and women wear a long cloak or a jacket to provide warmth and protection in inclement weather. Cloaks are held in place by a pin at the right shoulder. The pins range from simple bone pins to elaborate gold jewelry. A common style is the penannular brooch. The pin is held captive on a ring that has a break in it to allow the pin to pass through the ring after it has been passed through the fabric. Furs and animal skins are used for warmth on winter garments. Patterns consist of intricate knot-work and braid, as well as similar geometric patterns. Rarely are more elaborate designs used on items other than jewelry and shields.
Warriors tend to favor the sword, spear and axe; though any weapon is used and commonly found. Armour is a mixture of light and medium, from a variety of differing styles and sources. It is a symbol of wealth and status to possess a complete suit of fine make with a sword and shield to match. Though heavier armour can be found it is usually found in the possessions of the wealthiest homes of Thanes and Kings. Complete suits are rarely worn, as the Stormlanders are a seafaring nation and heavy armour sinks. Much more common is light or medium armour with piecemeal heavy attachments; such as plated pauldrons and gorget over a padded hauberk. Helms of all shapes and description are found no matter the type of armour accompanying it.
The dominaiting religion is Gerbanis, of whom the primary god is Storme; lord of storms and seas. His father is Othin, the next most venerated god amongst the Stormlandaire. Othin is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. He is also the psychopomp, which he make use of the Walkyurie to guide the honoured dead to his halls. Othin has many sons and daughters, such as Baldr the Bold, Heimdhallr the guardian of the Gjallarhorn and Bifrost, Loki the Cunning one, Freyja the Beautiful, and more.
The other side of their religion is that the world will end in fire and war. This is known as Ragnarök. Ragnarök refers to a series of great conflicts foretold to ultimately result in the death of the gods, the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the world in fire. Men have a great destiny in the Gerbanis religion, For the honoured dead will fight alongside the gods to determine Ragnarök. If victorious, the world resurfaces anew and fertile, the surviving gods meet, and the world is repopulated by two human survivors.
To die in battle, with sword in hand, is the greatest fate that can befall a Stormlander. The worst is to die the ‘Straw-Death’. A lingering death of old age and illness, when all desire for glory has faded.