THE NORDGAARD

Far to the north, where the white winds howl and the lands are draped with snow, there stands between the glacial heights the adamant kingdom of Nordgaard. Steel and stone, flesh and bone, where the earth still speaks and the mountains reach from the fjords to the very sky; Nordgaard is a realm steeped in myth, a land which the Jotuns once called their own. Dwarf and Mortal now share this land with a culture fused as one, for common threat was the fire which forged this union in ancient days of yore. The Eternal Kingdom the nation is named, for Nordgaard stands as the oldest realm among the lands of Ghorn.

Upon the barren tundra and in forests of pine; atop snowy peaks and in grim mountain halls; Nordgaard is a land where echoes of the Old Gods may still be heard. They are the elemental Vanitans; deities of Earth; primal and mysterious entities whose avatars still roam the depths of the wilderness. Both the Dwarves and human Skannfyrd tribes worship them, sharing a bond with the very rock beneath their feet and communing with elemental spirits of stone. Their faith has been partially displaced by the Young Gods; in frontier trade-posts and damp whaling villages, aboard Seawolf longships and in cities of Dwarven stone; the Vættir pantheon now reigns. These Asrae gods are fierce, passionate and adventurous deities who befriended the Jotuns, tamed the dragons and slew the primordial fiends.

Sandwiched between the Gvallthorn and Fjellwall Mountains lies the Darag tableland; the stone heart of Nordgaard, so steeped in earth-magic that the very rock lives and breathes. The nation’s full holdings extend far beyond to the south, where nine mountain chains cross the continent of Ghorn, each honey-combed by Dwarven halls and dotted with Skannfyrd towns. These South-Holds are an extension of Nordgaard’s culture and power, reaching deep into hostile territory.

Clans and guilds form the woof and warp of Nordgaard society. Both wield political power; the clans are most powerful in the rural areas, while the strength of the guilds is concentrated in the towns and cities. The bond between Skannfyrd and Dwarves is hard for foreigners to fathom, but both races shared many common traits even before they united – forthrightness, tenacity, stoicism, hardiness against cold climes and a love of strong ale. The Mortals adopted Dwarven art and designs, and the Dwarves adopted the Skannyr language. In every Dwarven town it is common to find mortals who have made their homes there, and vice-versa.

Besides the many agendas of its various factions, Nordgaard’s course is also steered by the secret duty bequeathed them by the first-born Jotuns – the task of reconstructing and enchanting one of the World-Runes. These mountain chains, forming continent-sized symbols of power, are the branching of the cosmic tree Yggdrasill. The fate of more than one world may rest in this clandestine purpose underlying the founding of Nordgaard.