Isle of Norheim

Timeline

  • 256 DR: Year of the Thousand Snows: Norl raiders land on the island now known as Llorgh and slaughter the inhabitants.
  • 576 DR: Year of the Sunless Passage: The western arm of the Jotunspine Mountains collapse and create “the hole in the wall” (known as Canthrelloch). Fish populations in the Sea of Moonshae decline rapidly and remain low for many decades causing starvation among the norl and ffolk of the Moonshae Isles. The nations of Norland and Norheim are isolated from the former sovereign nations of Tuern, Gundarlun, and Ruathym for decades and become independent.
  • 804 DR: Year of the Spreading Scourge: Jarl Sigard “the Seawolf” begins his renowned and terrify campaign of raids along the south-eastern cantrevs of Gwynneth.
  • 941 DR: Year of Sudden Sorrows: Konungr Skarle Tokasson is devoured by a great black wolf in his bed. His skaldren disturb the wolf and are attacked as it escapes.

Economy

Exports

Mercenaries: Norheim is the only norl nation that hires its warriors out as mercenaries to lords across Faerun, this includes hiring themselves out to ffolk lords in order to attack other norl. The exporting of its military might is a necessity for the norl of Norheim, because the islands do not have enough resources to support their populations or grow their societies, and so any means must be taking to provide wealth.

Geography

Jotunspine: Once a much larger island that connected to the Isle of Norland and stretched across the northern edge of the Sea of Moonshae in a great arc of land. This island was believed to have been a centre of firbolg civilisation in ages long past, but this was all lost when large portions of the island collapsed into the sea.

Jotunspine today is the largest island in the occasional norl nation of Norheim, it is home to a the Giantspine (or Jotunspine) Mountains, and several valleys that are filled with the only trees in this island nation (sheltered from the northern winds and wintry weather and carefully harvested by the norl).

Jotunspine is often the centre of the nation of Norheim, being home to the most and the largest norl settlements, it can muster the most men to conquer the surrounding territories and bind them into a single nation.

Giantspine Mountains: The Giantspine Mountains form the centre of the Jotunspine island, with all other geographical features arranged around the outside of these mountains. The mountains are populated by isolated bands of savage and noble firbolgs who usually dwell on the windward side (whereas the norl dwell on the leeward side to shelter from the northern winds).

There are rumoured to be bands of hill and stone giants deep in the Giantspine Mountains, these appear to be relatively recent additions to the island (i.e. they were not present millennia ago), the only historical arrival of giants to the island came with the early norl raiders from Tuern, but these were fire giants and there do not appear to be any fire giants on this island anymore, leading to the question where did one group of giants go and where did these new varieties come from. More disturbing rumours are that a cloud giant commands the hill and stone giants from his cloud castle and may be organising them into a military force.

Hammerstaad (Town, 500): Hammerstaad is one of the largest settlements in Norheim and currently named for the Jarl who forged the nation of Norheim most recently. It is a fishing and whaling town that reeks of its primary industry.

Hammerstaad consists of rough norl houses made of wood along the rocky shore and cliffs of Hammer Cove. The only buildings of note are the King’s Lodge (formerly the Jarl’s Lodge), a great longhouse without enough space to seat the entire population at great feasts (which occur regularly using seasons of plenty). The other building of note is a large open-air arena surrounded by a tree trunk palisade which serves as a temple to Valkur, for the mighty sea god is said to have sailed to this very place long ago.

Seawolf (Town, 200): This smaller town on Jotunspine is built around a shingle beach and serves as the centre of longship construction in Norheim. The shipwrights of Seawolf are famous for being able to repair the ships of Norheim with very little materials, none of the wood is wasted from the trees dragged down to Seawolf out of the mountains.

Llorgh: The isle of Llorgh is the second largest in Norheim, and is of cultural significance for the norl (and the sahuagin), but despite this importance it is sparsely populated (even for Norheim).

Llorgh is a volcanic island, with the southern half dominated by the low cone of Surtr’s Maw (known as Koraxis’ Maw among the Sahuagin), the volcano keeps the island much warmer than the other northern islands, and the soil on the northern half of the island is fertile, but the erratic behaviour of Surtr’s Maw has kept this island from becoming a bigger and more important population centre.

Dalheim (Town, 300): Dalheim is a small settlement on the north eastern edge of Llorgh which like most norl settlements survives through fishing, subsistence farming, and rearing goats. The only remarkable feature of Dalheim (which means Home of the Guardians) is its collection of stone warriors encircling the wooden palisade in battle stance.

The stone warriors (known affectionately as the Shield) have been moved from elsewhere on the island (it is believed there was an ancient battle scarred field north of Surtr’s Maw where hundreds of these stone warriors were found).

The skalds of Norheim believe these warriors protect the norl from some unknown evil because they have each been individually scrawled with protective runes (an artform now lost to the norl). Modern sages date the statues at several thousand years old (due to the amount of weathering, and the technology level evident in the petrified weapons and armour they carry), this obviously predates the arrival of the norl.

Some of the statues have been weathered over time, but others appear warped (possibly by lava flows from Surtr’s Maw), with deformed facial features and overly bulging or twisted extremities. Norl legends believe that when Surtr’s Maw erupts the Shield will awaken to defend the town from its inevitable destruction.

Daryn’s Rest: This ancient ruined settlement is believed to be named for a long ago laird of the ffolk that settled and ruled this island. The settlement and its people were ended by the arrival of the aggressive norl raiders who slaughtered most of the inhabitants after they refused to hand over their treasures in return for their continued existence.

Daryn’s Rest is little more than piles of tumble down rocks which appear to be curiously arranged to resemble vaguely humanoid shapes in poses of agony and death. It is possible that some disrespectful person or persons has arranged the rocks in such a manner, but some of the rocks themselves are shaped like abstract heads, hands, and feet without any evidence of sculpting.

Surtr’s Maw: This volcano is very low at around 2000 ft at its peak, but spreads for 5 miles to sprawl across the entire southern half of the island. The cone itself is nearly a mile in diameter and descends to below sea level with a lake of bubbling magma at its centre which shimmers in many different colours (it is, or was, a Moonwell now swallowed by the volcanic cone).

There are numerous secondary vents around the edge of the volcano that lead to the sea and into which huge volumes of sea water pours during the winter storms that strike the Moonshae Isles.

The incredible temperatures, boiling clouds of steam, and the lake of lava make this place one of the most inhospitable places in the isles, but despite its dangers many individuals journey here on pilgrimage to venerate Surtr (or Koraxis), and to use the mystical energies of this place to craft magical items of great power.

Important NPCs

Kunngr Raag Hammerrson (Good, Human – Norl, Warrior 3): Raag Hammerrson is a traditional norl ruler, strong, fierce, daring, and independent. He was raised with Grunnarch the Red in their youth (Grunnarch being a ward of Raag’s father), and this formed a friendship that has allowed both men to secure their kingdoms with the aid of the other.

Fauna

Seawolf: The norl speak of the “selkies”; seal like creatures that can take human form on land, with fear and loathing. Their longhouse tales speak of selkies as though they were demons that come in the night and during storms to steal away unguarded children and devour sailors that fall into the water.

The hatred of the norl for these selkies is such that many raiding expeditions have as their target, isolated rock skenies that are home to the largely defenceless seals. The truth of the norl legends is that their sailors and children fall victim to the seawolves; a breed of shapechanging creatures descended from one of the Jarls of Norheim who raided the southern coast of Gwynneth in ages past and returned with more than he intended (the lingering effects of a curse).

This curse was passed on to the children of the Seawolf, and when one of them was attacked by an assassin who could take the form of a wolf (one of the Darkmoon), he underwent a hideous transformation, becoming one of the fell creatures known as a seawolf; a human that can take the shape of a human, or an animal that resembles a seal’s body and a wolf’s head.

The seawolves sometimes dwell among their kindred norl for a short time after infection (being bitten by a seawolf), but will eventually succumbed to an overwhelming desire for human flesh and then find it nearly impossible to be around humans without preying upon them. Once they become feral predators they descend into the many caves and tunnels beneath Norheim and hunt the humans above. The seal-like body of the seawolves has resulted in the norl become fearful of all seals. 

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