THE ICE TRIBES OF NORTHERN SARVONIA

APPEARANCE - COAT OF ARMS - TERRITORY - PEOPLE - HOUSING - CLOTHING
DIET - WEAPONS - OCCUPATIONS - GOVERNMENT - PRODUCTION/TRADE
 
NATURAL RESOURCES -
FESTIVALS - RELIGION/BELIEFS - HISTORY

The Ice Tribes are a collection of twelve human tribes living a hard life in the north western edge of the Sarvonian continent. They usually lead a nomadic life and live in a state of constant warfare. They have not developed a sense of solidarity for each other, although the ice tribes have a vestigial sense of their “national” identity. The natural boundaries that separated have left the field open for many local variations in their ethics and way of life.

Appearance. The Ice Tribes are usually dark in hair, complexion and eyes. However, there are met among them blonde and red haired people and grey or green eyes. Their height is average (1.8 peds) in human standard for the male, while the female are about 0.15 peds shorter. Their skin is weatherworn from the cold winds and the fight for food and survival in this unforgiving region.

A Remusian Guard

View picture in full size Picture description. A Remusian guard watching over the snow-covered plains of the North. Image drawn by Seeker.

Hairstyle and facial hair are important for the Ice Tribesmen in order to reveal their social status. The High Tribal Leader is free to choose any hairstyle and facial hair he wishes. The warlords (minor tribal leaders) have their face shaved. The senior officers grow a moustache while the junior officers grow a moustache and a small goatee. The distinguished warriors grow a beard but they shave their moustache as a sign of honour. The rest of the warriors grow both beards and moustaches. The young men have their facial hair unshaved until the day they acquire civil rights by killing an enemy in the field of battle. Then and as a part of their warrior inauguration ritual they shave themselves and let their hair grow in order to become warriors when their hair grows again. Those who fled from battle are not allowed to have any hair in their heads.

Further social discrimination is possible by the hairstyle. The use of one braid being the most significant followed by two braids and a ponytail. Those who have no rank let their long hair loose.

As for women they have their hair in pigtails when they are not married and after their marriage they are allowed to choose their hairstyle.
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Coat of Arms/Sign. Each Ice Tribe has its own coat of arms. No common coat of arms is developed. The Ice Tribes use their facial painting as in their coat of arms as well. Each tribe has its own colour and pattern in order for warriors to distinguish friend and foe in battle. The Ice Tribes have adopted the additional custom to wear talismans unique for each one, because many times during the battle warriors are so much covered in blood that their painting is not recognisable. The colour schemes are as follows:

Remusians: Blue and White Inlerin: Brown and Blue
Tokarians: Red and White Faerons: Yellow and Blue
Sarmanians: Yellow and Red Sanartrim: Green and Black
Eanians: Black and White Vertans: Grey and Orange
Tarkyns: Green and White Filmainrim: White and Orange
Himiko: No coat of arms Aeidin: Red and Green Return to the top

Territory. The Ice Tribes live in the Icelands, located in the north eastern part of the Sarvonian continent. Their territory stretches around the bay of Calinth, the peninsula of Iol and the Icelands Coast. The Gathorn Mountains and the Wastes of Despair are the landmarks that determine their only land boundary to the south. The rest of their territory is doused by the Ice Sea.

The climate in the Icelands is cold and harsh. Snow covers their homeland most of the year. That is why most of them lead a nomadic life following animal herds.

The specific locations of the various Ice Tribes are as follows:

The Ice Tribes

View picture in full size  Picture description. Schematic representation of the Ice Tribes located at the Icelands Coast of Northern Sarvonia. Map drawn by Artimidor.

People. The Icemen are mainly renowned for their ability as warriors. They live in a constant warfare among each other, the giants that live in their land and the elements of nature. They are considered fearless and with excellent endurance, although warriors from the civilized world consider them to be barbaric berserkers without a fighting technique. Their social ranking is determined by their gallantry in battle. Magic in general is abhorred by them as most of the advances of civilization. Although mages are not generally welcome, several groups have been spared. However, usage of magic is punished with capital punishment.

The Ice Tribesmen are warlike people that live more on instinct than logic. They hardly express their emotions and usually they are hard and unforgiving in their everyday lives. They seldom feel compassion or mercy for anyone, which is considered as a sign of weakness, and they are offended if anyone feels that way for them. There is no providence for the weak or disabled who are left to die or slaughtered if they can’t kill themselves with honour. Old people who have no living relatives are left to die, unless they lost their families in war. Sterile males are condemned, because they produce no warriors for the tribe, while sterile females are forced to become prostitutes. The Ice Tribes recognize no human rights for those who can’t bear weapons. Women and children are considered living things and are in the absolute disposal of their Master (usually the father or husband). Among the Ice Tribes there is an old custom that if a female takes arms against the Himiko and kills at least one she achieves the warrior status as long as she is willing to participate in battle. However, females cannot achieve further honours as warriors as they are considered inferior to men.

The Ice Tribes are also notorious for the hardness of their lives. They can suffer the worst tortures without complaining just like they can mercilessly give pain to others. Slavery is an usual state of existence for the ones that can’t bare arms and defend themselves or for the defeated in battle.
A sound exception in the Ice Tribes is the Himiko tribe, who occupy the islands around the Three Islands‘Bay. In contrary to the majority of the other ice tribes on the mainland, they have not only a slightly other appearance, but a very different lifestyle as well. They are friendly and use a form of magic in their everyday life. This is the reason why the rest of the Ice Tribes hate the Himiko. Their hatred is revitalized by the fact that from time to time Himiko raiding parties steal their females, granting them freedom in their islands.
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Housing. Concerning the housing of the Ice Tribes you have to distinguish between the nomads and the permanent residents:

Clothing. The poorer citizens prefer dark fur coats and wool jerkins. The richer Icemen prefer clothes of soft leather or wool. White fur is reserved only for their Lanruls and shamans and when an Iceman uses white fur he ensures that the colour is altered with dye or dirt. They wear thick blouses and trousers and, above, a coat with a hood. On their feet they wear leather boots and they use fur or leather caskets to protect their heads. However, fabrics are not underestimated; on the contrary their use is considered a sign of prosperity.

The warriors commonly wear armour made of soft or studded leather. The richer Icemen wear chain mail, if they can afford it or loot it in battle. However, only the greatest of the nobles can afford bronze or steel plate armour. Fur coats are standard clothing as well but they vary from class to class. Peasant women normally dress similar to the men, with the difference that their dress is longer. The noblewomen, however, would look very similar to a noblewoman of a southern tribe and would probably own multiple, premium quality dresses and coats.
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Diet. The climate in the Icelands is especially harsh. The severe winter lasts for half a year. Three months is the duration of a milder winter and another three lasts their “summer”, when the ice melts. This “summer” allows them to cultivate some parts of their land with local plants in order to enrich their supplies for the winter. During the winter, they can just dig in the snow and find a kind of grass, called hrugchuck, that lives beneath and which they eat just like they do with the algae from the sea and mosses under the snow. The hrugchuck has its main roots in small regions which are warmer and have an open water source, from there tentacles are growing for strals under the snow in the frozen soil. It has a kind of antifreezing liquid which allows it to tunnel through the lightly frozen ground, can retrieve nutrition from the frozen soil. To flower it has to grow grass like sprouts out of the soil that have a major nutritive value but also healing powers that cause it a valuable trade asset. A hrugchuck variety is believed to be responsible for the ability of local fauna to survive with minimum amounts of food, although it seems to have no such effect on humanoids.

The Icelands are blessed also with hot water springs (gotgavnynn) that provide them with warm water that through a channel network can allow a limited space to be suitable for cultivation. All their villages are built around one significant hot spring. These hot springs or Odenbels, are often the prize of bloody and ferocious battles.

However, the Ice Tribes do not live in a favourable environment. This is the reason that most of their agricultural food is obtained mostly through trade with bold traders from the south, seeking furs, slaves and cheap minerals in exchange of food.

As for hunting: Meat is enjoyed by the Ice Tribe and their diet includes the cuncu sheep, the woolly boar, pinnips, penguins, sea elephants, polar bears, snow foxes, ice rabbits, rheeahs and monh rum, a large amphibious creature that comes out of the oceans in the short Icelands summer and lies in the sun in order to gather heat and energy from it’s weak rays. Monh rum is however a very dangerous animal that is deadly when attacked.

The Peat Giants
View picture in full size Image description. A Peat giant sporting a spiked club. Picture from the game Mystical Empire, used with permission. Image drawn by Faugar.

Another source of food are the ogres and giants who roam the Icelands springing from the Stone Fields of Peat. Both men and giants prey on each other and roast giant is considered a delicacy for the Icemen (just like the Icemen are the favourite dish for the giants). Cannibalism of dead foes is also practiced in the Icelands.

Finally, another very important food source for the Ice Tribes is fishing. They break the ice and fish underneath or carry their boats to the end of the ice in order to fish in the deep seas. Whaling is also practiced by the braver sailors.
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Weapons. The Ice tribes use every weapon possible, from heavy branches to expensive steel swords they bought, stolen or looted. Their most used weapon is a heavy axe they call headcutter and resembles a combination of axe and sword. The headcutter axe comes in two types. The first one has two sides while the second has a cutting blade on its back side. As for long range weapons the Ice Tribes use throwing axes and javelins instead of bows since, because of the weather conditions, bows cannot be used effectively in the cold north. A popular material for the making of their weapons is the bones of thunderfeet, for these bones are light, yet extremely strong.
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Occupations. The Ice Tribesmen are occupied as hunters, farmers, fishermen and weapon smiths. All their other needs are fulfilled within the family or tribe. The icemen have a collective form of economy. Everybody offers their services to the tribe and is rewarded according to their efficiency through a complex distribution system run by the tribal leader. The tasks are appointed primarily according to age and gender.

Men till the age of 15 are prepared for battle and perform several chores helping the adult males, men from 15-30 are used primarily as the main battle force and secondarily helping at the rest occupations, men from 30-45 are crafters, farmers, hunters, fishermen and auxiliary troops, men from the age of 45 and above either continue offering their services as long as they are found fit for it or they become tutors for the young, the rest simply try to survive.

Females till the age of 12 help in the house and are trained for their future lives. Women from 12-30 rear families, take care of the house, prepare clothes and other items, from 30-45 they cultivate the land, gather whatever is edible and continue with the family, women older than 45 try to survive or are sacrificed if their husband is no longer needed by the community and their children cannot feed them.
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A Tarkyn Warrior

View picture in full size Picture description. An Ice Tribes warrior of the Tarkyns and his icemuts preparing for the hunt. mage drawn by Bard Judith.

Government. An Ice Tribe is comprised by many minor clans called "Lannes". Most of the Ice Tribes are governed by a High Tribal Leader called "Lanrul" who rules all of the minor clans of the main Tribe. The minor clans are governed by warlords. The Lanrul holds all the judicial, administrative and legislative authority, while the warlords have executive and judicial duties within their Lannes’ limits. The Lanrul is elected for life by the gathering of the warriors who select him among the warlords. The warlords are elected by the Lannes warrior gathering. The only criterion for the election is the gallantry in battle. Return to the top

Production/Trade. The Icelands have only fish and furs to export. Rheeah furs are highly prized, because this small animal that resembles a mixture of monkey and fox has an all white soft fur during summer and in winter it becomes more yellow tinged. The reason for this is that the rheehah finds its way to small sulfur springs in the winter and spends a lot of time near and in the springs to keep warm. Their fur naturally absorbs some of the sulferous material and is of high demand by mages in Santharia. It is believed that there are valuable minerals in the area but since there is no significant and organised mining it is impossible to determine the quantity and quality of the minerals. However, many Icemen have obtained armours and weapons in exchange of large pieces of gold that are easily found in their region.
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Natural Resources. The Icelands is an area rich in fish and livestock. The hardy breeds of the north manage to survive with the short summer and the grass that grows beneath the winter snow. It is also rumoured that the area is rich in minerals but the Icemen do not have the means of mining nor do they let anyone else dig in their lands since they are hostile to strangers.
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Religion/Beliefs. The Icemen worship the forces of nature. They think that the world is ruled by 15 gods, who actually have the form of the element they represent, and are in a constant fight with each other allying occasionally for the needs of their war. The supreme gods are Phoblit (the male day god) and Nechya (the female night goddess), Brender (thunder), Asterlin (lightning), Chelinor (snow), Weabor (wind), Reanor (rain), Peierojon (fire), Pargis (ice), Heterniz (water), Zundefor (the land animal spirit, in the form of the great white bear), Aleshnir (the sea animal spirit in the form of a white whale), Necteref (death), Asendin (sea) and Ertemmir (the earth). These gods - according to Icemen mythology- are the breed of Afrasnyr the hermaphrodite chaos god, who - being alone for eternity - decided to fight with his own self and, during the struggle, he split himself to the 15 gods living inside them. The Icemen believe that Zundefor and Aleshnir mated with the other gods and with each other giving birth to mortal life. The humans according to their beliefs are the children of Phoblit and Nechya mating one time before they begin their eternal warfare.

The Icemen do not build temples or practice ceremonies for the major gods other than appeal rituals, when they seem menacing (during a storm for example). The Icemen carve totem poles in ice representing the animal that symbolizes their individual tribe and is tattooed upon them. This way the totems establish a connection between them and the land itself. Their yearly renewal during the summer defines not only the change in seasons, but also the change in everyday life.
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Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Icemen have many holidays that are connected with the change of seasons, but little is known about them. Their main holidays are the following:

...and several other Maturity rituals (several for males and one for females when they reach reproduction age and are given to a man). Return to the top
 

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THE ERA OF HARMONY
(YEARS 13.000 B.S. - 11.900 B.S.)
ca. 12700 b.S. Explorers discover the Ice Tribes
Elven explorers from Fá'áv'cál'âr record the existence of minor and primitive human presence in the Icelands.

THE ERA OF SUNDERING
(YEARS 11.900 B.S. - 10.000 B.S.)
ca. 11850 b.S. The Great Sundering
During the Great Sundering that follows the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr some humans settle the Stone Fields of Peat, while some enter the Icelands and introduce the locals to fishing and the basics of metallurgy. However, because of the isolationism and conservationism of the Icemen they fail to introduce the locals to civilization.

THE ERA OF SORCERY
(YEARS 10.000 B.S. - 9.500 B.S.)
ca. 9700 b.S. The Mysteries of Magic
The humans in the Stone Fields of Peat and the Icelands come in contact with magic for the first time.

THE ERA OF CATACLYSM
(YEARS 9.500 B.S. - 8.500 B.S.)
ca. 9450 b.S. The War of the Chosen
The humans in the Stone Fields of Peat and the Icelands are forced to enter the War of the Chosen as mercenaries for the sorcerers. They are used in battles and magic experiments as expendable material and they prove to be hardy yet undisciplined warriors.
  

ca. 9023 b.S. The Intermixing of Tribes: The Ice Tribes
After the Battle of the Winds and the severe casualties that the Icefolk suffer, magic is abolished and most mages are slaughtered in their territory. This conflict almost eliminates the population of the Icefolk that leave the Icelands in order to participate in the War.

In their attempt to save themselves from the war and the giants that invaded their area the humans of the Stone Fields of Peat and the remaining Icemen move further north to the Icelands enslaving the Icefolk that manage to escape the war and intermixing with them.

This era a Kanapan population is believed to have entered the Icelands and intermixed with the people that later are to become the Remusians and Tokarians.

THE ERA OF CONSOLIDATION
(YEARS 8.500 B.S. - 3.400 B.S.)
ca. 6000 b.S. The Final Face of the Ice Tribes
The population of the Icelands is divided into Ice Tribes, in the form that survive today. They expend themselves into constant warfare among each other. Many tribes are exterminated during the millennia to come and many new are to emerge.
  

ca. 3500 b.S. Trade between Rhom-Oc, Kanapan Men and the Ice Tribes
Trade increases and so does the amount of caravans moving north- and westward becoming an interesting target for the wanderings clans. The merchants of the Kanapan peninsula and from the Ice coasts take the risks in exchange for precious goods and gold. However, legends about the ghosts of the Heaths and their terrible mounts are spreading with every caravan lost on the way.

THE AGE OF MYTHS
(YEARS 3.400 B.S. - 1.655 B.S.)
ca. 3000 b.S. Human Supply Posts to support Trade
Slowly the Rhom-Oc neighbours, the humans of the Sarvonian northeastern regions (the Kanapans and the Ice Tribes), found supply posts for the caravans and even brave settlers come to the place to make a fortune but most either leave again or stay forever.
  

2600 b.S. Founding of the City of Basalon
The city of Basalon is founded by Ice Tribe settlers and is soon growing due to a continuous stream of vagabonds, murderers and poor that hope to find peace in one of the most isolated spots of Caelereth. The Rhom-Oc evade the valley of Basalon most of the time but the caravans of merchants and settlers and the supply station bare yet an attractive target for the hungry or desperate orcs.
  

2500 b.S. A Journey in Centoraurian Lands: Carbug I
The family of a defeated clan lord leaves the Icelands guided by his widow. They head south and eventually, after a long and arduous journey, his only living descendant will end up uniting the Centoraurians as King Carbug I.
  

1880 b.S. Plundering of Basalon by the Rhom-Oc
The plundering of Basalon takes place in this year after a decade of Ice Tribe campaigns and aggressive extinction tactics against the Rhom-Oc. Several clans unite for the goal to teach the humans a lesson and many others support their cause. In the winter of 1880 when the humans all take quarter in the city or hamlets 3000 warg riders gather to bring death and destruction over the valley of Basalon.

The humans never expected the stupid orcs to ever organize themself to a dangerous army and never expected that anyone could wander through the heaths in winter so the terrifying army of wargs and orcs hits them totally off-guard. The valley of Basalon is overrun in three days, many hamlets are burned, its villagers killed. But even worse: the Rhom-Oc take the city in one assault burning and plundering it completely. At the same time other clans attack and destroy many supply stations in the heaths.

When spring comes and the first caravans leave the south they encounter the ruins and places of slaughter and arrive in a striving trade town where nearly two thirds of its population have died of starvation.

Thus the Rhom-Oc teach the humans a lesson for years to come. All their tactics and strategies to get rid of the vermin of the heaths fail in the vastness and unknown territory.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
294 b.S. The Remusian Civil War
The Third Sarvonian war brings much hardship to the people of the White Citadel. The Lord at the time, Kellmon, has agreed in a pact with the darklings, while many of the nobles are not willing to deal with these creatures at all, despite the threat they pose for Remusiat as for the rest of the Sarvonian continent. Most of the Remusians stay neutral at first but the differences over the treaty and the growing demands of the darkfriends soon cause open conflict between the city factions.

The ensuing war results in great destruction for the Remusian tribe and eventually ends with the assassination of Lord Kellmon. Thousands die during the civil war. It also is the reason for the tribe's rule of avoiding the elves, because it is them who send troops to steady the rule of Kellmon and order the slaughtering of all resisters to quell the resistance. It was not until the Battle of Rhemir when the Remusians finally defeat an army of Osther-Ocs, about 10 000 the Chronicles say, that made the darkfriends abandon their interest in Remusiat.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF KINGS
(YEARS 172 A.S. - 547 A.S.)
447
to 452
War with the Tokarian Tribe
Of all the other Tribes of the Icelands coast, none has had such a strained relationship with Remusia as the Tokarians. Not so much a tribe as a loose confederation of villages, the Tokarians are without doubt the most aggressive of the Ice Tribes.

In 447 the Remusian Lord Gloroch decides to annex the town of Rhemir, where the Remusian civil war ended, from the Tokarians. The Tokarians object, and send a small force of 1.000 men to defend the city, but Gloroch wants the city, and he takes it. The Tokarian warriors are massacred. The following war lasts for 5 years, and ends with the treaty of Hargarth. The Remusians are given Rhemir, and the ability to extract tribute from the Tokarians, the Tokarians are given the ability to exist, and to trade with the Remusians.

THE TIME OF REUNION
(YEARS 1.540 A.S. - TODAY)
1.654 The Rise of Timeras
The Fifth Orcish War is still a fresh and traumatizing memory and has taken a heavy toll on the city. The western gate has almost breached and the Remusians have little hope of the city surviving much longer.

Then news arrive which shock them all. Their scouts report that an orcish army moves towards them at an alarming speed. Normally this wouldn't worry the Remusians because of their defenses, but with the western gate almost down they know they have to act. A group of cavalrymen, under the Command of their lord Araman tracks the army for 3 days before he finds them. The Remusians charge down a mist covered hill and trap the orcs between them and a large lake and eventually crash into the orcish ranks.

Araman is almost immediately killed, but his son Timeras takes command of the battle and defeats the orcs who retreat in disorder. The Battle of the lake is the most devastating victory in Remusian History. Timeras returns with 32 men and 13 horses (out of 300 each) and are made heroes. Timeras is crowned lord in his father's place and presented with the Forsaken Blade. The orcs have more or less stayed away from Remusiat since.

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