The Continent of Nordmaar
A wintry land in the world’s extreme north, Nordmaar is a grim place. White dragons, wyverns, trolls, dreaded winter wolves and polar bears all make their home in the deadly northern tundras. Contending with such neighbours as these are the Norse, a hardy and boastful people who worship strange and ancient gods said to be alien to Morus itself. Some say that they are not native to Morus at all, but were brought from the Nine World as slaves by ancient giants, before they wrested their own freedom away by blood and by grit.
Whatever the truth may be, the Norsemen have a reputation for being callous and ruthless raider and plunderers - for this is the face most commonly seen by the people of Leng. In truth, the Norse can be as cold and unforgiving as the land itself, but many of them are content to live their lives in a way they consider just. The Norse have their fair share of great heroes, but it is the villains who are spoken of in other lands more often than not. Cold as it is, the north is akin to a crucible - it creates sharp edges, for good or ill.
The people of Nordmaar are different, and follow different customs. This manifests in several ways; firstly, they have no clerics. Although they pay homage to the Norse gods, they do not worship them so much as respect them and seek emulate their great deeds. The Norse gods grant no powers and take no clerics. For some, this is the hardest thing of all to understand about the people of Nordmaar.
The 12 Holds of Midlund are the warmest and most bountiful of Nordmaar’s kingdoms, though still covered in snow in the midst of winter. The 12 Holds swear fealty to a single king, and are the most prosperous of all Nordmaar. When people from the south speak of Norsemen, they’re usually think of Midlunders, because they’re the most widely travelled and interested in trade.
Hrafnheim is an isle known for its deep forests and high mountains, which are home to thousands of crows. Their cawing can be heard from almost anywhere on the isle. It has a reputation for being home to “uncanny folk”. All the old legends about the jotunntouched and horrible monsters invariably take place in Hrafnheim, which is far older than Midlund. There is an ancient tradition of sorcery and witchcraft in the old villages and crumbling ruins of Hrafnheim.
Isenhelm is a land known as “the battlefield”, because its denizens owe allegiance to none. Isenhelm contains as many as 20 jarldoms, none of which swear fealty to any king. The land is rich in iron, gold and other ores, so there are always disputes and squabbles over borders, territory and rights - it’s not uncommon for it to come to blood. It’s a popular land for mercenaries, for obvious reasons, and the Cult of Odin also views it as a kind of grand experiment in glorifying the War-God.
Skadlandis is the most northerly of the Norse isles, and also one of the most inhospitable. The land is dotted by great steaming lakes and hot springs, upon whch many have built their homes for warmth and comfort. But there are great fiery mountains in Skadlandis, also, which are inhabited by fearsome dragons and fire giants. The greatest of all volcanoes is Surt’s Door, said to be a road that leads into the earth and eventually to the fiery realm of Muspelheim.