The Savage North
The North, known also as the Savage Frontier, is a wild, untamed, and dangerous land located north and east of Waterdeep. The very definition of the North depends on the definer – to a merchant from Calimport, everything north of Tethyr, including all of the Heartlands, is the Barbarian North, while to a native of Silverymoon, the North begins beyound the reasonable city’s walls.
The North is a land of barbarians and goblin tribes, and is dotted by walled cities and ancient dwarven fastness. The highest mountains in Faerun, the Spine of the world, form the North’s uppermost border. Most of its forest are still virgin and untrammeled by human settlement.
As such, it attracts both adventures and settlers. Adventures seek the wreckage of the lost kingdoms, the abandoned dwarf holds, and the wizard towers. The settlers look for new lands to farm and new opportunities. As in the Western Heartlands, the region is dotted with the small holds and settlements of this retired adventurer and that pretty lord. Some, like Loudwater and Leilon, grow into full-fledged cities, while others perish quietly, leaving ghostly reminders of humankind’s passage this way.
When the first civilized humans emigrated into the Savage North, they found the land already inhabited by humans. These were a dark-haired, blue-eyed people, a large and hardy folk descended from savages, outcasts and refugees of Netheril, and early explorers. These people took their name form their legendary founder, Uthgar, and call themselves the Uthgardt.
The Uthgardt roam the North in the land between the citadels and fortress towns. Civilizations is viewed as a weakness among these people, and magic – as opposed to priestly spells – a sin. They maintain a nomadic life, living by hunting (and among evil tribes, by plundering). Leathers and furs are common dress, and male warriors tattoo the image of their totem, the symbol of their tribe, on themselves.
The Uthgardt venerate Utgar, their founder, who in their mythology is the son of Tempus and the husband of Chauntea (both of whom they also venerate). However, the Beasts Cults are also very strong within the Uthgardt tribes, such that each tribe has its own totem and individual quasi-power.
Relationships between the Uthgardt and the civilized towns vary according to season and whim. Civilized people and unprotected caravans are often considered fair game by the Uthgardt barbarians.
A large and powerful dwarven community in the North, Adbar (properly, Adbarrim) is the last shard of the dead dwarven kingdom of Delzoun. Only the gate tower is visible above the surface, for this is an underground city, with miles of granite corridors snaking beneath the Ice Mountains.
Citadel Adbar is ruled by King Harbromn, son of Thalbromn (LN dm F13), who has held his community together in the face of threats from the orcish tribes and the rising power of Hellgate Keep.
Of old, the eleven kingdom of Eaerlann founded the tower of Ascalhorn on a jutting crag commanding the valley below. The elves’ purpose was to protect their lands from orcish invasions and the refugees created by the fall of Netheril. Ascalhorn served its purpose well, for it guaranteed the peace for a cenutry. Ascalhorn developed into an awe- inspiring city of magic and wonder, rivaling even Myth Drannor in power and majesty.
In the end, Ascalhorn fell victim to an assault from within. A foolish and/or evil, mage opened a gate to the lower planes and welcomed the forces of darkness in. Creatures of the Abyss infiltrated the city, and in one hellish night slew the majority of the in habitants in their beds. The remaining people fled to Sundabar, Sliverymoon, and Citadel Adbar, and told of the horrors that had visited Ascalhorn. Hellgate Keep was born.
Hellgate Keep is a foulspawn city, and its patrols and minions regularly threaten its neighbors. Its commanders is Grintharke, a tanar’ri of great power who is served by magically altered dinosaurlike creatures.
The greatest forest in the North is the High Forest, and it has remained untouched by woodcutters’ blades for centuries. It is the home of powerful druid, half- elves, and eleven refugees. Treants dominate the northern quarter, known as the Woods of Turlang. Drow and orcs are said to dwell in the earth deep beneath the forest. Arakocra nest in the high mountains at the center, which are known as the Star Mounts. A series of escarpments and gorges created by the flow of the Unicorn Run, called the Sisters, lies to the south of the Star Mounts.
The High Forest was part of the old eleven kingdom of Eaerlann, but great stretches of it have never seen a ruler of any race. The woods are regarded as magical, and wizard weather is relatively common within their borders – blood-red snow, boiling rain, and explosive hailstones being not unknown occurrences. It is said that the Dire Wood, an enchanted section of the forest that once housed ruined Karse, is responsile for the destructive weather.
The most northerly civilized area in the Relams, Icewind Dale is literally at the end of the earth, pressed hard against the Spine of the World and the Sea of Moving Ice. It comprises a collection of trading communities known as Ten Towns that trade with the northern barbarians and in local crafts. The Icewind Dale also had a reputation as a hide-out for those seeking to lose themselves to other pursers.
Each town is has it own government, but all look to Cassius as their spokesperson. The best-known native of Icewind Dale, however, is the hero Wulgar, son of Beornegar (CG hm F8)