The White Towns
White Towns is a misnomer, for there are very few “towns” in the White Towns. The White Towns actually consist of a loose confederation of nomadic barbarian tribes. The reason for the confusion is that a handful of permanent buildings do exist in the area. These are the Moot Houses, where the various clans occasionally gather in order to manage events that affect the entire area. Such as forming a war band to defend against a particularly large orc invasion, for example. During the race wars, it was a Moot that made the decision to battle the Orc, Elf, and Dwarven Nations alone, rather than join the other human Nations in battle.
The barbarians, known as Northmen or Tribesmen, spend most of their days chasing “The Hunted”. Herds of large wooly mammoth creatures that wander the arctic tundra that covers most of the Nation of White Towns. The mammoth is the livelihood of all tribes, every part of the mammoth is used to survive the harsh environment. Meat for food, bones and tusks for weapons and tools, hides for warmth and shelter. The Tribes must be in constantly be on the move following the herds. They know they can only thin the herd, kill too many and there won’t be enough food for next season. So they must jump from herd to herd when their trails cross paths. When one tribe finds itself hunting the same herd as another, battle ensues. Thou all tribesmen are trained in warcraft, only the Nar or hunters fight tribe to tribe. The different tribes distrust each other, but their is still a kinship of the white north, that wishes no tribe to be completely destroyed. The losing tribe must find a new herd quickly. As food rations go thin, some of the Yut, or more particularly the older are forgotten1. Some tribes resort to raids on foreign towns as a way of adding to their food stocks.
The Northmen must always think tribe first. Everything from who gets the most food, to who gets the best weapons. For example, everyone would think the Cha and the Eld are the most well fed, but in most tribes it is the Nar. For the everyday physical exertion of hunting the mammoth requires more food. As everything in their world is based on survival, all children are raised by the Pur, there are no family units. No loving ties to a mother or a father. Parents procreate for the sake of the tribe. So the best male Nar, lays with the best female Nar. It is common for a single male tribesmen to have many children all from different women. The average life span of a tribesman is twenty-five. So it is important to have as many children as you can to keep the tribe strong.
A lot can be learned from the name of barbarians of the north. Their names are broken into three parts. The first name is unique. No other tribesman will share that name. It is his and his alone to honor and bring pride to. The second name depicts his status in the tribe. Be it Cha, the leader of the tribe or Yut, the unskilled tribesman. These names are granted and earned at different times in a Northman’s life. They are fluid and can change from year to year. The last name is the Tribe’s name, every tribesman is born with this gift, but from day one must earn it. If a tribesman brings shame to the tribe he may have his name stripped away. Leaving him forgotten1 tribeless and honorless in death.
|Cha||The Chosen One to Lead the Tribe||This name is given to he or she who has shown great leadership and inspired unity within the tribe. Usually, only in death is a new Cha chosen. All Eld and Pru must unanimously agree on the new Cha, and are locked in Moot until they agree. Staying in one place for too long can be dangerous to the tribe entire. So during this decision they are not fed to speed the process. It is not uncommon for the Moot to end by the bloodshed of the holdouts.|
|Eld||Those Wisest amongst the Tribe||These members of the tribe are not necessarily older. But know there is more to surviving the great white than brute strength. They are chosen by the Cha and three or more Pru together. There can be as many Eld as there are tribesmen upon which the tribe wishes to bestow this title.|
|Pru||Those Showing Great Spiritual Leadership amongst the Tribe||These Tribesmen teach the ways of RokNar to the Yut, and train them in survival and combat skills. They are also the voice of RokNar when it comes to tribal decisions. They are chosen by the Cha and three or more Eld together. There can be as many Pru as there are tribesmen upon which a tribe wishes to bestow this title.|
|Nar||Those showing the ability to Hunt the Mammoth||All Northlanders wish to one day walk the earth with this name. It is the highest honor most receive in their life. Only the Cha and three or more Elds together can bestow this name.|
|May||Those showing skills beyond fighting||all Northlanders not blessed by RokNar with the ability to hunt. But have shown that they are capable in helping the tribe in other ways. Making weapons, cooking, taking care of the animals are examples of Mays. Earning the May name is by no means disrespectful. Either the Cha, or any one Eld can bestow this name.|
|Yut||Those yet to show skills||This name is the only one ever given, all others must be earned. It is given to the young and the ignorant. Very few walk Tarth with this name all their days. But some do.|
To the most powerful tribesmen the name of Grud is added to their title name. Such as GrudCha, or GrudPru. Only the most powerful tribe can call an all-tribe Moot, known as a Grud-Moot. The current GrudCha always carries a magical battle axe called Zelthaw. It was the axe carried by RokNar himself, before his ascension from man to god. It is believed that RokNar loved his axe so much, that he personally watches over its user so that no one brings it shame. The only way for a new tribe to earn the name Grud, is during a Grud-Moot, and no GrudCha would call a Grud-Moot, if he thought his tribes power was threatened, unless he was forced to by blood.
1 Some tribesmen wear out their welcome. In the tribes eyes, they are no longer useful. Because of the constant battle to survive in the north, hard choices are made everyday. Thus there are tribesmen known as The Forgotten or The Left Behind. These tribesmen are striped of that which is most important to them, their names. They lose their second or status name, and their last, or tribe name. The forgotten are just that, the brothers and sisters they once had are no more. They are striped of even any personal gear that could help the tribe in the future. Most forgotten freeze to death the first night, as many times the animal hide they wear for warmth is taken from them for the tribes use. If they do survive, living in the White Towns is impossible alone, and no other tribe would dare take them in. This would be seen as a weakness, taking in a tribesmen that was a another tribes trash. Nor will any tribe kill him, because if he was forgotten then he is not worthy of RokNar’s army.
Relations with Other Nations
Tribe bickering makes any official White Towns foreign policy impossible. One tribe may have peace agreements with another nation, or even just a city in another nation. While a minor disagreement with that same city on the part of another tribe could lead to all out war. Their short tempers, and their beliefs in the teachings of RokNar, that death in battle is the only way to The Great Hall, make them volatile neighbors.
Velusia uses the tribal infighting to its advantage, making trade agreements with individual tribes. These agreements are unbalanced in the tribe’s favor. In essence, purchasing a tribe’s favor, while also creating an imbalance of power in the tribal community, causing more tribal in fighting. For this reason conflicts between these two nations are kept to small skirmishes between one or two tribes and one town or caravan.
Kos has not yet learned of a way to keep peace with their neighbors to the East for any substantial length of time. Kos, even when out numbering three to one, does not have a skilled enough military to fend off a tribe of White Towns. Far too often, a hungry tribe has attacked a border town of Kos when it has lost track of its prey. Kos’s best answer to this problem was to wall their border towns, and build mote and bailey keeps to protect its people. Whether taken as a challenge or insult, this has led to more assaults on Kos for food and goods. Some towns even pay tributes to certain tribes to avoid the death and damage that come with such raids. This outcome led to the building of more defenses, which has led to more frequent attacks. Recently Kos has begun the construction of a great wall between the two nations. This has caused a great uproar within the tribes, and more then one Moot and Grud-Moot has been called.