In the cold forests of the north, dwells a kindred of men fierce and proud, who suffer no insult, and surrender to nothing, be it man, beast or nature. The northern tribes are fiercely independent, and perfectly suited to their hard way of life.
Northmen tend to be tall and broad, with huge bushy beards. They wear thick furs to guard their skin against the bitter cold, though it is tougher than that of any weakling southerner. Northwomen dress similarly, though mostly without the beard. Excessive ornamentation is scorned, though necklaces of teeth from slain animals, or golden torcs are not uncommon.
The northmen live in self-sufficient tribes, each ruled over by a warrior chieftain. The pecking order is based on prowess, with the strongest warriors and fiercest hunters dominating, and the weakest serving as thralls. Ties of blood are considered very important, but a chief’s title is not hereditary, going instead to whoever is judged most worthy. The different tribes keep their own customs, and occasionally fight amongst each other.
The Northwoods Men rarely bother with the southerners, though they do have some contact with the northernmost clans of the Flatland Nomads. They share their forests with the Shifters, and the Shaggra Ogres, both of whose tribes fit into the same web of feuds and alliances as those of the Northwoods Men themselves. In the far north of the forests, dwell the Urskans, with whom the northerners occasionally trade or war, and to the west stand the grim towers of the Elves, who descend to prey upon the human villages.
Alignment and Religion
Northwoods men have little patience for foolish rules, acting instead as the moment demands, so they tend to be chaotic. Like all humans, they have no particular tendency to good or ill, and both sorts may be found among them. Above all, the Shamans of the north teach their people to venerate the power and strength of nature, exemplified in the mighty bear and cunning wolf. Northmen consider the hunt sacred, and hold the ice and snow to be the domain of the Soul-Eating Beast, spirit of death.
Northwoods Men place great value on martial prowess, and warriors and adventurers are highly regarded in their culture. A northerner might adventure to win renown, or to seek out some fabled weapon of elder days.
Alf, Alvis, Ask, Dazbog, Freyr, Gunnar, Loke, Njord, Orvar, Sigurd, Sindri, Thunor, Vidar, Weland
Borghild, Embla, Gerd, Grimhildr, Gudrun, Hildr, Morana, Signy, Sigrun, Skuld, Urd
- Ability Score Bonus: Human characters gain a +2 racial bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their varied nature.
- Size: Humans are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Base Speed: Humans have a base speed of 30 feet.
- Languages: Humans begin play speaking Common. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
- Heart of the Snows: Northwoods men treat cold climates as one category less severe. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Fortitude saving throws against the effects of cold climates, on any check or saving throw to avoid slipping and falling, and to CMD against trip combat maneuvers. This bonus applies on Acrobatics and Climb checks made in slippery conditions.
- Heart of the Wilderness: Northwoods men learn the hard way that only the strong survive. They gain a racial bonus equal to half their character level on Survival checks. They also gain a +5 racial bonus on Constitution checks to stabilize when dying and add half their character level to their Constitution score when determining the negative hit point total necessary to kill them.
- Barbarian: All Northwoods men are wild and tough, and Barbarians exemplify these traits. Alternate Favoured Class Benefit: Add +1 to the barbarian’s total number of rage rounds per day.
- Ranger: Second to mighty warriors, skilled hunters hold the highest standing in northern society. Alternate Favoured Class Benefit: Add a +1/2 bonus on wild empathy checks to influence animals and magical beasts that live in cold climates.
- Shaman: Shamans are highly respected for their ability to fight the minions of the soul-eating beast. Alternate Favoured Class Benefit: Gain cold resistance 1. Each time the shaman selects this reward, increase her cold resistance by 1.
Heir: While the chief must stay with his tribe, the need to prove their worth often drives the sons or daughters to an adventuring life.
Primitive: Some of the most isolated tribes still haven’t recovered from the effects of the Great Disaster, and live as savages.
Rural: Be they hunters, foresters or fishers, all Northwoods Men rely on the natural world.
Slave: Those who appear weak, if they survive, will often serve as Thralls to mightier men. A slave might be adventuring with his master, or could have fled.
Wanderer: Some in the north make a life of traveling between the tribes, whether trading with them, or earning their keep with tales and music.
Slayer: A Ranger, dedicated to hunting the undead minions of the soul-eating beast, who uses the combination of full survival ranks, and the bonuses from being a northman and having the Rural occupation to be a tracker beyond compare.
Faith and Fury: A Shaman with the Bear Shaman archetype , and his faithful companion, a Barbarian bear warrior. The shaman might call upon the spirits to aid his warrior ally, or he and his bear might simply join the fight alongside him.