The barren, icy wasteland on the northern edge of of Corvel, Akrindor, Bachra and Tolak were freezing winds blast across wide plains of frozen snow, glaciers, and thick sheets of ice is known as The Frozen North or The Goblin Nations.
At the average temperature here, a canteen of water freezes solid in minutes. A few stunted trees survive along the southernmost stretches of this territory, huddling in groves, appearing to protect each other from the harsh climate. The only breaks in this monotonous, white wilderness are occasional thermal springs, heated by sulfur from the Underworld. This inhospitable land is nonetheless home to many different species, most notably, the Ra’althuuk Goblin Nation. Known alternately as Ra’althuuk’s Horror, or ice goblins, this race has adapted to its environment and spread to wreak havoc on the people of Corvel, Bachra, Tolak, and the tribes of the northern Akrindor steppes.
Feral elf tribes still follow herds throughout the southern reaches of this area. Earthfolk and faeriefolk can be found mixed into these nomadic tribes, although some gather in their own small groups or isolated clanholds. Brownies, the most common earthfolk in this area, normally have white or gray fur instead of the typical brown of their woodland brethren. White, shaggy minotaurs and centaurs, furdraped giants, ice-encrusted cave shamblers and a few scattered ice dragons all fight to survive in this harsh environment.
Ra’althuuk Goblin Nation
Before Corvel became an empire, the land was known as Nordia and inhabited by warring tribes of every race imaginable. Tribes fighting for years would suddenly ally to defeat yet another group, then begin fighting among themselves. Alliances grew and shattered, kingdoms rose and fell, the political shape of the land reworked and reshaped itself constantly.
The arrival of Barlo I in 120 Pre changed that. He was a human with extraordinary charisma, a will of iron, and knowledge of Rune magic. He had a vision for a kingdom that drew allies and created enemies. Gathering those elf and human tribes that shared his dream, he attacked their enemies and took their land. As these tribes expanded their territory under Barlo’s flag, more groups joined what was rapidly becoming a mighty force. Those who did not fit in with his vision were slaughtered or driven far from their lands. The kingdom of Krenn (now the duchies of Poza and Reis) held out until 116 Pre, when its dissolution marked the end of any organized Chaos nation on Nordia and the creation of Corvel.
The goblins, orcs and trolls who survived Barlo’s racial cleansing scattered to the wilderness. Some fled east, gathering into small tribes scattered about Akrindor. Others, especially trolls, hid in the wilds of Corvel, where their descendants hunt and are hunted to this day. The largest populations were forced north, into the most inhospitable slab of land in the region. The remaining peoples scattered into small tribes and eked out a meager survival by viciously guarding hot springs and engaging in the occasional border raid. This situation lasted for over 600 years.
One rebellious mage was Ra’al, an elf whose soul was irredeemably corrupted by Chaos. His skill at magic was unprecedented, but selling his soul to the forces of darkness made him unimaginably powerful and a threat to public safety. Witchsmellers of Corvel pursued him into the northern plains, where they found evidence of his death an assumed he had gone to the Underworld permanently. They were wrong.
Orc and goblin tribes began to worship Ra’al, drawn to him by his power and charisma. Eventually, he added the native goblin thuuk - an ancient word meaning "fearsome"- to his name. Here in the frozen north he came to a realization. Man was imperfect and unfit to rule the world. A new race must be forged, a powerful species formed with the ingredients of mankind’s failures and invigorated by the vision of Marg. Using his magic to blend orcs and goblins, he created what is known throughout the northern kingdoms as ice goblins, or Ra’althuuk’s Horror.
citizens were terrified of the
Northern Wastes, and
thus Ra’althuuk was
able to work on his
project in secret for
300 years. He spread his message among the northern tribes and many flocked to his banner, forming an army of disenfranchised orcs, goblins and hobgoblins.
That very force hit the Corvelian provinces of Poza and Sigel in 797 Post. Weakened by a recent Kilmoorian incursion which had drained much of its military manpower, the empire was unable to fully protect itself from this new northern threat. Taking ever more territory, the Ra’althuuk Nation began to push south. Unfortunately for the ice goblin hordes, Ra’althuuk was no military leader and was quickly outclassed by the military mind of Patrick II, "The Invincible." While the goblin attacks led to the loss of thousands of Corvelian lives, the assault was eventually driven back and Ra’althuuk’s Horror returned to its frozen homeland.
After their defeat, the ice goblins fragmented into small tribes again, though they maintained a cultural identity. Ra’althuuk returned to his keep to form new plans, guarded the most loyal tribes. Many among his progeny expect he will die soon, but others feel he is likely holding on to his hatred of humans to keep him alive. Some suspect he may have amended his pact with Marg to include immortality. Nonetheless, while all clans at least pay lip service to the divinity of Ra’althuuk, he has lost much of his direct poweramong the more remote clans.
On the Border
Corvel, Bachra, and Akrindor each have territories that reach into the Goblin Nations. While the ice goblins are a constant threat in much of this area, life nonetheless thrives in an otherwise frozen wasteland. Many of the dwarf populations of Corvel and Bachra are ensconced along the northern highlands and mountains, mining the earth, growing what they can and fermenting what they can’t eat.
Arctic bears, wolves, wild warhawks, and the rare
arctic dragon all vie for their share of food.
It should also be noted that stone is the building
material of choice in the northern mountains. Because
of the scarcity of timber above the tree line, the
denizens of the north simply quarry local rock or hew their abodes into the mountainside. Coal is the power source in these areas, and many permanent communities boast dwarf-made steam heating. Supplies can be kept cool - or frozen - for quite a long time in any "cooler" or root cellar. Strong spirits are favored in the north, not only due to its "heating" factor on the body, but also due to its non-freezing quality.
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