The Northern Wastes was an area in the north of Kara-Tur.[1]


Though used by many peoples, the name "Northern Wastes" was misleading, as it was in fact a very diverse and interesting part of Kara-Tur, not to be confused with the Land of the Snow Demons and permafrost further north. The Northern Wastes was a little-known land, at least in its northern parts, but its southern parts were much better known. Often these lands were called the Ama Basin in honor of the great Ama River flowing in these lands. There were also the Koryaz Mountains and plenty of forests and swamps.[1]

Geographical featuresEdit





There were several native tribes, such as the Issacortae, the Pazruki, and the Wu-haltai, three of the most powerful and influential. They differed from each other in culture and custom. The Issacortae were the most closely knit tribe, while the Wu-haltai very rarely made inter-clan alliances and remained fairly isolated. There were also many small tribes living in the area. There were also immigrants from the Plain of Horses, the Land of the Snow Demons, and other lands. Some were very undeveloped tribes that still used stone or bronze implements; their origins were unknown, but some were korobokuru. As all these tribes lacked systems of writing, the history of the Northern Wastes was little known.


Hengeyokai appeared all over Kara-Tur, but their society flourished in the wild lands of the Ama Basin. They often became defenders of the human tribes.[1]


Quite common in these lands were the korobokuru, with villages scattered around all Ama Basin. Each village was independent but often on friendly terms with its neighbors. Usually, each village was ruled by a leader and two deputies, all elected by the tribal elders. These three leaders declared laws, made judgements, and punished the guilty. The three leaders were in turn controlled by the elders who represented the people. The death penalty was never applied in korobokoru society; punishments usually involved beating, exile, or psychological pain.

Many human outsiders believed that the korobokuru were wild tribes who lived in savage lands. Many korobokuru women tattooed their hands and faces with blue ink, which many outsiders found frightful, particular southerners.

Korobokuru life was quite difficult, and they worked hard just to survive. They lived in small villages, and grew vegetables, hunted, and fished. When they had the time, they regaled each other with stories and songs around the campfire, and danced, play games, and drank beer. Most korobokuru were peaceful and did not come into conflict. Favorite weapon of the korobokuru living in the Northern Wastes were the axe, club, knife, spring bow (a device similar to the light crossbow used for deer hunting), and sword. They wore clothing made ​​of animal wool.[1]


The Maraloi were a legendary race who once ruled the land around the ​​Ama Basin. This race was very strong and powerful, used bronze weapons and possessed powerful magic. In the Pazruk language, Maraloi meant "ancient lords". They were known to be special enemies of the oni, ogre magi, and lesser humanoids and they are quite successful in their dominance until iron became common in the Ama Basin. Nothing was known of what happened to this ancient race, but their ruins stood in the Koryaz Mountains.[1]

Spirit FolkEdit

In the rivers of the Northern Wastes were often found spirit folk. What they did and their aims, no one could say. However, these spirits were often worshiped by native tribes desiring a good catch or to avert a flood.

The most famous of the folk spirit was Lasishal Ama, who lived within the Ama River, the source of her vitality. She aided heroes and was a scourge of those who ruined the land.[1]


These lands were a destination of many adventurers and explorers in Kara-Tur, and many exiles and fugitives also fled here, as it was an inhospitable land. Fur traders, merchants, and miners of the Koryaz Mountains made up the rest of the foreign visitors, as well as a few kensai masters and wu jen hermits.[1]


In the Northern Wastes, all those who used and understood magic were known as shamans. Most ordinary people did not distinguish between wu jen from shugenjas: both were able to conjure magic and were therefore shamans, and nothing else mattered.

In all the human and humanoid tribes, shamans played a very important role as healers and magicians. The key part of their faith was Animism, the belief in spirits. The followers of this faith believed that all that surrounded them, from stones to the sun had spirit, and in some circumstances they must be worshiped. Shamans thus provided a connection between the spiritual world and the material, between spirits and living beings. Specific beliefs varied; some tribes worshiped a particular animal, thinking that only this animal had a spirit, while others worshiped many gods of nature. While the customs and rituals of these animists were always different, they had one thing in common, in that they always respected nature. Many animists were very similar to the druids: they were always in close contact with nature, and always protected it.[1]

Korobokuru ShamanismEdit

Korobokuru society did not have priests at all, as all religious services were performed by heads of their households. However, some members of korobokuru society had magical powers like wu jen, although the korobokuru called them tusu. Tusu often fulfilled the role of shamans and were almost all women.[1]

Social CustomsEdit

The tribes of the Northern Wastelands had a huge number of taboos and superstitions, varying by nation, tribe, clan, or person. For example, in the Wu-haltai believed that if fishermen were to catch an overly large fish, then it should be immediately thrown back, because it belonged to the Lord of the Sea or the Guardians of Rivers. People claimed that the person who broke a taboo would suffer bad luck.[1]


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Notable locationsEdit


Other locationsEdit


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