Culture and Heritage
Descendants of raiders from the island of Ruathym, the Northlanders were a sturdy, war-ready people. Unlike the Ffolk, who also inhabited the Moonshaes, the Northlanders were not interested in the subtle beauty of nature and were more comfortable out at sea. The Northlanders were believed to be related to the Uthgardt.
Northmen most valued the qualities of courage, cunning, fierceness, strength, and skill in sailing.
In the 14th century DR, Northmen primarily worshiped the deities Auril, Tempus, Umberlee. A few were also known to worship the god Valkur. The worship of these gods was often little more than cursory for the Northmen and dependent upon whether or not they were residing in the god's sphere of influence. The Northmen faith expanded in the 15th century, introducing the deity Talos to their pantheon and giving Valkur much more prominence. The latter became viewed as the most important among the gods, embodying the qualities the Northmen valued most in life.
Those who lived in Gundarlun were typically more religious than the average Northmen, while by contrast those of Tuern typically paid no reverence to their gods and would even go so far as to claim that none existed. Northmen who lived on the Purple Rocks were known to portray these deities as having many tentacled arms.
Being the bringer of winter, Auril held a prominent place in the lives of Northmen and was often gifted offerings of food or drink around autumn or winter, set out to drift in the sea upon a raft. In times of dire need the Northmen would instead sacrifice a human prisoner or slave.
Warriors and berserkers generally worshiped the god Tempus. He was considered the patron of berserkers and their protector during times of frenzy. Both groups would pay reverence to him before battles and sacrifice prisoners taken in battle. Berserkers who were particularly bloodthirsty were occasionally known to worship Malar.
Being a seafaring people, the Northmen held both great respect and fear for the goddess Umberlee. They believed she was the cause of shipwrecks and drownings, as well as the mistress of sharks. It was customary to make a sacrifice to her before setting off for a journey, with larger sacrifices being given depending upon the expected length of the journey. And much like their other gods, this would sometimes entail the sacrifice of a human.
The Northlanders had a longtime conflict with the Ffolk. The Ffolk were more peaceful, and Northlanders sometimes took to raiding Ffolk settlements, creating tension between the two peoples as a whole. Northlanders quieted down when High King of the Moonshae Isles, Tristan Kendrick, made initiatives towards peace between the two populations of his lands, which were continued by his daughter, Alicia Kendrick. Further advances toward peace between the two peoples brought about marriages between Northlanders and Ffolk, almost forcing families to at least tolerate each other.
In the 15th century DR, on Norland a woman arose as a leader among the Northmen. Calling herself the Storm Maiden, she claimed to have been blessed at birth by both Valkur and Umberlee. A decade prior to 1485 DR she led the Northmen on a campaign to conquer the Sea of Swords and during this was eventually defeated.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 168. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.