A proud race of uncivilized people. Barbarians are a term to describe the semi-nomadic tribes which exist outside the bounds of the Empire and its kingdoms, mostly associated with the tribes of the far north like the Vandals. These savage tribes constantly war against each other and anyone else who is unfortunate enough to come across them. They typically preferred settling grounds and following the migration patterns of the livestock that feeds them, along with raiding towns and trade routes under the control of the empire. They are a superstitious culture, though occasionally its members have been able to integrate into normal society.
According to some Elves who have lived thousands of years all men used to be Barbarians, living in small tribes of hunter gatherers along the plain-lands in the forests, sometimes battling with uncivilized races such as gnolls or trolls or ogres, but mostly just battling with each other.
Eventually stronger human tribes began to unify or conqueror others and expand their territory forming many long fallen early empires and kingdoms, all of which no longer exist today. Some of these early human civilizations such as the Autherian Empire even developed agriculture and then some of its members were even able to learn magic. While they continued with more and more technological advances, the Barbarians of today are humans that never achieved those technological milestones and continued as small tribes of warriors, fighting among themselves and fighting against progress itself as they continued to dwell in small and isolated communities.
Most tribes have a rigid set of cultural practices that date back to before recorded history itself, which serve as a way of binding each individual together into a clan, each clan into a tribe, and between tribes in the fickle alliances of war and peace. Of course, no tribe is exactly the same in its practices, but most do share a common bond in one way or another.
As befits a culture held together by an oral tradition, the northern tribes have a rich collection of stories woven into the very fabric of their society. Most of these are extremely localized, relevant only to the small family or clan that they originated from, but a few have become more widely known. Much of this is due to the works of Professor Hieronymus Ermingild, who incorporated much of them into his seminal work Peoples of the Northern Lands (Vol.1), a study of the uncivilized tribes.
Many of the legends and areas of interest were later compiled into a popular book called Tales of the North, the four most prominent are listed here:
- The Blight of Brinsdale
- The Lady of Tanakey Rock
- The Mound Builders
- The Wendigo
Daily Life Edit
Most of the northern tribes are nomadic or semi-nomadic, the relatively harsh environment of the northern scrub-steppe forcing them to follow the migratory routes of herd animals such as bison and gazelle in order to find food – both from the animals themselves, and from the edible plants that they migrate towards. Because of this the dwellings of most tribes are in the form of hide tents that can be easily and quickly packed up and stored while on the move. Most tents are fairly small, big enough for one family (often just a married couple and their children, perhaps with grandparents or other elderly relatives), but some are much larger. The tent of a shaman must be big enough for them to live in, but also to accommodate a fair number of visitors, and the tents of a chieftain or the leader of a council are the largest of all, made to house most of the clan in times of gathering or debate. The clans themselves can vary in number from forty to four hundred, and in most tribes it is expected that all adults may have their voice heard during a debate of significance, although ultimate deciding power rests with the chieftain and shaman combined.
Other than these debates, the life of a tribesman or woman is often relatively simple. Contrary to popular belief, not all are warriors, although most will know how to fight and occasionally participate in raids on neighboring tribes or civilized settlements.
As might be gathered, daily life among the tribes is strenuous and often difficult, but not always. Most evenings will involve a gathering around communal fires, with meals and drink being shared as well as stories being told. There are also formal ‘holidays’, usually religious ceremonies or celebrations of marriage and other rituals where story dances are performed.
List of known Tribes Edit