The Frozen Plains Edit
Geography and Climate Edit
The Wastes are vast steppes that extend out beyond the known world to the north east of Nyrondie. It is a frozen wasteland, home to barbarian tribes, giants, fearsome ice drakes, and things more hideous and unknown even than the Frost Worms, which roam the ice packed plains. Aside from harsh and jagged mountain peaks, and the frozen and cracked shoreline of the Icewave sea, and the snow-packed forests, the landscape in unchanging and desolate. Those explorers who have entered the Wastes say that there is a certain stark beauty to the endless fields of ice and snow, but that the dangers are great.
Some say that the Wastes never end, and that those servants of Ungit who displease her are sent to the Wastes to walk for all eternity. Others believe that at the end of the Wastes sits the Tower of the Gods, a stairway that leads into the Heavens, and down into the Hells, which the Gods themselves use to pass into and out of the world. Still others
believe that across the wastes sits another land, more fertile even than Nyrondie, and that, after the Great Battle at the end of the world, Istra will lead all of her followers across the ice to never-ending peace.
Political System Edit
The Wastes have no central authority, with numerous small tribes of humans, giants, orcs, and other intelligent creatures roaming the landscape. Life is extremely harsh, and even those races more adapted to the cold have a difficult time surviving. The only intact power structure in the Wastes is the Frost Giant Kingdom of Ranga, which is located somewhere in the frozen plains far from the Shield Mountains. Only rumors of such a place have made it back into Nyrondie proper. No one can claim to have seen Ranga, for the Frost Giants are not welcoming to outsiders, and would sooner eat an explorer than speak to him.
History of the Realms Edit
There are no societies living within the Wastes that keep records of history, aside from folklore and oral tradition. Still, the ancient tales say that the men of the Wastes, the Bernic were placed in the wastes by Istra after the world burned as cool place to protect them from the fires of Ungit. Once the fires burned away, most of the Bernic men fled across the Shield Mountains into Nyrondie, to the Grand March and beyond. Those who remained behind did so for fear of disobeying Istra, whom they believe ordered them to remain in the Wastes until her return.
Whatever the folklore says, the written history of those who crossed the mountains survived, and it claims that the men who crossed the mountains were migrating ahead of tribes of orcs and goblinoids, who had come out of the earth and were making their way in the light. Those who remained behind were able to resist the orcs, and feared to cross the Shield Mountains, which was the home of the Stone Giants and their children, the Goliaths.
People of the Wastes Edit
The tribesmen of the wastes are hearty people, stout of heart and strong of body. They are nearly all hunters and gatherers, for the snow melt is not widespread enough or prolonged enough for crops to grow. They have learned from the harsh land around them, and are as tough as any in the southlands.
Their religion is somewhat based on superstition and shamanistic tradition, but they do have a basis in the faith of Istra. She is the Great Spirit, who created the world and cares for the souls of the dead. Other, lesser spirits rule the other parts of the cosmos, and most of the tribesmen believe that natural things, such as forests, lakes, even individual trees, have their own spirits that must be appeased when used. Animal spirits are especially mighty, and no hunter kills a beast on the field for food with first promising to bury a portion of it back into the earth so that the spirit can have rest.
Magic is rare among the barbarians, save for a primal magic that comes from the connection they share to the natural world. The true names of the animals are often invoked, although only a handful of tribesmen possess the strength to actually control those names for their own ends.