The Northern Reach is the northernmost region of the Eastern Kingdom of Argen. It is a rugged area that swings from frozen and barren in the colder months to bountiful in the “warmer” months. Think of the Northern Reach as a sort of fantasy New-England & Alaska rolled into one.
Landscape & Economy
Rocky coastlines, Dense forests, and rugged hills rolling into mountains make up the landscape. The Free-Peoples who live there make their livelihoods through fishing (fish, mollusks, and crustaceans) and logging primarily. The trees are large and plentiful and the sea provides very well for the area and for exporting. In the summer and early fall months Berries are abundant and many work harvesting bog-berries (cranberries), blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and others.
Food & Drink
The food tends to be hearty fare, meat pies, root vegetables, gravys. The drinks of choice are ales and fruit wines. Seafood is not a luxury it’s a year round staple in the Northern Reach. Crabs and Lobster are not the food of the wealthy (as they are further south)but are ubiquitous to tables here. Fish change seasonally, the lighter varieties being abundant in the warmer months and the heavier oiler fish being the easiest catch in the colder months. Rations produced in this region are more likely to contain salted fish over jerky or other dried meats, but they do occasionally contain more traditional meats. Beef and pork are raised here (both cattle and swine being sturdy hairy varieties) as well as poultry; but these tend to be more common fare for the wealthy or for holiday/special occasions.
Free Peoples of the Northern Reach
The cities and villages are a fair mix of the more common races although humans dominate the population here. Many ½ Orcs also live in this region and have integrated themselves into society, though some racism towards them still exists since many are the products of the horrors that come with an extended war (in the last campaign a war began between the Eastern Kingdom and Orcs from the North that sailed down into Argen to conquer, This war has now raged on for over 25 years).
The Northern Elves: There is a thriving elven society nestled in the mountainous woodlands here. They are a pretty secluded people group not interacting much with the other Free-Peoples. They trade crafted goods and rare herbs.
The Small Folk: A shire (Green Glade) of halflings lives in the region as well. They are known for their baked goods and a peculiar dark beer they produce.
Dwarves: Daimuk is the subterranean dwarven settlement in this region. These dwarven folk are open to trade with others and their underground town is a trading hub that opens it’s doors and hospitality to the Free-Peoples of the region. They trade gem stones and their expert metal works as well as much sought after mushrooms… AND they raise a special breed of swine prized for their ability to sniff out truffles which the people of Daimuk love and sell at a high price.
Free-Folk of the Barrens: The far northern coastal region is a barren and dangerous place. The most dangerous of the wild animals call the Barrens their home. The Free-Folk also call it home. They are tribes of Goliath who live in skin and bone dwellings that they move from place to place in mobile villages. The Free-Folk value strength and bravery above all else and their customs and life-style show that. Male and Female alike enter adulthood via a spirit-walk that culminates in a grand hunt. They excel at survival in the Barrens and are not always friendly to outsiders.
The Northern Reaches are home to much of the wildlife you may find across much of Argen, deer, wolves, bear, axebeaks, etc. But also herds of wooly rhino or mammoth are seen in the more remote areas. Dire-Wolves and Dire-Bear also fill the stories of travelers into the wild places of the north, as well as tales of great cats with teeth like swords.
Marine life plays a large part in the life of the Northern Reaches. Whales are normally seen (and hunted) and Killer Whales are held in a sort of reverential awe by most of the sea-faring folk who regularly leave watery offerings for them and it’s traditional to paint two great eyes on the prow of ships in this region to symbolize the watchfulness and perception of these great hunters.
Cities and Towns
NorthWood is the largest city in the region (and one of the larger cities in the Eastern Kingdom) the bounty of lumber and seafood supports the large population here.
Bard’s Harbor is further south down the coast and is a smallish city despite it’s name it has a strong martial heritage and is the cultural center for the Brethons (a tribe of human that live through much of the Northern Reach, we’ll post the backstory of the Brethoni soon as well!)
Green Glade: the halfling shire
Daimuk: the underground dwarven town
Sielglad: the home of the elves, some consider it a myth
Sawtooth: a logging village of note and import
Gilden Hall: a mining village of moderate size
(there are other villages in the Northern Reach but these are the most important)
The Orc-War and the Northern Reach
The war has raged for 25+ years now, the tide sometimes turning for the Eastern Kingdom sometimes for the Orc invaders. The Orcs Come in black ships from the north, many have sailed seeking their source and none who are reputable have returned. These ships are often barely seaworthy, just rectangular ships crammed with Orc troops ready to give their lives for the glory of Grumsh. They sail these dark ships until they ground them, then drag them ashore and break them down, building siege machines and shelter out of them. In days past these landings were common and the Northern Reach was the front line of the war. In recent years the ships have become fewer and fewer and are no longer common at all. Yet still the war rages on further south. Most of the Free-Peoples of the Northern Reach don’t bother to wonder what has brought about this change, they are just glad that their war-torn region has had a chance to recover.
Conscription is still common and able-bodied Free-People can and are conscripted into a five year stint of military service. About a ¼ of those who march off to war do not return to their homes. Still other threats remain active in the region and local governments need more muscle than their militia and guard can provide. Therefore companies working under a Mercenary-Writ are exempted from conscription (and also have more legal protections to ply their trade). These Writs are expensive and difficult to obtain though.