KINGDOM OF NORLAND
The Norlanders are Koths, closely related to the people of Anglamar. When the great westward migration occured, they took to the sea, crossing the Sea of Storms to found settlements on the barren coasts of the northwest. There, they developed a separate culture based on sea trade and raiding ... Until 45 years ago, Norland was a collection of seperate holds, each ruled by an independent chieftain. The legendary warrior Haagon Dragonslayer challenged the chief of Vygaard (now Dragonsgaard) and won, then went on to defeat the other chieftains in battle and become the first King of Norland. Only Ungaard on Rune Isle successfully resisted and remains semi-independent to this day. Since the founding of the kingdom, Norland has established new holdings, at Viksted in the Storm Isles and Thunder Bay on the mainland coast. Norlander raiders still attack merchant ships and coastal towns occasionally, though many have turned to trading timber, wool and iron in the Storm Isles, at Beregond and Port Isadore in Eredor.
GOVERNMENT: The King is Great Chief and absolute monarch at Dragonsgaard, with no representative council invested with any power or influence over government. Founded only two generations ago, and given Norland's barbaric culture, the kingdom is still in its infancy. Haagon ruled as a bloody-handed tyrant for twenty years and kept his chieftains in line through shear brutality and force of will. His son, Haarik Hornbearer, worked to establish truer ties through marriage and cooperation, investing the office of King's Friend as Royal Constable and appointing a Royal Treasurer to regulate taxation. The Great Chieftains (Haramir's Hold and Kinnor) each rule the areas around them, including many smaller holds and steddings. They remain willful and quarrelsome, maintaining some of the old feuds. Ungaard is stubbornly independent and antagonistic, determined to defy all attempts at unification. It remains to be seen what the third King of Norland will be able to accomplish.
Defensively, Norland is nearly unassailable. It would take an impressive fleet to attack her across the Sea of Storms - though Viksted is slightly more vulnerable. Norland's military might lies in her longships and dragonships, each crewed by professional fighting men, particularly the latter which are the scourge of the northern sea. Both types of vessels can sail deepwater and coastal, as well as navigate rivers, giving Norlander raiders the ability to strike swiftly and deep into enemy territory. On the battlefield, Norlander troops are tough, skilled and highly motivated. Professional huskarls, heavily mailed and wielding great battleaxes, are outclassed only by mounted knights. As has always been the case, the King's ability to field large numbers of troops is a difficulty. The only fortifications that can be built are timber palisades and forts.CHALLENGES: The challenges are obvious. Norland is a barbaric kingdom, lacking the tradition of nationalistic unity that Anglamar possesses. With Rune Isle still independent, the kingdom is also incomplete. The population is small and resources are scarce, forcing Norland to reach out (either by raiding or trade). She needs timber to build ships. Thus Thunder Bay* on the mainland is an important point of expansion, though it could, potentially, lead to conflict with Anglamar. Conquest of the rest of the Storm Isles might be beneficial. The inhabitants are not warlike and long ago became used to Norlander incursions. Their resources are few, but the isles themselves would provide population and a base for ship-building and launching naval actions.
* Thunder Bay represents an evolution in Norlandic society (or a devolution), as the settlers return to a mainland lifestyle - harvesting timber and furs, sheep-herding and trading overland. Ties have developed between Thunder Bay and the Northern Marches, particularly in a shared need to defend themselves against orcs ... There is also an association of certain residents with the Northern Rangers and the town of Highsaddle, a fact potentially troubling to the rulers of both Norland and Anglamar.