The Northern Wilds (or simply, 'the Wilds') is a region of forest which begins at the northern edge of Kith Kanaan, and stretches down along the western side of the Spine of the Dragon mountains towards Rath Sliabh Dorca and stops finally at Castlefall River. The Castlefall River provides the borders between the Northern Wilds and the empire of Carcassonne.
The Northern Wilds is a hostile region, and within it civilization crumbles. The people of the Wilds are tribal, living in communities which rarely see more than fifty people. Most tribes are nomadic, shifting down to the southern regions during the winter months, then drifting back north during the summer months. Most tribes live in simple grass huts or simple shelters in any clearing they can find, while others take over the ancient ruins from lost civilizations, using the enduring stone to shore up their defences from the outside world.
Each tribe is ruled by a shaman, someone who has connection to the spirits and who can hear the will of Grandmother, the spirit of the north. The shaman's role is difficult, as she will be forced to balance the needs of the tribe with the demands of the wilderness, and failure to do so often results in the wilderness rising up and destroying the tribe. No tribe is allowed to surpass fifty members, and usually when a tribe grows close to the limit a new shaman awakens among the community. When this happens, the tribe divides between the two shamans, allowing the communities to remain small and manageable. If a community refuses to divide and grows too large, the creatures of the Wilds grow hostile, attacking the community until the numbers are reduced to an acceptable limit. If the tribe acts against the laws of the North too often, the attacks will continue until the tribe disbands.
The wilds is a vast stretch of forest, extending south
The Northern Wilds is a vast stretch of territory found to the north and west of the Spine of the Dragon mountains, (sometimes called the Dragon Spire mountains). The region consists of dense forest and scattered marshes, and the northern region is rich with coniferous trees. The Northern Wilds is mostly untapped by civilization, and is known to hold many ruins and lost cities from the Age of Dragons, as well as is thought to be rich with minerals and natural resources. The Northern Wilds exists as a scattering of tribes, living in regions which have been mostly cleared of wild beasts and faeries. Old ruins are sometimes used to handle groups of five to ten tribes, while others have moved up to live among the towering tree branches, and others have built small communities. Tribes remain independent of one another, only rarely meeting each other for simple trading and exchanges of goods or weddings, but for the most part, there have been no real attempts to unite the fractured tribes of the region. Most tribes within the Northern Wilds have limited access to metal. Crude weapons are often made of wood, bone, and flint, while some of the tribes salvage from old ruins or raid border outposts for better weapons. Armour, such as it is, is mostly hide.
The name Jaga Baba is whispered within the occult circles of Threshold, and mentioned even less by the druids and bards of Aregon. This lone figure is also known as the Gray Lady, the rumoured ruler of the chaotic and dangerous region known as the Northern Wilds. Jaga Baba is said to be a mistress of magic, a spirit of the woods and one of the survivors of the fall of the Age of Dragons. She will accept no rule but her own within the Wilds, and she does not wish ‘civilization’ to encroach. Any clan or tribe that grows too big within the Wilds is met with disaster, and that is why the Wilds have not progressed for centuries. The Wilds will, until she chooses otherwise, remain Wild.
Due to the harsh conditions of the Northern Wilds, some tribes have taken to animism, worshipping the nature spirits that are found in the deeper sections of the region. Others worship their ancestors, and shamanism is often found among the healthier tribes.
Jaga Baba leads a host of spirits of the wild, and is often called ‘Grandmother’ by them, the word carrying respect and powerful connotations among the spirit folk. Those who know of her speak a very simply prayer to her for her aid when they travel in the Northern Wilds. “Grandmother, turn your back to the forest, your front to me.” As Jaga Baba is said to control the Wilds and everything within it, the prayer is a request that she turn her back from her domain, and protect the supplicant as they pass through her domain.
The tribes of the Northern Wilds are dubious of those who come in from the outside, but are willing to perform trades for metal weapons. The tribes of the Dragon Spire mountains however are hostile and willing to devour anyone they think they can defeat. These tribes detest all outsiders and are automatically hostile, though the more clever ones may feign friendship and slay outsiders in their sleep.
Individuals take names from the landscape and animals found there. As such, names such as ‘Wren’ or ‘Leaf’ are common. Names are usually not too important however, as life is often too short to warrant complex naming conventions.
Male: Akamu, Analu, Inoke, Kale, Keoni, Lani, Liko, Makani, Mele, Nalani, Oke, Palani, Pekelo
Female: Ailani, Alika, Halia, Hiraani, Iolana, Iwalani, Kailani, Kalei, Lanai, Luana, Malia, Moana, Nalani, Noelani, Okalani, Onaona, Palila, Pele, Ulani