North East of the Aelutian Empire and directly East from the lands of the Northmen, only the Southern plains of this island landmass are inhabited by men, for to the North are the icy lands of the Giants and the terrifying Ice Serpents.
A hardy people who originally broke away from the Lands of the Northmen around 800 years ago and braved the savage and freezing North Eastern Seas, while the trip was perilous and many lost their lives, those who arrived at these promised shores were delighted to find open and fertile plains in and around the island capital which is now known as Lochton, and the first settlements were quickly established.
But soon the survivors from the perilous voyage of faith found that the lands they thought were open for settlement were the winter homes of the Giant Kin..
At first, relations were hostile. But early on, thanks to the foresight of a particularly intelligent (and particularly massive) giant chief Krowg the wise, for four generations the races of men and giants lived and worked together, creating amazing structures that could be made no where else without the direct use of magic.
Unfortunately the peace that Krowg had brokered rested upon his reputation among the Giant tribes, and upon his death, the relationship between men and giants broke down and resulted in a terrible war that nearly wiped out both sides. In the end, despite their superior size and strength, the Giants were forced into an uncontrolled retreat – too slow to replenish their lost warriors to be able to sustain a prolonged conflict with the cunning and resourceful humans.
Centuries later, the present day finds Stormwater largely at peace – though their militia, the Riverguard, are kept busy enough defending against the winter ice serpent incursions, Northmen raids and viscous werewolves infesting the Moon Woods to the west, all of which were previously kept in check by the presence of the Giants..
Stormwater enjoys excellent diplomatic relations with the Aeultian Empire, who provided magical assistance during the war of the the Giants, and continues to assist with naval patrols seeking out Northmen raiding parties, but are an independent nation state in their own right. The people of Stormwater are extremely proud of their heritage, and consider themselves to be the last of the true Northmen.
STORMWATER AT A GLANCE
Military: Standing Militia “the River Guard” of 10,000 experienced and battle hardened guardians plus 100 Imperial Legionaries stationed at the Lochton embassy, 1 Galleass, 2 War Galley and 6 scout ships.
Racial Characteristics: Hailing originally from the Lands of the Northmen, some interbreeding did occur during the 4 generations of peace with the (smaller) Giants, and as a result the people of Stormwater stand an average of 1′ taller than their neighbors, and occasionally a giant child is born to human parents, with predictably tragic results (only 2 giants have survived childbirth, one of which still lives today and serves in the River Guard militia). Like the Northmen, they tend to have red or blonde hair with blue, green or hazel eyes, but due to the influence of Giant blood in their veins, brown or white hair is also not uncommon.
Language: Dialect of the Northman tongue mixed in with some Giant speak. Imperial Aelutian is widely understood by traders and diplomats.
MAJOR TOWNS, CITIES AND PLACES OF INTEREST
LOCHTON: The Capital, located on an island in the middle of a large lake and the original refuge of the people against the Giants. Since the wars ended, a sophisticated drawbridge has been built, connecting the city to the mainland.
STORMGRAVE: Has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, first by Giants, these days – under threat by the relentless Northmen raiding parties.
CHILLPASS: Largest Eastern town and hub.
THE KILLING STEPPES: Peaceful now, it was the scene of many battles between Giants and men. Now has several mining towns extracting iron and copper.
THE GREAT NORTHERN PASS: Leads into the land of the Giants, the pass itself is heavily fortified against ice-serpent incursions.
THE HOMELESS FRONTIER: A spooky, uninhabited area with few to no resources of interest, though occasionally visited for unknown reasons by strangers from distant lands, none of whom have been known to return… What is actually within the Frontier is unknown, and entering the Frontier is forbidden.