The Firseid Sandbox
Northern Nations Alliance
Although called an alliance, in reality the Northern Nations functions more as an empire ruled from the capital city of Kxal. Though a large portion of the Northern Nations’ population is nomadic, the cities of Afpikh, Oghad, and Dbunimaju, former capitals of the other powerful nations in the alliance, are home to a variety of human ethicities and cultures.
Human (90%) of numerous ethnicities, gnomes (4%), dwarves (4%), exiled elves (1%), other (1%). The northern nations are far removed from the homes of the other races, but it is not notably inhospitable to them.
Terrain and climate
Inland, winters are typically brutal, with tundra covering the majority of the plains north of Kxal. Snow cover is typical until the late spring, and during the thaw large land animal herds traverse the land foraging. These herds were hunted by the ancestors of the Alliance peoples, and some species have been domesticated by nomadic herders. However, oceanic currents warm the waters at Afpikh, Oghad, and Dbunimaju. The waters never freeze and the weather in the winter is tolerable while the summer is pleasant. To the east, the climate gradually becomes drier, with savannah covering most of the eastern territory up to the Alliance’s border at the Great Eastern Desert.
History, Reputation, Politics, and Society
Though Kxal is the military equal of the Middle Kingdom, it wields far less economic and diplomatic influence on the continent. The Alliance has an uneasy truce with the Middle Kingdom following a war that last 50 years in the late 2800s—early 2900s. From the Kxal’s point of view, the war was primarily about abusive trade relations and dispute over control of the region near the Desert Gatehouse. The middle kingdom disputes this history and insists that it was in response to territorial expansion by the Alliance.
Exhaustive detailing the various societies that make up the alliance could fill a book (see master Hoori’s “History of Kxal” for more details), but the social influence of Kxal on the other nations in the Alliance cannot be overestimated. A strict code of ethics teaches discipline from a very young age, with four primary values said to lead to enlightenment: stonefacedness, asceticism, meditation, and fasting. It is speculated that these originally were simply necessary for survival but became elevated to a philosophical way of life. They are often viewed by other nations as standoffish. Their ability to never betray their thoughts has given rise to the proverb “I would not roll dice against a man from Khal,” usually said when a shopkeeper tries to convince you that you are getting a good deal.
Kxals value personal growth above the pursuit of money.
Kxals are also distant relatives of the Ketani, with whom they share many spiritual beliefs and a particularly friendly relationship.
A protectorate of the Alliance is the home of the Sealmen Tribes, a group of tribes indigenous to the northeastern tip of the continent.
All Kxals are proficient with the short spear, Kxal scimitar, and short bow.
Kxals are “born in the saddle.” Children (boys and girls alike) are taught to ride as soon as they can walk, and taught to fire a bow and wield a spear or sword while controlling their mount before puberty. A scimitar is given to the most skilled riders in contests held yearly for all children turning twelve in a particular year.
Martial arts training at Kxal monasteries is also common, and monasteries often pull double duty as a police force in smaller towns throughout the alliance. Khal monasteries enjoy a friendly rivalry with the Ketani monks; whereas the Ketani use mostly defensive martial arts, Kxal martial arts are much more focused on offense.
Khal armies fight mostly on horseback, with professional soldiers making up almost the entire army. Lighter troops pepper the enemy with arrows, and heavier troops on armored horses ride down infantry. Their prowess on the field is not to be underestimated, but they have frequently been turned back in the hilly and wooded territories held by the middle kingdom.
The Kxal view magic as a “short cut” and an improper field of study for a proper Kxal warrior. They have been known to employ anti-magic devices and magic weapons (perhaps oblivious to the irony of using magic devices to fight magic), but wizards are rare as hens’ teeth in the north lands. Sorcerers are typically social outcasts and often seek their fortune in foreign lands. Clerical magic is also surprisingly rare, with few cults (mostly law-aligned) being permitted official standing in the Alliance.
Kxal’s dislike of magic has attracted the attention of gnomes who don’t display magical talents (and who may find employment among their fellow difficult). Constructs, primitive blackpowder weapons, small war machines, and more can be found in a Kxal army, while scientific research is encouraged by the emperor in Khal. Dwarves take up residence in Kxal for some of the same reasons. Alchemical technology is also very advanced.
Primary exports and industries are horse breeding, furs, amber, ivory, and whale oil and meat (much of which is obtained from the Sealmen).