Notable Settlements: Sala, Worgton
Ruler: Aska and Sthenet (Human), assorted Tribal Leaders (Orcs), Glodurin (Dwarven)
Languages: Common, Orcish, Dwarven
Norga exists as a loose confederation of semi-nomadic tribesfolk, clinging to ancestral hunting and farming practices at the ice-choked upper edge of Midgard. Summer seasons are punctuated with numerous festivals and tribal moots, while less frivolous or important Norgan clansfolk store food for the darker winter season. Long-houses are scattered across the north for sanctuary from storms, each ruled by a local lord or thane who imposes taxes for upkeep and organised protection when necessary. These barracks are normally coupled to subterranean meat and grain stores (and small breweries) but few other permanent settlements exist. Exceptions are provided by Sala (a traditional, but seasonal, moot ground, home to three seperate thanes), Eslen (the Human ‘capital’, detailed below) and Worgton (the Orcish ‘capital’). Both Orcish and Human clans wander the north, having spent most of the last several hundred years in something like harmony. Bilingualism and inter-breeding are common. In recent years, however, several of the larger Orcish tribes have gone through episodes of religious extremism previously unknown to the north. These periods have resulted in the destruction of several human settlements (notably Goodland, a farming community), but also the largest Orcish settlement, a repurposed human logging town. Worgton now serves as a guilt-ridden reminder of past mistakes, and a beacon for Orcish clans keen to self-regulate away from their previous masters. Nevertheless, small pockets of fanaticism do still exist, and Worgton itself harbours dark secrets that may yet come back to haunt the burgeoning Orcish nation.
Eslen, sometimes called the Lutetia of the north, sometimes less pleasant names, functions as Norga’s seat of government for the current ruling Thane. In actual fact it is one of the few remaining Dwarven trade outposts (now that Stonehaven is gone), and all civil matters are ruled, governed, and policed, by the surprisingly large local Dwarven population. Their Architect, Glodurin, rules Eslen and the leagues beneath it with absolute authority, and has chipped away at any attempted Human upitiness with classically Dwarven patience and cunning. In theory the Young Thane, Aska, rules all of Norga from Eslen, with the advice of his (almost equally young) shaman, Sthenet, but in practice both are backed, nudged, and protected by Glodurin and his council.
Although the Orcish tribes are generally treated as a chaotic analogue of their human cousins, they to have protection and guidance from a source of outside agency. The Wildwood sits not far from Eslen, and represents the traditional source of almost all things Orcish and spiritual. The bloodlust and fervour that typified the most recent religious warmongering could be seen as a very definite break from ancient avenues of Orcish leadership, the exact dimensions of which remain hidden. The Wildwood does not take outsiders kindly, and very few enter who later leave. Regardless, animistic shamanism is back on the rise among the Orcish clans, with old elemental patrons slowly re-establishing ancient compacts and bargains.
Humans, Dwarves, and Orcs are not the only civilised creatures in the north. Although they have a stronger presence even further into the ice, or to the south, Gnolls, Trolls, and Goblins all play active roles in Norgan life, either within Orcish tribes, or as their own distinct societies. Gnolls in particular tend toward their own cackling tribes, while less numerous Norgan trolls differ from their southern cousins by means of their integration into Orcish clans. Norgan goblins find a niche in every possible power-structure, although due to recent events they have been made extremely unwelcome within human settlements. They have slowly retreated from Norgan life at large, with fewer and fewer goblins seen upon the road, a trend that stands in stark and worrying contrast to their normal rate of proliferation.