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The Uthgardt of the Karen River Valley arrived in the valley around 900 DR, not long before the Eleven Captains discovered the mouth of the Karen river. They have never permanently lived in the valley, but they periodically wander through, setting up camp and trading with Wycliffe. Several of the noble families of Beldin are partially descended from the Uthgardt.


There are three tribes of Uthgardt who visit the Karen valley:

Grey Wolf TribeEdit

Totem: Wolf (Chaotic Neutral)

Ancestor Mound: Raven Rock

Ritual Enemy: Orcs

Great Worm TribeEdit

Totem: Dragon (Chaotic Good)

Ancestor Mound: Great Worm Cavern

Ritual Enemy: Evil Creatures (i.e. evil adventurers)

Elk TribeEdit

Totem: Elk (Chaotic Neutral)

Ancestor Mound: Flintrock

Ritual Enemy: a dead northern civilization


Note: none of the Ancestor Mounds are located within the Karen Valley, or anywhere in the near vicinity.

SocietyEdit

The Uthgardt are the remnants of the survivors of ancient Netheril, sunk long ago into barbaric ways. They wander the North, and are divided into eleven tribes, and numerous clans. They mainly venerate Uthgar, who was one of their original leaders, and said to be the son of Tempus. Their religion is more druidic than most, being mainly based around the eleven beast totems of Uthgar, as opposed to around the deity himself.


Being the descendants of Netheril, they are tend to be fair skinned, black haired, and have blue eyes. Technically, they are considered to be Illuskans, though their early history has them fighting the empire of Illusk more often than not.


They are mainly a warrior culture, and prize martial prowess among everything else. Their poetry, passed down orally, celebrates great battles and warriors of the past, prominently featuring characters such as Uthgar, his brother Morgur, and Berunna, one of the first Uthgardt chiefs. Their clan leaders are all obsessed with proving that they are descended from one of these great heroes, preferably Uthgar. Their language—a dialect of Illuskan—is likewise filled with dozens of words for killing, specific words for every type of killing imaginable, as well as a great quantity of words for concepts like warrior, chief, and so on. Given their preoccupation with fighting, the Uthgardt generally see magic as weak and cowardly (which is ironic given that their distant ancestors were the greatest human wizards the world had ever known).


While there are technically clerics among the Uthgardt tribes, they are much more like spirit shamans, or druids. The clan, or tribe’s, shaman gets his power from Uthgar through his beast totem. Uthgar does not directly communicate with his shamans. The shamans are very important to Uthgardt culture, and regularly consulted in all matters of importance.


Every tribe has an ancestral mound which they travel to at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes to perform a variety of rituals in honor of their beast totem. Most of these ancestral mounds are south of the Spine of the World, and well inland, meaning that the center of Uthgardt wanderings is usually around the Silver Marches, though they will travel across the Spine up to Icewind Dale in between. Every tribe likewise has an ancestral enemy—usually orcs—which it is necessary to hunt in order to undergo the rite of passage into adulthood (at least for men—women warriors among the Uthgardt are pretty much unheard of, in case there was confusion on that point).


Because some of the Uthgardt tribes have abandoned the worship of Uthgar, outside clerics of other deities are viewed with great suspicion, and often hostility, by the Uthgardt shamans, and by extension, the rest of the tribe. Tribes who have abandoned the worship of Uthgar are generally shunned or disliked by those who have not.


Given that they like neither outside clerics or mages, and that many of them think civilized peoples are exceedingly weak (and by extension, deserve to be raided), the Uthgardt are not the friendliest people to outsiders. Outsiders may meet with welcome, or hostility, or seeming welcome followed by the theft of all their goods, depending on the temperament of the clan chieftain, and the value of their stuff. Some tribes have turned to outright raiding and pillaging, and this is not considered at all shameful amongst the other Uthgardt.

There is no native Uthgardt tribe to the Karen Valley, or one that stays there on any semi-permanent basis, though they have wandered to and from the valley for hundreds of years. Rather, there are three main tribes that make camps on occasion in the valley, and use Wycliffe as a trading post, before moving back through the Tundra, either on their way to Icewind Dale, back to the warmer climes to the East. They are the Grey Wolf Tribe, the Great Worm Tribe, and the Elk Tribe. Generally, they do not cause too much trouble, though the Elk Tribe is generally watched carefully by the Bounders, since it is known to be the one most prone to worshipping Auril or Talos, and hence turning on Beldin.


The other Uthgardt all insist that the Grey Wolf Tribe is made up of werewolves, but do not seem at all concerned about this. Rather, it is simply accepted that some people can turn into ravenous wolves on the night of the full moon, and that this is perfectly reasonable and normal. The official position of the Grey Wolf Tribe insofar as friendliness towards outsiders is about the same as the other Uthgardt tribes, though the fact that their ritual enemy is orcs makes things rather convenient for adventurers who likewise greatly dislike orcs. Otherwise, the Grey Wolf tribesmen can be rather unpredictable (from an outsiders’ point of view) about how they will react to visitors.


The Great Worm Tribe is generally peaceful, and just wishes to go about their business without undue conflict (of course, being Uthgardt, this is all very relative). They are naturally distrustful of adventurers, however, since they see them as, in general, godless sorts. This goes back to the fact that apparently a group of misguided adventurers killed the draconic creature that used to rule them from their ancestral holy site of the Great Worm Cavern. Because of this, their ritual enemy of “evil creatures,” more often than not turns into attempts to eliminate “evil adventurers.”


The Elk Tribe is the “troublesome” tribe. They have mainly abandoned the worship of Uthgar for the worship of deities like Auril and Talos. Because of this, they are not liked by the other tribes, nor by the kingdom of Beldin, and shunned by the first, and watched carefully by the second. They are also the most obnoxious of the Uthgart tribes to visit the Karen Valley.

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