Government Style:Hereditary Monarchy
Ruler: King Selas Jornson
Population: Four million
Ritualism: Common but mistrusted
Forge Magic: Common
National Symbol: Black Wolf over a half-sun
Warring bands and petty kings defined much of the history of Druma. The people of Druma pointed to far older cultures from which they were descended, but historians could not agree on the details.
From time to time a kingdom rose, only to collapse at the death of its monarch. Most of these were centered in a coastal town, and made up of strong raiders who pillaged neighboring lands. Yet no king could last without the approval of the mysterious Shamans. The shamans stayed in the forests, away from the sight of men. They held to traditions older than any remembered, and recorded prophesies that only they knew.
When Tharician ritualists raised the Northern Beacon, it was to be a sign that Druma was a client nation to the Empire. There was rebellion at first, but despite Druma's hardy and warlike people, the Tharicians were too many and too well-organized. The nation was conquered and a governor was appointed to oversee the land. Within a hundred years, though, Tharicia's garrisons and forts slowly emptied as the men were needed elsewhere in the empire. In time, the only signs of Tharicia's rule were the Northern Beacon, a few well-made roads, and the Governor, who stayed in a fortified manor house in the shadow of the Northern Beacon.
As Tharicia waned, petty squabbles flared to life once again. Would-be kings came to the city of Imma Hamn, where the Northern Beacon was located. They came to conquer the Beacon as a sign of their power. The first few wore each other down with infighting and rivalry. The ritualist cabals became involved in protecting the Beacon and the city itself, asserting themselves as a power. Through their agents, they stopped certain chieftains from rising to power and hired others to work for them. Through subterfuge, they became kings themselves. Within five generations, Druma was unified at last, under the rule of the Cabals.
The Beacons were founded to allow exploration of magic by insulating the wizards from Tharician politics. To protect the Beacon, they came to dominate the politics of Druma. They soon abused their authority, in minor ways at first. In time, they made more onerous demands upon the chieftains, including goods, money, and even slaves. The cabals turned on each other, as some within the Beacon resisted the dark paths others pursued.
The coming of the Wolf King changed all of this. Upon his return from his travels, he overthrew the power of the cabals and became king over all of Druma. He established a dynasty of his own line and the families of his close friends. Though Druma's greatness continued beyond his death, the people continually looked to legends and prophesies of his return.
Druma was a monarchy, and the high king assumed the throne by the proclamation of the clan chiefs. The Wolf King passed the crown to his eldest son, and so on through the years until the eventual fall of Druma.
Selas Jornson was the King at the beginning of the war against the Most Foul. He called his nation to war, and the nation answered. He called on the Ebon Aspect to follow him and his axe, and they came. Against the fury of Druma, even the Most Foul would surely fall.
The Wolf's Guard were the warriors in personal service to the king. In his absence, they had the power to make rulings on his behalf. These were traditionally men and women of the highest skill in arms. From time to time the king held tournaments to replenish the ranks of the Wolf's Guard.
Below them were the chieftains of the clans. At Druma's height, there were twelve major clans and several minor ones. A chieftain had the force of law in his own lands; only the king or the Wolf's Guard could oppose their will, and they did so only rarely. Chieftains approved marriages, tariffs, and raids, and presided over executions. The chieftain was a hereditary position that passed to the eldest male heir, legitimate or not. A woman chieftain was completely unheard of, outside of distant legends.
Below the chieftains were his thanes. Thanes commanded a chieftain's forces and spoke with his authority. They were rewarded for their service with ships, vassals, and land.
Beneath the thanes were the cabals. Druma still needed them even after removing them from power. They were consulted as advisors, particularly in the matters of the arcane. They were viewed as untrustworthy; a common expression was "as forked as a ritualist's tongue."
Below all of these were the commoners. The basic member of Druman society worked the land, served in conflict, maintained his gear, knew how to sail a ship, and survived in even the harshest winter. The most prominent professions in Druma were sailors, raiders, and tradesmen. Many villages would lose two-thirds or more of their populace when the ships went out. Other common professions were smiths and fishermen.
The Rooks and the Shamans stood both within the Druman hierarchy, and apart from it. Rooks were travelers with no single home. They were often considered thieves and brigands, yet few halls turned one away. They carried both current news and legends of the days of yore. A wise chieftain employed a Rook to gather information on a potential enemy, for they could come and go from a place as easily as their namesake.
Shamans lived in the wilds as keepers of deeper truths. They helped people pass from the world when they were in pain, healed the sick, and preserved the people against life's storm. They lived apart, rarely seeking out the hall or the inn, and almost never found on ships. Shamanism was a solitary path, as they convened only in times of great strife. People sought them out when they needed aid or advice.
Druma often raided other lands, capturing men or women to keep them as thralls. They had no right to bear arms or freedom of movement, save what was granted to them by the local chieftain. They could earn their freedom, though, and many did. It was considered good luck for a chieftain to have a thane in service who had been a thrall from a far away land.
Literacy was somewhat rarer in Druma than in other lands. It was not valued as highly in Druma as skill in arms, but it was not looked down on either.
The military in Druma was not unified as it was in other nations. The thanes of individual chieftains trained together, usually from early childhood. They favored shields, spears, and axes. Archery was also valued highly. When the king called on the chieftains, they brought their forces together. Though they were not used to working in disciplined armies, a swarming barbarian horde has a power all its own. When not fighting in masses, the forces of Druma favored ambushes and stealth.
It was common among the young of Druma to follow in the Wolf King's example. Many young raiders left home to become fighting men among the nations of the world. Druman mercenaries could be found as freebooters off the shores of Ophira or the guarding the cabals of Ton Isiq. Far and wide, they became heroes of legend like the Wolf King and his companions.
The people of Druma, whether chieftain or commoner, dressed plainly. A simple tunic was the most common form of dress, with furs and cloaks for the winter months. Ornamentation was a sign that the person was a fool or knew nothing of life's harshness. A simple torque or bracelet of skillful make might denote a chieftain. Many warriors marked important conquests or adventures with tattoos.
Faith and Religion
Druma primarily practiced ancestor worship. Only by their approval could one's spirit enter the Golden Halls. Every clan member was taught the names and deeds of his great ancestors. Orphans who did not know the names of their ancestors were believed to be cursed. Some dedicated themselves more deeply to the legacies of their ancestors. They marked their faces with black ash from a funeral pyre, and thus were known as the Ebon Aspect.
In times of old, the people of Druma also worshiped gods, great beings of light and wrath. Some isolated villages still worshiped those old gods and spirits. Far'n was remembered as the god of smiths, and sometimes his mark was placed on blades for luck. Petor was a god of warriors; some believed it was Petor, not the ancestors, who decided whether one was worthy of the Golden Halls. Pjorn was the goddess of luck and the sea. She was a trickster goddess, and people said "Pjorn's tricks be upon ye" in response to someone else suffering bad luck. Other, darker and older gods were mentioned in songs and tales, most often in passing.
What makes Druma great?
The Druman people were strong and self reliant. They stood in cold hard places, waiting for battle, and called themselves at home. A Druman warrior was not typically what many would call civilized. Their manners were rough, their ways were rough, and they did not respect those who did not command it, but they had bravery instilled in their hearts at an early age. A Druman respected traditions. All respected and feared the sacred wisdom of the Shamans, seeking them in their secluded forest homes. The Rooks were welcomed wherever they traveled, the true keepers of Druma's songs and stories. They would face great doom with a smile and a jest. The nation of Druma had a great ruler in the Wolf King and his return was looked for. His example justified the Druman people. They were a nation of fierce heroes because Brenad was, and the warriors of Druma sought to walk his path and the paths of his compatriots.
What makes Druma less than desirable?When all you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails. Druma was a hard place in which to make a home. They had little patience for those who were unwlling to forge their own living. They disdained sophistication and the scholarship of other nations. They believed in hard and painful lessons and tales told around the fire. Superstition often drove them as much as bravery. Whole expeditions would be abandoned due to a bad omen. They tolerated ritualists at best, and only if the ritualists understood that the sharp blade of an axe awaited a wrong move. They considered Outsiders weak, impotent, and ultimately, prey for the strong.
Theme & Costuming
Druma is a land of barbarians and strength. They are drawn from the old barbarian cultures like the Picts, Visigoths, and later Viking cultures. A fictional and slightly more appropriate comparison would be Cimmeria from the Conan novels by Robert E. Howard. They tend to be convinced of their own superiority. The culture values strength, but is also a culture of great mirth as well.
We encourage Returned players to wear tattered, stained, or dusty clothes when they rise out of the Grim Prison. However, Returned wear whatever clothing they can come across thereafter, possibly recreating the styles of their forgotten homelands. Drumans wore largely tough leathers and furs. Symbols of the wolf in front of the half sun were often worn as pendants or cloak pins. Blue body paint (similar in style to pict tattoos) were frequently seen on the freshly Returned, as it was put on before important battles and as a death-rite.
Returned hailing from Druma pay two fewer points for Animal Empathy, Pain Resistance, or Rapid Healing, though they only receive the price break once, regardless of how many skills they purchase.