The History of the Norbardians

The History of the Norbardians

The Norbardians are what remains of the once-proud Alhani kingdom, as well as the first humans to permanently live within the borders of the Bornland. It was the Alhani who settled within the goblin lands, but not entirely by choice.

Originally, they are Tulamids, ancestors of the Mhaharanyat of Arania between the Tulamid coast and the Middenrealm. They had a high culture there and traces of it remain in Arania to this day.

Their history is one of constant struggle and subjugation. Seven times have they built a permanent settlement or even kingdom in Aventuria and seven times have they lost it. Originally from the outskirts of the Rashtul Wall, the Norbardians were part of the Ferkina tribes, the ancient Tulamids who remained within their mountain homes instead of settling in the desert and steppe below.

The Ferkina tribes of that day worshipped the giant Rastullah, as well as archaic forms of the gods Phex and Ingerimm. The ancestors of the Norbardians, however, the so-called Al’Hani, began to worship the goddess Hesinde as well, who, at the time, was predominantly worshipped by the lizardfolk.

Always struggling against the lizard expansion from the south, few of their Ferkina brothers looked kindly upon the Al’Hani and their lizard goddess. After several struggles and conflicts among the tribes, the Al’Hani, after conversing with an oracle of Hesinde, decided to leave their mountain homes. They settled in the fruitful region of the present day Arania, where they separated themselves from the other Tulamids and remained largely among each other.

Their great exodus truly began when the Mage Moguls, a group of thirteen mages of unparalleled power assaulted the Sultanate of Nebachot to the south of the Alhani lands. To avoid complete subjugation, the Sultan of Nebachot struck a deal with the Mage Moguls, where his armies were to wage a war of subjugation against the Al’Hani tribes in the Mogul’s name.

At first, the Nebachot cleansed their sultanate of any Al’Hani within, often either killing or enslaving them, before their armies marched north. By that time, Hesinde sent her oracle to the Al’Hani once more, revealing the looming invasion to them and urging them to flee instead of fighting a hopeless war. As such, when the Nebachot armies arrived in the Al’Hani lands, they found them largely deserted, with most of its inhabitants having fled to the north.

A part of the Al’Hani remained in the jagged mountain range that is known as the Troll Peaks today, where they became the ancestors of the Trollpeak Barbarians that plague the region in the present day. Most of the Al’Hani, now led by the noble Nurbadi clan, settled in the region that forms the present-day Duchy of Tobria. Most of their story and the impact they had on the region shall be revealed within the upcoming region guide to Tobria, though it should be noted that their new home, the Kingdom of Alhania, was doomed to fail eventually, as after a few centuries and a period of heavy internal struggles, it was taken over entirely by the Bosparanian emperor Jel-Horas in the year 301 before Bosparan’s Fall.

A few Al’Hani clans never trusted the centuries of peace within the Alhani kingdom. They never settled there, but instead they preferred to travel further into the northern wilds. They are the ancestors of the modern Norbardians, bringing with them a wild cultural mix of ancient Ferkina traditions, Tulamid customs and Tobrian influence.

Against all warnings, these tribes settled within the goblin lands. Surprisingly though, these people, now calling themselves the Nurbadi after the warriors who led them to Tobria, managed to achieve what no one else had done before: They achieved peace with the goblin race. Where elves, dwarves, orks and all kinds of humans had only ever fought the Redfurs, the Nurbadi families did as they had always done and they listened to Hesinde, the goddess of wisdom. With her guidance, they negotiated peace with the goblins.

In the following centuries, the Norbardians were allowed to settle freely within the goblin lands, as long as they didn’t seek to outright conquer them. A strangely respectful relationship between the two races emerged and it lasts to this day. Influenced by the goblins, the Norbardians adopted a matriarchic system, where an older clan mother leads the younger members of her family.

The goblins taught them how to survive in the harsh wilderness and the Norbardians perfected this craft until they became even better at it than their new neighbours. In return, the Norbardians had their Zibilja, their magic users and scholars, share their wisdom with the goblin shamans. This led to an evolution of goblin magic, boosted by Zibilja secrets and it earned them the deep friendship of the goblin race.

The Norbardians settled within the great city of Starpnika, which means “Wooden City” within their language, which had, by now, become a wild mixture of their Tulamid roots, the Bosparanian language and even the harsh goblin tongue. From there, their existence was a very peaceful one and they remained neutral even as the Theatre Knights invaded the goblin lands.

However, their strong ties to the Redfurs should be their undoing. After the war against the goblins was won, the Theatre Knights began to subjugate the Bornland. The Norbardians, with their naturally independent attitude, were a threat to the absolute rule of the knights. Furthermore, it was their Zibilja secrets which allowed the goblin shamans to use powerful and destructive magic against the knights during their long wars.

Out of revenge for the many knights who had died to the goblin spells, Knight-Marshall Jadviga issued a decree in the year 264 after Bosparan’s Fall, which forbade the Norbardians from ever owning land, damning them to either leaving their home once more or to live as eternal wayfarers. They conquered the great city Starpnika and tore it down, building a mighty fortress of stone in its place which they called Norburg. In the present day, Norburg consists of a new wooden city built around the fortress and inhabited by Bornish citizens, while the Norbardians only receive a nearby field which they can camp on during the harsh winter months. Even centuries after the downfall of the Theatre Knights, Jadviga’s decree remains active, as no Bornish ruler ever bothered with renouncing it.

Ever since, the Norbardians are the travelling folk people know them as in the present day. Without a permanent home, they never stay at one place for too long. While they usually have excellent memory, Norbardians are not known to hold grudges unless for the most serious of offences. They rarely fight, instead they avoid conflict either by leaving a place or by negotiating and befriending anyone who would seek to disturb their way of life. They care little for politics and are naturally curious, which has led to Norbardian travellers even visiting the far south of Aventuria, including nations that stand hostile to the Bornland.

As constant travellers, it is not unusual for Norbardian clans to become merchants and in this function, many clans have grown exceptionally rich. That being said, their lifestyle holds a lot of dangers, as even the richest Norbardian merchant cannot legally own land, meaning most of them have to keep their worldly riches with them at all times. At worst, they lose everything during a bandit attack. This reality has made many Norbardians generous when it comes to spending their riches. Unfortunately, those who are not aware of the necessity behind this excessive spending often see only the Norbardian wealth and consider them arrogant show-offs as a result.