Uthgardt Barbarians

The Uthgardt are a group of tall, black-haired and blue-eyed humans who have lived in the North for many generations. Each tribe has its own opinion on its exact ancestry, but none of these tales agrees with the others. Loremasters speculate that, given the members' similar characteristics, they must stern from common progenitors, most likely a mix of Illuskans, Netherese and perhaps one or two other more primitive and savage tribes that once roamed the high country of the North. Most of the tribes are semi-nomadic, wandering through various stretches of the North while spending the harshest winter months in one place, most often a winter camp. A few tribes have broken with this tradition and established permanent settlements. With the exception of the Black Lions and the Griffons, the Uthgardt survive by hunting, gathering, and raiding across the territory.

While each tribe has its distinct characteristics and idioms, all venerate one of the beast totems of Uthgar. The barbarians believe that they take their name from Uthgar Gardolfsson, a famed warrior of Ruathym who became known for his triumphs on the field of battle. Yearning for greater challenges, Uthgar Gardolfsson set out to conquer the now-lost civilization of Illusk. While Uthgar succeeded in pillaging Illusk, the other civilized folk of the Sword Coast hastily mustered an army to counter the Northlander’s invasion. These forces attacked his camp and destroyed his ships. Cut off from the sea, Uthgar and his followers retreated inland; the Illuskans did not follow, content to believe that monsters would devour the barbarians in the frozen wilderness.

Despite the hardships they faced, Uthgar and a sizable portion of his army survived. The barbarians sustained themselves by raiding settlements in the northern interior. He gained new followers from among the folk of the region he raided. Some were impressed with his battle prowess; others simply preferred to join that which could not be easily defeated. Eventually his forces grew so large and powerful that he was able to exact tribute from many of the northern communities, and most would pay rather than face the fury of his barbarian horde. Uthgar and the last of his Ruathym followers grew wealthy on the coins and goods they extracted by threat of force.

As evidenced by the descendants of his great army, Uthgar was a strong traditionalist and possessed a streak of savage nobility. He considered the villages and hamlets that paid him tribute to be under his personal protection, and it was this notion of feudal obligation that would eventually kill him. During the later years of his life, an orc horde swept down out of the Spine of the World. Uthgar and his horde met the creatures in a battle still remembered in the tribes' oral histories and war chants. Uthgar and many other warriors died in the battle, but they stemmed the tide of advancing orcs so effectively that few remained to flee back into their mountains.

Uthgar's followers buried their fallen chieftain, along with an honor guard of seven others who died on the battlefield. They piled the ground high above his body and covered the mound with stones to protect it from foraging beasts and hungry crows, and then placed a single gigantic stone atop the completed mound. The location of this sacred spot is believed to be what is now known as Morgur’s Mound; it marks not only the resting place of their founder but the start of a traditional of burial that has endured to this day.

Tribes of the Silver Marches

Ten distinct tribes of Uthgardt barbarians remain in Faerûn, but only four—the Black Lion tribe, the Gray Wolf tribe, the Red Tiger tribe, and the Sky Pony tribe—actually dwell within the Silver Marches. The other six are scattered throughout the High Forest, the Savage Frontier, and the Sword Coast North.

The Black Lion Tribe

The Black Raven Tribe

The Gray Wolf Tribe

The Red Tiger Tribe

The Sky Pony Tribe

Main article: Sky Pony

Members of this tribe seem to be constantly on the move, riding their shaggy mountain-bred horses from their ancestor mound at One Stone (in the eaves of the eastern Moonwood) westward across the North as far as Icewind Dale. A few legendary warriors of this tribe acquire pegasus mounts; a common quest for a true Sky Pony hero is to seek out such a mount. Unlike most of the other Uthgardt barbarians, the Sky Ponies perceive their beast totem as a manifestation not of Uthgar but rather his frequent ally Tempus. This does not seem to anger Uthgar, perhaps because the Lord of Battle his never espoused a dogma in which Uthgar could not see merit. As a sign of its devotion to the deity, the Sky Pony tribe makes war on the orcs of the North whenever possible, often tracking them high into the mountains in order to destroy their homes and erase their threat to the southern lands.

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