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Ovættr

"A Ovættr Male"

Ovættr (More commonly called Trolls), are the northern, smaller, and more tactical brethren of the Orcs. They originate from Amáttr, a small country in the far north which made up of large mountains, tundra plains, alpine forests, and fields of Ice.

Physiology:

Ovættr males stand around 5’6-5’11 in height (in the case of an Alpha 6’1’-6’4), while females are only slightly shorter, standing at 5’3-5’9 (in the case of an Alpha 5’11-6’1). They have white to light gray skin, and their hair is usually black or brown, but in the case of noble families it has been known to be white or gray. Eye color for the average Ovættr is a simple black or brown. Although close cousins to your average “Orc”, Ovættr males are not inherently stronger than their female counterparts, and the race as a whole aren’t large beefy masses of muscle that most people think of as Orc. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t strong, able to lift much heavier weights than the average man naturally. However, it has been known for humans and dwarves, who are soldiers or just enjoy body building, to overpower these creatures if untrained, which would never happen with their desert brethren the Orcs. One thing that the Orcs and Ovættr do share is their violent temperament. Ovættr are easily enraged, and are often a problem in cities when this happens. The most unique attribute to these creatures is their immunity to the cold, it has to be drastically below freezing before these creatures find it even chilly, however, this causes them to be unable to populate hot climates, such as rainforests or deserts. It has also been noted, due to unknown circumstances, Ovættr struggle with magic, only able to understand the basics and maybe one or two advanced spells, but no complicated or masterwork spells.

Clothing:

Ovættr males from the homeland, who still live as their ancestors did, primarily only wear loin cloths or animal skin trousers, and if they're a noble, a skin cape of some great beast. The females of the Ovættr race from the homeland wear fur shirts and pants. However, the nomadic tribes that wander from country to country, selling their services as mercenaries and hunters, are seen with more modern looking clothing for both male and female, simple and usually torn shirts accompanied by equally simple and torn trousers, however, they rarely wear shoes. The armor that accompanies either of these groups into combat for both male and female are not full plate, instead small patches and shards of armor used more for intimidation then actual protection, although the protection is definitely a bonus. Heads of beasts (or enemies) often adorn Ovættr belts and the spikes of their armor to show their ferocity in battle.

Culture:

Ovættr culture is truly the epitome of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Men and women are equal in all regards as warriors, hunters, and providers for the clan. Although war isn't a key part of Ovættr society (unlike their brothers the Orcs), Ovættr focus primarily on hunting. They worship Ulmugar, God of the Hunt, and they devote their lives to him, returning to "The Frozen Shrine" every five years. "The Frozen Shrine" is a natural cave within the homeland of the Ovættr with an ancient alter within. The entire cave, when the sun is highest, glows blue as the sunlight penetrates deep into the ice, and a beam of light from a hole in the ceiling beams down and lands on the alter. The alter itself is a simple stone slab, but on each end is an intricately carved wolf.

Ice Monument

"The Frozen Shrine's Entrance"
(Art by Daniel Conway)

During the pilgrimage there are feasts, ritual hunts and the execution of prisoners/heretics/criminals, which are let loose in the complex ice-cave system that is behind the shrine. They are given a knife and if they managed to survive then they are let go. 5 hunters, who are the offended party, or are the captors of the person are given spears and sent to slay him, he who brings back the prisoner/heretic/criminal's head is rewarded. Each pilgrimage is also the opportunity for the tribe to dedicate its newest members to the clan (being born in the tribe or adopted by it). The family of the newborn or adopted member go on a hunt, and bring back the first creature they slay. The new member has a circle of the creature's blood painted on their forehead and a small totem carved of the creature which will now represent their spirit animal. This totem can often be seen on a necklace around the necks of members of any clan.

Although Ovættr hunt and kill often many a day, they believe that every and all animals are sacred, the most sacred being the holy mammoth, and killing an animal meaninglessly is disrespectful, especially if not everything about the creature is used. Certain creatures fall under this category as well, such as Ogres, werewolves, and Dragons, but other races and most of the creatures in this realm are considered creations of other gods, and thus not sacred, or abominations (undead being the primary abomination). Any animal that is killed by Ovættr hunters is respectfully butchered and anything that is unusable is burned and then buried.

Unlike the most of the world, Ovættr tend to stay away from technology, simply preferring the "old ways" then the new and complicated ones. This might also have something to do that most contraptions made by men and elves are too small for the large fingers of any Ovættr. However, their homeland is slowly becoming more industrial as they find more and more engineers willing to teach them and sell them specialized technology for the cold (and their fingers). These contraptions are sent to the cities that are near the southern border of Amáttr, as that's the only land which stays in such a state that crops can actually grow. On all the oceans of Amáttr, villages of Ovættr raiders live. They are known for their construction of the long boat, and fast and agile ship. They raid nearby countries and islands, bringing back spoils to survive and to decorate their houses with. Fishing is also another primary source of food here, and the great whale oil furnaces that they construct their weapons with are in need of constant supply of wale oil and blubber. They have also developed a unique attribute of Ovættr culture. Along with the usual rituals and such at "The Frozen Shrine", they also take the young teens of the clan out to hunt Walrus as a rite of passage, this ritual sometimes leads to the deaths of the teens, but this is usually rare. This ritual, along with its religious implications, is training the future young men of the clan to hunt bigger game, like whales, and maybe even any sort of behemoth of the deep.

The nomadic tribes that wander country to country are some of the best mercenaries within the realm. Ovættr clansmen, along with their cargo carrying bison, wander in search of jobs. Should that be fighting against an apposing army or taking care of a specifically nasty beast that the local nobility doesn't wish for their own soldiers to risk fighting, or they simply hire them because they want experts on the matter. These clans are usually well known throughout the world, and sometimes their members take permanent residence in cities, although this isn't very common.

Ovættr 2.0

"Ovættr Face Examples" (Art by Sean O'Daniels)

Each clan, nomadic or not, has a strict yet strange for of nobility and social status. The noblemen that make up the politicians and more specifically the generals of the local military forces, are called Skati (Which means "Alpha".) These Skati often travel far and wide to find those willing to teach them of great military tactics, and they study previous battles from all nations and situations to hone their own skills. The Skati are easily noticed as they stand slightly taller then the rest of their race, and have a distinguished white hair or gray if the person's blood is mixed with lesser blood. It is believed that these Ovættr are direct descendants from Quilgar Snow, who apparently was the first Ovættr blessed by Ulmugar. The next tier down are the Kvarl (or "Commoner"). These are the Ovættr who aren't blessed with "Snow Blood". The Kvarl are not truly lesser then the Skati, as they can just as easily can become the Oberjarl (the leader of Amáttr), by either beating the previous Oberjarl in a duel, or by outdoing his previous hunting achievements. The next tier of the society, and one which is equal to the Kvarl, are the Kynligr (or "adopted"). These are those of any other race that have joined Ovættr clans.

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