The Culture of Markshire

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    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    It has been said and is true that Markshire is based upon Norse Mythology. However, I must explain the concept a bit further.

    NORSE was an Earth culture. Markshire is its own culture that just happens to utilize some information from Norse culture as its foundation. So there are no Norsemen, just plain ole Markshirians.

    What are Markshirians and how does this all fit together?

    Markshire’s gods are the same as the Norse gods. But here they are Markshirian gods.

    The barbaric culture of the Norsemen is limited to the barbarian class. The rest of the Markshirians are really medieval in culture. Knights exist along with an honor code. The average citizen pays lip service to the gods and goes about their lives as peasants.

    A system of law is in place (very unlike the Norse). To enforce that law exist Guardsmen and Enforcers. Guardsmen are essentially the National Guard and police of Markshire. Enforcers are essentially detectives or government agents.

    Markshire is a monarchy ruled over by a Lord (same as a king but they don’t use that title). He is advised by a council comprised of high priests, the Marshal of the Guard, the Grand Wizard of the Mage’s Guild and a few other positions of importance.

    Individual towns and villages are run by a Mayor but most people go to the Temples or the Guard with problems. Cities are run by a Mayor as well but they also have a Marshal in charge of the city’s Guardsmen.

    Trade is important in Markshire as a lot of less sturdy vegetables cannot be grown locally. The river Tamurin provides the largest trade route to the south. The Roads leading from Stonemark are well traveled and patrolled. The Road to Spinehold still suffers from banditry as the pickings are just too tempting.

    When a man or woman dies their soul travels to Hel’s Temple. There they are judged and treated accordingly. If they are worthy and marked by norns then they are subject to Odin’s Pact. Otherwise they continue their journey to Niflheim.

    Death and cold are constant companions for the average Markshirian. The rituals involving dead loved ones are varied according to each family’s traditions. Most burn the bodies on a pyre following a ritual. Some burn the bodies and bury the ashes in earthen pots to allow the remains to return to the earth. And still some (notably the rich) place their dead in mausoleum or morgues. These are usually underground and guarded against intruders. In the end, all Markshirians have tombstones erected in their honor, though time and weather may remove these marks from the earth.

    The citizens of Markshire view the undead as the raising of no longer inhabited bodies and would utilize them if forced into a corner. However, no one would attempt to raise bodies that belonged to exceptional people. Though they are no longer alive they were truly imbued with life and some spark of them remains in the body. This concept has given rise to stories of Guardian Undead who await the final battle between the giants and Markshire to rise up and aid their countrymen.

    Most citizens realize that the cold is from Thrym himself and not natural to this part of the world. They pray to the gods that one day Thrym’s hold will be thrown off this land once more. The climate should be treated similar to Alaska with a short and mildly warmer summer and a deep long winter.

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