Guardians of the Past
An Intro to Moonshae Isles 101
•Cool, misty islands at the westernmost edge of the world, populated by the kingdoms of the Ffolk, ruled by the High King, and the kingdoms of the Northlanders, a warlike society of sea-raiders.
•The islands are also home to some nonhumans: Elves (known as the Llewyrr) and half-elves live in isolation from the Ffolk. Some few dwarves do live among the Ffolk and the Northlanders.
•Highly superstitious, magic and those who wield it are held in deep suspicion by both peoples. Nonetheless, the High King is served by a council of thirteen wizards, and the mysterious isle of Flamsterd was once notoriously known as the home of a large number of mages before infighting wreaked havoc and decimated the island.
•Rather than the normal gods, the Ffolk once worshipped the Earthmother, and it’s whispered that the forest held cults whose worship required blood. The Ffolk now mostly worship Chauntea. On the other hand, the Northlander’s warlike gods require blood and death as a matter of course. Missionaries from the mainland aren’t well regarded by either sort of islander.
•Bards are held in the same regard as kings among the Ffolk, and there are three Greater Bards who weave the history of the people.
•The Ffolk speak Waelan; the Northlanders speak Illuskan.
•I’ve the right o’ the matter, an’ no word or weapon will budge me from it.
•It’s not true that red hair means you have a temper, an’ I’ll knock the head o’ anyone who says otherwise!
•The world is turned by passion, not logic, an’ you see farther with the heart than with your eyes.
•We were doin’ fine when the strangers came, and we’ll be doin’ even better when they go again!
•We have no fear of death, for when we die fighting, our souls join Tempus to fight and feast forever.
•Warriors do not stoop to trade with soft silver or copper; for all we have, we pay the iron price.
•You keep your honor and I’ll keep my shield; see who’s still standing in the end.
•Both the Ffolk and Northlanders are known for their fierce will to live.
•The islanders are well known for their stubbornness.
The Moonshaes are a cold, mist-cloaked cluster of rocky islands off the Sword Coast, of the westernmost reach Heartlands. They are divided into the kingdoms of the Ffolk in the south and the realm of the sea raiding Northlanders in the north. The Ffolk speak Waelan, and the Northlanders speak a heavily accented version of Illuski.
The Moonshaes are forested, boggy, somewhat mountainous, wet and chilly. It’s a land of mists and mystic shadows; of cloud-wraiths on the purple mountains; of weird silences in the lonely hills, and fitful skies of deepest gloom alternating with gorgeous sunset splendors.
The Ffolk are stubborn, hard-working pragmatists with a reputation for their fiery tempers, but they also love their land with ferocious devotion. They’re ruled by nobles who serve a king under oath to the High King; peasants are chiefly fishers and shepherds. Oddly enough, despite their pragmatic natures the people are heavily superstitious, particularly regarding the fey. This is a land where all forces are dealt with as the supernatural, and despite the attempts of the nobility to lead the people to a more enlightened view of the world through worship of the gods, most still worship nature in the old ways, and druids are said to come and go among the people, held in deep respect and awe. Outlanders are usually not welcome among the Ffolk, for often they’re thieves or rivals to the petty kings.
The Northlanders are chiefly raiders, and their culture reflects it; it’s shameful for a warrior to wear decoration he hasn’t taken from a fallen foe. This is known as “paying the iron price.” Their skalds are also respected, for these poets are all most ever know of their history and of the gods. While they are superstitious, they treat the subject of their superstitions (which center around the gods and giants, mischievous dwarves and crafty trolls) with familiarity; unlike the Ffolk, they have many tales of men dealing with the supernatural and coming out on top through their cleverness. Northlanders dwell in half-buried houses and great longhalls when they aren’t off raiding.
The usual gods of the Realms aren’t usually worshipped on the Moonshaes; the Ffolk hold to Chauntea, the new aspect of their beloved Earthmother, though some also make offerings to Silvanus. The Northlanders have their own odd beliefs, but do worship Tempus, Auril, Umberlee, Talos, Tyr and Chauntea.
The Waterdhavian Navy
The High King of the Ffolk
The Church of the Chauntea
The nobles of the Ffolk
The merchant ship captains
Local conflicts and dangers
The Ffolk vs. the Northlanders
The Northlanders vs. the people of the Sword Coast North
Dark Druidess vs. the Ffolk
Wolves, boars, bears
Fairies, giants, trolls
Priests of outside religions
Local governments vs. ancient religious traditions
• “elf-shot” – acting oddly or in love
• “the Fair Folk” – elves and the fey
• the home of the great shaggy moorhound
• “hÿgge” – a Northlander term meaning something akin to both fun and cozy
• “tvekamp” – a Northlander contest of strength, wit and fighting skill, usually performed on a rock in the surf
• “boggins” – goblins
• “For the King!” – standard battle cry
Local traits and facts
1. The Moonshaes are known for their odd local cuisine, their sailors and their archers. The people are survivors, hard-working and enduring.
2. The Ffolk are generally armed with farming tools (such as pitchforks) and bows; professional fighters wear a tabard over their armor with the colors of their liege lord, scale armor with helms, tallshields, swords and longbows.
3. Giants, ogres and great boars are native to the region, as are red chickens (a local breed with brick-red plumage).
4. Nonhumans are viewed with awe and/or suspicion; elves are rarely seen and are honored, but other races (and particularly goblin-kin) are discriminated.
5. Locals like to drink, brag and tell stories (ancient but disturbing tales of the fey are popular); hunting, horse racing, jousting and music are popular among the nobility.
6. Druids are held in great respect by the commoners and come and go as they please; people often leave offerings to them to ensure their goodwill.
7. The sea is the second great love of the islanders, second only to that for their land itself.