Setting Info – Hyperborean Cultures

Here’s some background for the Hyperborean cultures. The adventure takes place in Brigand’s Bay, which has a racially-diverse population: In addition to characters of “Common” stock, Kelt, Skandik, (renegade) Picts, Kimmerian (and Kimmeri-Kelt), and Eskuit are all acceptable. I’ve greyed out unlikely options.

Nine “pure” cultures of man are extant in Hyperborea, plus two notable hybrid peoples. Otherwise, admixtures and men of indeterminate ancestry are considered “common” stock. For purposes of game play, choosing a specific player character background is not necessary; when in doubt, simply select a “common” man or woman. Selecting a specific culture can be an enjoyable role-playing device. You might also create a character whose pedigree includes two or three strains; e.g., the son of an Amazon woman and a Skandik man can make for an interesting character.

  • COMMON: Men of mixed or indeterminate ancestry, with variable height, build, complexion, hair colour, and eye colour.
  • AMAZON: Renowned for its caste of tall and robust warrior-women, with light to olive complexion, black to auburn hair, and blue or hazel eyes.
  • ATLANTEAN: Medium-built men of glaucous complexion, black or blond hair, aquiline features, and pale grey or yellow eyes. Do not generally mix with the other races of man.
  • ESKUIT: A dark-complexioned aboriginal people. Coastal Eskuit subsist off the sea, hunting seal and whale and fishing from their sealskin kayaks; while Tundra Eskiut roam the tundra herding reindeer, raising sled dogs, and hunting mammoth.
  • HYPERBOREAN: Extremely tall men (c. 7-foot males, 6½-foot females) of milk-white skin, golden hair, and violet eyes; some females have blue-black hair. Reputed to live 200 or more years. Reputed to be sexually incompatible with the other races.
  • IXIAN: Tall, narrow-shouldered, hook-nosed men of dusky grey skin and beady black eyes. Their women are raven-haired beauties with emerald eyes.
  • KELT: Barrel-chested men of red, brown, or auburn hair. Kelts are of fair and oft-freckled complexion, their eyes blue, green, or hazel.
  • KIMMERIAN: Large-boned men of fair to weather-bronzed skin, black hair, steel grey eyes, and thick, blue-black beards.
  • Kimmeri-Kelt: The by-blows of Kimmerian and Kelt unions. The Kimmerian dark hair is a dominant trait; likewise the Keltic freckled complexion.
  • PICT: Compact, broad-shouldered men with long torsos and short legs. Typically they have green eyes and dense, wavy, orange-red hair. Pictish women are usually petite, no taller than five feet. The men are ruddily complexioned, but the women are almost always fair-skinned, both sexes being heavily freckled.
  • Half-Blood Pict (Tlingit): The by-blows of Pictish men and Tlingit women. They tend to be leaner and more swarthily complexioned, with straight, black hair and brown or hazel eyes.
  • SKANDIK: Robust, fair-skinned men with blond or red hair and blue or hazel eyes. Their women are lean and strong-boned, many as physically gifted as Amazon women.

Other Cultures: With referee approval, other strains might exist in small numbers, arriving through the boreas from Earth’s past or future, or perhaps from other worlds. Remnants of past migratory races (largely considered extinct) might persist in small numbers: Angles, Saxons, Moors, Greeks, Romans, Rus, Finns, Lapps, Yakuts, and Valusians; to name a few.

Hyperborea HR


About K-Slacker

Gamer and 5th-level magic-user.
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3 Responses to Setting Info – Hyperborean Cultures

  1. K-Slacker says:

    Note to self… here’s the “Arms of Hyperborea” post from odd74:

  2. K-Slacker says:

    Viking Skandik Arms & Armour

    Despite their reputation for barbarity, Viking Skandik smiths craft fine steel weapons and armour, pattern-welding swords and knives and forging great axes and spears, creating a range of edged weaponry beloved of the local warriors. Viking Skandik warriors often give their weapons names such as “Foe-Biter”.

    Melee Weapons

    No Viking Skandik, male or female, young or old, is ever without a utilitarian guardless dagger, some single-edged, some double-edged.

    A simple short spear with a leaf-shaped blade is the most common weapon among Vikings Skandiks after the dagger. The greatest warriors are said to be able to throw two at once.

    The sword is the most prestigious Viking Skandik weapon, a double-edged, straight-bladed slashing longsword with a short grip, broad pommel, and simple crossguard. A weapon of the wealthier warrior, the sword is often attributed mystical significance based on the pattern-welding it displays.

    Less ubiquitous than the spear, and less beloved than the sword, the axe is nonetheless a popular Viking Skandik weapon. A hand axe with a slightly-curved axehead ideal for throwing is not unusual to find thrust through a warrior’s belt. The most common waraxe is the bearded axe, so named because of the downward hook of its blade, and is produced as battle axes and longer-handled great axes. Massive in size with a broad, cleaving axehead, the pale axe is a powerful great axe, but rarer than the bearded axe.

    A very rare weapon, the hewing spear (atgeir) is a 6’ long wooden shaft with a long, narrow cutting and thrusting blade attached, somewhat like a narrow, thrusting bardiche, and is the only pole arm of Viking Skandik design.

    Ranged Weapons

    Although they far prefer melee combat, or to hurl a good spear, Viking Skandik warriors are not averse to missile weapons, and when needed or when hunting, they often use a simple short bow made from yew or a sling.


    Even the poorest Viking Skandik warrior invests in a sturdy shield and helmet, and those with greater means purchase chain mail also; Viking Skandik warriors prefer the protection of a well-made chainmail hauberk or byrnie, when they can afford it, though berserkers are known to eschew these in favour of animal skins.

    The standard Viking Skandik shield is a large, circular shield of wood covered in decorated fabric or leather with a reinforced rim.

    A Viking Skandik helmet is a simple steel dome, sometimes with the addition of a protective nasal or visor around the eyes. A rare few also sport a mail veil.

  3. K-Slacker says:

    Keltic Arms & Armour

    Keltic warriors invest much more in their weapons than their armour; indeed, it is not unknown for Kelts to enter battle skyclad, protected only by a shield, especially those prone to ríastrad (battle frenzy) akin to the Viking berserkers.

    Melee Weapons

    Daggers with leaf-shaped blades and anthropoidal hilts are found everywhere in Keltic society, and the truly poor bring stout, carved wooden clubs to bear, but the short spear, with a leaf-shaped spearhead, is found in the hands of every Keltic warrior. Kelts have even been known to catch spears thrown at them by their foes, only to turn them around and cast them back at their enemies.

    Nearly as frequent as the spear is the Keltic longsword with its long, narrow, double-edged blade, and anthropoidal hilt. A handful of warriors wield the Kelt-Iberian falcata instead, but it is very far from common.

    Uncommon Keltic arms include a narrow-bladed hand axe, and a mace with a wooden shaft and simple flanged or studded iron striking head.

    Following a history of skirmishes with Kimmerian horsemen, the Keltic tribes also developed the spiked staff, a cheap and effective anti-cavalry weapon.

    Ranged Weapons

    Aside from a spear and sword, nearly every Keltic warrior is wont to bear two or three javelins for use at range, these resembling nothing so much as short, light spears.

    Those unable to bear the cost of such weapons have been known to use handstones, fist-sized stones kept in the hollow of the shield until they can be retrieved and throw when opportune, though more make effective use of slings, staff-slings, and short bows.


    Keltic warriors bear shields in preference to any other armours. Keltic infantry shields are elongated wooden ovals or hexagons reinforced with a horizontal wooden spine, and faced with decorated leather or felt. Those wielded by the skilled Keltic cavalry are round instead, and fronted with a metal boss.

    After the shield, the Keltic helmet is favoured, a deep steel bowl with a narrow brim, neckguard, and broad hinged cheekguards. Unlike the Vikings, a few wealthier Kelts are known to purchase helmets with ornamental horns, feathered wings, horsehair plumes, and crests featuring the war symbol of a spoked chariot wheel.

    Only the most well-to-do Kelts wear armour, inevitably a chainmail byrnie reinforced with an extra layer of mail over the shoulders and across the top of the back.

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