Human—Gharnoth Barbarian Tribes, Western
The Western Gharnoth are tribes of barbarian humans that dwell throughout the forests, plains, and mountains east of the Varanthus region. The Gharnoth tribes recently migrated into the region from lands further east and north-east. The Western Gharnoth tribes are culturally and ethnically related to their cousins of the Eastern Gharnoth. The Gharnoth tribes—both the Western and Eastern Gharnoth—are relatives to the Valdar barbarians—a people that live in the cold mountains and dark forests of the distant northern lands of Vandia, Ghalmar, Ussallia, and Pahlanda. Loremasters and sages believe that the Gharnoth tribes originally come from the Goteland Islands, a group of large, rugged islands off of the southern coast of Ussallia.
The Eastern Gharnoth tribes have settled in lands far to the east and north-east, and differ from the Western Gharnoth is several salient ways, some of which are noted here: the Eastern Gharnoth have a higher ratio of black hair in their appearance; the Eastern Gharnoth are nomadic and pastoral, living in mobile tent-villages and travelling exclusively by horseback, as well as rugged, eight-wheeled wagons; the Eastern Gharnoth deploy military forces that are exclusively horse-cavalry, including heavily-armoured lancers and swift-moving mounted horse-archers; in political government, the Eastern Gharnoth not only have males ruling tribes as chieftains, but women may become chieftains as well; in addition, larger confederations of Eastern Gharnoth tribes that are organized into kingdoms may be ruled by kings or queens.
The Gharnoth are fair-skinned, very tall, and have strong, powerful physiques. The Western Gharnoth typically have eyes of Midnight-Blue, Ice-Blue, Blue-Grey, or Ice-Grey color. Western Gharnoth usually have ash-blonde, golden-blonde, or honey-blonde hair. The Gharnoth are well-known for being handsome, and very attractive. The Gharnoth are fond of all manner of jewelry, for either sex, though both sexes favor clothing of solid, darker colors. Male Gharnoth typically wear thick, wild beards and grow their hair in long, thick masses to the middle of their back. Female Gharnoth usually wear their hair in long, wild masses, either straight or occasionally curled, as well as braided. Gharnoth women typically grow their long, to middle of their back, their waist or hips in length. Gharnoth barbarians speak the native language of Gharnoth.
N.B. Player characters are encouraged to review the Gharnoth Character Tables, presented below.
Gharnoth Character Tables
Gharnoth Character Skin Tone
Dice Roll/Skin Tone
Gharnoth Characters Hair
Dice Roll/Hair Color
01-10%: Brassy Blonde
11-30%: Ash Blonde
31-40%: Flaxen Blonde
41-60%: Golden Blonde
61-80%: Honey Blonde
81-85%: Platinum Blonde
86-89%: Brown, Reddish
90-92%: Brown, Chestnut
93-95%: Brown, Golden
96-98%: Brown, Honey
99-00%: Brown, Dark
Gharnoth Characters Eyes
Dice Roll/Eye Color
01-20%: Bright Blue
21-35%: Midnight Blue
36-55%: Ice Blue
Gharnoth Height and Weight Tables
Male Gharnoth Base Height: 6’0”-7’2”; (5’10”+2d8”);
Average Height: 6’6”
Male Gharnoth Base Weight: 216-360-lbs; (200+16d10);
Average Weight: 280-lbs.
Female Gharnoth Base Height: 5’8”-6’10”; (5’6”+2d8”);
Average Height: 6’2”
Female Gharnoth Base Weight: 136-280-lbs; (120+16d10);
Average Weight: 200-lbs.
The Western Gharnoth are ruled by a powerful king, who reigns over numerous tribes, with each tribe ruled by a strong chieftain. The Gharnoth king is elected to the throne by the high council, made up of various nobles, warriors, shamans, and elders drawn from all of the tribes. The high council elects a king, who traditionally rules for the duration of his life. While the succession is often hereditary, it is not necessarily so, and the high council has the right and authority to select a king from beyond the royal family of the king.
The Western Gharnoth are renowned as ferocious, cunning warriors, diligent and tenacious farmers, and daring, intrepid sailors. The Gharnoth are skilled in weaponsmithing, armoursmithing, and metallurgy, as well as engineering and stonemasonry. Besides these skills, the Gharnoth are known for crafting fine tools, implements, various tableware, great hunting and drinking horns, as well as fine jewelry of silver and gold. In warfare, beyond being ferocious and brutal warriors, the Gharnoth are known to be shrewd tacticians and resourceful in exploiting the weather, natural elements, and the local terrain at every opportunity.
The Gharnoth form their settlements into fortified towns and villages when good land is available, though many Gharnoth tribes remain more or less nomadic and pastoral. The Gharnoth keep herds of cattle, as well as goats and sheep, pigs, chickens, and various birds for food and trade. The Western Gharnoth values their herds of horses the most, however, and well-armoured cavalry forces are a key element of Gharnoth warfare. The Gharnoth embrace a mixed economy, using traditional bartering systems as well as coins in conducting trade.
In marriage, a Gharnoth husband enjoys great social and sexual freedom, and may have more than one wife at the same time, as well as various mistresses, lovers, slaves and concubines. The Gharnoth wife also enjoys great social and sexual freedom, and while she may have many lovers, slaves and concubines, she may only have one husband at a time.
Polygamous; Loose, Informal, Concubinage
Loose: People involved have varying expectations of absolute sexual fidelity and exclusivity; mistresses, lovers, and so on are fairly common, and generally accepted.
Informal: The culture has no strict requirements concerning divorce, and divorce is relatively easy and simple to do, with no social, religious or cultural stigmas for anyone involved. In addition, children born out of wedlock are not subject to being outcasts, and may be common and entirely accepted.
Concubinage: The culture embraces the custom of maintaining concubines for a married person, whether male or female. In the cases where concubines provide children, the children have some rights of inheritance. In addition, concubines have an official, legal and social status, and enjoy specific social, legal and inheritance rights.
The Gharnoth religion embraces an ancient pantheon of savage, barbaric deities, led by a patriarchal god of war, storms, and mountains. The Gharnoth revere a “Great Mother” goddess, though she is the wife and secondary to the king of the Gharnoth pantheon. The Gharnoth pantheon has deities of fire, the earth, rivers, fertility, beasts, forests, hunting, trade, craftsmanship, fate, chaos, death, darkness and the moon, as well as various spirits of the natural elements. Gharnoth society is served spiritually by shamans—both male and female—as well as witches, which are exclusively female.
The Gharnoth tribes have many religious celebrations honoring the gods throughout the year. Some of their celebrations and religious customs possess intriguing traditions, such as the following:
Every year, just at the beginning of spring, but before the great fertility festivals of Freyja and Ostara are celebrated, the end of the cold winter months is celebrated by a festival honoring the great mother-goddess in her fertility aspect in which the shamans of the goddess Hloudana bring an enchanted wagon in a great journey through the lands of the Gharnoth, where the procession visits all of the tribes in turn. The enchanted wagon is pulled by a team of sacred cows, and at each village, encampment or town, the Gharnoth hold great feasts, with drinking, dancing, and merriment. During the days or at most a week or so of the sacred procession and feasts, all Gharnoth avoid warfare, and are forbidden to raise arms against each other.
In various celebrations and feasts held in honor of Woden throughout the year, selected slaves and war-prisoners are ritually sacrificed to the great, fierce god, through ritual torture and then they are hung upon a grove of trees by barbed hooks and chains, allowing the ravens to feast upon them during their final hours.
The Gharnoth have many methods of divination that are popular, though the most sacred form of divination that each tribe uses is ritual divination through the shamans observing and listening to the neighing of a herd of milk-white horses. The sacred herds of milk white horses are blessed by the gods, and the Gharnoth believe that the sacred white horses are enchanted and magical creatures, blessed with strange powers and knowledge from the spirit-world. The sacred herds of milk-white horses are kept in a special grove of trees where they live close to the tribal community.
The Gharnoth gods are described below:
Woden—Woden is the supreme god of the Gharnoth pantheon, and a powerful god of war, magic, prophecy, and knowledge.
Sunna—Sunna is a sister to Mani, and is the goddess of the sun. She is also a goddess of fire, knowledge, mysteries, healing, and prophecy. Sunna is invoked in marriage ceremonies, and is a patron and guardian of women, pregnant women, and children.
Mani—Mani is a sister to Sunna, and is a goddess of the moon, darkness, magic and knowledge.
Freyja—Freyja is the goddess of love, sexuality, passion, and fertility.
Sibbia—Sibbia is the wife of Donar, and is a goddess of fertility, friendship, crafts, loyalty, valor, and war.
Hloudana—Hloudana is a supreme mother-goddess, and is the wife of Woden. Hloudana is a fertility goddess. Hloudana is goddess of nature, fertility, forests, the wilderness, and wild beasts.
Baduhenna—Baduhenna is a ferocious and beautiful goddess of war, battle, daring and savagery.
Ostara—Ostara is a goddess of fertility, spring, rain, rivers, animals and joy.
Tiews—Tiews is a god of single combat, honor, nobility, victory, and heroic glory.
Donar—Donar is a son to Woden, and the god of thunder, lightning, war, strength, and battle-frenzy.
Hretha—Goddess of trade, wisdom, knowledge, music, poetry, and healing
Geldric—Geldric is a god of forests, hunting, archery, and wild beasts.
Aldmar—Aldmar is a god of poetry, music, dancing, secrets, and knowledge.
Weland—Weland is a muscular, powerful god of crafts, smithing, knowledge, and magic
Holla—Holla is a supreme goddess of birth, death, reincarnation, darkness, magic, chaos, and the underworld. Holla is mother to Berchta, Luka.
Hagamar—Hagamar is a fierce god of the war, mountains, winter, and storms. Hagamar is a husband to Holla.
Herja—Herja is a goddess of darkness, war, savagery, beauty, passion, and murder.
Berchta—Berchta is a goddess of the forests, rainstorms, darkness, savagery, and wild beasts.
Luka—Luka is a powerful god of chaos, darkness, fire, trickery, and magic.
Idisi—Divine spirit-creatures of war, valor, fertility, and wisdom. The Idisi serve the gods of the Gharnoth pantheon. Idisi are often sent into the mortal realm to serve as lovers, advisors, and guardians to favoured heroes and champions. The Idisi sometimes provide aid to warriors in battle, and carry the spirits of those who have fallen in battle to the afterworld, and eternal glory.
The Gharnoth deploy military forces recruited from the tribes, and are led by champions, chieftains, nobles, as well as the king. The Gharnoth forces are composed of skirmishers to harass and raid the enemy, as well as infantry units, bands of berserkers, and large forces of cavalry. The Gharnoth deploy light cavalry as skirmishers and raiders, and their famous heavy cavalry, which features many of their greatest noble warriors, heavily armoured and armed with shields, axes, lances, swords, and bows. The Gharnoth heavy cavalry also provide their prized war horses with a full kit of chainmail armor.
Cultural Weapons and Armor
Gharnoth Tribal Weaponry and Armor
Leather Armor (AC 8)
Hide Armor (Leather, particular treated animal and beast hides, and furs; AC 8)
Studded Leather (AC 7)
Scale Mail (AC 6)
Chainmail (AC 5)
Dagger*, Dart, Club, Hand-Axe, Battleaxe, Great Axe*, Shortsword, Broadsword*, Longsword*, Javelin, Spear, Lance, Shortbow, Two-Handed Sword*, Warhammer*, Great Hammer
Dagger, Gharnoth Horsehead*
The Gharnoth Horsehead dagger is a fine weapon, with a strong, 12” straight blade. The dagger gained its name from the stylized horsehead pommel. Gharnoth horsemen typically carry a variant horsehead dagger, which features a slightly curved, 6” blade. Gharnoth horsemen typically carry such a weapon concealed in a slim scabbard on their war-belt, or in a special boot-sheath. The Gharnoth Horsehead Dagger uses 1d4 for weapon damage.
Great Axe, Gharnoth*
The Gharnoth Great Axe features a long, sweeping frontal blade, with a single edge. The blade curves downward to the front of the weapon in a long, graceful arc. The great axe has an extended handle and a skull-crusher design on the pommel. The fearsome Gharnoth Great Axe requires two hands to wield properly, and considerable skill to use effectively in battle. While seeming to be a simple weapon, the great axe is clumsy in the hands of a novice. However, in the hands of a veteran warrior, the great axe is a deadly weapon, capable of harvesting a great carnage of enemies from the battlefield. The Gharnoth Great Axe requires at least a 5’ wide front to use in combat. The Gharnoth Great Axe uses 1d12 for weapon damage.
The Gharnoth Broadsword is a magnificent weapon of war, and features a heavy, finely-balanced blade 4‘long, 4” wide, and immensely strong, as well as flexible. The Gharnoth Broadsword has a 12” long handle, straight hand-guards of fine steel, and a pommel carved into two blended wolf-heads, each facing opposite from each other. The broadsword pommel decoration, while serving as an effective skull-crusher, also refers to the brotherhood between the Western Gharnoth, and their cousin tribes of the Eastern Gharnoth, who have settled lands far to the north-east. The Gharnoth Broadsword, while similar in form to smaller broadswords, is finely-balanced, but also much heavier than a standard broadsword, and requires a 14 Strength or greater, to use effectively. The Gharnoth Broadsword uses 1d10 for weapon damage.
The Gharnoth Longsword features a finely-balanced blade that is 4 ½ feet long, with a fairly slender blade that features a slight, graceful curve through the entire length of the blade. The Gharnoth Longsword is an outstanding weapon for foot soldiers, though the weapon is particularly favoured by the Gharnoth horsemen. The Gharnoth Longsword uses 1d8 for weapon damage.
Two-Handed Sword, Gharnoth*
The Gharnoth Great Sword is an awesome blade, which is very popular with Gharnoth berserkers and elite assault troops. The Gharnoth Great Sword has a handle that is 18” long, with a two-headed wolf pommel, which also has a skull-crusher on the wolf-head’s crown. The Gharnoth Great Sword has a 5 ½’ foot long blade, with a sweeping edge, that meets a gently-tapered point. The great sword’s pommel decoration, while serving as an effective skull-crusher, also refers to the brotherhood between the Western Gharnoth, and their cousin tribes of the Eastern Gharnoth, who have settled lands far to the north-east. The Gharnoth Great Sword uses 2d6 for weapon damage.
The Gharnoth Warhammer features a finely-crafted double head, and a 3’long handle. Each head is forged of gleaming steel, and crafted with hexagonal heads. The pommel is carved into a fearsome dragon’s head, and is specially weighted to provide balance with the weapon-heads. The Gharnoth Warhammer is a design that blends perfectly forged striking power, with a flexible, light-weight shaft and handle. The Gharnoth Warhammer is an excellent footman’s weapon, and is wickedly effective in hand-to-hand fighting. The Gharnoth Warhammer uses 1d8 for weapon damage. Anyone wielding a Gharnoth Warhammer in battle gains a +2 bonus to Initiative rolls.