North of the Empire of Ashua, across a wide sea, there are two major cultures currently in conflict, modeled somewhat after the ancient Celts and Vikings. The first culture is the Dannu, and they are a loose confederation of tribes and chieftains primarily concerned with preserving their culture against incursion from outside. They are centered in the hinterland, far from the southern coast, and are more agrarian than their warlike neighbors and have not left behind the ways of hunter-gatherers entirely. They worship a pantheon of deities who all serve Dannu, the mother deity, in the capacity of patron deities arising form nature or from heroes of the legendary past who have been raised to that status. Their leader is the high priestess of Dannu, which is not a hereditary position but is one that has rise to prominence because of her capacity to preserve the tribes who are allied with her.
Along the coasts are the Torbeorn, who also call themselves the Second Men. They serve the storm-God Mir among a pantheon of deities, many of which are openly hostile to mortals. They are fishers and seafarers of great skill and are supported by light cultivation and raiding. They have been united under the banner of the strongest warlord in generations, Arren Skyhelm, whose heirs have set their sights on founding a kingdom of their own. The so-called Second Men are known across the sea in the Empire of Ashua as raiders and traders and ironworkers of great skill, depending on the generation. This volatile relationship has prevented alliances in the past, something Arren’s ambitious heirs wish to rectify.
Final Note: This is the setting which, because it is loosely based on Europe, is the most similar to a ‘standard’ fantasy setting. It is best suited to what might be called the ‘standard’ fantasy game which revolves around small groups of heroes going on quests and heroically facing great evil. It is also a setting that lends itself to a seasonal rythm – the winters are fierce and long and result in five months where there is very little travel or work of any kind. Later on, I will talk about genetic castes in Epic, and it is very possible to interpret them in terms of more standard fantasy races in a lot of ways.