Surrounded as they are by the glorious remnants of a bygone age, it is an understandable mistake to discount the threat the mortal populace of Manheim represents. This would be a mistake, almost invariably a fatal one. These are a people who have survived Ragnarök, the Twilight of the Gods, the Fimbülwinter that followed and the Rule of the Jötnar. Mere survival in Manheim is an accomplishment and when one faces Nord raiders, one does not face those who merely survived, but those who thrived.
Each year, hopeful youths gather at Aarheim or one of the lesser coastal settlements for a spot on the long ships. Competition is fierce, but seldom lethal, as manpower and healthy workers are always in demand in the harsh Nord lands. Those that succeed are rewarded with one of the few chances at advancement in the North: raiding.
While a single successful raid can see all of the crew return wealthy enough to support the entire community for years, a successful series of raids can find a humble raider chosen by his liege to join his Huskarls. Huskarls, and their families, need not toil for survival. Their sword arms and discipline are in such high demand their lords see to all their needs allowing Huskarls to spend their time training and sparring, making them a formidable force on the battlefield.
Particularly successful and ambitious Huskarls often rise to the rank of Jarl themselves, employing Huskarls of their own to protect their lands and property. From there, they are only a single deed away from being recognized by the High King and joining the ranks of the Nord Konungyr at the High Table in Aarheim…
Deeper in the shadows, often hidden behind misdirection and bodyguards, walk the Shamen and Volvas of the North. The Shamen are powerful figures whose auguries can send the raiding fleets hurtling across the icy expanse of the White Wastes. The Volvas have been preaching the divinity of the Einherjar to all who will listen and their cults have been growing steadily despite fierce opposition from the very objects of their reverence. Relegated to advisory roles, their words and workings are seldom ignored by those in power, for their influence plays a pivotal role in the motivation and guidance of the Nord war hosts.