The Tribe of the White Worm, or simply White Worm, were a barbarian tribe dwelling in northern Vaasa, beside the Great Glacier, and in the Earthspur Mountains around the Glacier of the White Worm, in north Faerûn. They saw the white worm—an albino remorhaz—as their totem beast and were notoriously unwelcoming of strangers. Infamously, they fought for Zhengyi, the Witch-King, but did turn away from his evil.
The folk of White Worm were tall and strongly built. Their hair was fair, typically blond.
Viewing all strangers as threats, White Worm were utterly unwelcoming of outsiders, and offered only harm to those who came upon them. If they came upon a traveler, whether in trouble or not, they would give no aid, but instead take them captive, or more likely kill them on the spot.
White Worm folk felt a near mystical connection and symbiosis with "Nature". This was thought to be a product of their hard lives in the harsh wilds, instilling in them a deep respect and understanding of the power of Nature. Thus, they honored the monstrous creature that posed a very real and ever-present threat to their lives and safety: the white worm. This was a variety of pale, albino remorhaz, and was unique to the region. The barbarians worshiped it as their totem beast, even as their patron deity. Some outsiders speculated they worshiped Tempus, Lord of Battles, as well, but this was unconfirmed.
The Ulk, the tribal shaman, could call upon the spirit of the white worm and enter a trance, in which they took on the powers of the remorhaz, emanating the terrific heat of the worm's back. In a typical ritual, the Ulk would kneel at the center of a ring of the tribe's warriors, exuding this fiery heat. The warriors would spend the night in prayer, warmed only by the heat of their shaman and protected from the harsh glacial winds. Sometimes, the Ulk would execute captives via the searing heat of a single hug.
The champion of White Worm was the "spirit hunter". This was the mightiest warrior of the tribe, magically strengthened and hypnotized by the shaman to fight in a terrible battle-rage and fulfil their quest, and equipped with enchanted weapons like the club Bonecrusher and the sacred white-worm-skin armor. The spirit hunter was then sent into the wilds to battle "evil spirits" invading the tribe's territory. However, in the spirit hunter's altered state, anyone they saw was seen as an evil spirit. This champion was thus doomed to a life of loneliness and constant combat, surviving by their own enhanced strengths, until brought low. Fanatically determined, they would throw themselves at superior foes and numbers, without fear of death. Even when brought to the point of unconsciousness, death, or beyond, the spirit hunter would fight on a few breaths longer. When finally slain, their body transformed into the spirit-like form of a remorhaz, then dissipated on the winds, to be brought back to the tribe. Then they would choose a new spirit hunter, tasked with first hunting down and slaying whoever or whatever had killed the last spirit hunter. Around 1359 DR, the spirit hunter was Hedweck.
The tribe was governed by a chieftain; this was Hea-Rem in 1359 DR. The chieftain was oft-accompanied by a five-strong bodyguard called the "Kura-winther", meaning "Worm-Victors". These were elite warriors, strong and fierce, each of whom had a slain a remorhaz in single combat at least once.
However, in practice, the tribe shaman, known as "the Ulk", wielded greater power than the chieftain. This was a common state of affairs in barbarian tribes.
The tribe was nomadic, though only wandered within the confines of their territory.
White Worm made no regular patrols to guard their land, but their hunting bands, which usually roamed about, served much the same purpose. Their first line of defense was the spirit hunter, who attacked anyone who came upon their lands, hoping to eliminate any possible threat to the tribe.
Base of OperationsEdit
White Worm territory encompassed the frozen steppes of northern Vaasa, stretching the length of the Great Glacier but rarely traveling more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from its edge. They wandered as nomads through this domain. Some White Worm also dwelled around the Glacier of the White Worm in the Earthspur Mountains, on the other side of the Bloodstone Lands. [note 1]
The holy ground and defensive retreat of White Worm was the Ice Run, a vast network of tunnels and sunken trails within the Great Glacier. Only members of White Worm knew how to traverse this hazardous maze, and they often wandered there.
The history of the barbarians prior to their coming to the Bloodstone Lands was unknown; their own traditions told nothing of the time before, and there were no direct connections to any other tribes of Faerûn. Regardless, they were most likely the first human inhabitants of the Bloodstone Lands. They came after the ice of the Great Glacier receded around 1038 DR.
In the mid–14th century DR, the White Worm tribe fell in with Zhengyi the Witch-King, the lich ruler of Vaasa. White Worm fought in his armies in his war against Damara in the Year of the Spur, 1348 DR. However, toward the end of his reign, as the undead wizard's evil nature was revealed, the White Worm tribe lost faith and broke away, turning against the Witch-King and exonerating themselves.
Following the defeat of Zhengyi in the Year of the Serpent, 1359 DR, Baron Gareth Dragonsbane of Damara became interested in reaching out to White Worm, preferring to meet them over the table rather than over the field of battle again. In efforts to establish good diplomatic relations, he sent the monk Kane of the Yellow Rose as an emissary, journeying among them via spirit walking. He was the first outsider to treat with them since Zhengyi's fall, and impressed them by demonstrating his ability to ride the remorhaz, their white worm totem. Kane hoped to make them allies of Damara, or get them to help adventurers in service to Damara exploring Vaasa, or at least to stop them harassing said adventurers. However, he found them difficult to deal with and their lands remained a dangerous place for visitors.
Around 1359 DR, Gareth Dragonsbane of Damara worked to establish diplomatic relations with White Worm and make them more hospitable to strangers. However, they remained thoroughly unwelcoming and hostile.
The few adventurers who managed to have peaceable dealings with the tribe considered them ferocious but honorable.
There was no direct evidence connecting White Worm to any of the other barbarian tribes of Faerûn, but their physical appearance and their culture were close enough to several others to draw links. Scholars studying them, from afar, theorized the White Worm were most likely kin to the tribes of Icewind Dale, whom they closely resembled. Some thought they worshiped Tempus, like the Icewind Dale barbarians, which suggested another link, but this was unproven.
- ↑ The placement of the White Worm tribe near the Glacier of the White Worm in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition may be in error, based on a misunderstanding of The Bloodstone Lands, which placed them only near the Great Glacier, on the other side of the Bloodstone Lands. This is probably due to the presence of "white worms" at both glaciers within the same sourcebook.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), pp. 49–50. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.