Ulfang is a vast, towering fortress in the farthest northern reaches of the Bitter Heights, an elevated peninsula in a nearly constant winter. The kingdom is the successor state of Uldurok, but out of a will to survive, Ulfang has worked hard to ensure good relations with its neighbors. Despite these good relations the kingdom is not considered trustworthy, and there are still tensions. King Alzurus rules with an iron fist, and the High Sorcerer Ildrazza, leading his dark school of mages, may be the most powerful being in Laria. Further fueling the fear and mistrust from the southern kingdoms is Ulfang’s formidable warriors.
Dark pine forests cover most of the Bitter Heights, and are important part of Ulfang’s identity. The infamous northmen, barbarian tribes of particular ferocity, are the cultural ancestor of the kingdom. Today nearly all of them are citizens, but they were once an unruled and independent people with a bloody history. The northmen’s warrior culture contributes much to the strength of Ulfang’s armies.
Ulfang is a warlike kingdom. The great fortress was once the seat of an ancient kingdom named Uldurok, which, ages ago, attempted to conquer all of Laria and very nearly succeeded. After its defeat, Uldurok was stamped out of existence by its allied enemies, but the royal bloodline survived. King Alzurus now rules over Ulfang, and he is a descended from that line. Alzurus is cold, calculating, and ruthless, however he has resolved not to repeat the mistakes of his forebears. He will do anything to advance his kingdom short of open war, so he maintains just enough peace with his neighbors to avoid serious conflict. Alzurus believes power and fear are the key to good governance.
The people of Ulfang are fierce warriors, thrust into violence at an early age. They take much pride in their kingdom. Ulfang’s armies wear frightening black armor festooned with spikes and chains. Underneath they wear heavy furs, for the high elevation of the Bitter Heights makes Ulfang essentially a snow-kingdom. King Alzurus may be ruthless, but strongly believes in order and obedience. The people of Ulfang are certainly considered evil by others, but since the punishments for lawlessness are so terribly severe, citizens behave themselves quite well. Many people fear to travel into the Bitter Heights, but foreigners who have the intention of commerce are actually protected by law, for the King knows that Ulfang cannot survive without trade. A few trade caravans do make regular trips up the winding stair to the plateau above, and many individuals brave the trip to Ulfang to come to its famous (or infamous) market.
The merchants at Ulfang have many wares which are illegal in other kingdoms. Outside of the Bitter Heights, such items can only be found on the black market and must be purchased at exorbitant rates. This attracts people from all over the continent, and gives the Ulfang market a reputation for being a gathering place for some of Laria’s more interesting characters. The road leading to the fortress of Ulfang is heavily patrolled by soldiers, not only to keep order but also to protect foreign merchants.
During the destruction of Ulduruok, certain members of the royal family fled and survived. After the occupation forces left the Bitter Heights there began a bloody contest for the throne. Unexpectedly, a half blood prince was able to best the other contenders and secure himself the kingship. His name was Thigrak the Great, son of a barbarian chieftain and a daughter from the royal family.
Thigrak consolidated his rule with further violence, and refashioned the kingdom in a way that reflected his mixed blood. Uldurok became Ulfang, and its culture became that of a warrior culture, emphasizing honor and strength but also maintaining the sense of a civilized and noble past by implementing an uncompromisable rule of law which brought order to the realm, and a civilized, central authority from the King and his court. Like Uldurok, Ulfang had a cadre of sorcerers who were given the freedom and resources to study dark magics, and they were led by the great Ildrazza, one of the oldest living Elves. Ildrazza is an enigmatic figure, a sorcerer with terrible power and great knowledge, ever devoted to darkness. During the years of the Great War, he was the High Sorcerer of Uldurok, and now claimed the same title in the fledgling kingdom of Ulfang. From Thigrak Ildrazza was given a place to freely pursue whatever studies he wished, and in return he gave his wise counsel to the King, and was ever ready to use his great powers to advance the kingdom. Ildrazza has always been loyal to his patron kingdom, but always has his own motives and designs, and none know what those may be.
And so the new kingdom arose and became a new bastion of evil men, and the people of the south became troubled. However, Thigrak started a pattern which was continued by successive kings of Ulfang, and that was to not repeat the mistakes of Uldurok. Ulfang has kept its relations with the southern kingdoms good enough to live in relative harmony. There is trade between Ulfang and the rest of Laria, trade which is encouraged by its leadership who understand that trade generates wealth. However there have always been tensions, for Ulfang has ever desired power and domination.
In the eyes of the kingdoms of Laria, the kingdom of Ulfang is known for their warriors. The armies of Ulfang are always clad in jet black armor festooned with spikes. Southerners tell dreadful stories of the Black Horde, which is the nickname for Ulfang’s footsoldiers. These are their shock troops, great warriors clad in heavy plate, wielding great maces and tower shields. Few armies can withstand a direct charge, which is a point of pride for Ulfang. Once they hit a certain age, all the males in Ulfang are sent to harsh training in the unforgiving northern forests of the Bitter Heights. Strength and combat prowess are prized, and combat games are a regular practice amongst peasant communities.