Norn Lore

Appearance

Norn are very humanoid in appearance; in fact, the only visible difference between the norn and humans in terms of physiology is size. A norn is several heads taller than their human counterparts, and their huge frames usually sport large, muscled limbs. Commonly, norn are also heavier-set; the increased fat stores may be evolutionary due to their cold-weather environment or merely a byproduct of their culture, which puts an emphasis on food and drink.

Beyond these differences, though, norn are very similar to humans, coming in all natural flesh tones and hair colors, though it tends to vary based on location. Norn that live in the Shiverpeaks tend to be paler, but a norn that lives further south in a sunnier climate may have a ruddy or even dark tone instead.

Norn clothing is very distinctive due to the high amount of skin that is often exposed. The exact reason for this custom is unstated, but the norn body exerts much heat, and the amount of exposed skin may assist in keeping cool. However, it may also have come from the desire to show off extensive bodily tattoos, which are very common among norn.

Life’s Story

The greatest moments of a norn’s life are the ones that bring him or her great renown and will be sung about by friends, neighbors, and descendants for many years to come. The building of one’s legend is the mission of every norn’s life, regardless of their occupation or personal standing, and they are on a constant quest for the next great trophy to add to to their hall.

Norn often seek their glory through the besting of fearsome beasts or achieving amazing feats. However, norn can make a competition worth talking about out of nearly activity, from traveling far or forging a great weapon, to even more everyday activities such as eating, drinking, brawling, or storytelling.

Whatever your norn chooses to do with his or her life, he or she should seek to be the master of it, and to make it a worthy event to be spoken about for weeks, months, or even years.

The Spirits

Norn believe in the Spirits of the Wild, which are the embodiment of the great animals that roam their people’s lands. These spirits are revered by the norn and seek to emulate the attributes of their spirit animals. Most norn have a totem spirit that they specifically seek to follow, and one of the questions during character creation will ask which your character feels drawn to.

Four Spirits in particular are celebrated by norn culture and are credited as having led the norn people away from the danger of the dragon Jormag after it awoke in their original territory over 150 years prior to the start of Guild Wars 2. They each have their own lodge dedicated to them in Hoelbrak, and each has a “havroun”, a norn shaman, that is the connection from those spirits as they exist in the Mists and the living world. Every norn can also take a hybrid physical form that transforms them into an embodiment of the Spirits.

The four main Spirits of the norn are:
Bear – embodies strength and fortitude. She is often called the Great Spirit due to her prominence in norn culture.
Snow Leopard – embodies subtlety and independence.
Raven – embodies intelligence and craftiness. He is associated with the Underworld.
Wolf – embodies loyalty and fierceness.

There are also other Spirits of the Wild, such as Dolyak, Owl, Eagle, and Wolverine, but they have been lost after the norn exodus to the south, and are presumed dead. They are still revered by some, especially for their sacrifice, but they do not have a havroun and the norn cannot shift into their forms.

There is also a group of male norn called the Sons of Svanir that, instead of revering the traditional Spirits, revere the dragon Jormag because of its great power that exceeds that of the animal spirits. The Sons of Svanir are, in many cases, corrupted by the dragon’s magic and seek to cause destruction, and are the “evil” faction for the norn.

Relationships With Others

Norn are highly independent and are not often found in large groups, preferring to live in smaller groups at a homestead or simply traveling alone from place to place. They do not have governments or armies, and any individual norn has few loyalties to anything or anyone beyond that of their family and friends.

Families take varying forms based on the wishes of the norn that make up those families. Courtship is often a compeitive process, and two norn will not even consider marriage unless they and their community are sufficiently convinced that they are of equal reputation and renown. Mothers and fathers may not necessarily live together, and children can live with either parent. Norn are not particularly defined by the relationships they have with their families, and the reputation of one family member does not extend to the others.

(source Guild Wars 2 role play wiki)

Your Norn Character

When you create your norn character, you will choose a Spirit of the Wild to follow. Will you harness the strength of Bear, run with the pack like Wolf, move with Snow Leopard’s cunning, or let the wisdom of Raven guide you? As your norn character increases in level, they will acquire the ability to shape-shift into an animalistic form based on your totem Spirit.
Your norn character’s adventure begins in the wild and dangerous Wayfarer Foothills, not far from the great hall of Hoelbrak, the largest norn settlement in the Shiverpeaks. It is here you will write the first chapter in your great saga—may the skaalds sing your praise!

(taken from GW2 game guide)

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