The Kingdom of Steelwood

Ulfjall

Name: Úlfjall

Origin: From the Icelander words WOLF and MOUNTAIN – (úlfur) – (fjall)

Description:
The Úlfjall (or in some cases even written Ulfjall) are a race of wolf-men from the mountainous regions of the north.

Physical characteristics:

The Úlfjall differ from the typical human/wolf for several reasons. Their appearance is powerful, normally their average height exceeds two meters in males. Females are slightly smaller. Take note however, there are cases where even the females are as high as a male.

Úlfjall hair is usually red, brown or blacks. In the case of women, they can have also other colors. The body of a male has a broad chest and muscular. They have an athletic appearance. They are rarely as fat because their metabolism is accelerated.
In human form, the Úlfjall are also cautious of water. The almost total lack of body fat makes it impossible to swim. It is for this reason a Úlfjall will rarely agree to go on a boat or wade. Drowning is a leading cause of death for Úlfjall, much more than silver. Normally their bodies are not covered with hair, but in the case of male individuals is easy to notice the presence of a beard after only a few hours after shaving the face.

The eyes have different shades of color. Generally males have eyes blacks, brown or honey-colored. Rarely are there green eyes in males, but the female eye color encompasses all shades including green. The Úlfjall do not like light but prefer dark environments or at least twilight. Their view is acute in the dark. However, during the day their vision is a little lower than human daytime vision. The strong light temporarily blinds them.
A Úlfjall lives much longer than a human being. In some cases their life can last for several centuries.
The Úlfjall are very resistant to cold and diseases, rarely get sick, and in case of serious injury, they tend to heal very quickly.

Mental characteristics:
The character of Úlfjall is not among the easiest to handle. They are generally suspicious of any person not like them. They are smart and intelligent with a strong animal instinct. Their temperament is typically calm with specimens of their species. To those not of their species, they tend to be aggressive and to lose patience easily.
They do not like being called “beasts” or “animals”. However, calling a Úlfjall “wolf” does not create any problem. In fact this is the easiest way to get their sympathy.
The Úlfjall do not like other species that will affect their business. Outsiders taking an interest in what happens within the pack, even with the intent to help, most often leads to conflicts and even violence.

Social characteristics

The Úlfjall live in open packs. Normally the stronger or more important ‘Úlfjall rules the pack which is typically made up of many individuals, in some cases entire villages or cities. The Úlfjall chief is generally identified as King.
Immediately after the King there are a host of individuals, both male and female, who are concerned with managing the daily aspects of the rest of the pack. The rest is divided into warriors, craftsmen, hunters, healers, etc …
There are no real ‘ruling’ ranks within the pack, apart from the figure Leader/King. The remainder of the pack is structured into ‘civil’ ranks, with the ranks based on professions of individuals.

Within a pack there may also be individuals of other species. Such individuals may have difficult tasks of great importance to the pack but most likely many non-Úlfjall will perform services of minor importance such as farmers, guards or simple workers. It is regarded as normal for Úlfjall to have around individuals not of their species. It is important that these non-Úlfjall exist in harmony with the rest of the pack and should respect the Úlfjall rules. Úlfjall do not accept Úlfjall from other packs. Here it should be noted, the Úlfjall are not very tolerant of other species that are organized into packs. Those particular packs are not welcome and the very presence of them is perceived as a great offense or even attack! This perception may degenerate into battles and wars.
Wolves are seen as the progenitors of the species and are welcomed as friends. Humans on the contrary are not well tolerated. There are rare cases in which human beings are accepted into a Úlfjall pack.

However the Úlfjall King may decide that an individual is trustworthy inside or outside of the pack.
The king is usually the strongest one in the pack, but in many cases the title is handed down from father to eldest son or daughter. Within the society of Úlfjall there is not an idea of marriage. Normally Úlfjall choose a mate or a companion for life. It can happen, however, in some cases, that a male has more than one partner and not uncommon to find illegitimate children, half-brothers or half-sisters. These individuals are usually recognized as normal children and they earn the same privileges of parents. Since there is no real marriage, the idea of extended family is normal and accepted for centuries.
Normally there are never a king and a queen Úlfjall at the same time for the reason described above. The leader of the pack can be either male or female, but only one can lead the pack.

Religious Features
The Úlfjall are not very religious, despite some individuals follow the worship of the god Skoll, divinity of the night in lupine form. The kingdoms of Úlfjall are usually devoted to that deity, but temples are rare and most often private. Inside the pack there is freedom of religion, but the majority of individuals are essentially atheistic.
Religious ceremonies take place in most cases during the full moon, when a Úlfjall is at its maximum strength.

Magical features
The Úlfjall were created by Skoll, who seeing in men a weak race, decided to give them a part of his immortal soul. Since then men became Úlfjall.

For this reason a Úlfjall can no longer be defined as a human being but like an evolution of Wolves. This drastic change occurred by the union with the soul of the god Skoll. The long life expectancy of the Úlfjall is one of the key benefits from the union with the soul of Skoll. Because of their long life, the Úlfjall have manage to accumulate more direct knowledge than humans and therefore are much more patient and clever. Many Úlfjall like to gather evidence and collect their findings in writings in libraries.

Another beneficial aspect of being united with Skoll relates to their senses which are much more developed than a human’s. Úlfjall can run for hours without getting tired, perform jumps to greater heights, and heal faster. Their way of thinking is more like a wolf than of human beings. The younger Úlfjall are more likely to act on instinct rather than reasoning. It is not rare that young Úlfjall are the main cause of conflicts between different species.
Their union with Skoll also allows them to transform into a wolf. Úlfjall will rarely exists in this transformed condition as they prefer the human form. It is regarded to being more comfortable. Furthermore, the transformation requires a huge expenditure of energy if carried out when the moon is full.

It may happen that a Úlfjall injured in wolf form is no longer able to return to human form because of the injury or weakness. This is a major problem since, the longer a Úlfjall remains in wolf form, the greater the possibilities that he “forgets” how to get transform into human form; thus becoming forever a wolf and forgetting his old form.
Usually these individuals are then called Ulf. Ulf are welcomed and respected in the community even though in many cases they are no longer able to recognize their relatives or friends. Once transformed into a Ulf their life expectancy becomes like that of a normal wolf, likewise the senses, losing every magic feature.

The full moon plays a key role in the life of the Úlfjall. During the full moon the Úlfjall can turn into a wolf-looking creature, with senses much more refined than when in human form. The transformation substantially reduces the human characteristics of Úlfjall making them far more aggressive and subject to act instinctively. Úlfjall prefer to fight their battles while in this condition for obvious reasons. A Úlfjall in this form is called Úlfjull.
The maximum strength for a Úlfjall is during a full moon. The New Moon on the contrary will prevent any ability to transform. Remaining in lupine form has consequences. If a Úlfjall does not resume human form before sunset during the Full Moon, it can no longer become human. He will grow weaker and die by the next New Moon. Lupine form doesn’t require a lot of energy so It is rare to see a Úlfjall die in lupine form for this reason.

In transformations the Úlfjall remain aware of who they are and keep the memories once back in human form.

The Úlfjall are sensitive to certain elements. Pure silver for example can be deadly to them. Fortunately, most of the silver in circulation is not so pure as to outright kill a Úlfjall but it can cause them serious damage. Most notably is silver poisoning which if left untreated in time will lead a Úlfjall to maddness.

The Úlfjall have a close connection with nature. They perceive with their keen senses the presence of animals and people around them…. even the changes of the earth. Often they become Druids for that reason.
Because of past events they are very suspicious of magicians and magic to the point of becoming violent in some cases. The magic that does not come from nature has a bad reputation among Úlfjall, They considered it to be an abomination. After consultation with the pack, the Úlfjall King decides if he will accept the presence of a wizard or witch within the pack.
Creative Commons License 2015
The Úlfjal by Emanuele Pelicioli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.rocktune.it/Úlfjal%20ENG.pdf.

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