Guild Wars Eye of the North: Region Profile, Gunnar's Hold
In the first of three features, Guild Wars: Eye of the North and MMORPG.com present this Region Profile on Gunnar's Hold and the Norn, the wild people who populate it.
The Norn of the Far Shiverpeaks are a wild, independent people. These huge, shapeshifting barbarians are hunters by nature, who trek endlessly across the mountainous, snow-covered territory pursuing their prey. All the creatures of the wild fear and respect their abilities, and the Norn continually seek out the toughest of opponents to test their fighting prowess and expand their reputations. The most powerful and well-respected of the Norn are those who have bested the largest number of the toughest opponents.
The Norn make few permanent homes, and those Norn buildings that do persist longer than a single winter have passed through numerous families and clans throughout their history. Permanent Norn settlements are even fewer, and change hands with similar frequency. Usually a settlement is named after the most powerful of the Norn currently residing there, so the same location may have many names (making it even harder to track the history of this semi-nomadic race). Norn settlements can be abandoned and rebuilt many times, sometimes due to conflicts, but just as often because better hunting has been found elsewhere.
One of the largest of the current Norn settlements is Gunnar's Hold, home of the master Norn armorer Gunnar Poundfist. This large hearthstead towers over the Norrhart Domains in the middle of the Norn hunting territories. As such it is a general gathering point for Norn and other races who pass through the area.
Gunnar established his claim over the hold as both a hunter of renown as well as a smith of great skill, which he learned from the Deldrimor Dwarves who pass through the region. As a result, he is as well-regarded as an armorer as he is a hunter. Given the central location of his hold, he is also mildly more tolerant of non-Norn, which is to say, he does not challenge you to a fight before offering you his hand in greeting.
Gunnar's Hold is also the site of the Norn Arena, an ancient battle pit used by the Norn for settling disagreements in the traditional fashion (through personal combat, of course; sometimes to the death). Magni the Bison, a champion fighter, has invited humans, Norn, and other beings from all over Tyria to compete for the honor of battling the greatest of all Norn fighters--himself. The arena is also used as a base for Kilroy Stonekin, a pugnacious, bare-knuckled Dwarven brawler who is more than willing to teach the sweet science of Dwarven boxing to those willing to help him collect a few debts (and, for some reason, a lot people owe money to this slightly mad Dwarf).
The Norn are a passionate, powerful, and combative people shaped by a life in frigid, snowbound lands. Even in their holds and steadings, they are a force to be reckoned with; they respect only those who can match them in skill and strength and challenge all to prove their worth. When you enter Gunnar's Hold, you'd best be prepared for a fight. You are in their territory now.