Third Northern War Military Conflict in 13 | World Anvil

Third Northern War

by Ioan Dumitrescu
  A few wars, and many skirmishes, had been fought between the northern and eastern provinces of the current federation of Tiel, which, back then, were their own countries, and Friac’seoue. The Third Northern War was the last of those wars fought before Tiel became a federation.   The wars fought in the north were typically caused by the constant tug-of-war around the border that the two continents share around the Axdrum mountains. This border has been ignored, or willfully crossed over, at different times in history, causing political and military conflicts. The wars fought in the east and west of Tiel and Friac’seoue respectively were typically initiated over the fishing and harvesting rights of the sea that was located between both continents.
We must fight against the western invaders! They keep ignoring our borders, generation after generation. Those of you who ask me: "why should I fight? they don't threaten us." They will. Slowly but surely, they will conquer more and more of Friac’seoue. And by the time you want to fight back, there will be not enough of us to fight!
— Vina

Background: The Second Northern War

The Second Northern War had left the northern border shifted towards the east, decreasing substantially the mountain range area that the dwarves were allowed to occupy. The Second Northern War had been a success for the northern people of Friac’seoue thanks to the involvement of a large section of the population of the continent: from halflings and their dire pangolins to centaurs. This had been thanks to the charismatic leader of the Northern Vanaras: Vina.   It had also been favourable for those hailing from Friac’seoue because the clan of dwarves who were living in the western side of the mountains (beyond the borders) had entered into a fight with the clans living in the eastern side of the mountains, and refused to ask for help to fight the war  

Prelude: Living space and trade

  Some of the vanaras living in the mountains and in the cold tundra area around them started using the cave systems that the dwarves had built in the mountain. Within a couple of generations, there were several tribes of vanaras who had started using the caves as a permanent base. 120 years later, approximately five vanara generations (but only one dwarf generation), the vanaras were using the full extent of the tunnels that were inside of their borders     A council was called by Kiri, a young warrior who advocated for conquering Tiel mountains. There were strong oppositions to this plan, but in the end, greed and necessity pushed the council in Kiri's favour. The council decided it was time to push the borders further into the west. They had done it last time; they could do it again. What the vanaras didn't realize, is that this time they didn't have a popular hero like Vina who could motivate the masses of Friac’seoue on their behalf.   But things in Tiel had changed quite a bit during the last dwarf generation, and not only for dwarves. The loss of income from precious gems and metals had led to the establishment of other mines, and to the increased importance and trade with already established cities with mines, like Sprawling City. The diversification of trade led to an increase in exports for those countries that had mines (new or old). The increase in trade options led to an increase in continent-wide politics, and many countries started seeing the benefits of reducing levies and opening up their borders.  

Declaration of War

by RedDo

It didn't take long for vanaras to find dwarves. When the scouts found a cave system which was inhabited, a plan was formed. At night, they assembled around the closest cave entrances and started preparing by deploying their armies around the different entrances and setting up the teams which would shape the stone to increase the size of the cave entrances. Before dawn, the druids started to work on the stone, creating large entrances into the caves so that the vanara armies would not experience a bottleneck. At dawn, the vanara army descended onto its enemies and massacred the majority of those within.

Those that managed to get away soon alerted the other parts of the fortress, as well as clans living close by. From their reports, it was clear that they couldn't fight and win; they were vastly outnumbered and worse, they were unprepared. It was decided to make a tactical withdrawal, hoping the vanara army would not be able to track them through the cave system. Runesmiths stepped forward and announced they would be staying behind. Their magical runes would delay the vanara army, and give the rest of the population a chance to escape to safety.


War on all sides

The dwarven country of Skofisbrug solicited help to their neighbours: Skipasmif, Daritiv, and Famaxia. They all three agreed to send troops and food. Once it became clear that the vanaras were after the mountains, and that other areas of Tiel were in danger, other countries started sending help in the form of troops, weapons, food, or clothing. In the end, seven countries from Tiel participated in the war, an army that ended up being called "Seven swords".   The vanaras, while initially very successful, soon found that they didn't have enough troops to hold all of the territories that they had amassed. Unable to recruit help from other tribes in Friac’seoue, they were soon overwhelmed by the armies of the Seven Swords coalition. These armies were attacking them from all sides, below ground, above ground, and even from ships, which they used to bypass the mountains and deploy operatives at Friac’seoue's side of the mountains.  

The result: An overwhelming victory for Tiel

by Nile
  Less than six months after the declaration of war, Tiel had conquered the whole mountain range of the north, all the way into Friac’seoue. The vanaras were forced back into the most remote areas of the tundra or towards the forests in the south.   Those countries that had participated in the war saw the possibilities and benefits that joining up with their neighbours held. On the 100th anniversary of the Third Northern War, all of the twelve countries of Tiel signed the federation declaration, by which they all became states under one united banner.
Conflict Type
Battlefield Type
The Vanara's Council
We need to expand. Our great-great-grandparents opened up a new world of possibilities by conquering the dwarven cave system. It is our responsibility now to do the same, to make sure our grandchildren have enough space to live.
— Kiri
Last time the boundaries were broken by the dwarves. Our great-great-grandparents would be ashamed if it was us this time who broke the boundaries
— Mindra
The Runesmiths
Divine dwarven magic is most often than not practised by clerics. Their magic is channelled through runes, which can be inscribed on a variety of substrates, including weapons, armour, and people.
There are runesmiths who prefer to dedicate themselves to the use of runes in practical situations and in combat. A smaller group specialises in creating magically enchanted weapons and armour. These runesmiths are referred to as forgemasters.
During the beginning of the Third Northern War, many runesmiths died, sacrificing themselves to make sure their family and friends would make it to safety. Most forgemasters left with the rest, convinced by their colleagues that their people would need someone to take care of them if they failed. Countless runes were lost in battle, their spells lost whenever a whole lineage of runesmiths died in battle.
It took many centuries of research and rune development after the Third Northern War ended for the runesmiths to be back to what they once were.



Led by


They were numerically superior at the start of the war, and had the element of surprise and preparation.


Vanaras lost over 60% of those who had gone to war in the north.


To conquer the mountains of Tiel
Anervik's army

Led by


Very low, the dwarven population had not recovered from The Second Northern War.


Slightly less than 80% of warriors who were fighting to stop the advance of the Vanara army.


To stop the Vanara invasion.
Seven Swords

Led by


Large, they had the combined strength of seven countries


Over 15% of the seven swords coalition warriors died.


To defend the mountain range of Tiel and regain what had been lost.

Cover image: by Cristi Balanescu


Author's Notes

The original version of this article was created as an entry for World Anvil's flagship Summer Camp 2019 event, specifically for prompt #16:
"Write about a conflict that shaped the political climate of your world."
  You can view my other entries from the competition here, or check out all past World Anvil competitions here.   This article and the world I am writing about have been created using Pathfinder as a base. This is a homebrew setting, inspired by Paizo's wonderful lore and creations.

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Jul 16, 2019 22:58 by Jaime Buckley

I just love, love, love seeing what you build.   Your writing isn't JUST clear, it follows a clean logic allowing me to enjoy it more--sprinkled with beautiful formatting.   Such a fan. Gonna leave before I go all mushy on ya.   Well done!

Storyteller, Cartoonist,..pretty awesome friend =)
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Jul 20, 2019 09:58

Nicely done and written. I like the formatting in the beginning, though the latter parts of it could have benefited from some like it. Some columns, images, maybe quotes. :)   Grammatical/Spelling Errors:  

Before the federation of Tiel there had been several wars and many skirmishes fought between the northern and eastern provinces of the current federation of Tiel, which, back then, were their own countries, and Friac’seoue.
  The entire first paragraph is one single sentence at 35 words - I would consider maybe breaking it up.  
This border has been ignored, or willfully surpassed, at different times in history, causing political and military conflicts.
  I don't know if "surpassed" is the word you are looking for there. Surpassed usually mean stuff like "He surpassed his brother in sports" or "surpassed expectations".  
  Sometimes it's capitalized, sometimes it is not.  
Unable to recruit help from other tribes in Friac’seoue, they were soon overwhelmed by large armies attacking them from all sides, below ground, above ground, and even from ships, which they used to bypass the mountains and deploy operatives at the other side of the northern mountains.
  This is another big sentence at 47 words. It may read better if divided into parts.   If something was unclear or missed:   Not much, except the extent to which magic played a role in this war. You mentioned druids working for the Vanaras in opening cave entries. Did the Dwarves have anything like that? Were monsters or magical mayhem a large part of the war in any way or was it more armies clashing?   As a minor aside, "swords" seem like an odd title for dwarves to adopt. Why not axes, or picks?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jul 20, 2019 11:59

Hi Qurilion,   Thanks for the detailed comment! I have gone and fixed those mistakes. Long sentences will be my undoing...   I really liked your idea to explain what function/role did dwarven magic play in this war, so I have added a sidebar box with info on dwarven runesmiths. I also added more images to the text, to break things up as you suggested.   Tiel is a country of humans, gnomes, dwarves, and ratfolk, so the Seven Swords is a bit of a mix when it comes to who used what, because different countries had different mixes of races. I think that an explanation of that may be a bit too much to incorporate into the war article though.   In regards to monsters, I hadn't really incorporated them into the war. They probably were present in the most remote areas of the tunnels or caves, but not to an extent to which this was a main worry during the war. As I mentioned in the Hidalgo article though, large battles against monster hordes have taken place on these mountains. Thus I decided to include that article in the "related articles" section, just in case anyone is interested.

Jul 20, 2019 13:10

If you want, I can keep an eye on long sentences. I've gotten a real habit of that. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Jul 20, 2019 18:18 by Orlon

This is really well constructed - I understand the setup, the nature of the battle, and what happened over the next hundred years. This is a great summary of a battle that shaped your world as it is in the present! I also very much enjoyed reading about the Runesmiths, and the hints about how rune magic works makes me want to learn a lot more. If this was a game world I was playing in, I'd be very intrigued by the possibilities of being a runemaster.   The one thing that would take this over the top for me would be a map. (Or actually, three maps, to go with the three time periods, after each of the great northern wars.)   Thank you for posting this!

Jul 21, 2019 02:28

This is a really interesting war, I assume if this the third, there was a first? you mentioned the dwarves hoped they wouldn't be able to track them, how did Varanas or Seven Swords manage to navigate the caves? presumably, the seven swords could be guided by dwarves. It would be interesting to know more about the seven swords, a little bit about the members not mentioned, and also how each of them contributed, but that may be too much detail. Finally, I do find the Varanas overconfidence so true to real-life military history, best not to be overconfident and underestimate your enemies.