|This article is about the faction. For the related book, see The Ethik Nôl.|
|“||Say you are one of these Ethik Nôl. And say you want your daughter's marriage to go well. You don't want problems. So you ask of the elders what you must do. You are told what the appropriate sacrifice is, and then you perform it. In this case, it could be as simple as throwing some coins into lava, giving the metal back to the earth. Sacrificing something that is important to you, right? But the requirement is always different and you don't know what is expected of you until you're asked. The more significant request, the more significant the demand. And most things of true value must be paid in blood.||”|
Though details are sketchy, the predominantly dwarven Ethik Nôl have originated in the White March, from among the Pargrunen settlements that failed in the wake of the fall of Durgan's Battery. The traditional druidic chants of the Ethik Nôl speak of the people as a ‘collective whole’ that ‘created a necessary balance’ through their ‘strict adherence to the purity’ of their line. This has been interpreted by historical chroniclers to mean that there was a time when only dwarves were allowed to be Ethik Nôl.
Residing now in Twin Elms, records of the Ethik Nôl date back to well before the settlement had arrived at its present name, and in fact, some information places them in Twin Elms even before the Glanfathans arrived. If this is truly the case, the Ethik Nôl are one of the oldest druidic orders in existence.
Their beliefs don't conform to what is normally viewed as a ‘druidic viewpoint.’ Sacrifice, blood, fire, and an intense drive for balance in all things (well beyond most druidic standards) pervade their rituals. Core to this is the dogma that if you want something from the universe, you must also sacrifice something into the universe to maintain the balance. Nothing can ever be received without something first being given. If you perform the sacrifice, your desires will always be satiated. Sacrifices can be gold, removing fingers, toes, whole limbs and sometimes you even need to sacrifice people.
Glanfathans allow such a potentially violent, possibly dangerous group to live in Eir Glanfath, because the Ethik Nôl are able to make from an ancient recipe a unique War Paint, apparently blood-based, and they are the only people in the world who can. The Glanfathans, it is said, have come to believe this war paint provides tremendous advantage in combat, and the residence of the Ethik Nôl in Twin Elms is predicated on the fair trade of the substance.
As opposed to adopting the ambition and treasure-hungry character of their brethren, the Ethik Nôl are fiercely spiritual. They believe in a natural order based on survival, community, and especially sacrifice. These three philosophies have a way of intersecting in bloody and controversial ways. An Ethik Nôl need only look around to see the spiritual world. They value the interconnected balance of nature, and treat the cycle of life and death as essential to its upkeep. The trees are rooted in earth, the earth supports worms, and the worms die to feed the trees. This same perspective carries over into their daily lives. It is common for devout members of the Ethik Nôl to die in ritual sacrifice for the betterment of the community. Using chants and rituals altogether different than what people think of as animancy, the Ethik Nôl are able to disperse the soul essence of dying individuals throughout the rest of the tribe.
This is done to improve the tribe’s good fortune during particularly nasty seasons, to improve the hunt, or to generally elevate their standing in times of decline. Under casual circumstances, they would sacrifice an animal or food-bearing plant instead. To call the live sacrifices “willing” would marginalize the complexity of their role in society. The practice is an intrinsic part of survival and the Ethik Nôl worldview. It is also brutal and often unjust in its calculation. Members of the tribe are not always selected for sacrifice based on their willingness, but a measure of whose spiritual essence can best serve the community. On more than one occasion, that honor has extended to someone who didn’t wish to die. Cultural pressures and the weight of obligation present a heavy counterbalance to any misgivings.
The group has endured for centuries due in part to a precious resource they hoard, which is a magical war paint that grants the user a natural armor against arcane or physical attack. Since the paint is only cultivated from the spiritual runoff found in ritual sacrifice, it is only employed during battles of dire consequence. Although the practices of the Ethik Nôl make for some controversy, their war paint is too valuable to risk falling into outside hands.
- In fact there are more instances of the term Ethik Nol, written without the accent, than with it in the game's stringtables. This article uses the cyclopedic spelling, Ethik Nôl.