The Woad are a collection of seafaring humans who live across the sea to the west of Arulan. Known primarily to the Arulans as raiders, they have over the last 15 years harried the coast of Lonewater hold, driving many of its inhabitants to relocate further from the coast, even into other holds. Known for their distinctive blue war paint and oval shaped shields, the longships of the Woad strike terror into the hearts of those who see them.
No one in Arulan or Torryghiem know exactly where it is the Woad come from, but their ships attack from the west, so it is presumed that they dwell somewhere in the islands beyond the shores of the northern continent.
Little peaceful interaction has occurred between the Woad and the Arulans, and so little of the Woad peacetime culture has been documented. In war, they follow warrior chiefs, much like the Akira, into battle. In times of war, they don fearsome blue war paint and frequently strip to the waist. Every warrior bears an oval shield into battle as their primary mode of protection. Chiefs will sometimes wear mail armor, looted from the corpses of slain foes, but the Woad do not seem to be adept at making their own weapons or armor.
Woad wear plaid clothing, with different patterns signifying different clan or warrior allegiances. Woad society, unlike that of the Arulans, does not discourage women from fighting or even captaining longships, and thusly many Woad warriors encountered are female. The Woad language shares a number of words with the Arulan tongue, but has a different sentence structure and enough pronunciation disparities that speakers of the different languages cannot easily understand one another.
Woad raiders typically prefer ambush to open conflict. Their lightly armored warriors close quickly with the enemy under a hail of javelins and stab and hack at foes with their spears and axes. They have little interest in captives, and tend to gravitate towards getting the most amount of food, treasure, and weapons for the least amount of combat. Against a well disciplined force of Arulan men at arms or a party of mounted knights, the Woad generally do not fare well, due to their lack of armor and horses.
The raiders rely heavily on their large, oval shields for protection, as they wear little to no armor. A warrior’s shield is considered his most valuable asset in battle, and is often used for full body cover to get as close to a foe as possible so that knives and hand axes can be employed in a brutal melee.