The orcs in the North wage a constant war of raid and retreat on frontier outposts. Small wandering bands constantly harry farms and villages, stealing livestock and brutally killing people. Just as often, they take slaves. Attempts to negotiate or control them for any length of time end in failure. Bounties placed on orcish heads only seem to encourage the beasts to attack for sport.
The average Uthgardt regards civilisation as a cancer to be cut out. Most tribes regularly raid civilised settlements, slaying domesticated animals, burning buildings, and crushing crops. Captives become slaves, though youngsters are often adopted into the tribe if they seem sturdy enough.
This is a holy war. Its roots date back to the formation of the Uthgardt as a people. The barbarians and the orcs compete directly with one another for the same resources. Savage humans and bloodthirsty ores fight to the death Upon meeting. Adventurers in the North could do worse than to aid the Uthgardt in such a conflict.
The monsters of the North, including the trolls of the Evermoors, treat humans–civilized and barbarian alike–as fruit ripe for the picking. There are always giants who raid villages, foul creatures who wake hungry and leave their lairs to feast on a village, dragons who crave treasure, vampires with unholy thirsts, and more.
This society of Zhentil Keep on the far side of the Great Desert seeks a trade monopoly in the North. Even now, little is shipped overland to the east without Zhentarium involvement. The Harpers work to keep the Zhentarium and their evil plots out of the North.
Piracy is an accepted fact of life in the northern Trackless Sea. Pirates attack ships along the Sword Coast from Ches (March) until Uktar (November). Most are Northmen, but about a third hail from Southern lands.