The Northmen, also known as the Vikings, were a group of Norse seafarers during the late 8th - 11th centuries, who both raided and traded with their Northern European neighbors. Vikings ranged across wide areas of northern and eastern Europe.
In Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, the Northmen are responsible for the raiding of Senua's village and the murder of her lover, Dillion. After having learned of their rich mythos from Druth in the wilds before their attack, Senua sets off on a quest to save Dillion's soul from the Northmen's vision of the underworld. During this journey, Senua fights various demonic-looking manifestations of the Northmen along the way.
Though the Northmen as a people are not seen during the game, they appear as monstrous distortions that Senua must fight in combat in order to reach Helheim. They appear in multiple forms and have their own unique properties and attacks.
Aside from their appearances during combat, the only other information about the Northmen comes from tales that emanate from the numerous Lorestones scattered throughout the game. Each bit of mythology is narrated by Druth.
One of the first enemies that Senua comes across, the Warriors act as basic grunts with a simple set of attacks consisting primarily of thrusting their swords, slashing in a basic swing, or, less frequently, using an overhead slam that can break Senua's guard if she attempts to block.
Later variants of them gain the ability to turn into a shadow form, invulnerable to attack unless they are Focused or parried when using Gramr.
A Northmen who uses a shield to block incoming attacks, the Protector uses a mace to deal with damage in large swings. They will block most of Senua's basic moves and knock her off guard with a push forward using their shields or a heavy blow with their maces.
Their guard can be broken if they are Focused, kicked or parried with a heavy counter-attack. A version of the Protector without their shield can also appear and act in a similar way to the Warriors, but with heavier attacks.
A monstrous tower of a foe, swinging a mighty axe with enough power to break through any of Senua's attempts at blocking, knocking her down. The Keep Guards are also capable of charging towards Senua as well as stomping on the ground in order to disrupt her movements, prioritizing evasion over parrying and blocking attacks. Their large health pools can mean they are a constant danger in combat unless they are focused upon.
A Northmen who attacks with blinding speed and a pair of axes. They use similar attacks to that of Valravn, being able to combo their attacks together as well as throw their axes at Senua. When they are close to death, the Revenants will temporarily stun Senua and enter a shadow form, rendering them invulnerable unless Focused or parried with Gramr.
- From the way the Northmen are portrayed as monsters wearing masks, it can be assumed they are a product of Senua's mind trying to bring life to the Norse legends that she is convinced are the key to rescuing Dillion's soul and supposed source of her darkness.
- The Northmen's murder of Dillion was carried out using an execution method outlined in skaldic poetry, known as the "blood eagle". The ribs are severed from the spine with a sharp tool and the lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of “wings”. There is continuing debate over whether the "blood eagle" was actually used by the Vikings or whether it was simply a literary invention.