The Skaal are an isolated tribe of Nords living in the northern area of Solstheim, in a village that shares its name with the people. However, they are culturally distinct from the Nords of Skyrim, especially in their faith.
The Skaal are only a small tribe, less than one-hundred people, but there is organization within their society and there are several positions used for different purposes. The Leader of the Skaal leads the tribe and its people. Currently, the leader is Fanari Strong-Voice. The First Hunter of the Skaal leads the hunters in hunting for the tribe. Currently, the First Hunter is Wulf Wild-Blood. The Shaman looks after the spiritual well-being of the tribe, protects the village from harmful magic, and closely guards the village's secrets. The current shaman is Frea, who stepped in to take her father, Storn Crag-Strider's place upon his death.
The religion of the Skaal is one of the more distinguishing aspects of their culture. To them, the gods of most races are considered alien and unusual. Instead, they worship a single-entity called the All-Maker. The antitheisis of this entity is a being called the Adversary; whom they believe to be encompassed by many forms.
All life is considered sacred to the Skaal, who try to live in harmony with the land . They call this concept the "one-ness with the land". The Skaal people collect firewood from dead trees and hunt out of necessity, never for sport. Thus, they're trying to make the smallest impact possible on nature around them. However, the wolf and bear are considered especially sacred to the Skaal.
For the Skaal, the All-Maker is the source of all life and creation. When a creature dies, its spirit returns to the All-Maker, who shapes it into something new and returns it to Mundus. The concept of death as an ending to life is unknown to the Skaal. Rather, death is seen as simply the beginning of the next stage of an endless journey.
Once, the creation of Stalhrim weapons and armor was considered heretical, as the ice was considered sacred. In fact, at least three individuals were known to have been banished for it. Today, it is crafted by the Skaal and the secrets of that skill is well guarded by them.
Approximetely a hundred years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, a group of Nords left the main village to live the harsh warrior life like the Nords of Skyrim, disapproving the Skaal beliefs. They preferred to be able to kill whatever they wanted and worship in any manner they chose. They founded the Thirsk Mead Hall; its barbarian, heroic old Nordic tradition and society still exists, although the mead hall occasionally gets captured by native tribes. The folk of the Thirsk were never in conflict with the Skaal and some trade even occurs between the groups.
After starting the The Temple of Miraak quest, the Dragonborn will encounter one of the members of the Skaal tribe known as Frea. She can be found at the Temple of Miraak begging her hypnotized fellow tribe members to resist Miraak's influence. She will then speak with the Dragonborn and assist in exploring the temple.
After the conversation with Frea, one can gain access to the temple and can proceed with the quest. After completing the quest and freeing the Skaal from Miraak's control, the next quest will begin, The Fate of the Skaal. Frea asks the Dragonborn to accompany her back to the Skaal Village to talk to her father Storn Crag-Strider.
Upon entering the village and completing The Fate of the Skaal, the Dragonborn can speak with several of the other tribe members. Some may give additional miscellaneous quests.