Lands of the Linnorm Kings

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Lands of the Linnorm Kings
Lands of the Linnorm Kings
(Nation)
Alignment Chaotic neutral
Capital Kalsgard
Ruler Sveinn Blood-Eagle, White Estrid, Ingimundr the Unruly, and Opir Eightfingers
Government Loose confederation of tribal monarchies
Demonym Use names of kingdoms or Ulfen
Adjective Use names of kingdoms
Languages Skald
Religions Desna, Erastil, Gorum, Torag

Source: The Inner Sea World Guide, pg(s). 102-105

The Lands of the Linnorm Kings are the homelands of the Ulfen people and are kingdoms as wild and untameable as the people who live there. Nestled on the northwestern tip of Avistan, it is a realm of taiga and marshland that spends much of the year frozen beneath layers of snow, a place utterly inhospitable to all but the hardiest people.[1]

History

The first Linnorm King of far northwestern Avistan was King Saebjorn Arm-Fang, who slew a linnorm at the mouth of the Rimeflow River in -624 AR. He used the fame he garnered from this deed to declare himself king, and proclaimed that all future Linnorm Kings must follow his example, and also slay a linnorm in single combat. Eventually, other individuals would copy the first king's accomplishment, and the killing of linnorms would grow into a tradition that has lasted to the present day. As his fame began to grow, Saebjorn established the settlement of Kalsgard, which had been little more than a mead hall for Saebjorn and his warriors before that. As his legend spread, people flocked to the new king out of curiosity and a need for protection, and soon the settlement had grown into a town.[2]

By -609 AR, Saebjorn's kingdom had grown to include all lands between the Rimeflow River in the south, Broken Bay in the west, and Glacier Lake to the east, the largest territory ever to be held by a single ruler in that part of the world. Saebjorn's son slew his own linnorm, and took over as ruler of Kalsgard, as his father began lusting for further conquest to the south. Saebjorn attacked the giants of Old Cyrusian in -608 AR, but after failing to best them through pure force, decided on a different tactic: he would slay the mythic linnorm Fafnheir and thereby cow the giants into surrendering. The king stalked into the Grungir Forest to hunt the mighty dragon and was never seen again, and his kingdom quickly disintegrated into two dozen squabbling fiefdoms.[2]

Another early story was the discovery of Arcadia by the Linnorm King Ulvass in -473 AR,[3] and the founding of their colony of Valenhall.[4] Throughout the long millennia since, the annals of history have been dotted with the exploits of exceptional Ulfen. Throughout much of the Age of Enthronement, the Ulfen were raiders, ranging along the entire western coast of Avistan and even occasionally Garund.[5]

Winter War

Despite the long and glorious deeds of their ancestors, there is a dark stain on the history of the land that haunts Ulfen to this day and makes its eastern borders a dangerous place: Irrisen. The land that forms modern Irrisen was not always a separate nation, and its perpetually wintered plains were once part of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. Baba Yaga conquered the lands in under 30 days in 3313 AR,[6] invading with her armies of icy fey and blue-skinned trolls, and enslaving the eastern lands and brutally slaughtering anyone who resisted.[7] The situation was so dire that a gambit in 3325 AR sent children from across the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to the First World kingdom of Frosts' End in exchange for aid.[2] Despite the centuries of time that have passed and Baba Yaga's departure of Golarion to travel the planes, the Ulfen people still hold a grudge.[5] The border to the east remains well-guarded, but until the Ulfen are willing to cooperate and unite under a single ruler, retaking Irrisen will remain impossible.[1]

Chelish invasion

Although the Winter War was by far the most successful invasion of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, it was not the only one. In 4402 AR, Imperial Cheliax attempted an invasion of the town of Halgrim, but the attacks were quickly repelled by local inhabitants. The single Chelish ship of survivors was sent back home with the pickled heads of their compatriots to serve as a lesson to the King.[2][8]

White Estrid's raid

In recent years, the incessant raiding of the Ulfen has declined, though their penchant for daring has not. The most recent example was Linnorm King White Estrid's arrival in Absalom in 4704 AR. She arrived after having launched a daring raid of the Nidalese port of Nisroch, after which she breached the Chelish blockade (the Chelaxians are noted allies of Nidal)[9] at the Arch of Aroden before victoriously putting in at Absalom.[5]

Government

The Lands of the Linnorm Kings have no central government. Instead, the country is comprised of a series of smaller kingdoms clustered around the biggest settlements in the region, united by their common Ulfen heritage. There are currently seven kingdoms, though this number has fluctuated in the past, namely: Broken Bay, the Grungir Forest, Hagreach, Icemark, the Ironbound Islands, Southmoor, and the Thanelands.[5][10]

Linnorm kings

How a Linnorm King earns his crown.

These kingdoms are often led by a Linnorm King. The Linnorm Kings are leaders of legend, and each king is a powerful warrior equal to the mightiest heroes of many other lands. To claim the title of Linnorm King, an applicant must defeat a dragon-like creature known as a linnorm in single combat and carry its head through the city gates. The linnorm's head is then generally mounted in the throne room as proof of the king's authority. This incredibly difficult challenge ensures that only the mightiest warriors ever become Linnorm Kings. Linnorm Kings have absolute authority over their subjects within their own kingdom. Conflicts between these small kingdoms are commonplace, but are not usually settled by full-scale war. They are instead solved through arbitration, paying the weregild, or tests of adventures by a king's champion.[5][4]

The actual number of Linnorm Kings has varied over the centuries, but at the moment consists of four: Ingimundr the Unruly leads Broken Bay, White Estrid (the only woman in the group) rules the Ironbound Islands, Opir Eightfingers controls Southmoor, and Sveinn Blood-Eagle rules the Thanelands.[11] The other three regions have no single ruler or, in the case of Hagreach, a castellan is currently in control.[citation needed] The Thanelands is the only kingdom to have an unbroken line of rulers stretching back to before the Winter War. Sveinn Blood-Eagle is the oldest and most powerful of rulers, and the skalds whisper that he will soon step down and make the final journey to Valenhall. Jockeying among the younger princes has already began, as they seek to make alliances and hunt the wilds for the elusive linnorms.[11]

Geography

The Lands of the Linnorm Kings sit in the north-westernmost corner of Avistan, where the land meets the Steaming Sea and the Stormspear Mountains, which separate it from the eternal ice of the Crown of the World.[12] Not all of the Linnorm Kingdoms are based on the mainland. The kingdom of White Estrid is based around a group of large islands, the Ironbound Archipelago, which jut out into the Steaming Sea; many of these islands are outside the control of White Estrid or any of the other kingdoms. The Lands of the Linnorm Kings are bordered on land by only two other kingdoms: the hated realm of Irrisen to the east and the storied land of Varisia to the southeast.[5]

The Lands of the Linnorm Kings are a cold, frozen place made up mostly of taiga and marshland, with much of its geography carved from the land by ancient glaciers. The land does not easily support agriculture, though it is filled with game and rich wildlife. The coastal areas are kept warmer by the Steaming Sea, but are also buffeted year-round by rain and snow.[5]

Connection to the First World

The most interesting geographical feature of the Land of the Linnorm Kings is extra-planar, for it sits atop an invisible planar rift leading to the First World of the fey. This rift is the reason for the large amount of fey that inhabit the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. It also explains the presence of the rare and mysterious linnorms.[5][13]

Economy

Agriculture does not play a large part of the Ulfen economy, as the growing season so far north is very short, and the ground is hard and filled with stones. During the warmer months, many Ulfen trade with the south, acquiring food and various luxuries they cannot manufacture themselves. These trading missions are a vital necessity, as the winters are long and starvation is an ever-present danger. Most traders take along their weapons and shields on these trading trips, in case the chance to plunder presents itself.[1]

Inhabitants

The most numerous humanoid inhabitants of this frozen land are the hardy Ulfen people. The Lands of the Linnorm Kings have always been the spiritual home of the Ulfen, with records tracing the Ulfen peoples' inhabitation of this land as far back as the Age of Destiny, though they probably resided there long before these early records. Few other humanoids call this northern reach of Avistan home. Amongst them the wandering Varisians, the hardy dwarves, and the fey-like gnomes. The other main inhabitants of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings are the fey; in fact, the fey may outnumber the humans. The reason for the high number of fey, is that the Lands of the Linnorm Kings sits atop an invisible rift leading to the First World (see above).[5] Other common non-human creatures include azatas, trolls, and nature spirits.[1]

Culture

A number of characteristic effigies, like the Blood Eagle, the Nithing Pole, the Tree of Souls, and the Wicker Man, are part of the culture of the Ulfen people in the Land of the Linnorm Kings.[14]

Religion

The people of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings prefer gods with strong ties to nature and battle. Among them are Desna, Erastil, Gorum, and Torag.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 102. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Matthew Goodall, Jonathan Keith, Colin McComb, and Rob McCreary. (2011). Lands of the Linnorm Kings, p. 5. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-365-1
  3. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 201. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  4. 4.0 4.1 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 103. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 92-93. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  6. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 202. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  7. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 80. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  8. Jonathan H. Keith, Colin McComb, Steven E. Schend, Leandra Christine Schneider, and Amber E. Scott. (2009). Cheliax, Empire of Devils, p. 9. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-191-6
  9. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 110. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  10. Matthew Goodall, Jonathan Keith, Colin McComb, and Rob McCreary. (2011). Lands of the Linnorm Kings, p. inside front cover. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-365-1
  11. 11.0 11.1 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 103-105. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  12. Rob Lazzaretti. (2011). Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, p. 1. Paizo Publishing, LLC.
  13. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. Poster Map. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  14. Matthew Goodall, Jonathan Keith, Colin McComb, and Rob McCreary. (2011). Lands of the Linnorm Kings, p. 47-48. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-365-1