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    Valkemf, Province & City of
    Posted on Mon, February 02, 2004 by Legate
    Abysslin writes "For a long time I have wondered what lie upon the Rhizia Peninsula, and for years of my life did I wait for official works to be published concerning it.

    I had visions of my own as I am sure any that gaze at maps of the flanaess do. I had envisioned a dark and cold place, unforgiving in its nature. One whos inhabitants were cursed to live fruitless and mundane lives. Lives of labor and circumstance. Lives where one must learn sacrifice and perseverance to survive its inhumane environment.

    You will find in the following, not a place of grand events and twisted plots. Not of politics and prestigious heroes. No, that is not what you?ll find here. No, you will not find that here on the Rhizia Peninsula.

    What you will find here is the cold and dark truth. You will find the truth of a central province of the Ice Barbarians known as Valkemf. You will find the truth the Cruski live and endure everyday.

    Your journey to the Lands of Rhizia begins here...

    Valkemf, Province & City of
    By: Abysslin
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    By Terrance Hunt (Abysslin)

    Ruler: Jarl Isgrimich Cruskipaw

    Resources: Wood, Furs & Hides, Fish, Oil, and Copper.

    Population: 7,981 (Province) – Human 78% (Suel), Half-Orc 12%, Half-Ogre 8%, Misc. 2%

    Life Expectancy: 63

    Languages: Cold Tongue, Common, Orcish, Ogre.

    Alignments: Chaotic Neutral

    Religions: Llerg, Norebo, Xerbo, Vatun


    Valkemf was so named after the barbarian Jarl that founded the province, of the same name, among the Ice Barbarian (Cruski) lands shortly after the ancient suel migrations brought their people here.

    The land is arctic in climate year ‘round with temperatures very rarely rising above 40 degrees F and the mean temperature is usually below freezing, about 20 degrees F. Snow cover on the ground is commonplace nine months of the year with only a minimal break in the summer months and even then rarely for a long enough period to allow grass to turn green.

    Daylight is limited to perhaps seven hours, and at most, eight hours of the day during all but the three summer months when daylight can extend up to nealry 20 hours at times. The Cruski have adapted to such a way of life, living in the dark. They can carry out menial daily tasks with only moonlight to compensate them.

    The province and city itself have grown to be a harsh habitat of labor. The few residents labor rigorously throughout each day building ships, mining copper from the Corusk peaks, fishing to supply food, or logging the Sable Wood for ship and building construction, although wood is also heavily used as a heating source. Whaling is also common place, not only for food but also because a whale’s body can be broken down to formulate a crude oil also used for heating.

    Agriculture is very minimal although less than healthy potatoes have survived the harsh environment, and are farmed by few.

    Horses, surprisingly, are quite common and nearly 70% of the population owns one despite their somewhat high costs. “Take care of the tools that take care of you, and that means your horse,” a common phrase among the populace. All horses are well groomed and fed.

    Livestock consist primarily of thick haired goats and arctic buffalo, although they are kept primarily to feed one’s own family more so than to sell for profit with a common family perhaps owning 2 or 3 goats.

    The common diet of the population consists of many varieties of meat from land and sea animals including goat, bear, rabbit, seal, and a variety of fish foods.

    Common apparel among the Cruski includes furs and hides of various beasts, and the Cruski are best known for their ability to create boots of the warmest design. Chosen weapons usually are the broadsword or battle-axe with simple round shields of wood for defense.

    The Cruski of Valkemf carry with them little of value, perhaps a pipe or wineskin and some are found with a set of copper tools wrapped tightly in a small stretch of hide. It is highly uncommon for a Cruski to posses more than a few coppers and silvers at any given time. Currency is near meaningless to them, as most possess the ability to survive on the arctic plains.


    The Cruski of Valkemf deem politics a lawful affair much to be ignored. Most citizens are loyal to Jarl Isgrimich, but not to their King, Lolgoff Bearhear of Glot.

    Jarl Isgrimich will travel to Glot to join in the courts of the King when required, but otherwise avoids any such endeavors, being very intent on managing the affairs of Valkemf. Primarily, to provide wood and copper for the nation and of most importance to him, the care of Valkemf’s people.

    When Jarl Isgrimich is at court he enjoys the pleasure of being the King’s guest; women, wine, a bed of comfort. On matters of political affairs however, Jarl Isgrimich’s input is as minimal as possible.

    Rarely, the King of the Cruski, Lolgoff Bearhear, located in the Nation’s capital, Glot, will call upon Jarl Isgrimich for men and ships of war to aid in his raiding affairs. Jarl Isgrimich seems to decline any requests as he hasn’t the men to keep his own province cleansed of his troubles and his primary concern is to supply the ever demanding requests for resources of wood and copper to the capital. All other affairs are secondary.

    Tribes and Clans

    There are nearly 8,000 among the population of the Valkemf province. Of those numbers, roughly 800 live within the City of Valkemf itself including all the humanoids and demi-humans, mostly half-orcs and ogres slowly coming in and being accepted from the mountains.

    Roughly 1,200 more man the mines and logging projects of the province and many labor in this manner their entire lives or until their bodies can no longer endure the rigorous punishment, at which time retirement within the city or their home clan’s camp is usually sought.

    The rest of the population is divided amongst the 53 clans of Valkemf living in camps throughout the province. Each clan numbers roughly 100 in count with the largest clan numbering no more than 150. Many, once reaching manhood by conquering the Maenich (a ritual explained later), travel forth to the mines and logging projects of Valkemf to claim their own path in life. Others stay on hunting and gathering for the clan their entire lives. Yet others among the various clans farm goats and other herding animals of Valkemf’s clime. Many city folk refer to clan folk as “outland goat shaggers” in jest, implying they commit foul acts.

    The various clans are loyal to Jarl Isgrimich to the death. However, this is the case only if decided upon by the clan’s highest in hierarchy, usually known simply as the Liech, or Lord.

    The King of the Nation, Lolgoff Bearhear, declares these clans politically as fiefdoms under his direct rulership and demand tribute and numbers of their clan to man his small army, but these demands are never met, nor are any punished for their blatant disregard for their King’s requests.

    Considering this disloyalty to their king it is peculiar that all the Cruski clans throughout the province of Valkemf don round shields depicting the Nations symbol’s, a blue base with a circle of white upon it, which generally coincides with loyalty to the king.

    Although the clans of Valkemf extend a show of loyalty to the Jarl and if Valkemf were ever threatened they would unite, they are not beyond battle with one another. Many times the clans will meet on the snowy battlefields with their broadswords and round shields. Boundary disputes concerning hunting lands arise and the Cruski of this province consider the beasts of their territory as unused property not to be tangled with by those of other clans.

    When such violations occur, a clan will ride to the accused clan’s territory in a march of war, tapping their swords against their shields in a horrific melody of death. The defenders know what is about to be unleashed upon them and prepare accordingly. The gruesome battle that ensues will most certainly be filled with much bloodshed and in the Cruski rage even children are not always spared for that is what it means to be Cruski.

    When a Cruski lay eyes on the blood of an enemy he does not wait for dying breath to take it’s course. He does not wait for death to beckon the enemy. No, he brings death to the enemy hacking violently until blood covers the earth. Until only a mangled mess remain of his foe.


    Trade amongst other provinces and nations is quite minimal, although a ship is frequently sent to trade with the Frost Barbarians, or Fruskii, trading large amounts of copper in exchange for smaller amounts of iron in return, which is mostly used for weapon manufacturing.

    For the most part resources are sent to the capital, Glot, to be distributed amongst the other sixteen provinces although Glot keeps nearly 50% of all resources imported from within the Nation.


    The political Borders of the province extend from the southern most reaches of Sable Wood’s expanse going to the Northern most point of the Corusk Mountains, and from the Eastern coast along the Solnor Ocean following West some 80 miles to the Corusk Mountains. Some 22,500 square miles of territory in it’s entirety.


    The Citizens of Valkemf travel mostly by horseback although an occasional mammoth can be found domesticated. Unfortunately travel over long lengths of land is very limited too perhaps the capital, Glot, or Jotsplat as the harsh and unpredictable weather is very foreboding. Frozen fogs and freezing winds meshed with unforgiving snow fall can halt such a venture in a matter of minutes.

    However, the Ice Barbarians, or Cruski, are very proficient sailors although inferior to their cousins the Snow Barbarians, or Schnai. Travel by sea is a much quicker way to get to the major cities although the coinage required can be quite abit more if one doesn’t know a ship owner.


    Once per year, on Coldeven 7th, Jarl Isgrimich and the clergy of Norebo hold a grand festival in honor of Valkemf’s founding known as the Tibkof. At this time many craftsman and bakers line the village ways selling their wares for reasonable fares. In the main market area of the village, Jarl Isgrimich holds competitions of strength and skill. Wrestling, Archery, and Logging, among many other events are held and prizes given by the Jarl are quite gracious, often a new Iron Axe with few minor gems encrusting it’s pommel, or grand cloaks enchanted by his advisor, Yrag.

    On Harvester 25th after the reaping the Sable Wood of Frudarg, a semi-rare plant harvested for smoking that has hallucinogenic properties, an event known as the Smukach is held. It is tradition to spend months carving and whittling long elaborate pipes for one’s honored. Father’s will pass pipes to their sons and sons to their grandfathers. Cruski line the streets and gather in the arctic plains to share in their family’s company during the Smukach.

    Upon reaching 16 years of age all males in the village are required to undergo the Maenich, the ritual of manhood. The young man must set out with only meager equipment and the clothes on his back. Usually the young man leaves the village with only a one weapon, often a broadsword or axe, round shield, some minor means of creating fire, and one day’s worth of rations. The Maenich requires that the young man return within 8 days with either the hide of a polar bear or dire winter wolf.

    Some don’t return at all, memories of them melting away with the summer sun. Others return empty handed, bringing upon themselves great dishonor. One returning in such a way is usually sent out with the next ship to Glot to be offered as gifts of slavery to the King and families are well readied to accept this fate should unfold in such a manner.

    For the young man returning home having conquered the Maenich, a minor festivity of food and dance. Also the local temple of the young man’s deity tattoos a grand vision on the young man, usually in some manner symbolic of the Maenich.


    The primary worship of Valkemf is devoted to Llerg, with secondary worship to Norebo, Xerbo, and Vatun.

    Most of the militia and other warriors among the populace worship Llerg. The fisherman worship tends to follow the faith of Xerbo. The rogues and less scrupulous tend to worship Norebo. And the shamans of the province seem to favor Vatun; although legend says he is suffering some devilish imprisonment.


    Magic in the province is primarily limited to the shamans of the various deities and to the very rare ice mage. Neither of which are capable of attaining high levels of magic.

    Magic as a whole is viewed as a weapon of the weak amongst Cruski of Valekmf. There is no better extension of the body than the iron-forged weapon.

    Those dabbling in the mystical arts will soon find themselves viewed as inferior, yet when a wound isn’t taking to natural ways of healing, there is usually no hesitance in taking a trip to nearest temple for aid. It is quite a frustrating complex for the temples to endure, indeed.


    Valkemf is home to a very limited variety of races. The populace is primarily suel with an occasional family of half-orcs or half-ogres whom are surprisingly welcome by the humans of the province and are often found working side by side with them.

    Dwarves are seen among the village rarely and are watched with intent suspicion as there is a community of Mountain Dwarves that live in the nearby Corusk Mountains who have conflicting interest with the locals on the land’s resources of which there are very few.

    Other races seem to be few and far between and many can live their entire life without ever setting their eyes on an elf or halfling, although rumors of a great Drow city in the underdark below the Corusks flow from the mouth of an occasional tavern conversation.

    Valkemf Mines

    Copper deposits in abundance have been discovered within the Valkemf province dating back to the early days of its founding. Along with the Sable Wood, the copper deposits are the single most reason for the settling of this land although many jest around the tavern table about not much more land being able to be traveled with the Solnor Ocean being in the way and all.

    Contrary to popular belief, labor among the mines of Valkemf is more than tolerable. The temperatures within the mines are well within the 40s and without the chilling winds endured by folk living and laboring above ground.

    A typical day consists of a rotation of picking and axing, loading and moving mining carts, and digging deeper within the mountain.

    On a different rotation, men are sent back to Valkemf on wuktus, or wagons (basically large boxes with axles and wheels) full of raw copper ore. The wagons are usually in tow by domesticated mammoths condemned to a life of laborious pulling and meager meals. Once the City of Valkemf is reached the men deposit the copper ores at Jarl Isgrimich’s keep and are allowed a three-day leave from the mines. This time is usual spent spending their meager earnings at the taverns or with time amongst family they are only able to see perhaps three days every three months or whenever the rotation allows.

    At times mining operations are driven to a halt when new mining tunnels meet with dens of any variety of subterranean creatures, primarily Umberhulks and Hook Horrors. The miners can spend literally months expelling an entire colony much to the dismay of Jarl Isgrimich and the King himself.

    Ice trolls can also put a time sink into mining operations, as they dwell in a nearby den, not too many miles from the main mines of Valkemf.

    Valkemf Logging

    Logging, although less appealing, is more rewarding than labor among the mines. Many find that they simply aren’t suited for a “groundhog’s” (a common logger’s jest) environment below the Corusks. Loggers are paid much more as the end product resulting from their harvests are of a higher demand within the Nation which brings higher profits along with it.

    Work is long from dawn ‘til dusk, but the men are allowed resting days frequently, commonly one or two days of each week depending upon overall gross production. Leave rotations usually add another day or two per month allowing individuals to visit the city for pleasantries or their families.

    As with miner’s, loggers employ mammoths too move their harvests to the city and frequently use the mammoths to aid in clearing trees with numerous complex rope and pulley systems.

    Conflict for loggers is somewhat more common than it is for the miners. Recent reports of confrontations have included arctic carnivorous apes, dwarven ambushes, and ice gnoll patrols.

    Military Life

    Life among Valkemf’s military is mundane. Unfortunately, if labor among the mines, the forest, or the tedium of clan life aren’t appealing, there is nothing more than the military.

    In the employ of Jarl Isgrimich one does not receive pay, nor leave time. The only compensation comes in the way of food, a cot, and pride in serving one’s province.

    Daily life is restricted to performing a variety of drills and in the evening partaking in numerous contests the superior’s command in an attempt to evaluate skill.

    For the land-based militia the highlight of the year could be aiding the loggers and miners in expelling beasts that have invaded those working areas. Other times they may be assigned to guarding supply wagons en route to the City. Or even more exciting, being placed as part of a group sent to attack dwarvish logging or mining projects in an attempt to hinder their affairs or perhaps even provoke them to come out of their fortress to do war, it matters not to Jarl Isgrimich.

    For the navy life upon the Solnor and Dramidj is a welcome sentence for being upon the sea is in a Cruski’s blood. Many young men aspire to join their ranks, and since they are not paid Jarl Isgrimich would happily accept them into the ranks if he could only bring about enough food to feed more than he already does.

    As it stands the navy represents nearly a quarter of ships owned in the province, second only to the local fishing and whaling industry which accounts for fifteen ships as opposed to the navy’s ten. The remaining ships are privately owned and are usually for hire, charging large sums of silver and copper to transport aspiring or adventurous ones to the capital.

    Common tasks appointed to the navy include coastal border patrol and supply transport to Jotsplat and Glot.

    Despite not being paid any coin the men of Jarl Isgrimich’s military carry high morale. They are granted visits from the whores of Zdenka’s Den courtesy of Isgrimich and Zdenka, ofcourse. Iced Ale, brewed with fish by product, is a favorite among the Cruski and it is supplied in mass quantities for consumption nearly on a nightly basis. And it is generally viewed as an honorable occupation to serve one’s Jarl. That is more than can be said among other Cruski provinces.


    As stated previously, War on Valkemf soil is nearly unheard of. If such an event would occur is highly probable that all able citizens would take up arms to defend their homeland, as they hold it dear. Valkemf is all they know.

    Jarl Isgrimich would make use of the standard militia of the city and the city’s occupants as his major force. In the mean time riders would be dispatched to the fifty some clans of the province, the mines, and the logging projects for reinforcements and within a day the province’s entire population would be available for battle, less children ofcourse, but including women.

    Jarl Isgrimich’s militia consists mostly of inexperienced warriors serving as cavalry and few shamans. Perhaps 100 in total count although he does keep a band of 10 loyal and fanatic berserkers close to his keep at all times which usually will suffice. It is very uncommon for any sort of confrontation in the way of military venues to occur within the province of Valkemf.

    War dogs are heavily employed in Jarl Isgrimich’s militia. The dogs are trained since birth and are not strangers to shedding blood.

    The Navy, however, numbers nearly 300 men manning 10 longships. Longships are much preferred to the Cruski for their speed over similar ships of war. The Cruski’s desire for speed is breed by their unfortunate circumstance requiring them to travel long distances to reach Jotsplat for trade, Glot for political affairs, or even farther yet, Stonefist or the Aerdy lands to conduct raids for spoils however infrequent they may be.

    His primary militia captain, Forschki Whitefang usually heads any raids, while his advisor, Yragmire the Icemage (Yrag), one of the only people to command wizard like magic in the province, stays by Jarl Isgimich’s side. His concubine, Lady Aldara, is perhaps the most powerful shaman in the province, a worshipper of Vatun.

    Many times the thought has crossed Jarl Isgrimich’s mind to amass his entire force and march upon the Coruskian Ice Dwarves that dwell in the most southwestern reaches of his province. The spoils no doubt would be beyond imagine. Enough to raise the modern day conditions of many folk that call Valkemf their home. However, he sees this as an unlikely event as he believes the dwarves to be acting as a cushion between his province and the Frost Giants wandering on the far side of the dwarven fortress. He often spends much thought on which is the greater “evil.”

    Creatures of Valkemf

    Many beasts roam the arctic plains of Valkemf, dwell in the nearby Corusk Mountains, scurry in the silence of the Sable Wood, and navigate the depths of the Solnor. Predominant species follow.

    Arctic Plains

    Polar Bears: These bears are considered the spirit of the Cruski and are not intentionally killed unless one is partaking in the Maenich. For the most part the Cruski and Polar Bears live in harmony.

    Mammoths: Although the Cruski have managed to tame a small number of these beasts, they are still quite dangerous and upon sight will charge a Cruski attempting to stomp and gore one’s body.

    Smilodons (Sabre-Tooth Cats): These beasts are known for their stealth among the snow. Rarely does a Cruski have more than time to blink an eye before the beast is upon him.

    Snow Basilisks: A Cruski knows when a Cruski is frozen that a Cruski falls. Frozen Cruski standing can mean only one thing…

    Corusk Mountains

    Ice Trolls: There are minor bands living in the Corusk Mountains that can bring trouble to the village of Valkemf. Often hindering mining operations or conducting small raids on the city although this is an infrequent occurrence. Minor casualties and material losses are usually reported and the raiders are usually driven off even by the common folk transversing the roads of the city. Such is the mindset among the populace.

    Ice Dwarves: A community of Mountain Dwarves also logs the Sable Wood much to the dislike of Jarl Isgrimich. He often sends militia to expel the dwarves, but efforts so far have been unsuccessful.

    Yeti: Small roving bands of Yeti roam the Corusks. Their hides are highly sought after as it is thicker than most of the animals and beast in the area and can keep a Cruski warm even on the coldest of Valkemfian nights. Many of these hides can be seen worn amongst the outlandish clans of Valkemf living near the Cruski Mountains.

    Frost Giants: Very rarely a Frost Giant sighting will be reported, but thus far, no giant problems have arisen. It is believed that the dwarves, living in the Corusks west of the Sable Wood, are responsible for declining Frost Giant sightings, as before they settled near the province a skirmish with the Frost Giants seemed to be a monthly occurrence.

    Cryohydra: When a sighting of this magnitude is reported Jarl Isgrimich leads a hunting party himself. For many years he has dreamed of this trophy to adorn his keep with.

    Sable Wood

    Ice Gnolls: Generally considered more of a thorn than a blade, the Ice Gnolls of the Sable Wood hinder logging operations, but pose more of a threat to the province just south of Valkemf.

    Carnivorous Apes: Known to shred small bands of men travelling south to Glot by foot. They attack swiftly and silently showing their unusually high intelligence as evidenced by their plans of ambush.

    Dire Winter Wolves: This particular breed is rarely seen lone, they prefer packs and more Cruski have fallen to this beast than any other beast of the province. Winter wolves are considered a prized kill of the Maenich ritual.

    Treants: A rare sighting, but Treants of the Sable Wood grant no quarter to the Cruski, especially to those carrying out logging operations.

    Solnor Ocean

    Merrow (Aquatic Ogres): The Merrow seldomly attack anything other than fishing vessels. It assumed they are a common resource of food and the Merrow refuse to share.

    Scrags (Aquatic Trolls): Not usually much of a threat to the Valkemf Navy unless they are many leagues out. There seems to be a settlement living not too near Valkemf, although any attempt to decipher its exact location hasn’t surfaced yet.

    Kraken: From time to time a ship disappears from Valkemf, gone forever. Reliable reports tell of a giant squid crashing ships in half and bringing her crew to the depths within a matter of moments.

    Legends of Valkemf

    Viktorik the White Dragon of Corusk

    Cruski skalds of Valkemf know all too well the Legend of Viktorik. It is said that Viktorik visited Valkemf himself when the Cruski first settle these lands. In front of all Valkemf’s men to see Viktorik demanded the newly built village present him with their largest whale catch each month and he would allow the Cruski to populate his territory.

    Angered by the demands of this dragon Valkemf raised his Bastard Sword (thought to be one of the Five Swords of Corusk) on high. In two hands he held it, circling the blade above his head. “Come forth ye serpent of meek and taste ye Valkemf’s steel,” he Taunted.

    Viktorik rushed to meet Valkemf, buffeting his wings and swaying his mighty jaws in a hypnotic rhythm. When they met it took but a squint, but what seemed like an eternity before the battle cry of Valkemf came to and end. Viktorik had pinned Valkemf to the ground with his mighty claw and in one motion, tore Valkemf’s torso in two. Amidst the white snow lay pool of red blood. But it was not of Valkemf’s only for he had dealt the dragon, Viktorik, a mighty blow! Viktorik’s screams could be heard from miles around as he flew off back to his den.

    The people of Valkemf haven’t seen Viktorik since.‘Til this day when the wind blows below the drifts, you can hear Viktorik in his mountain, screaming.

    This had taught the Cruski of Valkemf Bravery.

    Fredmyr the Storm Giant

    It was a cold day, perhaps 100 years after Valkemf’s founding. Snow and freezing winds had plagued Valkemf for weeks. Ships hadn’t been able to navigate upon the waters of the Solnor to harvest fish. Times were trying in Valkemf.

    Then, a large being visited Valkemf. Tall and mighty he appeared. As big as 30 Cruski legend tells. He wore the garb of a Cruski and wielded a giant sword of blue steel. He commanded the winds and weather. He parted the clouds. He calmed the tides. He filled the nets of fishing boats with the largest harvest this village did e’er see.

    The Cruski of Valkemf thought him to be Llerg. “He’s here to deliver us!” cried some. “He’s here to grant us boons!” others shouted. Hopeful shouts of the Cruski filled the tiny village of Valkemf.

    Llerg had called for the Jarl; a jealous man named Kichstein and devoted worshipper of Xerbo. He would have no other than divine Xerbo take attention away from the power he commanded in Valkemf.

    Llerg asked of him what he would like as a great boon for him and his people. “I would have of ye go forth and begone from this land forever!” Kichstein bellered, saliva frothing.

    Llerg did as requested, but first he commanded a Hurricane off the coast! He commanded Avalanches to cover the Valkemf mines! He shook the earth with his mighty roars! Then into the Solnor he crept. His giant limbs slowly sinking into the large tides he had brought forth, until finally he had totally immersed.

    Once gone, the winds picked up even fiercer. The cloud cover had returned, but these were no white clouds. They were black and throwing out freezing rains and hail! For 30 days it stormed over Valkemf.

    When the calm finally settled over the land a young Cruski named Achbel went to the waters. He called for Llerg, but Llerg did not answer. He called more, well into the night.

    When morn’ came young Achbel was still at the waters. A shaman of Llerg faith approached Achbel and asked if she could aid him, perhaps feed him? Achbel declined the offer and cursed Llerg! Llerg had taken his parents in the storm. “But young Achbel,” she started, “That was not Llerg.”

    No creature but Llerg himself could wield such power young Achbel thought. He ignored the woman and walked on. The woman followed. For days the boy walked. He walked and he walked and he walked some more with no destination. The woman followed.

    Young Achbel ached for the comforts of his family, but feelings of hatred for Llerg kept him walking. Still the woman followed.

    When the boy could no longer walk, the woman sat beside him as he collapse into a drift of snow. “Are you going to continue walking?” asked the woman. Achbel simply shook his head. He knew he couldn’t continue on. All the strength within him had been whittled away by the cold wind. “Where were you walking to?” the woman asked of him. “To Llerg,” young Achbel muttered as angrily as his weary voice could muster. “Well you’ve found him,” said the woman, but this time it was not the voice of a woman. It was the voice of man, deep and hollow, almost echoing.

    Achbel turned his head as he lie there in the snow. He lay his tired eyes on upon the sight of a strong man; built like the ox his father plowed his potato field with. He wore furs of animal’s unseen.

    “What do you intend to do with me?” Achbel whispered with his dying breath. Llerg replied in a similar whisper, “Take you to your family.”

    This had taught the Cruski of Valkemf Faith.

    The Five Swords of Corusk

    Legends tell of 5 swords that, once united, could free the mighty god Vatun of his devilish imprisonment. None of which have been found despite efforts of clergies throughout the nation.

    Map of the Valkemf Region:

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    Re: Valkemf, Province & City of (Score: 1)
    by cwslyclgh on Tue, February 03, 2004
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    nice, I especialy liked the legends part at the end.

    Very Nice (Score: 1)
    by Greyson on Wed, February 04, 2004
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    Very well done, Abysslin. Thorough, well articulated and detailed. It is obvious a lot of love went into this effort. I really like that you included a map. It lends perspective and tangible depth.

    Good job. Now do Harby for us!

    Re: Valkemf, Province & City of (Score: 1)
    by Abysslin ( on Wed, February 04, 2004
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    Thanks, Wes!

    They prolly don't belong in a Gazateer entry, but I just couldn't stop writing. They just sort of "happened."

    I'm glad you enjoyed 'em!

    Greyson, I appreciate the comment.

    Hardby? I'd love to and I'll add it to the list, but I'm sure some one will beat me to it. I'd imagine alot of people are doing Hardby.

    Re: Valkemf, Province & City of (Score: 1)
    by TwiceBorn on Sat, February 21, 2004
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    Nice work! Since you asked for constructive feedback on forum thread, here's mine. Please keep in mind that the feedback merely reflects my assessment of your work, and criticisms are not intended as an attack on your ideas. Some of my suggestions are grounded in "Earth" reality (as opposed to Oerth fantasy), so evidently you may find some of them to be completely irrelevant. That having been said...

    1) IF you intend for Oerth's climate to work somewhat like our own climate on Earth, then I would recommend the following changes.

    a) In the arctic, six months of the year have very long periods of daylight (round the clock sun, i.e. midnight sun, occurring for as long as 3-4 months of the summer, depending on latitude), the other half of the year being primarily shrouded in darkness (total darkness for 3-4 months, once again depending on latitude). Of course, spring and autumn bring gradual, if short lived, balance between light and dark. Given that Hyboria lies even further north than the lands of the Cruski, I do think the above changes would make Valkemf more "believable."

    b) I can tell you from personal experience in arctic Norway and Sweden (the "real life" lands which the Suel barbarian lands most closely resemble from a historical point of view in terms of culture and geography), that summers in those places are much warmer than your text would suggest (I often experienced 15-20 Celsius, and sometimes higher than 30 Celsius), warmed by the constant sunlight and the Gulf Stream (which might translate into warm winds from the Solnor Ocean?). Likewise, you would not find snow on the ground nine months of the year, except in mountains. Of course, since Oerth IS a fantasy world, you can make your summers as cool as you want. Even in the depths of winter, average temperatures in arctic Scandinavia tend to be a little warmer than what you suggest (once again, due to warming from the Gulf Stream).

    c) In our world, penguins are only found in the Antarctic, not in the Arctic. But once again, since this is a fantasy world, you can do what you please.

    I really like the fact that you included whaling as a primary livelihood source.

    As far as valuables go, historical Vikings actually were very artistic, and made coins and ornate jewelry from gold and other precious metals. I've seen some of their treasure troves in Scandinavian museums, and they were impressive. But once again... if you prefer that the Suel barbarians be poor and with little artistic inclination, that's your right. I simply prefer to make their culture vibrant and advanced (when considered in light of their barbaric reputation and berserker fighting styles), a real surprise when PCs first encounter them.

    Politics: as a historical note which may or may not be of interest to you, Iceland's Viking settlers developed a highly formal and codified legal system, so there definitely was order even in "barbarian" societies. On the other hand, justice and redress for perceived wrongs were often "resolved" via blood feuds (more likely, they kept killing each other back and forth)... which makes for an interesting mix of law and chaos.

    Tribes and clans: I like your discussion about clans and inter-clan warfare (they tie in nicely with blood feuds), and your inclusion of the way the city folk perceive the country folk (I think of Glot as a big, sprawling settlement, rather than as an actual city... likewise, I have a hard time imagining Valkemf as a city... but hey, that's just me). Cruski sometimes slaughtering the young of rival clans during berserker rages is certainly consistent with a CN alignment. I would have liked to see how you differentiate tribes from clans, though.

    Trade: the 2nd ed Five Shall Be One module suggests that the Barbarians might also trade with the Bandit Kingdoms for the high quality weapons that are produced by the latter.

    Travel: Mammoths... wow! I never thought of placing mammoths there... interesting idea, it certainly would give them extra leverage in battle!

    Events: I like the way you've fleshed out local culture here... I'll probably use what you've got here IMC.

    Religion: I agree.

    Races: I would be interested in knowing why half-orcs and half-ogres are welcome among the humans of the province... is there a story here?

    Military life: that Iced Ale sounds positively disgusting... that's a keeper! Reminds me of the way putrefied shark meat is considered a delicacy in Iceland.

    Everything else in the article looks really good to me, especially the legends... nice work! I would like to see you write more about the Blades of Corusk. Your map is also very good, reminds me of the early OD&D gazetteers I once used. I always liked those maps. I would, however, like to see more colourful names than "frost giant stronghold" or "gnoll hole." Other than that... great work!

    I hope this feedback was of value to you (and now you know why I don't always have the time to write feedback when I first see an article... my job doesn't give me the time to do so on a regular basis!). Thanks for your valuable contribution to Greyhawk lore... keep it up!

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