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Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part I
Posted on Tue, November 16, 2004 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "In our continuing journeys across the Flanaess, we now come to the Bitter North, passing through Blackmoor, the Kingdom of Fruztii, and the Kingdom of Cruski, the lands of the Frost and Ice Barbarians...

Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part I
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

BLACKMOOR, ARCHBARONY OF

The Archbarony of Blackmoor is the most distant and remote realm in all the Flanaess. Considered by most to be only a legend, this dark land of mists, marshes and forests does indeed exist, though few know anything of it or its people. Perhaps this is as well, for Blackmoor is a gloomy, ugly fen, haunted by vile people and weird monsters. It is the last place of refuge for those fleeing both good and evil, the very end of the oerth for rogues who cannot survive anywhere else.

Some adventurers and traders still make the long, perilous journey to Blackmoor in search of treasure, or to investigate the weird happenings and mysteries for themselves. Few of these people ever come back, however, and, as a result, Blackmoor has an evil reputation even among hardened heroes.
The Greyhawk Wars had little effect on Blackmoor, though refugees from Tenh, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Shield Lands, and elsewhere all came here seeking shelter or sanctuary, though they rarely received what they asked for. The strongest people were able to survive in the hostile northland, while others were simply left to rot in the marshes…

Society and Culture: Nowhere else in the Flanaess, not even in Iuz, does the law of survival apply as it does in Blackmoor. Those people who are strong have managed to carve out lands and homes for themselves, while those who are weak are enslaved or killed. The people of Blackmoor, who have many humanoids among them, are a desperate race, working together only when necessity dictates.
The land is divided into several baronies, each of which is nominally under the control of a baron. These positions are technically hereditary, but few barons last long enough to produce sons and heirs. They may be assassinated, killed in duels for leadership, or fall victim to the region’s many natural hazards. As a result, barons tend to oppress their citizens ruthlessly, always wary of threats to their power.

Ruling over the barons is the archbaron, who rules by virtue of his bloodline, but also through threats, violence, and manipulation. The archbaron has no checks on his power, except when opponents can rally sufficient opposition to defy his commands. Doing this is easier said than done, however, for the archbaron has a habit of kidnapping cherished relatives of opponents and keeping them as “guests” in his household. These guests are harmed or killed if their relatives do not keep the archbaron pleased and happy. The archbaron may also invite others into his presence-whether they come voluntarily or not is another matter entirely. He has been known to hold foreign travelers hostage and interrogate them for hours, making them give up information on distant lands, and tell him legends and tales that they must make up.

Blackmoor is a land of savage oppression-women and demihumans who are strong enough can thrive, but it is usually human men who reign. Wastri, the Hopping Prophet, is worshipped in some circles, and the demihumans who live here must always be on their guard.

Despite all this ugliness and evil, there is still some goodness and decency in Blackmoor-if you show them kindness and mercy, which is so rare in this country, people are often inclined to repay the favor. Adventurers who have crossed either the archbaron or one of the lesser barons can find sanctuary with those among the oppressed masses who they have given charity or protection to. This is, in a way, the only type of social interaction that is more positive than simple, cold politeness-something which is common in everyday Blackmoor life.

Military Structure: Blackmoor has no proper military force to speak of-individual barons must raise militia groups when battling raiding humanoids, the forces of the Egg of Coot, or the region’s other unique hazards. These militias vary widely in race, being most often human, orc and half-orc. Most of them are good enough raiders and brawlers, but have no discipline or training, and would not last an hour on the field against a proper army.

The archbaron’s forces, as one might expect, are the largest and strongest, having heavy and medium infantry, as well as heavy cavalry. These groups are undisciplined, but are vicious fighters who revel in the chance to fight and kill qullans, quaggoths, wild orcs, Wolf Nomads, or other enemies of their sovereign. While skilled in combat, those with sufficient tactical knowledge and ability should be able to defeat them with only moderate risk.

Ruler: Archbaron Bestmo, the Bastard of Blackmoor, has a pale, unhealthy complexion to his skin from living in a land that receives little sun, and is surrounded by humid mists and fens. Short and stout, his close-cropped hair, hateful, glaring eyes, elaborate plate mail armor, and huge spiked mace strike fear into even the hardiest men and orcs under his command. His voice is low and dull, though quite audible to anyone he speaks to.

Bestmo is a hateful, nasty and vile wretch of a man, who bitterly loathes the indignity his realm suffered from its defeat by the Egg of Coot. His hair-trigger temper is tragically easy to set off, and many poor souls have met their end simply because their liege awoke in an ugly mood on any given morning. Antisocial and reclusive, his manner of conducting affairs of state is to bully and threaten his underlings until they do what he says.

The archbaron enjoys imprisoning travelers and foreigners and keeping them as “guests” in his court, interrogating them upon anything and everything they know. Blessed with a prodigious memory, he has accumulated knowledge on the legends and lore of the four corners of the Flanaess, much of it acquired from inhabitants of those distant lands who are kidnapped by slavers and then purchased by Bestmo. He also has a great fondness for tales and legends, told both in prose and song.

Bestmo forces the rest of his ‘guests’ to do miserable chores and satisfy his evil pleasures, but gives those who keep him entertained with a relatively comfortable life. Why he is so obsessed with myth and fable is curious-perhaps he has a longing to learn more about lands he will never see, or would like to learn more about, if he could leave his hovel of a land.

The root cause of Bestmo’s anger remains unexplained. Some theorize that he is bitter at how far his once-proud realm has fallen, especially since its partial defeat by the Egg of Coot. Others believe that he wants to be free of the duty of ruling Blackmoor, or that he dreams of turning it into a mighty kingdom that would encompass half the north-a dream that is surely impossible. Still others believe that he is disgusted with his own instinctive evil, and the battle between the good and evil parts of his nature is perpetually tearing him apart.

THE FROST BARBARIANS

The Frost Barbarians, or the kingdom of Fruztii, had long been under the yoke of their eastern kinsmen, the Snow Barbarians, but the skilled manipulations of old King Ralff had given his realm much more autonomy than it might otherwise have had. A wily diplomat, he assuaged the fiery temper of Orvung, king of the Snow Barbarians, quite well, gaining power for himself while currying his “master’s” favor.
The Frost Barbarians had been gaining in strength before the Greyhawk Wars, prospering through trade with Ratik and the dwarves of the Griffs. Disputes with Stonehold and the humanoid hordes of the mountains were all too frequent, though they usually managed to repel these without too much loss. At the same time, the Ice Barbarians felt that the Fruztii were becoming too close to the weakling Aerdi of Ratik. At the same time, Iuz had been weaving his fiendish plots to draw the Suel barbarians into alliance with the Hold of Stonefist, led by the maniacal Sevvord Redbeard.

When the Greyhawk Wars broke out, the Fruzzti sent troops south to assist Ratik against the humanoids of Bone March, while also batting against an invasion from Stonefist, now the kingdom of Stonehold, ruled by Rhelt Sevvord Redbeard. Iuz’s plans had been thwarted before the war, sending Sevvord Redbeard into a hateful frenzy against both the demigod and his would-be barbarian allies. Livid at being deceived, Redbeard set out to attack and kill anyone and everyone within reach, invading Tenh, Fruzzti, and the Ice Barbarians.

The Frost Barbarians were able to repel the Fist invasion, but they suffered heavy losses. Djekul was ravaged and looted, and King Ralff was slain on the battlefield by Redbeard himself. Nearly twelve thousand barbarian warriors were killed, and many more scarred. Redbeard retreated to his own realm, though he remained a strong and ready enemy.

Hundgred, Ralff’s son, was crowned king of Fruztii to replace his dead father. Having led the Frost Barbarian forces in Bone March alongside the forces of Ratik, he had developed a passion for the ‘civilized’ trappings of the Aerdi. He returned home with a Ratikkan bride eight years his senior, a famed adventuress who immediately set about working her influence on her new husband.
Hundgred proceeded to transform his realm in a most energetic fashion. He went so far as to fully declare Fruztii fully independent of the king of the Snow Barbarians, and proceed to rule his kingdom as such, not even bothering to offer the ceremonial tribute to his supposed sovereign. He also implemented new social changes in his realm, creating government bureaucracies and specific forms of military rank, innovations borrowed from the Aerdi. As a result of his actions, many of his older jarls no longer favor the young king, and they turn a wary eye on the stronger Snow Barbarians, fearing a deadly reprisal for their king’s insolence. Yet, for the most part, they remain loyal to Hundgred out of respect for his great father.

Society and Culture: All the Suel barbarian nations are considered to be chaotic, and so they are, but the Frost Barbarians are easily the most united of the three peoples. They are more prepared to help each other out, feed each other when someone is starving, and cooperate as a nation than either the Ice or Snow Barbarians. In a similar fashion, the clan-based social structure is very strongly tied together, with considerable power invested in the king.

At the bottom of the social hierarchy are the common men, who are all considered equal to one another in matters of law and justice. They are all organized into families, each family claiming a town as its own. These families and villages are ruled by chiefs, who then pay tribute to the clan as a whole. Each band of families is organized into a clan, having its own particular province led by a jarl. These jarls all then pay tribute to the king, who is the final ruler of the realm.

There are few formalized institutions of government or written documents and charters detailing the social responsibilities of the people; the business of running things is always conducted on an ad hoc basis by the king, jarls or chiefs as needed. Each leader defers to the authority of the man above him, with final power resting in the hands of the king. Relations between the king and his nobles are very good, keeping in tune with the cooperative and cohesive spirit of the Frost Barbarians as a people.

The Frost Barbarians, like their kinsmen, treat women as second-class citizens, though abusing them is frowned upon. Demihumans who win the approval of the barbarians will be treated well, though otherwise the Fruztii have little affection for nonhumans. They take slaves, like other barbarians, but again, cruelty to slaves is not well regarded-a slave and his family are thought to be guests in a man’s household, to be protected by him in exchange for their service. As a result, they generally tend to be better off than they would in the hands of the Snow or Ice Barbarians.

While they are a cohesive, friendly people, life as a Frost Barbarian is not necessarily sweetness and light. A spirit of cooperation exists among the people as a whole, but individual brawls and fights erupt all the time. Those barbarian men who cannot wield a sword with strength are scorned as weaklings, and often picked on by their fellows, even if these fellows would not harm the man’s slaves. Jarls and chiefs are continually challenged to duels by young warriors, who wish to rule in their place. The leaders must accept these battles, or be branded cowards and lose support of the people. Personal feuds and slights can be remembered for years and avenged. All this is standard life for a Suel barbarian-it is just that the Frost Barbarians do not go as far with it as do their kin.

Those visiting the lands of King Hundgred will see a nation in the process of changing. New government buildings are being built, constructed in the barbarian model but with the intent of holding a civilized bureaucracy. Many of the old ways and means of government are being institutionalized by the new king, and this has created much chaos and confusion among his people, who are used to doing things through simple discussion and action, not dealing with mounds of paperwork. As a result, Hundgred is unpopular with his people, who resent the changes they believe he is forcibly imposing on them.

Military Structure: Every nation in the hostile northlands needs a strong army to survive, and the Frost Barbarians are no exception. Uniformly well-disciplined and trained, despite their lack of formal organization, the Frost Barbarians can field a force of medium and light foot wearing chainmail and shield, wielding swords and battleaxes. These brave men are comparable to their civilized counterparts in Furyondy or North Kingdom, and will face man, orc, or giant without fear.

Some companies of archers and light cavalry are based in Djekul, though these are rather poor by Flanaess standards. They are auxiliary forces only, for the terrain of the barbarians (harsh hills and thickly forested highlands) does not encourage their use. Only in those regions of tundra can the cavalry be used most effectively. These are usually clad in leather and carry only a longspear and a pack of javelins.
The Frost Barbarians benefit from being the best-organized army in the region, besides those of Tenh and the Pale. While not quite as strong as the Fists or Snow Barbarians, their superior chains of command give them a good fighting chance against these opponents.

King Hundgred’s attempts to impose a strict military hierarchy are causing no end of problems for his war leaders, who are confused about the new lines of authority. Troops are revolting, grumbling, and uncertain about their position in the new regime. Despite their alliance with the men of Ratik, most of the barbarian warriors do not care for the civilized trappings in their army, and are growing very restless, which could cause problems in case of war with Stonehold or the Snow Barbarians.

Ruler: King Ralff was a typical northerner, having brilliant yellow and gold hair flowing down to his shoulders, and a moustache to match. Despite being of only average height and strength, Ralff projected an aura of power and charisma that few could match, being very eloquent and well-spoken for a barbarian, keeping both kinsmen and foreigners off balance with his keen diplomatic skills and intelligent wit. A very smooth talker, he could convince even the indignant Orvung of the Snow Barbarians to do what he said.

Despite his diplomatic skills, more suited to a southern merchant, few people wanted to anger Ralff or question his honor. In his wilder moods, he picked often very violent fights with anyone he met, noble or common. Falling into a rage, his greatsword usually clove his unlucky enemy in two before they could even strike back. He particularly enjoyed provoking husbands by bedding their wives (by force, if necessary) and siring illegitimate children by these unions. He could also be an incredible glutton-eating a whole roast moose in one sitting, for instance.

When these vicious moods did not strike him, Ralff was as brave and honest a ruler as one could find outside of Furyondy and Veluna. He cared very deeply for his people, and worked feverishly, both in diplomacy and battle, to assure their safety and prosperity. He viewed kingship not as a divine right, but a sacred trust, believing that to let down his people would be to let down his gods. He was not overly altruistic towards the people of other countries, however-he cared nothing about going so far as killing the widows and orphans of another nation if it could benefit his own.

King Hundgred Ralffson is much like his father, only far larger and more muscular. Known for parading about his court in a swaggering manner, Hundgred loves pomp and circumstance, taking every opportunity to make those who stand before know that he is every inch a barbarian king. Always talking in a loud bellow, he is given to five-minute long rants and proclamations, which no one dares interrupt.

Boastful, arrogant, and pompous, the young barbarian particularly loves to challenge important visitors to duels, with any weapon of their choosing. Whether he wins or loses determines his disposition towards his opponent for the rest of the meeting. He always insists on conducting business at the feasting table, and his table manners are so disgusting they put those of an ogre to shame. He will go out of his way to be extra rude if he has been offended, conducting lewd behavior with the serving girls even as his guests are trying to eat.

In spite of all his unpleasant qualities, Hundgred is renowned for his brass and courage. He would not be afraid to tell an angry dragon what he thought of it, any more than he would be to challenge Sevvord Redbeard to single combat. He does not have his father’s tact or wit, but he will always give an honest effort to protect his country, as true love for his nation lies buried under his bloated ego.

Foreign Relations: The Frost Barbarians have the best relations, rather obviously, with the people of Ratik, who they admire greatly. Trade and diplomacy go quite well between the two countries, though indidivudal barbarians are becoming very upset with Ratik, who they blame for Hundgred’s attempts at social “reform”. The country’s relations with the Snow and Ice Barbarians vary; all three barbarian nations raid and war with each other freely, but they also ally against Stonehold or the various humanoids and giants of the mountains.

Currently, both of the other barbarian kingdoms are not getting on well with Fruzzti. The Snow Barbarians resent the arrogant boastings of the new Frost king, and the Ice Barbarians have never enjoyed the way the Frost Barbarians deal with Ratik. King Ralff, for his part, made a point to be good friends with both kingdoms.

Apart from the humanoids and giants of the mountains, the Frost Barbarians’ one true enemy is Stonehold. True hatred boils between the Fists and all barbarians, and neither will show the other any sort of mercy if they ever fall into combat. Raids and battles are constant between the two deadly enemies, as they are with any community unlucky enough to be within Stonehold’s deadly reach.

The Scarlet Brotherhood has made overtures to all the barbarian peoples, and the Frost Barbarians have proven the most eager and receptive. Some have traveled to the Brotherhood’s lands in the far south, and reported with amazement and wonder at the sights they have seen. Some of the jarls and warriors, including the king, talk of joining the Scarlet Brotherhood in its ambitions of conquest, agreeing that the Suel are the rightful rulers of the Flanaess. Others are not so sure-they know that large-scale warfare with the south would eventually ruin them as a people, or at least cost the lives of thousands of their own young men. They also distrust the schemes and smiles of the men in the scarlet robes. These debates have added yet another fracture to modern Frost Barbarian society.

THE ICE BARBARIANS

The Ice Barbarians, or the kingdom of Cruski, are the most ancient and storied of the Suel peoples of the north, and perhaps of all the Flanaess, save for the founders of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Long proud and independent, they always held themselves to be higher than their Frost and Snow cousins, believing that their ancient god Vatun had given their king the right to rule over all the peoples of the Suel, and that they have been chosen by their deity to someday forge a grand barbarian empire in his name.

Perpetually raiding and allying with their barbarian cousins, fighting with their enemies in Stonehold, and raiding the Aerdi lands to the south, the Ice Barbarians seemed to have little influence upon the Flanaess as a whole, keeping their own counsel and living life as they always had. But even they were not immune to the sinister plottings of the Scarlet Sign…

The Scarlet Brotherhood had contacted old King Cralstag, making the same promises and offerings they would offer to the other barbarian lords. They made reference to the Suel race’s proud imperial history, its connection with magic and mystery, and the loyal service of Cralstag’s ancestors to the Imperial Crown.

Cralstag spat in the faces of the red-robed emissaries in his court. His ancestors served no one, he proclaimed, especially not an emperor who was covered in the filth of sorcery. He ordered them to begone from his realm immediately and never return, prophesying that if they did not, they would feel the wrath of his sword. The Scarlet Sign prepared to depart, but they murdered Cralstag with poison in his cup, as a warning to anyone else who would defy them.

The king had no sons, so his nephew Lolgoff was crowned as the new king. When the Scarlet Brothers came to speak to him at the king’s funeral, they spoke high praise and honor for the dead man. Lolgoff rewarded their treacherous hypocrisy by killing them with his uncle’s sword, thus fulfilling Cralstag’s prophecy. He then elaborated on Cralstag’s threats by saying that gruesome deaths awaited any of the sniveling wretches of the Scarlet Sign who might foul Cruski with their presence.

The Brotherhood was forced to stay its hand for many years, until they were able to strike during the Greyhawk Wars. Being unable to fight the Ice Barbarians in honest combat, they resorted to trickery and deception. The Hold of Stonefist, later Stonehold, was marshalling an army to attack the western territory of the Ice Barbarians, and King Lolgoff was preparing a force to meet them head-on. However, the Scarlet spies in Cruski convinced the king that the Snow and Frost Barbarians were proceeding to attack him from the south. They also spread false rumors about the actual strength of the Stonehold force, painting it as much weaker than originally thought.

Lolgoff rallied most of his force to the south to face the phony Snow threat. But his kinsmen on the Taival Tundra, the western territory of Cruski, were brutally slaughtered. Totally overmatched by the hordes of Fists, those Ice Barbarians left to defend the Tundra fought bravely, but were horribly killed. By the time Lolgoff realized he had been tricked, and sent his troops back to reinforce the defenders of the Tundra, it was too late-Stonehold and its ruler Sevvord Redbeard were in full control of the area.

Among the many other frightful atrocities he committed in the Wars, Redbeard decided to prove his mastery over the tundra by building a road along its length leading back to Stonehold. Instead of installing conventional milestones, he commited a sickening act. He had all his prisoners of war-men, women and children alike-and all the dead of the battle, including his own, impaled on ten-foot high stakes every mile, acting as grisly guideposts indicating the distance back to his own realm.

This act made Lolgoff livid with fury, and he threatened a horrible revenge on Redbeard and Stonehold for their unforgivable actions. But he had to deal with a greater problem; he had been disgraced by the Brotherhood’s successful deception. His reputation tarnished, he has spent the years since the Wars attempting to redeem his honor, regain control of the Taival Tundra, and remove the Scarlet Brotherhood from his realm. The Brotherhood, for its part, continues to try and take control of the kingdom for itself, as it does with every other realm its agents infiltrate…

Society and Culture: More than the other barbarian states, the Ice Barbarians emphasize the Suel traits of passion, individualism, and strength. The people of Cruski are fractured into many small bands and individual families, who for the most part act independently of one another. The same clan system that exists in the Frost and Snow Barbarians is here as well, though it is much more loose and fluid-individuals can travel between clans very easily, and intermarriage is quite common.

While the other barbarian nations are inclined to have some sense of national fellowship, the Ice Barbarians are notoriously independent, and even more than their kinsmen hold that might makes right. Fights and disputes break out over large matters such as hunting territory and mineral wealth, down to petty matters over women and ale. Whole clans may attempt to take over and enslave others. The reasoning in all this is that everything a man has, even his own life, belongs to him only as long as he can defend it. If he cannot, then he is not deserving of it.

This mentality carries over into both the actions of government and the Ice Barbarians’ view of foreigners. The king has no formal institutions to maintain control over his people-he must make his will imposed by non-lethal force, coercion, or willpower. Any of these methods are acceptable, provided the king remains a strong leader in the eyes of his subjects. Otherwise, he clearly is not worthy of the title.

As for the barbarians’ views of other peoples, they hold respect for these peoples if they have no agreed-upon rules to prevent the worst excesses of human nature from damaging society-in other words, if they do not have strong laws and means of enforcing them. The Ice Barbarians view all such cultures, human and nonhuman alike, as being weak and decadent, unable to protect or control themselves. It is a strange irony, then, that the Cruski will show more respect to savage, wicked orcs than they will to the regal, noble dwarves of other regions. The dwarves that live in and near Cruski itself are quite barbaric, as the region has little mineral wealth for them to exploit.

Women, demihumans, and slaves are all viewed with the same lens in Ice Barbarian society-if they can stand up for themselves, then they may prosper as well as any man. If they cannot, then they are condemned to the same servitude as any man who cannot hold his own.

Military Structure: The war bands of Cruski are uniformly fierce, as they must be to survive their battles with orcs, giants, monsters, Fists, other barbarian peoples, and each other. They usually wear chain mail, iron helmets and round shields, acting as heavy and medium infantry. All of these are very dangerous one-on-one opponents, the weakest of which is a match for the battle sergeants of realms like the County of Urnst or Veluna. No archers or cavalry to speak of exist, though this hardly matters, as the harsh, remote regions of Cruski are not accommodating to their tactics anyway.

The army’s main weakness has not to do with training, courage or discipline, but organization. It takes a considerable amount of time and arm-twisting by the king to assemble a full-sized military force for invasion or defense, as the war-bands of each clan prefer to act on their own. Often, that time cannot be spared, and so casualties will be sustained before the barbarians are fully ready to counterattack. The high mortality rate, both in civil and military life, for the Ice Barbarians has caused many clans to practice polygamy and marry their daughters at very young ages, to ensure that many young men are being continually born and raised.

The navy is very good by Flanaess standards, but still no match for the Sea Barons or Lordship of the Isles. The Ice Barbarians raid these realms, and the kingdoms of Aerdy, constantly, but they are never guaranteed of success. The strength of the Sea Barons in particular is deeply resented by the Ice Barbarians, for five out of every six raids they launch to the Barons’ islands will come home in disgrace, their ships a collection of battered wrecks, if they ever come home at all.

Ruler: King Lolgoff Bearhair, the King of the Ice Barbarians and supposed Fasstal of all the Suelli (ruler of all the Suel peoples) is very strange for a barbarian. Tall, regal and austere, his face is at once an expression of calm serenity and piercing intensity. A total albino, his glowing rose eyes and long white hair lend an almost mystical quality to him, even more so given that he does not wear the beard carried by almost every other barbarian in his kingdom. Over eight feet tall, and nearly four hundred pounds of solid muscle, he totally defies what one might expect a human to look like. He carries an air of being descended from mythical figures of yore, an autumn king passing into the fading time of winter.
Lolgoff’s personality and image of himself fits his solemn appearance-he has never been known to smile, laugh or cry. Always acting slowly and decisively, the king of Cruski ensures that all are listening to him and him alone when he speaks, giving an impression of deep wisdom and intelligence that seems almost timeless, despite the fact that he is barely fifty years old. His personality and motivations are inscrutable, his face always set in stone.

The duties of being the king of such a chaotic realm and also the supposed spiritual leader of all his people weigh very heavily on the old king’s shoulders. He truly wants to rebuild his people’s fallen legacy, creating a new barbarian empire that he would like to rule; but he knows this can never be until Vatun is freed. More importantly, he knows it cannot come to pass so long as the Scarlet Brotherhood exerts its choking grip on the Suel race, and so he has pledged to fight the evil organization to his last breath. If these problems were ever resolved, Lolgoff would all too happily lead his kinsmen on a war of conquest against the other peoples of the Flanaess, hoping to creating a legacy that the bards will sing about millennia from now.

Foreign Relations: An avowed enemy of the Scarlet Brotherhood, Cruski is trying to oust the Scarlet spies it knows are within its borders, turning the minds of the people against their king. The Ice Barbarians also hold disdain for any and every civilized nation, from Ratik to the Sea Barons to the Great Kingdom and Northern Aerdy. All of these areas are raided and harassed by the barbarians freely, and so relations between Cruski and these countries are never good. The Hold of Stonefist, now Stonehold, is another stalwart foe-neither Stonehold nor Cruski will rest in their war until one of them is destroyed. Of the nonhumans who live in the region, only certain wild dwarves are the Ice Barbarians’ allies. The other dwarves and the elves of the Sable Forest either ignore or fight with the barbarians. The orcs, goblins and giants are hated enemies of both barbarian and demihuman alike.

As for the Frost and Snow Barbarians, the Ice Barbarians will simultaneously trade and raid with their cousins, joining them on southward voyages of plunder when summer comes. Relations with the other barbarian kingdoms vary between good and bad-the Snow Barbarians are well thought of, while the Frost Barbarians are currently being scorned for the “civilizing” of their kingdom and their close relations with Ratik.

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Re: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Bitter North, Part I (Score: 1)
by Cymraegmorgan on Sat, November 27, 2004
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I liked the Blackmoor section the best. Your take on the schizophrenic internal struggle within Bestmo's mind was quite well done. Not two dimensional at all.





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