Mists of the North (Domain Lore)

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,069
63
#1
This thread will be a consultation place for any information pertaining to Birthright games in this subforum. Currently, that is limited to Diagasvesle's 1 on 1 game placed in Hogunmark.

Birthright was D&D 2ed's prescient attempt at a political game before the whole Game of Thrones craze happened. PCs take the role of rulers who have divine blood of the gods in their veins which actually allows them to better rule and improve their lands. So you adventure to resolve plot points, but also can run a realm and lead armies and wage wars to change the face of the world map. It also has a bit of Highlander mixed in because you can duel someone and violently steal their blood powers by stabbing them in the heart.


A *brief* overview of the setting:
The world is known as Aebrynis, and the story takes place on the continent of Cerilia.

The world was originally created by the gods, who looked after it and tried to take an active role in guiding the various human tribes that worshipped them. Azrai, the god of evil, created many monsters and was slowly but surely triumphing in his designs to overwhelm the forces of good.

The humans were forced to abandon their homelands on the larger continent of Aduria and flee to the continent of Cerilia, where demihuman races such as the dwarves and the elves in particular, lived relatively harmonious lives, led in their works by Moradin and the Elven gods respectively. The coming of the human tribes started a war, especially with the elves. Elves in this campaign world are extremely bitter and aggressive towards humans, for their magical domains were forcibly conquered by expanding human settlers who had little regard for elven sovereignty.

The elves fought a losing war, and in desperation and spitefulness, aided the Evil God Azrai as he sought to finally destroy the works of the good gods and turn the world into his despoiled playground.

Seeing that if they did not directly intervene, all would be lost, the original gods manifested in physical form and led armies against the forces of evil. This drew out Azrai, who also manifested and brought everything to a head at the mythic Battle of Mount Deismar. During this battle, many of the elves finally saw the evil that they were fighting for and switched alliegances to help tip the battle in favor of Good.

In the end, each good god had to sacrifice their life force to destroy Azrai, and their last great act caused a tremendous explosion. When the remaining heroes (and villains) were able to stand, the swirling divine energies invested themselves into the blood of every living warrior on the battlefield, from General to lowly Footman. For the greatest of the mortal heroes of good, this was their ascension to godhood, as six new gods arose to take their fledgling places in maintaining the world. The remaining mortals were invested with divine blood, tied in its nature to the lands and holdings that they would eventually rule. Each bloodline bound inextricably to its charge to look after and maintain and grow the land and people under them. This power of the blood could be past down through generations, or it could be stolen, with a strike to the heart, or the use of magical blades made of 'bloodsilver.' This was the dawn of the new age.

Out of the ashes of Mount Deismar, an empire formed. Although it never managed to unite all of Cerilia, it succeeded in uniting parts of every major human peoples - the Anuire, the Rjuven, the Brecht, the Khinasi, and the Vos.

Unfortunately, the blood of Azrai tainted the veins of many rulers as well, and over the years, those who gave in to the evil taint became powerful monsters, known as Awnshegh. They built kingdoms of evil men and humanoids like goblins, hobgoblins, orogs, gnolls, ogres, giants and other rarer evil races. The greatest of their number, the immortal ruler known as The Gorgon, eventually brought about the ruin of the line of Emperors, and sundered the empire. Now the lands are fractured, with no ruler strong enough or wise enough to unite against the rising threat of the blood of Azrai. Can YOU unite the lands and fulfill your Birthright?

Whew, okay. Not as brief as I'd have liked.

Anyway, now I'm going to focus on the details of the Nation of Hogunmark, which is where Malena, the only PC so far, lives. I'll naturally detail the lands around Hogunmark a little, but will probably wait until they become story relevant to really flesh them out. A map will be provided, so anyone interested enough who wants to say "hey, what's that place?" can just PM me or reply to this thread. I can also direct people via PM to a place to download some reference material, but the nature of the game is that the PC takes the spot of some of these NPC rulers. So some details are changed by necessity for my game.

Hogunmark:
Hogunmark is the largest *human* nation in Rjurik (by land, not by population), which is in the northwestern part of Cerilia. The Rjuven people are comparable to the Vikings and the original settler clans of the British isles. They're big into nature, with Druidism being the chief form of worship there. They are very isolationalist, and in no Rjuven nation is the traditional nomadic, tribal lifestyle more alive and respected than in Hogunmark.

Hogunmark has 13 provinces, but some of those have no permanent settlements. The northern half of the nation is vast, icy tundra. The southern half is deep, wintry woodlands. Domestically, the nation runs on a barter system, and maintains currency only for the sake of joining the outside world's economy. Unless you're living in one of the two cities in the nation, gold won't get you nearly as much as a nice salted fish, some fire wood, tools, furs, or useful goods requiring skilled labor.

In the 13 provinces there are 10 Hogun Clans, each with a ruling Jarl.

Four of those clans are nomadic, unlanded, and do not have an official vote on the Jarl's council, though they are welcome to add their voices to a decision.

These are the Nomadic Tribes and their current Jarl is in []s.

Aegilsgaard [Gunnvor (m)]
Jarnkasspel [Axel Tjarlhan (m)]
Gautrakka [Najlar(m)]
Halskorrik [Sigmund(m)]

From the remaining six clans, a King or Queen is chosen from the remaining Jarls whenever a king or queen passes on.

Clan Name [Current Jarl]* (A King/Queen cannot be Jarl of their clan at the same time)

Yngvi [Kelda (f)]
Jarvyll [Audun (m)]
Otryff [Hromund (m)]
Rolulf [Gunnbjorn (m)]
Heimdjor [Leidolf (m)] - Brother to the King, Uncle to Malena (PC)**
Hjarni [Vaeltid (f)]

**According to laws of primogeniture, Malena is technically the rightful Jarl, but due to her half elven heritage and upbringing at court, Leidolf is the acting Jarl in her clan's ancestral province of Hjolgrun while Malena learns the ways of ley line manipulation from her mystical elven mother in the Tower of Winter.

There are two minor clans, who have 'jarls.' These landed minor clans are only found in the province of Gundviir, seat of the King.

Jarl Kohneg of the Freyjmar Clan from Wjulfsdattir
Jarl Ulfar of the Sjulii Clan from Riversmark

These minor clans and their kin in Veikanger are loyal to the crown, and provide the bulk of the warriors in the Hogunmark Dragons - the personal bodyguard of the King. Because they are independent from the major clans, they are trusted to be loyal to whichever Jarl is elected as a successor.

---------
Spiritually, the nation worships Erik, the god of nature. His priests are all druids. Across Rjurik, druids fall into one of two sects: the traditional, conservative, and more wild Emerald Spiral, and the new age, progressive, more city-bound sect called the Oaken Grove. Aside from a small temple in the capital of Veikanger, the Oaken Grove is not very large in the nation. The Emerald Spiral is far more widespread across the land.

---------
The Clans and Inner Politics

Culturally, there is a divide between the nomadic tribes and the settled clans, but it has been a long time since this difference broke out into violence. Unfortunately, ever since the clan wars broke the original line of Yngvi Kings and Queens over 800 years ago, there have been shifting blood feuds between the settled clans, including the destruction of the Kjlaar clan, and the exile of the Trygvaar tribe, which now resides in the Realm of the White Witch.

To this day, the clans are still far from united, and powerful enough that they could challenge and probably unseat the King if the ruler tried to go against all the Jarls at once, or just with the support of his own clan. It is this fracturing that allowed The Sorcerer to claim Hogunmark provinces... and for the White Witch to steal even more provinces out from under the noses of the Hogunmark Jarls. Only a united Hogunmark could hope to repel its eastern enemies, should war erupt.

Clan Allies Blood Feuds
Yngvi Heimdjor Rolulf, Otryff and Trygvaar(nominally)
Heimdjor Yngvi Hjarni
Hjarni Jarvill, Rolulf Heimdjor, Aegilsgaard
Rolulf Otryff, Hjarni Yngvi
Otryff Rolulf Yngvi, [Jarvill]*
Jarvill Hjarni [Otryff]*

*Jarvill and Otryff have just tried to end a blood feud through marriage, but rumors say the Jarl's son from Otryff is a wife beater, which has the Jarvill threatening to begin the blood feud anew.


----------------------
To be added...
 

BlueSlime

Tentacle God
Moderator
Aug 12, 2010
7,069
63
#2
Re: Mists of the North (Domain Lore)

Map of the Rjurik Highlands (Northwest of Cerilia... land of the Midnight Sun.)

Hogunmark is in the upper left. Realm of the White Witch is to the east. Blood Skull Barony is Southeast of Hogunmark, led by the cruel Hobgoblin Warlod known as Thrakazz. Rjuvik is a Kingdom of Thieves and Cutthroats directly to the Southwest, but fortunately they don't really bother the Hoguns. To the west is Jankaping, which is a human realm dealing with its own civil problems at the moment.

To the far east, in the Wildlands is the Elven Kingdom of Lluabraight (where Malena's elven family is from). Little is known of that realm, as any human that enters those woods is never seen again... though sometimes their frozen, naked corpses are found on the borders. Far beyond this place is the goblinoid kingdom of Urga-Zai. A Rjuven settled land called Hjolvar lies beyond that, accessed only by sea and kept alive mainly with trade to the Brechts who dwell further east in the Bay of the Kraken.

If you're wondering what the numbers mean... [A/B]
A = Rating of the province (higher = more development, more people, more taxes, etc.)
B = Magical potential. Goes down whenever province rating goes up, magical features of the land determine untapped potential. Only means something when a proper source has been built and a magic user tries to cast realm magic... which is a spell with a season long casting time.