The Northlands Saga

Game Master Something Wicked

Hearing I ask from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, that well I relate
Old tales I remember of men long ago.

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Northlands Map


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Beneath the leaden winter skies of the Northlands, wyd is fate, and fate is inexorable. Where raging storms sent by malevolent spirits of the Ginnungagap howl from the Far North and bury steadings and towns alike under several feet of snow, while unnamed things of tooth and shadow hunt those who dare to emerge and brave the cold. Where the blood of fighting men and women sings in harmony with the death cries of the spear-din, and the clash of wood and steel when the shield walls meet. Where enchantments older than the race of Men linger in barrow fields and primeval forests waiting to ensnare the unwary or the foolish.

This is the realm of the Norns, where they measure and cut the threads of a man’s wyrd.

This is the Northlands.


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Feel free to start throwing out ideas. I'll start offering feedback in the next couple days!

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Hello everyone! I'm excited to take part in any game run by Wicked, and this being set in the Northlands is an added bonus.

I'm thinking of playing a barbarian. A kind, gentle warrior, whose thoughts are often confused and who has a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with his rage.

Quick note: I've already played this campaign to level 4, but am confident I can play it again without any issue.


Hi all!

Working on a warpriest, a class I've never played before but I wanted to try something else other than the obvious fighter/ranger/bard. The skald is also very interesting to me, but unfortunately it's very MAD.

My warpriest is a thrall from the equivalent of North Africa, so he is very strange to the Northmen. Like EJC's barbarian, he has a gentle and artistic side and enjoys spending time with the women of the household. His deity is Frigg, an unusual choice for a man to worship.


Hey everyone! I seem to function best with filling niches when it comes to picking my character so I will wait and see what everyone else is leaning towards. However, I've actually never played a ranger or someone specializing in ranged fighting so I'd be somewhat interested in that if no one wants that role.

Character is pragmatic, maybe a little on the pessimistic side. She's a stickler for duty and knows how important the community is for survival so is definitely a team player.


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I've opened the game thread if you'd like to "dot" in and delete and bring the game into your campaigns.

The game won't start for at least two weeks, so there is absolutely no rush.


Spells:
Level 1 (DC 14) - Bless, Divine Favour, CLW, Protection From Evil, Shield of Faith; Level 2 (DC 15) - Bull's Strength, Hold Person, Ironskin, Burst of Radiance
Warpriest of Frigg 6 | HP 44/44 | AC 24 (Tch. 15, Ff. 21) | Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +10 | Init. +3, Perception + 8

Crunch done on warpurriest, will write up the background in the next few days.

Sczarni

Male Human Cleric 1

Hello, all! Great to see all of you in here!

For a character concept, I think I'm wondering between several. None of them will be a ranger-type, so Shari's free to play as a ranger!

My main inspiration for the Nordic-inspired campaign was the rather excellent game(s) The Banner Saga, which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't tried it.

That being said - I'd be interested in picking up the role of the 'designated eldritch dabbler'. One of my ideas was the apprentice of the (not-so-local) wizard in a small Hordaland settlement, who has been sent on one of his final tests, to find, learn and act on his own, before he can aid the lands around him better. A bit of an odd-ball and a babbler, but knows a lot about the things Northlanders are not meant to know about. (Somewhat Daniel Jackson-ian in temperament)

The second one is for a girl who had been sent to train for a cunning woman with an old hag. Charming and clever and quick with her words, yet being quite brash, impatient and somewhat impulsive. After an argument with her teacher, she was told to only return when she feels she's ready to learn more - or when she has finally understood what she meant by all the cryptic babble.

The game being what it is, neither of those are going to be full casters, since I feel 9th level casters are a bit of a no-no here in the Northlands - the first would most likely be a staff magus, and the second a bard with the witchiest spelllist I can compose. Both will fill mostly similar roles, but are two diametrically opposed characters, at least in my head.

EDIT: Maybe we can send a message to Mouse, mentioning that the Discussion is open? I just opened that on a whim to see if there isn't anything in here.


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Great to have you TLC! Make sure to check out my profile for class restrictions. Magus isn't actually allowed at all, and the only bard allowed is a non casting archetype from the unofficial guide. For casters your options are hunter, warpriest, skald, and Oracle. For a witch type character I would suggest a skald or oracle.

Frog God is known for creating difficult fights, without the presumption that the players will prevail (found in Paizo products). The only full caster allowed is an Oracle. I want to emphasize how rare spellcasters are in the north, which is a big adjustment from Golarion. Limiting access to magic is one way we'll achieve the low fantasy feel intended for this adventure. The party should have no more than two spellcasters of any type. Kittenmancer's warpriest counts as one.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Edit: mouse hasn't replied to my pm yet, but I don't think she's posted over the weekend.

Sczarni

Male Human Cleric 1

My bad there - I read the guide, but must've glanced over the magus part, and I just now saw your profile - duly noted.

I'll probably not go for the oracle - it feels a bit too powerful later on, and I can't wrap my head around it.

Regarding skalds - I completely forgot the class existed, but now that I've given it a glance, I quite like it. The bard archetype is also pretty interesting, so I'll give it consideration - the class is actually better fitting for both my concepts than what I had in mind.

Where would a skald (of the magical variety) learn his kennings? The second one is obvious, training with a wise woman, but how do the men train? Would the wizard/mage apprentice fit in the setting in a certain degree, or are they way too frowned upon, even if they are skald-like?

If the hunter's one of the possible classes, I also have another concept of a non-caster that I'd like, from the frozen frontier in the north, in the event Shari feels like playing a hunter. (Which are really cool!)

Cheers!


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The Lion Cleric wrote:
Where would a skald (of the magical variety) learn his kennings? The second one is obvious, training with a wise woman, but how do the men train? Would the wizard/mage apprentice fit in the setting in a certain degree, or are they way too frowned upon, even if they are skald-like?

This is a good question but, by virtue of the rarity of such things, one for which there isn't a straightforward answer. Our campaign guide tells us that skalds tend to hide their magic abilities where they can, or else fashion them as divinely-granted. Wherever your skills come from, they probably wouldn't be from anywhere "civilized," as much as that term can apply in the Northlands. Note we begin near Halfstead, which is the largest and most "cosmopolitan" settlement in all the North. So, while there wouldn't be any schools of magic, you have more options than you'd find elsewhere.

Innate powers, like sorcery, are plausible, and self study could work. You could really get creative here. Perhaps you entered the feared Moors and Barrow Lands and stumbled upon an ancient Andøvan (a long-dead people) artifact, stealing it from a burial mound. Removing it from the dead might have unlocked its latent magic, or perhaps it was cursed and grants you arcane power as a punishment instead. Perhaps you already died once but were revived, but during your death sleep encountered Wotan himself (whether real or imagined) but upon reviving you have these powers. You could also have associated with a witch in the wilds, learning something about his or her dark arts (while cunning women are women, there are other spellcasters lurking around with no gender requirements).

Any spellcasting, skald or otherwise, will make you exceptionally unique, as magic is quite rare. Any spellcaster, but Skald in particular will be feared, sometimes shunned, thanks to its arcane flavor, but also greatly respected. While things may not be "easy," we will establish the skald's presence in the jarl's hall. Spellcasters will most likely be thralls, coveted for their exceptional abilities. But thralls aren't necessarily mistreated, and can be granted trust, weapons, armor, and even their freedom. Being a thrall to Jarl Olaf Henrikson might be the easiest choice, but that's really up to you.


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

Here's the crunch on my barbarian. I'm toying with going Invulnerable Rager, and changing my feats so as to emphasize DR down the line, but am not sure I have the patience for that pay off. Either way, I'll have the background written up over the next few days.

Sczarni

Male Human Cleric 1

I see. The initial wizard apprentice idea showed up, since the guide mentioned wizards are occasionally respected, but only as long as they stay in their hovel in the woods and not disturb the peace.

I think I'm getting an idea - As Wotan is the god of magic and wisdom, as well as madness and heroism, I was thinking that the character and his family was beset by outlaws as they were travelling around Hordaland, and he ran away into the Moors. Out of fear, despite the outlaws stopping their chase, he continued running until he fell into a barrow, and unable to climb out, spent a number of days there simply on the moisture on the walls.

After said days had passed, hallucinating out of hunger, sickness and thirst, he was found by a travelling godi of Wotan, one with more unnatural powers than most. Serving as his thrall and apprentice, learning the tales of grand heroes, runecarving and magic, eight years and eight days later the apprentice woke up in the exact same barrow he was found in, and after a long struggle to leave it, managed to find his way to the road to Halfstead.

From then on, I'm not sure.

An idea I had was for him to be captured going out of the woods by a party of Jarl Olaf's huscarl, and as such to be presented as a gift to the Jarl himself. Another option would be for him to have gone to the town and spoken to one of the godi of Wotan, only for them to be shocked by the fact he'd spoken of powers few Northlanders have, and to have him be put on trial in the Thing and taken as a thrall of the Jarl. A third option would be to simply be relegated to the temple of Wotan there, to continue his studies and tell the tales of heroes.

I'm thinking this might be a bit more suitable with the setting, but it's entirely up to you: As I said, it's a bit of a different setting for me, and I'd love to get involved deeper with it.


Would the Ranger archetype Trapper be ok? I know rogues are frowned upon but this way she'd be ok using disable device if needed. I can see that a trapper would be needed in everyday life.


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@TLC: The guide does mention wizards! I'm actually imposing more restrictions than the campaign guide. For instance, there are several pregens with this adventure that include a druid and a sorcerer, neither of which are allowed in our campaign. I know I'm being strict, but I hope it results in a gritter and more "authentic" atmosphere.

@Shari: Ranger (Trapper) is absolutely allowed!


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@TLC: I like this story! It's appropriately epic and strange to make magic plausible. No arcane secrets to be found in books, no sir! We earn them the old fashioned way--through unwilling exposure to fantastic and mythical forces!

I'll look at the crunch submissions tomorrow.


I'm fairly certain I won't have time to work on crunch or fluff until the weekend. I hope that's ok.


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No problem. The game won't start until after the 15th. You have lots of time.


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

What's the relationship between the jarl and warriors who aren't huscarls? According to the unofficial guide huscarls are lawful, which I am decidedly not, so would that make me a seasonal hanger-on? As a Vastaviklander, would this mean my home was in Vastavikland, and I would come seasonally to serve the jarl in Halfstead? What sort of ties might explain this relationship?


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@Ótryggr: I've been thinking about your questions. The Fighter (Huscarl) does require lawful alignment, and by their descriptions huscarls in general do sound "lawful," but I don't think you should feel constrained by the typical Pathfinder view of that alignment. Even "lawful" Northlanders, from the perspective of those in the Southlands, might appear barbaric. This is especially true of Vastaviklanders, who are perceived as some of the fiercest and most graceless of all the Northland people.

"Lawful" here means oath- or duty-bound, and a man's word carries the weight of a law. An oath-breaker is therefore typically viewed as a common criminal. But while laws are written, oaths are often merely stated, and the terms and scope of one's oath are largely left between the maker and holder. So a Northlander acting lawfully (pursuant to her oath) may appear to be violating the laws, customs, or traditions of the locality in which she happens to find herself. In that case, is she acting "lawfully" or "chaotically"? This is an unfortunate consequence of the patchwork, regional law in this part of the world.

I've added to the "Vastavikland" section of the unofficial player's guide, inserting more information about that region. Despite its reputation for lawlessness, Vastavikland actually has a køenig and an Althing, although the former is largely indifferent to the role and the latter is so stripped of power it is functionally neutered. Both are based in the town of Smølsünd, the largest settlement. While their actual power is limited, they are certainly influential. It's very plausible that the members of the Althing might decide to bolster their relationships with the major settlements of the North, including Halfstead. Maybe you are sent as an emissary of sorts to serve the jarl the largest trade hub in the land, to swear fealty to him and "obey," whatever that means for a Vastaviklander. That your ideas about "loyalty" might conflict with those of your neighbors in Hordland (even your fellow players) could make for some entertaining roleplay. I'm open to your ideas, of course. What are your thoughts?


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

Interesting.

I appreciate your analysis of a lawful 'oath' vs a lawful nature. It makes sense that even a chaotic individual would swear oaths, given how those are the bedrock of society, and would then be forced to constrain his actions within that 'law' as best he could. Just like a chaotic good PC living within a lawful good society. So, no problems there, then.

I like the angle of Ótryggr's being sent from Vastavikland to serve Halfstead's jarl in a gesture of solidarity. Perhaps we could go with something along the lines of the Varangian Guard, where there's a tradition of Vastaviklanders going to serve the Halfstead jarl for a season or more as both a sign of honor and a means to earn wealth? The jarl in turns gains some ferocious warriors who tend to go home when they're done instead of hanging around causing trouble.

As such, I can see Ótryggr beginning the game on his first visit to Halfstead, having come to serve for a year and sworn an oath to the jarl.


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

Also, Mouse has just announced that she's stepping away from PbP for the foreseeable future.


Male Human Skald 6 | HP 45/45 | AC 22 (Tch. 12, Ff. 19) | Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5 | Init. +3, Perception +4

Dotting with my skald. Not entirely set on the final mechanics of him, and it's getting a bit late for me to write the backstory now, but I'll get there tomorrow!


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Nice, so it looks like we have a Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager?), Ranger (Trapper) (maybe?), Skald, and Warpriest.

Also, we will use Hero Points, just like in CotCT, to represent the gods' involvement in the lives of our heroes.

edit: also please indicate somewhere in your profile where favored class bonus is going each level (hero lab output tends to leave that out).


Male Human Skald 6 | HP 45/45 | AC 22 (Tch. 12, Ff. 19) | Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5 | Init. +3, Perception +4

Added that, just after the class.

I have to admit, I feel GM Wicked spoiled us with that PB in CotCT, and Kittenmancer was correct in the Skald being MAD. Skalds, I assume, are also mad in other meanings of the word.

I've decided to go with the current stats as they are. As for the feats, well - A lot require BAB +1, and fighting with a style resembling of that of Wotan seemed appropriate. The Hnefatafl Player is the trait I'm not so certain about, and I might end up exchanging it for Thrall - but it felt in character!

I'll get onto writing a backstory as soon as I can, which'll probably be the weekend.


Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3

So I think I have her crunch mostly done so here's her profile. But I am super tired so may have missed something. I think you said that we get 3 feats to begin with as humans, correct? And with background skills we normally get 2 and then have the bonus one for profession,farmer - right? If I've misunderstood then let me know and I'll change that.

I hope to work on fluff tomorrow.


Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3

You had to give us Seven's page as an example, didn't you. Oh, the feels :(


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Signe Gunderson wrote:
You had to give us Seven's page as an example, didn't you. Oh, the feels :(

Hehe I loved the story with Malka, too. At least they had a happy ending and are living out their days in Torch.

You're correct with the feats and skills. I'll take a closer look in a day or two.


Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3
GM Wicked wrote:
Signe Gunderson wrote:
You had to give us Seven's page as an example, didn't you. Oh, the feels :(
Hehe I loved the story with Malka, too. At least they had a happy ending and are living out their days in Torch.

:)

How would you like your fluff? Full-on background, appearance, personality or would you like the 10min background?


Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3

Sorry but another question...what is the greatest threat to Northlanders? Is it other Northlanders or other races (giants, trolls, other?) or those from the South?


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I love questions!

Fluff is your personal preference--whatever you think is best for your PC.

The greatest threat to Northlanders is probably starvation. Farming is of paramount importance, which is why everyone has a background in it. Fishing, whaling, and seal hunting are also viable trades. Profession (fisherman) might not be a bad idea if you can spare the skills.

In many areas, the elements themselves can be deadly. Climb, Swim, Survival, Ride, and Heal are useful skills to have.

Raids by enemy nations/territories is another possibility, but is a relatively rare occurrence. Northlanders typically do the raiding :).


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Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3

I decided on the 10min background. I'm definitely willing to take suggestions on it. I did make her peripherally related to Jarl Olaf Henrikson so if this is a problem, let me know and I'll tweak things.

10min background:
Step 1: Write at least 5 concept elements that you feel are important to your image of the character.
a) Signe is a woman of 19 winters, stands 6’1” and is not as sturdy as most Northlanders. She has white-blond hair which when unbraided falls past her waist but she normally keeps it intricately braided and out of her way. The most striking and odd thing about Signe are her eyes which are an unusual colour in comparison to most Northlanders – her eyes are a pale violet colour (which together with her height and stature speaks to the presence of elven blood far back in her ancestry). She typically wears woolen trousers, a long tunic, and well-worn leather boots.
b) She comes from what she considers a typical family found in Nordaland. Her father was a fisherman and they lived on the cost and had a small farm that grew wheat as well. As children they learned how to help the family survive and so Signe was taught both how to fish and farm. They were also close to sparse woods and so Signe had also learned how to hunt and trap which was another source of income for their family in addition to agriculture. She was better with a bow and her brother with an axe and so they worked as a team when out in the woods.
c) Her father (Oddvar) died during a sudden storm that sank his boat. Her mother did what she could to keep their family together. The next year was extremely hard on the family without their father and without their boat. Signe and Anders were in their mid-teens but even together couldn’t make up the work load that their father used to. And then there was a particularly harsh winter which led to her brother’s death. Her older brother (Anders) died that brutal winter – their food stores had been scarce and then he got sick and wasn’t strong enough to fight it off. Signe’s mother (Merethe) is a cousin of Olaf Henrikson, Halfstead’s jarl. After her brother’s death and concern for their well-being, her mother contacted her cousin to see if they could join his household to better their chances of survival. Thankfully, the Jarl agreed.
d) Once in Halfstead, Signe did what she could to help earn her and her mother’s place in the household. In addition to offering her ability with her bow for hunting, she was shown trapping and excelled in such work. Her mentor who taught her trapping is Mikkel Skagen, one of the jarl’s huscarls.
e) When it became known that Signe was related to the jarl, she caught the eye of Ketil Torkelson who was hoping that a marriage to her would raise his position within the community. When she turned him down, he tried to cause trouble for her. When his plan backfired, he was alienated from the family. Even though Signe is unaware of Ketil’s hostility, he bears ill will towards her.
Step 2: List at least 2 goals for the character. At least one of these goals should be one that the character has, while another should be one that you, as a player, want to see developed over the course of the game.
a) To prove herself to her new ‘family’
b) My goal for Signe is for her to see enough of the ‘world’ to make an informed decision about her future and what route she takes – whether that’s to settle down and raise a family or to focus on serving the Jarl
Step 3: List at least 2 secrets about your character. One is a secret the character knows, one is a secret that involves him but that he is not actually aware of yet. This will help me in creating plots that center around your character. I will also be creating a third secret which you as a player will not be aware of, so expect some surprises!
a) Secret she knows: she was supposed to have been in the boat with her father the day he died and if she had been, he may not have drowned. She had convinced him to let her go hunting with Anders instead of helping him fish because in her opinion, using her bow was much more exciting than trying to catch fish. She felt so guilty about it that she never told her mother or brother.
b) Secret she doesn’t know: Her brother was making her mother give most of his portion of food to them and essentially sacrificed himself for their survival
Step 4: Describe at least 3 people that are tied to the character. Two of them are friendly to the character, one is hostile.
a) Mother – Merethe Gunderson
b) Mentor – Mikkel Skagen
c) Hostile – Ketil Torkelson; she spurned his advances when she first arrived and now he goes out of his way to cause her trouble
Step 5: Describe at least 3 mannerisms, or quirks that your character has. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.
a) People pleaser
b) Likes shiny objects but has no clue about what is actually valuable and what isn’t; she has a bag of baubles that are mainly worthless
c) She loves to sing but is tonedeaf
Step 6: List one fear your character have and one fear that you have (if you are not comfortable with this, skip it).
a) Enclosed spaces/claustrophobia


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

10min background:

Step 1: Write at least 5 concept elements that you feel are important to your image of the character.

a) Ótryggr Grímsson is a bear of a man, deep of chest and broad of shoulder, with forearms like logs and hands large enough to crush stone. His hair and beard are so dark as to have almost bluish tints, and his skin is weathered by a life spent on the unforgiving bluffs of his family farm.

b) There is something of the ocean to Ótryggr. For long days, even weeks, he can seem placid, deceptively mild. A faraway look in his eye and a polite mien as if his thoughts range beyond the horizon. But then something will trigger him, his brow will darken, his jaw tighten, and the ocean will erupt into ship-drowning storm.

c) He comes from a piss-poor farm, high up on the bluffs of Vastavikland. A shelf of turf on which his family keeps a herd of skinny goats, and a dozen strips of arable soil that wind like an insidious argument along the cliff faces. His life has always been one of brutal labor, fighting to stay just one step ahead of starvation.

d) As a youth he ran away from his farm to go viking. He was only eleven, but the ferocity in his heart made him spurn the land. On impulse he fled, and that night in the depths of a black balsam fir forest he was vouchsafed a vision. A bear arose before him, a spear plunged into its chest. It roared, opened its maw, and a bloody raven struggled out from between its jaws and flew free. The bear collapsed into the darkness, and when Ótryggr crept closer, he saw that it was months dead. He returned home and never told a soul.

e) Ótryggr believes himself a man with no future. He has never been able to envision a life beyond the age of twenty five summers. He once visited an oracle who claimed those years were dark. This terror fuels his fury, even as he knows that very fury could lead to his undoing.

Step 2: List at least 2 goals for the character. At least one of these goals should be one that the character has, while another should be one that you, as a player, want to see developed over the course of the game.

a) Ótryggr seeks to understand the vision he now believes was a warning to him. How he can release the raven of wisdom from his soul before his rage destroys him. To learn wisdom. Each time he feels close, his rage claims him, and he despairs.

b) Ótryggr will have to sink to the lowest depths before he can rebuild himself and find both faith and confidence in his own self worth.

Step 3: List at least 2 secrets about your character. One is a secret the character knows, one is a secret that involves him but that he is not actually aware of yet. This will help me in creating plots that center around your character. I will also be creating a third secret which you as a player will not be aware of, so expect some surprises!

a) At the age of fourteen he came upon an older boy attacking Skadi, the girl he loved. The older boy shoved Ótryggr away and laughed at him; Ótryggr flew into a rage and slew the boy with a branch, and when the girl sought to stop him from beating the corpse, he threw her off and she fell upon a rock and broke her head. Horrified, he dropped both bodies into a ravine. He almost killed himself thereafter by refusing to eat, until self-loathing drove him to abandon the farm to find death while raiding. It was then that he saw his vision.

b) Hagbarðrisn't aware that he was adopted by his family. He was found by his father in the woods - the same spot he had his vision - as a newborn, cradled in the arms of his dead mother. Her head was missing, and wolves circled her corpse but refused to come closer. His father, terrified, was about to run, when he saw two ravens descend and land on the branches above the corpse. Awed, he forced himself closer, and took the silent child home to raise as his own.

Step 4: Describe at least 3 people that are tied to the character. Two of them are friendly to the character, one is hostile.

a) His father, Grím Agnarrson. A wiry, lean, pensive man, Grím fears and loves his son in equal measure.

b) Arinbjörn, an old warrior who now resides in the largest town of Vastavikland. He recognized Ótryggr potential during a summer fair when Ótryggr was but sixteen, and offered to train him. Grim reluctantly agreed, and each summer Ótryggr would journey to the city and there serve Arinbjörn. It was this older warrior that eventually gifted him his greatax, connected Ótryggr with the Jarl of Halfstead, and arranged to send Ótryggr to help season the young warrior.

c) Hagbarðr, one of the Jarl's huscarls. Upon Ótryggr's arrival, Hagbarðr decided to pick on the warrior and was floored in the longhall before the other others. Hagbarðr has nursed a violent grudge ever since.

Step 5: Describe at least 3 mannerisms, or quirks that your character has. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.

a) Ótryggr is fond of singing an old dirge to himself, either around the campfire, or at dawn by the edge of the sea, or while wondering the forests at dusk. It's the same dirge, and speaks of the futility of striving.

b) After raging, Ótryggr spends an inordinate amount of time cleansing his weapons, and grows irate if he cannot do so.

c) When drunk, Ótryggr sinks into a contemplative melancholia from which little can rouse him.

Step 6: List one fear your character have and one fear that you have (if you are not comfortable with this, skip it).

a) Ótryggr fears himself. The beast that screams within his soul. The monster that led him to kill Skadi. He sees it as a fire that shall one day consume him and everything he loves.


Male Human Skald 6 | HP 45/45 | AC 22 (Tch. 12, Ff. 19) | Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5 | Init. +3, Perception +4

Oooh! The 10 Minute Background is a great idea. I've started Ragnar's background over the weekend, but, again, my weekends aren't as free as they used to be. I'll still want to finish the longer one, but I think that'll be more of a work as it goes.

I'll start on the 10 minute one some time today or tomorrow.


Male Human Skald 6 | HP 45/45 | AC 22 (Tch. 12, Ff. 19) | Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5 | Init. +3, Perception +4

10 Minute Background:

Step 1: Write at least 5 concept elements that you feel are important to your image of the character.
1. Ragnar is in his early twenties. He's a well-built man, though not as large as some of the Northlanders. His hair is gray and sometimes tied with a leather band, rather than braided, as he often gets carried away with a stray thought.

2. Despite being a man of his age, Ragnar's facial hair isn't... up to par. In order to avoid a scraggly tuft of fur covering his chin and cheeks, he often shaves it, and is ashamed of the fact. However, his quick tongue and mind often find a deeper remark on those taking fun of it, and not a few punches have been exchanged. I think I recall a particular skald tradition to insult others in a humourous way, often in rhymes.

3. Ragnar has some difficulties adapting to life with people of similar age to him. He has been taught to respect and honour his elders, and he still remembers many of the games and songs he sang as a child, but hasn't had all that much experience bonding over going a-viking or wooing a woman. Despite all this, his clear and melodic voice and rich vocabulary often bends the ears of those around him.

4. Ragnar loves climbing. Whether it be trees or buildings, in his idle time he'd often be found perching from somewhere, and he's the first to volunteer to help someone build or repair a roof, lift a coop, or even steal honeycombs or birds' eggs. Whether it's due to memories from being stuck in a hole, out of youthful energy, or even the joy he feels when seeing the ground from above, it's hard to tell.

5. An obsession of his is heroes, gods and adventure stories, and he'll often ask questions of travellers from far away. He is a veritable trove of such tales, and many of the children of Halfstead (and not only) go to hear him tell such tales.

6. The gift of magic is the thing that sets Ragnar apart from the others. He is often thankful of his mentor that the only thing he's been taught is to mend wounds, and while nobody willingly approaches him, he's been able to save a few lives. He never demands payment, asking for wisdom and knowledge instead, judging nothing to be worthless.

Step 2: List at least 2 goals for the character. At least one of these goals should be one that the character has, while another should be one that you, as a player, want to see developed over the course of the game.

1. Ragnar wishes to understand who his mentor was, or even what he was. He also wants to earn his place in the Northlander society, to contribute as much as he can.

2. Something I'd absolutely love to see him do is break an argument, a dispute or even a battle with words of wisdom. Resolving something in a Thing would also be amazing.

Step 3: List at least 2 secrets about your character. One is a secret the character knows, one is a secret that involves him but that he is not actually aware of yet. This will help me in creating plots that center around your character. I will also be creating a third secret which you as a player will not be aware of, so expect some surprises!

1. Wotan isn't the only one that has granted his blessing on Ragnar. In his dreams, and sometimes in his waking thoughts, other knowledge appears in his mind. When his thoughts inevitably turn back to the barrow, he sometimes hears a voice coming from below. The voice is a quiet, intelligeble whisper, but every time it appears, it becomes stronger. A bit cliche, maybe. But it's a call for the GM to go wild!

2. Ragnar isn't the first Hedefødt, or Marshborne. A few Elders around the Northlands remember stories of children trained by a sage reappearing in civilisation, but that's where the similarities between the stories ends.

Step 4: Describe at least 3 people that are tied to the character. Two of them are friendly to the character, one is hostile.

1. Ole Olafson. An impossibly ancient man, and regaled by a lot as the Halfstead town drunkard, Ole's small hovel in Halfstead is filled to the brim with many trinkets from his adventurous youth. The man loves nothing more than to exchange stories over mead, and Ragnar would often go and help the old man, who, despite being blind and half-deaf, still wins every game of hnefatafl he plays.

2. Matheld. The cook of the Henrikson stead. A titanic woman with a voice that turns back dragonships and an arm which has lifted a fully armoured viking on at least one occasion, Matheld is responsible for keeping everyone in the household fed, both in times of feast and times of famine. As one of her numerous children fell in the firepit a year back, Ragnar's magic was the only thing that kept him alive. As someone who routinely roams the streets and farms of Halfstead with the gait of a frost giant, Matheld often has first pick of the rumours around town, and generously shares them every time Ragnar's duties lead him to the kitchen.

3. Solveig Ingasdottir. A wiry, black-haired woman in her early twenties, Solveig was the ill-favoured and short-tempered scribe's apprentice in the Jarl's household. When Ragnar's showing in the household revealed he was more than literate in Runic, more reserved (not to mention, substantially better mannered), she was instructed to find herself something else to do. Hailing from a poor farm, and having seen her last chance of doing anything better with her life evaporate, she's held a grudge against Ragnar ever since, spreading rumours about witchcraft.

Step 5: Describe at least 3 mannerisms, or quirks that your character has. They don't have to be elaborate, but they should provide some context and flavor.

1. Ragnar is rarely caught without his carving knifee and a small plank of wood. He enjoys chipping away, whether training his runewriting skills, drawing a picture, working on a pattern or carving hneflatafl figures.

2. A sure-tale sign of Ragnar being deep in thought is when he stares at the sky, hands brought together and the index fingers tapping on his lips. As he does so, one of his eyes is often closed.

3. Ragnar aims to see the moon every night before falling asleep, our of habit, and can stand staring at it for a long period. If he can't, his dreams are often nightmares, and he wakes up in sweat.

Step 6: List one fear your character have and one fear that you have (if you are not comfortable with this, skip it).

1. Ragnar's fear is, of course, being trapped, and being alone. Both of those can erode his sanity faster than anything can.

2. A personal fear I have, and I feel might be relevant to this particular character, is the realisation of how microscopic humans are. Generally, the thing from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (It's an odd one, I know.) Not to spoil the surprise, but the sight of the endless ocean or something similar might do the trick for me.

I changed the picture, but I'm still not set on it. Damnit, Paizo artists, why can't you read my mind!

@GM - would Ragnar being in the Jarl's household and being the 'apprentice scribe/person-wot-writes-things-down' be an option? I'm sure that the Northfolk aren't as bureaucratic as the others, but surely there must be someone who's taking notes on the affairs of the world or the household supplies. I can see him being a thrall in such a way, which would still involve some backbreaking work on the fields and such.


Spells:
Level 1 (DC 14) - Bless, Divine Favour, CLW, Protection From Evil, Shield of Faith; Level 2 (DC 15) - Bull's Strength, Hold Person, Ironskin, Burst of Radiance
Warpriest of Frigg 6 | HP 44/44 | AC 24 (Tch. 15, Ff. 21) | Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +10 | Init. +3, Perception + 8

Background done and updated in the profile!


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Wonderful! Busy days ahead, but I hope to give feedback by the weekend. I'm also going to reach out to an additional player, with hopes to begin the game next week.


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One of the best (and maddening) aspects of PbP is the sheer number of great players you get to know, all of whom you'd like to invite to the game you GM. I've settled on a choice and sent a PM, so hopefully we'll hear from them soon.


Hey all

I'm looking forward to playing in this campaign. I will try to get up to speed ASAP.

The
Subiculumhammer


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Hi Subiculumhammer,

Glad to see you're joining us. Let me know if you have any questions.
I recommend the "10 minute background" the others are using for your fluff.


I see a skald, a barbarian, a warpriest, and a trapper. I'll probably go fighter.

In terms of team strategy, it seems that the player guide stresses shield fighting (e.g. shield wall team feats). Anybody not planning on using shields?

For example with the Huscarl (Fighter) archetype:

Center of the Wall (Ex): At 1st level, a huscarl may make full use of the Shield Wall**, Shielded Caster**, Shieldwall Breaker*, Swine’s Head*, and Swap Places teamwork feats even if his ally does not have these feats. He gains one of those feats as a bonus feat provided he meets the prerequisites for it in addition to his regular fighter bonus feats.

This seems fun IFF the party uses shields...The Shield Wall is a terrifying thing.


Female Human Ranger (Trapper) 6 | HP 22/51 | AC 21 (Tch. 13, Ff. 18) | Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +6 | Init. +3, Perception +13 SM +3

My trapper isn't planning on using a shield regularly because she'll primarily be a ranged fighter going the archery route.


Male Human Skald 6 | HP 45/45 | AC 22 (Tch. 12, Ff. 19) | Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5 | Init. +3, Perception +4

Hey, and welcome! Looking forward to playing with you.

I think that as far as a Shield Wall goes, it'd mostly be your character and Þyrnir - Ragnar will most likely be just behind said wall with a spear, and Signe looks like an archer, while Otryggr is a man of the big axe.

That said, the skald is the second most complicated class I laid my eyes on, after the non-Euclidean amalgamation that is the shaman. I'll try and continue wrapping my head around all of this for now, though!


Human Barbarian 6 | HP 72/72 | AC 15 (Tch. 11, Ff. 16) | Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +4 | Init. +1, Perception + 8 | Rage Rounds: 15/16 | +3 to resist spells

Welcome, SubiculumHammer. Like Ragnar said, I'm looking forward to playing with you.

I read somewhere in the Player's Guide that Baresarkers didn't fight in the shield wall, but rather stood before it, going nuts and attacking the enemy without regard for themselves. And while Otryggr isn't a straight up baresarker, he's going that route with the barbarian rage and all. So no Shield Wall for me.


GM Wicked: Would a Huscarl archetype fighter automatically take the Huscarl Social trait? I mean it makes sense...


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It makes sense, but isn't automatic. You can take the trait or not, as you like. Some of the social traits are incompatible with the idea, e.g. outlaw and thrall, while others like Child of Heroes and Famous family seem to fit fine.


Human Huscarl 6 | HP 58/58 | Current AC 22 (21+shieldwall)(Tch. 12, Ff. 21)traitplusadjacent | Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +4 | Init. +2, Perception + 7

I like that Paizo offers a number of avatars, but I wish they'd allow uploading your own. Ah well.


The unofficial guide book is helpful (and is the player's guide useful?), but I am unclear on two points

1) Is the shield wall team work feat the same as from Pathfinder canon?
2) Is the Northlander Spear Fighting (Combat) Feat only for long spears or also regular two-handed spears?

Northlander Spear Fighting (Combat) Feat:

You have trained in the standard fighting style of the Northlanders, a heavy spear in one hand and a shield in the other. This allows you to use a spear in one hand.
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (spear)
Benefit: You may use a longspear one-handed, provided you are also wielding a shield in the other hand. When you do so, you gain a +1 bonus to your shield bonus to AC.

I am thinking that longspear with reach doesn't make sense for someone "holding the line" with her shield, and the language of the feat isn't always particular to longspear, e.g. it says "heavy spear", which implies two handed.

Thanks everyone

I hope to have my 10 minute splurge and char done by over the weekend. In RL, I am giving a talk on next Tuesday, so its been hard to dump a lot of time yet.


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I haven't purchased or read the official player's guide, so I can't comment on it. Aside from rules found in Northlands Saga Complete, I believe it has some short stories, etc. It doesn't contain any information you'd need that isn't found in the unofficial guide. Since it costs money, I'm loathe to ask anyone to buy it, and it's merely listed as an optional resource.

Shield Wall is the same as Pathfinder canon. The double asterisk (**) beside it simply means it's from the APG.

I am pretty sure the Spear Fighting feat refers to the two-handed Spear, not the longspear. I believe by calling it a "heavy" spear they're simply differentiating it from the "shortspear". The feat states it allows you to use a "spear" (as opposed to a longspear) one-handed.

I have just completed a whirlwind workweek and can now turn to getting our game started next week. Don't stress over it Sub, you can make tweaks and edits as we go along. I'm enjoying looking over your PCs! I hope to have feedback available for everyone who's completed it by the end of the weekend, with the first post to come early next week.


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Ragnar wrote:
@GM - would Ragnar being in the Jarl's household and being the 'apprentice scribe/person-wot-writes-things-down' be an option? I'm sure that the Northfolk aren't as bureaucratic as the others, but surely there must be someone who's taking notes on the affairs of the world or the household supplies. I can see him being a thrall in such a way, which would still involve some backbreaking work on the fields and such.

Sorry Ragnar just saw this. Yes, this is definitely plausible. Skalds get Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat, presumably because they are the type of people who like to record details, through stories as well as writings.

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