Lands of the Linnorm Kings
Lands of the Linnorm Kings – Frigid Viking Homeland
Lands of the Linnorm Kings at a glance:
- Alignment: CN
- Capital: Kalsgard (72,080)
- Notable Settlements: Bildt (6,730), Halgrim (26,340), Jol (9,500), Trollheim (12,120)
- Ruler: Svienn Blood-Eagle, White Estrid, Ingimundr the Unruly, Opir Eightfingers
- Government: Loose confederation of barbaric tribal monarchies
- Languages: Skald
- Religion: Erastil, Torag, Desna, Gorum
During the Age of Enthronement, the dragon-headed longships of the Linnorm Kings appeared out of the Steaming Sea, and no coastal kingdom was safe from their depredations. Since then, the Ulfen people of this northern realm have settled and grown more civilized, but the spirit of adventure and the lust for plunder still burns strong in their hearts.
The Linnorm Kings rule, in name at least, Avistan’s extreme northwest — a frigid, rugged land of rich taiga, treacherous marshes, and great boulderstrewn moraines left by departed glaciers. The coastline is bracing and cool, and it rains year-round, with deep winter snows. Further to the east, the land grows increasingly colder, up to the frozen borders of the Witch Queen of Irrisen, who seized the eastern reaches of this domain 1,400 years ago and shows no intention of returning them.
The Linnorm Kings themselves are a collection of petty rulers who dominate the few large settlements in the region. They take their names from the tradition that only a king can carry the head of a linnorm through the city’s gates. That head is usually then displayed above the king’s throne as a sign of prowess and power. Given the difficulties of hunting linnorms, the number of active kings at any time varies, from as few as two to as many as seven at any one time.
Life is hard for the natives of this realm. What land is not frozen marsh is heavily seasoned with stones and boulders, and starvation is often a grim specter in the depths of winter. As a result, many able-bodied adults engage in trade in the summer months, bringing from the south salted fish, pelts, warm woolen clothing, and various oddities of the Inner Sea. Such travelers also pack their axes and small, circular shields, in case an opportunity to plunder presents itself. Every citizen is a Viking at heart, and distant lands are less dangerous than his cold homeland.
The land itself is dotted with small, fortified steadings and a few large stone-walled cities. Even just a few miles from the major cities does the land become wilderness. The beasts come up to the city walls themselves at night, pawing even at the gates of Kalsgard. The lands are a hunter’s paradise, with herds of rich game and predators.
It is not, however, the creatures of the wild that make this land so perilous. The wilderness between the steadings is also dominated by the fey, for a rift between Golarion and the First World runs over the hills claimed by the Linnorm Kings. The faerie peoples are common here, along with gnomes, eladrin, trolls, and nature spirits. There are enchanted animals that can both plead for their lives and utter dire curses against their attackers, and there are more deadly creatures as well. All but the most adventurous keep close to well-known trails and do not tempt either fate or the whimsy of the fey.
Due to the magical nature of the dangers people in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings face in general distrust any spell casters. They see magical enchantments from the Winter Witches of Irrisen in every spell and some become masters of withstanding magic and magical beings. These occult slayers are known and celebrated by all around and often become champions of whoever claims the title of Linnorm King.
The number of Linnorm Kings varies over the centuries, and only Kalsgard has an unbroken line of heroes stretching back before the Winter War. Each king is considered the ultimate law within his domain, and conflicts between the petty kingdoms are solved either by arbitration, the paying of weregild, or tests of adventure by the various kings’ champions.
Svienn Blood-Eagle is the oldest and most powerful of the current kings, and the skalds whisper that soon he will step down and make the journey to Valenhall in faroff Arcadia. He is only waiting for a suitable candidate to come through his gates, bearing the traditional head of a linnorm. Jockeying has already begun among the younger warrior princes, seeking both allies in court and hunting the wilderness for the elusive beasts.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting