|#1zombiegleemaxFeb 26, 2004 15:27:59||Hi. As you can see I'm new here. I've been playing D&D since 1984 and most of that in the world of Greyhawk. My DM is a huge fan of the setting and rarely runs anything outside of it. I'd like to say he's an expert on GH but I don't want to offend anyone here. We all have our own ideas about what the world is like and we all have our favorite corners of Oerth. Mine is the Thillonrian Peninsula. As you can see by my user name and "Signature" one of my favorite characters from the past hails from that region. |
My DM (henceforth referred to as Mort) let me flesh out the culture in the lands of the Schnaii, Fruzitti and Cruskii. Information about religion in this area was scarce. Sure, we knew what gods were worshipped here but we didn't have a lot to go on about who they were. By the time we did find out we had already as much as replaced (or supplemented) them with a source close at hand: The Norse Pantheon. Not only is Mort a GHophile he's also a Thor fan, as in the Marvel Comic. It was my idea to use the Norse and Mort (looking back on it he was somewhat reluctant) went along with it. Our explanation for this invasion of Earthly deities was that Odin and company sought worshippers on Oerth after being abandoned by the Vikings after their conversion to Christianity. The Ice, Snow and Frost Barbarian countries are so obviously Viking that, IMO, they begged for Odin et al.
Early on we new that "the Great God of the North" had been imprisoned by Telchur. I thought Telchur was way too lame. We created our own mythos in combination with old Norse myths that made Odin tGGotN.
The Norse gained their foothold by intervening on behalf the recently arrived Suel Migrants. Not long (a few hundred years or so) after their arrival on the peninsula the population began to be harrassed by a Demon (who's name has been forgotten through the mists of time) and his army of giants and Outsiders. Villages burned and crops were destroyed. The Suel tried to put up a fight but in the end they were just driven from their homes and scattered like dust across the mountains and coastlines of the Thillonrian Pen. It seemed as if the Demon wasn't so much interested in subjugating the population as wiping them out.
The people prayed to the gods that they new from old but they found no relief from the gods they turned away from so long ago following their flight and the Rain of Colorless Fire. But someone did hear, a Plane wandering Odin, in search of worshipers. He rallied his forces, Thor, Tyr, Sif and enumerable Einhirar.
In the land now known as Schnaii Thor slew scores of giants with Mjolnir and in what the Cruskii now call home Tyr laid waste to hordes of demons. On the night of the winter solstice Odin confronted the Demon by a lake in the mountains near the border of present day Rhizia and Schnaii. Before it could escape Odin captured the foul ebon skinned Outsider Lord. Rather than slay him on the Material Plane (effecting it's escape) Odin bound the demon in a fist sized diamond, trapping it's soul in a nearly indestructable container. The perfect stone became as black and cloudy as a shadow in the night.
Odin handed the prison and a fabulous long sword (etched with his name, Laric, upon the blade) to a mortal warrior that fought valiantly along side Odin's Einhirar. He bade the warrior to guard the stone with his life lest it fall into the hands of evil. He warned that the Demon was still powerful and could reserve it's strength and attempt an escape. Odin left but he allowed his Einhirar to wander these new lands for a short time, telling stories of the Norse gods and showing them some of their ways. The warrior began constructing a keep upon the escarpment where Odin had bound the Demon. A host of warriors came to help and here more of the One-Eyed god who'd saved them from destruction.
After five years, on the Winter Solstice, the diamond disappeared from it's locked and warded iron chest which was constantly under guard. The warrior, Laric, dispatched the men to warn the people and to search for the dark stone. A few weeks later a young man stumbled into the keep clutching the Dark Stone and a longsword identical to the blade that was given to Laric save one: it bore the name of the young man, Romir.
Every five years this process repeated itself until the sword bearers realized that they were Odin's Chosen, elite warriors charged with protecting the Stone and the people of Thillonria. They began to anticipate the Stone's disappearance and organized a festival of sorts where stories were told about Odin and the battle with the demon. Men and boys came from all over the peninsula to find the Stone and the Blade that accompanied it. Often times it was found far away from the keep by someone that wasn't even looking for it.
The people began calling the stone the Night's Shadow because of its oily blackness. It wasn't long before the Chosen were referred to in the same way, eventually to simply Nightshadow. They usually appeared foreboding, dressed all in black (During private ceremonies the Nightshadows wear blue raiments.)without a mark of their clan or country. The black "uniform" of the Chosen was selected to signify that they had no liege save themselves and Odin.
The fledging priesthood was dealt a serious blow when Odin was imprisoned by the jealous god Telchur. Some say Odin allowed himself to be captured so he could rest and contemplate the wisdom he had accumulated over the millenia as well as provide his new worshippers with a test. This did not slow down the Nightshadows who maintained their cermonies and traditions.
Centuries later the key to freeing tGGotN was found in the Five Blades of Corusk. An ambitious young Schnaii Jarl named Vorlag Konig had his eyes on being King...of all Thillonria. He saw an opportunity to find more wealth and fame as the man who freed tGGotN. Freeing tGGotN turned out to have complications as the Fiend Iuz sought to subvert the population by posing as the newly freed GGotN. The most famous Nightshadow of them all, Valkaun Dain, uncovered the plot and sent Iuz back to his lands in the west.
This turned out to be one of the first moves that Iuz had planned to set off the Greyhawk Wars. Iuz turned his attention to other ventures and soon the "Barbarian Horde" was aligned on the side of the forces of good, thanks in no small part to the efforts and influence of Valkaun Dain. He persuaded all of the Kings into an alliance that would harrass the Great Kingdom and force them to fight a multi-front campaign. The Northmen sacked a stunned Rauxes and burned it to the ground. For a time they even managed to hold the North Province before surrendering it for ransom after the war was over.
Obviously this is just my rehashing of what my friends and I did, years ago. I played Valkaun from 18 to 50-something and Vorlag for a brief stint. I actually had to play all five characters (Vorlag et al) for the Five Blades adventures because no one else was interested. Man if that wasn't confusing! Luckily two of them died in the GH wars and another ran off. At any rate we've played lots of campaigns in GH and I'm glad I found this board. I like talking GH.
|#2zombiegleemaxFeb 26, 2004 16:42:44||Hey Valkaun!|
Your take roughly agrees with mine (by incorporating the Norse Mythos into Rhizia) but luckily (or not as the case may be) I didn't get to inflict my heresy on that section of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer since Fred Weining wrote those entries.
For me and my home campaign, Vatun = Wotan = Odin. He is either an avatar, herald, or other manifestation of the god and introduced "scandinavian" culture to these diaspora Suel.
Anyway, cool writeup, you have the makings of a nice legend. I'd foramlize it and submit it to Canonfire! We'd love to have it!
|#3rumblebellyFeb 26, 2004 23:52:27||Wow! There must be something in the air, because I was just about to start a new thread giving you all my take on the whole Vatun-Telchur thing for my upcoming campaign. |
I love your story, Vaulkon, and I think just about everyone whether consciously or subconsciously makes the Norse connection to the Barbarians of the Frozen North. Linguistically, Vatun-Woden-Odin are all very similar and suggest the obvious leap. I even see Norebo as a kind of Loki-like character and Kord as a Thor. Wee Jas and Hel also have obvious similarities. But sue me if I can think of a Suel equivalent of Tyr or Baldar for that matter!
Great work! I'll start my own thread to get feedback on my story.
|#4zombiegleemaxFeb 27, 2004 9:05:59||I appreciate the feedback. Obviously it's a lot more detailed than that. I was writing it from memory with no campaign notes and we did this stuff starting in the Fall of 1990. It probably lasted 8 or 9 years until I finally agreed to let Valkaun go out in a blaze of glory before he died of old age. That wouldn't be proper for a Viking now would it?|
|#5boz_shulunFeb 27, 2004 21:58:28||I think that the amount of detail that the DM went into for Valkaun in those days has never been duplicated, unfortunately. Although do I feel that his best works are yet to come.|
|#6zombiegleemaxFeb 27, 2004 23:09:40||It's a shame we never met, but then again I'm sure it would have ended badly...for one of us. Heh heh.|
As far as detail? I think the DM laid it on pretty thick for Drake don't you? I guess we'll benefit from some of that accumulated detail now though.
Good to see you here. Drake would have liked this too.
May Odin's Eye watch over you,