Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
The Clan Domain of Gotlandby Jacob Skytte
Gotland is among the largest of the domains of Ostland. It lies near the western end of Noslo Island in the Kingdom of Ostland, on the northern part of Zea Bay. The domain encompasses four clear hexes, seven hexes of hills, and two hexes of forested hills. The farmlands are decent, and some hunting takes place in the hills, but the domain subsists mainly on fishing. Wood is imported from other domains, since it is extremely scarce. Foreigners may enter the domain, especially merchants trading wood. Other Ostlanders will be welcome most anywhere in the domain, though some hill-land communities may resent intrusions. Clan Gotland employs spies in various nations and raids where the most riches are to be found.
Head of Domain: Jarl Mord the Greedy rules this domain. His great hall is in the village of Bergfors.
Population: 6000 people can be found in Gotland. 1200 of these are thralls, 3300 are non-warrior freemen, and 1500 are warriors. 3200 people are armed and capable in a fight.
This large village (480 inhabitants) lies sheltered inside Zea Bay, across from Zeaburg. It is surrounded by farmlands, and is not particularly well protected. Jarls of Gotland have traditionally relied on personal combat to defeat their opponents. Bergfors is a harbour town, and a fairly large merchant ship is capable of docking and unloading goods at the harbour.
The village of Bakkedyb (Hillsdeep) is notorious among Ostlanders for its inhospitality. Travellers will almost always be turned away by any of the 50 inhabitants, regardless of their plight. The Bakkedyb clan does not marry outsiders and is considered inbred and strange by neighbouring communities. The clan of Bakkedyb is actually a community of Adaptors that have settled here in the relatively isolated and peaceful hills of Gotland. The community in fact numbers around 200 members, but at any time 150 of these will be travelling elsewhere. Numerous caves contain most of their dwellings, and they are always careful to disguise their features when above ground, since the Ostlanders would most likely chase them from these lands if they knew of their true nature.
Mord the Greedy
Chaotic 12th level Fighter (Str 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Dex 5, Con 17, Cha 13, AC -2, hp 76)
Personality Traits: Modest/Proud 3/17, Generous/Greedy 2/18, Forgiving/Vengeful 4/16, Honest/Deceitful 5/15, Trusting/Suspicious 3/17
43 years old, Shortly cropped black hair, Brown eyes
Mord was the only son of the late jarl, though he has several cousins. He was groomed to inherit the position of jarl, and grew up expecting to be given anything he wanted. This trait has stayed with him, and he became known as "the Greedy." Eventually the day came, when his father died, and Mord took his birthright: The powerful magical item known as The Endless Ring.
The Endless Ring
History as told by Ralf Silk-Tongue, skald of Ostland
In the days before men had fully settled Ostland, the Modrigswerg were more open, and at times traded their artifacts for services or rare materials. They could demand steep prices, since all of their work was not only magnificent, but also endowed with wonderful magical powers. So it was that when the word was spread that one of their greatest smiths, Gnir-Axl, had begun work on a priceless ring that would be possessed of unrivalled magical powers, men courted the Modrigswerg, bearing great gifts and treasures to obtain the ring.
The Modrigswerg refused to name their price, waiting instead for the men to outbid each other, so as to obtain as great a price as possible. As is often the case when men hold great desire for the same thing, they started bickering, and eventually fighting. The Dark Dwarves didn't mind since they knew that each man who died would only add to the treasure of another, so they could obtain an even greater price for the artifact.
In the end only one man remained. He was Halfgrim Skull-Splitter, retainer to the jarl of clan Gotland. Halfgrim was a mighty warrior, who not only knew fighting, but also knew well the ways of deception. It was said that he worshipped Loki, the trickster, and that he was once apprenticed to a Modrigswerg smith, and had learned of their magical trickeries. Whether he used foul sorcery or not, in the end it was Halfgrim, who could lay claim to the great artifact, paying with gold, soiled by the blood of his fellow karls.
When the time came that Gnir-Axl should hand over the ring to Halfgrim, the dwarf refused. He had invested so much of his being in the ring that any man who owned that ring would also own the dwarf's soul, and that, the dwarf felt, was priceless. Halfgrim knew better than to cross a dwarf, and seemed to let the matter rest. Later that night, while he was drinking in the mead hall of the Modrigswerg, he made an offer to some of the other dwarves, though. He would give them all of the treasure, if only they would obtain the ring for him. He knew well the greed of the Modrigswerg, and that they felt that Gnir-Axl had already betrayed them by refusing so great a treasure.
Late in the night several Modrigswerg entered Gnir-Axl's smithy. The dwarf was busy admiring his work, the beautiful ring, by the light of a stray moonbeam. He was unaware of the encroaching dwarves, who attacked and murdered him, using his own tools. They then took the ring and brought it before Halfgrim, who gladly took it in exchange for the vast treasures, he had hoarded. What happened to the murderous dwarves is not known, for the Modrigswerg keep their customs and judgements well hidden from the prying eyes of men.
Halfgrim returned to his jarl bearing the wonderful ring. As he entered the great hall, the jarl rose and greeted him, promising Halfgrim riches and power beyond compare for bringing the priceless artifact to him. Already, his jealous neighbours had been sending word that they would come and admire this, the greatest of Modrigswerg treasures. Halfgrim raised his right hand, and on it gleamed the ring. The jarl paled at Halfgrim's treachery. He drew his sword and advanced on Halfgrim, murder in his eyes.
The battle that followed was magnificent. While the jarl was an experienced warrior, who had sent many an opponent to Valhalla, Halfgrim was his equal in might, but did not hesitate to use trickery in combat. Still, the jarl prevailed, and with a mighty strike sent Halfgrim's sword flying from his grasp, and raised his own sword for the mortal blow. Halfgrim raised his arm to shield himself from the blow, and the ring caught a beam of sunlight. The ray of light was magnified many times over and its brightness blinded the jarl, who fell before Halfgrim, who had retrieved his sword.
After the death of its jarl, clan Gotland was in an uproar. Halfgrim proclaimed himself the new jarl by might of arms, but the clan was split among those who valiantly stood by the old jarl, and claimed that Halfgrim had used foul sorcery to win the fight, and those who saw opportunities for themselves by following the mighty Halfgrim. And so, once again the ring was soiled with the blood of men as clan Gotland fought over it, and he that wore it. Again, Halfgrim was victorious.
Since that time clan Gotland has held on to the ring, defending it from thieves and conquerors, and it has been passed from father to son for generations. Every jarl of Gotland has worn it, and has spilled blood over it. The present jarl of Gotland, Mord the Greedy, also wore it, but lost it, along with his finger, during battle with an unknown assailant. Its whereabouts are unknown but Mord searches for it, and has offered a bounty to he who returns it.
The powers of the ring are said to be many and varied, but uncontrollable. The jarls of Gotland have used it primarily when in great need, and there are many accounts of the sudden sorcerous energies released by the ring.
The ring is a beautiful work of art. It consists of gold, silver, copper, and steel circlets forged in intertwining helices. When donned the ring will fasten itself around its wielder's finger, gripping tightly and refusing to come off, while the user is alive. Depending on the light, the ring will seem to glow in many colours, and different metals will seem prominent.
The legend of the ring is very well known, any skald of Ostland, and several of Vestland and Soderfjord, knows its history and that it belongs to the jarl of Gotland. Most Ostlanders also know much of the story, if not the exact details. Any Ostland skald who sees it will recognise it from the legends, while other Ostlanders have a fair chance of knowing it by appearance.
First of all the ring is cursed. When worn, it attaches itself to the very soul of its owner, refusing to come off his finger. A remove curse spell has a 2% chance per caster level of letting the ring come off, but since it is fused to its owner's soul, the owner will never voluntarily get rid of the ring, and will still seek it, if it is somehow lost.
While the ring possesses the power to cast any magic-user spell of levels 1-6, this power is totally uncontrollable. Whenever the wearer is in mortal danger or otherwise is in great need, there is a 5% chance per level of the wearer (max 95%) that a random spell of level 1-6 is cast on the most appropriate target within range. Spells may be reversed. All spells are cast at the 15th level of ability.
This ability is not free; the ring is powered by the souls of those who have died within 30' of it. Every time a sentient creature dies within that range, its soul is sucked into the ring, where its life force can provide power for one spell level. Thus, for every six people who die within the ring's range, the ring has power for one 6th level spell, two 3rd level spells, or any other combination of six spell levels. The ring can maximally contain 30 souls or spell levels. It currently has power for 19 spell levels. If the wielder of the ring dies while wearing it, his/her soul will also be taken by the ring, but will never be released. Magics that restore that person to life will fail.
The Endless Ring had been passed through many generations, and was well known for its unpredictable powers that had protected clan Gotland through many desperate times. Mord the Greedy settled for ruling his domain absolutely, and spent years raking in treasures from his subjects, secure in his position. Both assassination attempts and smaller rebellions have been attempted, but Mord foiled them all, partially through the use of his ring.
A year ago now, Mord was the subject of another attempted assassination. He held up the ring prominently, expecting his attacker to be struck down by its magic, but with a quick strike, the unknown assailant severed Mord's finger from his hand. Grabbing the finger (and the ring), the attacker then fled. The terrified Mord gathered greedy warriors about him, and has been paying them large sums to protect him, now that his ring is gone. For a year Mord has been searching for the ring and he has promised an outrageous amount of treasure for its return. He has also placed (or bought) spies in various ports, and get news when ships carrying valuable cargo enter or leave these harbours. He will then stage raids to obtain more treasure.
Since the loss of The Endless Ring, Mord has been afraid to enter battle, though he is a competent fighter. He simply trusted so much in the power of the ring, and feels very inadequate without its protection. He wears plate mail+2 called "Klippeblok" (Boulder) during all his waking hours, as well as a shield+2 called "Grimirs Tallerken" (Grimir's Plate), and carries a sword+1.
Mord has never married, but has many mistresses, who are attracted to his wealth and power. He has several children, but hasn't named any of them his successor, and is in no hurry to do so.
Ofeig of Bakkedyb
Lawful Adaptor (Int 18, AC 9, HD 8, hp 43)
Personality Traits: Cautious/Rash 19/1, Reverent/Godless 2/18, Energetic/Lazy 17/3, Trusting/Suspicious 2/18, Loyal/Unreliable 19/1
Appears to be 50 years old (actual age 438), White hair and beard, Grey eyes
The leader of the Adaptors of Bakkedyb, "Ofeig" handles all communication with outsiders, as well as the day-by-day running of the community. He is an experienced traveller, both of this world and of the outer planes. It was Ofeig who chose this area as the secret base of this clan of Adaptors. These Adaptors have been gathering information both on Ostland and on many neighbouring nations for the last two centuries. Ofeig is a master of Rune Magic and knows more runes than any other being in the Northern Reaches. Though he will readily share his knowledge with his clan, no outsiders will ever gain any knowledge from the Adaptors, unless they somehow aid them in a matter of life and death, and come seeking specific information. Other clans of Adaptors may exchange knowledge with this clan, and meetings are held once a decade or so.
Ofeig is the lifeblood of his clan, and all clan members will protect him with their lives. As an Adaptor, Ofeig is hard to harm, though. He is able to change his shape to any humanoid sized creature (though not specific individuals). When exposed to any environment, he will "adapt" to it, and remain immune to any harmful effect of that environment. If not exposed to that environment again, the immunity fades in 1d10 turns. For example, if hit by a Fireball, Ofeig will be immune to fire for the next 1d10 turns, prolonged with another 1d10 turns if hit by fire within that time. Ofeig is also an accomplished swordsman and fights using a strange scimitar+3 (may be treated as a normal sword) at a +4 bonus to hit and damage rolls.
The love life of an Adaptor follows the Elven model, and Ofeig is currently mated for the third time. Many of the Bakkedyb Adaptors are his children and one of his former mates still lives there.