Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
Frost Barbarian Families
Bluesteel and Winterstar Families
Nephew to King Hundgred Rälffson through his sister, Villius is an imposing youth. He grew up on stories and myths of heroism. His favorite was how fifteen years before his birth the Heroes of the Key came to his land and defeated a Half Dragon Giant and gained one of the pieces of Dalt. Since Dalt is the brother of Vatun, the god of the Frost Barbarians, he always felt personally connected to the stories of the Heroes of the Key.
Villius excelled at all his youthful pursuits involving both mental agility and physical abilities. His greatest asset is his relentless constitution. He can exert himself long after most people would have fallen.
His mother, Baldrun Ralffson, is wife of a local Jarl (clan lord) Arbjorn Bluesteel. She is the clan’s wise woman and has seen great things for her son. But she does not tell him because he is headstrong and she does not wish to add prideful to that trait. Recently she has encouraged his desire to adventure outside of the lands of the Frost Barbarians. She has even given him a family bastard sword in her possession: Nightcry. It is far more than a Sonic weapon, but she has decided to let him discover that on his own when and if Vatun decides.
Villius is skilled in smithing and engraving and could make a living at that and tailoring should he choose. But he much prefers to adventure and seek the glory he has been told stories of his whole life.
Hanna is perhaps the only person not afraid of Baldrun Ralffson. Some believe it is because she is engaged to her son Villius. Others that she is just too stubborn to be afraid. Hanna would tell you just what she has told her future mother in law…that she is afraid of her, terrified in fact, but that does not mean she is going to let it change her. Fear should bring an intelligent reaction and respect for what you fear…not some kind of idiocy or pandering. She respects Baldrun greatly. Fears her greatly. But she is not helpless to the fear of her like most seem to be. For her part Baldrun finds the courage of the girl admirable. It is why she has allowed this betrothal.
Hanna is an excellent scout, in particular in the snow. She is fast and courageous, further solidifying her reputation as fearless. She understands that events have been set in motion that directly effect her life. Villius has gone to the south to embrace his destiny. Everyone knew he had one…only his mother knows the specifics. She has indicated that it is time for Hanna to know soon…and that it is larger than she thought. And Hanna’s role in it may be important as well.
Raised on the Saga of the Key like everyone in their tribe…she is wondering how large this all is in the grand scheme of things. She worships Dalt devoutly and loves to delve into caves and tombs. A Bard of her people, she understands the enormity of what is happening.
The mother of Villius Bluesteel, Baldrun is a woman of amazing strength and intensity. Sister to King Hundgred Rälffson, even as a child she had visions of the future. Gifted by Wee Jas with second sight she lived her young life with a group of blessed prophets. She despised but excelled at the infighting in the group and rose to be the most respected prophet at the age of 13. She was 15 when the Heroes of the Key came to her land and defeated a Half Dragon Giant and gained one of the pieces of Dalt. She saw the lines of fate around them as they passed to talk to her father. It was early in their travels but even then she saw what the fragment of Dalt was doing to Simon Rhola and that the gnome was already tainted.
She fell in love and married the Jarl’s (Clan leaders) son, Arbjorn Bluesteel. They were happy enough but as attempt after attempt to have a child resulted in no conception…people began to talk and say the girl who could see the future could not provide one. And perhaps it was her trade off for such a gift.
One night at the tavern a local fisherman voiced such views too loudly and she broke his arm and left to wonder if he was correct. It was not unheard of for seers to not have children. But this was usually due to lifestyle and not infertility.
She had never sought a vision before. She had always let them come to her. It was always said that no vision ever sought was happy. She understood soon the truth of this adage.
She forced a vision of her child…if she was to have one. And found out indeed she was. She would have a son soon…and he would have a destiny. It was enough for her, but one who peers over and edge and falls has ceded the authority to stop the fall. She watched an envisioned her sons traveling companions…their quest…she saw more than she should. The lord of all devils had a plan. So did the nightmare lord. All reality shuddered under some conflict as worlds vanished. Most disturbing was that the future was not set as fixed as it could be. There was no definitive answer to which was more likely..the triumph of the devils, the coming of nightmare…or the end of all things. She saw the waking eyes of the mad god opening a sliver before Wee Jas mercifully broke off the vision.
She lay in the snow nearing her 30th year knowing that in the next year she would have a son. That she would love him…and that he may never see the age of 20. She knew others would see some of the story after her son was conceived. That they would know he had a destiny. The meddlesome priests of Vatun would glorify it and send him willingly. She could stop none of that. But she could prepare him more than any Frost Barbarian had been prepared for a quest. He would learn reading, history, literature, myth, calculations and all other skills that would make him successful.
She grew sterner and more resolved. She spoke to her brother about the family sword..the Nightcry. He listened and he alone knows the fullness of her vision. When she was done the King gave her Nightcry to give to her son. If the Frost Barbarians were to send a champion against the infernal and impossible then he would have this sword.
She raised her son, born in her 30th year, and smiled as he grew strong. Her husband rejoiced as other seers commented on a grand destiny. She kept silent. She loved him far too much to spoil his joy. She needed no help to prepare the boy, and the knowledge of what may be was too terrifying to put on other shoulders. She has been viewed as blessed but she thinks: When you have been viewed as special because all Oracles are cursed but you have none of the defects your sister seers have. You have, however, seen the eyes of the mag god open a single crack and know that if it happens it will be because your son and those destined to stop it…have died. And you have not slept for a full night in the 16 years since. Being cursed is a relative thing, you have come to see. She worships the god Odin, a god that her husband discovered in his travels as a youth. She finds the lord of mystery of a kind to her mindset.
Jarl (Clan leader) of one of the main tribes of Frost Barbarians, Arbjorn was a young adventurer when the Heroes of the Key came to their tribe. He is a good and fair man who has been to other planes and places in his time. He truly loves his wife and she him, even though she can sometimes terrify even him.
Arbjorn worships Vatun in the fashion he must, but his true allegiance is owed to a god he discovered on his wanderings of the Planes in his youth. He worships the god Thor. Arbjorn finds him far more rewarding to follow than Vatun and although the priests of the winter lord originally objected it seems Vatun himself sanctions this worship as well as the worship of Arbjorn’s wife of the god Odin.
He knows that there are things of his son’s destiny that his wife keeps from him, but when it comes to the future she knows best. He is worried that he sees the touch of fear in her about it. And he does not want to know what could make her afraid.
Sister to Baldrun and King Hundgred, Eira is not a worshipper of devils but she will attempt to ally and use them to gain what she wants; whatever that may be at a given moment. She began to worship Telchur because he was an enemy of Vatun and no one was supposed to worship him. She rejoiced in the chaos this caused her family. She is not evil, but she is insane.
A friend and ally to giants as well, Eira enjoys causing trouble for her family and people. She believes that she is destined to be their ruler and can do a far better job than her brother. A mage of exceptional skill she loves the power magic has over others.
That her nephew has the sword Nightcry infuriates her. How her brother could let the family sword wander about Oerth is beyond her. The capitol of Krakenheim is literally filled with the talk of some quest young Villus is on that will be important to their people and all of Oerth.
Her nephew is coming home to marry and she will be heading to the village of Silental for the celebration. As much to check on the sword as anything else.
Recently she has become a worshiper of Loki and has, in him, found a god to revere and not just follow for the sake of contrariness. She has caused endless nuisance for her family and been accepted back but, with her new god guiding her…she feels that she now understand how to truly treat family. She has promised to no longer be a nuisance. She has vowed to become a problem.
Sister to Arbjorn, Gulden can be as harsh as the cold itself. She loves her brother, respects her sister in law, and dotes on Villius. But she knows in the end all serve Beory and all have an ending. She believes in survival of the fit and that all are being tested for a great endeavor.
A druid of the frost hardened forests and the lands of ice and snow, Gulden has little care for clan politics and was never a rival to her younger brother. Although rumor has it that she could always best her brother in a fight through sheer skill and cunning.
She lives alone, only rarely coming to town. If someone wants to know the will of the land they must find her, and she does not make it easy. She is known as the Lady of the Cold Lands by all three barbarian tribes. And all three come to her for advice. When she comes into town it is more often to see her sister in law than her brother. But she always stays for time and food with her brother. She told him once she would have preferred a life with them, but the will of fate and Oerth called her into the wastes for reasons she will not explain. She even finds time to see her eccentric brother, Oleg.
Daughter of the Jarl’s younger brother Oleg, Rika admires Hanna as her example to follow. She is a warrior where Hanna is a bard, but she has seen Hanna stand up to aunt Baldrun and that is enough for her to be impressed.
Rika is 15 and about to start a life as an adventurer. She has high ideals and believes in law as the force that can bring greatness to her people. Strength, beauty, law and faith…she finds all of these things to be close to her heart. She knows that her cousin Villius is destined for great things as well as her hero Hanna. And she desires greatly to walk in their footsteps.
She believes the world is changing and her people will need leadership. She dreams of a time when Villius leads the clan and she and Hanna are by his side, forging a great destiny for their people.
She specializes in fighting giants and thinks that they pose the greatest threat to the future of her people. She is intrigued by one of the new gods Baldrun has introduced her to, the defender Hemidall. She has even considered becoming a priest of this god….or whatever he will have. She feels changes are coming that will change everything she is. She has never felt perfectly at home with the battle rage, but knows its value. Perhaps Hemidall can help her direct it in a different way.
Uncle Oleg Bluesteel
(Barbarian 5/Dragonslayer 10)
Some people call him insane. Others call him the most fun for free in the north. But to be sure, Oleg Bluesteel is unique. He is the foolhardy younger brother to the Jarl, Uncle to Villius, Father to Rika and surrogate uncle to Hanna. He has taken all three of them on trips into the wilds to fight monsters and giants.
Baldrun thinks he is useful but dangerous. His brother loves him and worries about him. His sister thinks he is the purest example of their people and an occasional crime against nature at the same time. His daughter and nephew find him to be more fun than can be imagined.
Oleg lost his wife in childbirth and since then has been even more foolhardy than ever; Becoming a hunter of not only giants but dragons as well. But Rika is the apple of his eye, and he knows he must remain around for her. Life however, he reasons, is far to short. He will teach his daughter and his nephew and Hanna to embrace the world they are about to save. And because of that Baldrun has allowed him constant access to the son she protects at all costs. Because crazy uncle Oleg teaches him that life is to be lived.
(Expert Smith 18)
A man who could be confused for a wall of ice and steel, Magni is knowing among his people as someone who could tear trees apart. As such, his daughter was both highly sought and ignored, depending on how much a suitor feared being rent in twain. It turns out ironically, for a warrior people that last number was very high. Likely because they feared both Magni and Villius.
But it was right under his nose that, from the time they were children Hanna and Villius planned a life together. He was honestly and pleasantly shocked when they came to him about marriage. He did not know the Jarl’s son, child of destiny…was interested in his daughter. And perhaps that was best, since he was the only boy he considered good enough.
A smith and rune artificer of amazing skill, Magni can make anything from pot to powerful magic weapon. He has taught some of his trade to his daughter, and plans to teach more to the child on the way who is expected to be a son. Magni is excited about his daughter’s upcoming wedding and plans several gifts of great worth and craftsmanship.
Aulay is both wise and strong. She is perhaps the best wizard of the tribe and best friend of Baldrun Ralffson. That their children have set upon each other as spouses, even with no prompting from them, is a great joy to both.
She does not trust Baldrun’s sister Eria and never has. The three were children together and Aulay always worried that Eria would one day cross the line between impulsive nuisance and legitimate threat.
Baldrun has told Aulay of the new gods who will be coming at the behest of Vatun and she fears that in Loki, Eria may finally find a god to direct her ambitions and energies.
About to give birth to her second child, who Baldrun prophecies to be a son, Aulay is worried about the world that is to come. She trusts that Villius, and even her Hanna, have a part to play in preserving their way of life.
She prays to her new goddess Freya that if they need her help she is ready and able to melt the bones of those who would harm her people.
King Hundgred Rälffson
King Hundgred has no children left and has always had a soft spot for his sister’s son Villius. After so much war 30 years ago, the king will soon seek to name an heir. All of his sons died in the Greyhawk wars, something he considers divine punishment given the role the Barbarians played in being tricked by Iuz.
He is a happy man, all things considered. But he does know that life could have been so different if he had been wiser. He has watched as his sister Baldrun trained her son for his role in destiny and believes that perhaps Villius is hope for the future.
Of course, since he alone knows what Baldrun has seen for the possible future, he worries that his nephew will fall in the accomplishing of his goals. He is going to come to the wedding of Villius and Hanna and plans to give Villius the sword Nightry officially, although he knows it will enrage his sister Eria.