According to ancient Skane tradition, the god
Halthallir formed the first warrior society with his two
companions Thyas and Ormir after the three of them slew the dragon
Icdvaerd. Thyas and Ormir reportedly felt that the Drakendvaerder
(Dragonslayer) title should be reserved only for those that slew a
dragon, but that other similar societies should be formed. Thyas
formed the Ulvdrabsmand (wolfbane), while Ormir formed the Bamsndvaerder
(bearslayer) societies. These three societies remain essentially
the pre-eminent of the warrior societies, though a few others that
have sprung up afterwards are almost as powerful, such as the Wroddraeden
or "Red Hand".
With the exception of the Drakendvaerder
Society (to which membership is automatically granted to anyone
who has slain a dragon) all societies require sponsorship from
within the ranks. Many of the members are very nepotistic and will
only sponsor family members, but others are much more open-minded.
Once sponsored, the candidate is observed for a period of time
ranging from a day to a couple of decades by the society. Most
societies do not let the candidate know they are being considered.
At some point the candidates name will come up at a meeting (or
moot), and the candidate will be voted on as a potential
If the candidate is to be offered membership in
the society, there is a ritual quest that he or she must go
through. It is often to hunt and kill one of the societies totem
animals. This is done for two reasons. The first is that the badge
of membership is the pelt of the totem animal, but the most import
is that the ritual reportedly fuses the animalís spirit with the
Warrior Societies in Skane Politics
The warrior societies are fairly entrenched in
Skane politics. The Hvidbamsen (or White Bear society) is the self
proclaimed bodyguard of the Jarls . The Bamsndvaerder are
usually seen in the front lines of any Skane army. It is fairly
common for the great military leaders of the Skane to also be
members of the Ulvdrabsmand society. Any member of the Drakendvaerder
is treated as the equal of nobility, and at least three of the
most famous Skane kings have been Drakendvaerder members.
Historically the influence that the warrior societies has been
able to bring to bear on Skane politics has been based on their
popularity at the time and their personal influence with the more
powerful Jarls and the King.
Society members are sworn to each otherís
protection. A member of a society can expect another member to
help in time of need, and members are very loyal to each other. It
is common for members of a society to refer to each other as
"brother" or "sister". In times of war, the
warrior societies inevitably take on increased importance in Skane
society. At the same time, however, their ranks are also
inevitably thinned by the conflicts. Since the coming of the ice
trolls out of the north, and the deaths of many of their members,
some of the societies have begun to induct new member more quickly
than before, though others worry that this will lead to the ruin
of their ancient traditions.
The Warrior Societies
Traditional Role: none
Common Classes: any
The Drakendvaerder has been by far the most
prestigious of all the societies. It is also the only society in
which membership is confirmed without question or vote.
Historically the members of the Drakendvaerder society have been
among the greatest Skane heroes. The most famous example is the
kin-slayer Waerst, who slew his own brother in a fit of rage and
then fled his familyís steading in fear of retribution. He
wandered the north for years, living as a bandit and a thief until
his name had become one of the most reviled of his time. However,
when Waerst heard that a dragon had razed his familyís steading,
he went out into the wilderness to track it down and slay it. When
he returned to his Jarl with the dragonís head, he was
proclaimed a hero and eventually rose to the post of Jarl. He went
on to become one of the best rulers in Skane history. There are no
known living members of the society.
Traditional Role: berserker
Common Classes: berserker, fighter
The second oldest of the warrior societies, the
Bamsndvaerder has a tradition of reckless disregard for personal
safety. Its members are marked by a fierce pride and reputation.
On more than one occasion, a Bamsndvaerder society member has
turned the tide of battle by himself. The first significant
victory against the ice trolls occurred when one hundred
Bamsndvaerder warriors hunted down and ambushed an army of the
fierce monsters. Only twenty of the Bamsndvaerder returned, but
they had slain more than five hundred trolls.
Traditional Role: hunter, warrior
Common Classes: ranger, fighter
The greatest generals and leaders of the Skane
have often been Ulvdrabsmand society members. They are renowned
for their cunning and skill, and have proven far more willing to
retreat before a superior enemy than most Skane. The Ulvdrabsmand
think of their society as a wolf pack and typically fight like
one, working in concert with their brothers to achieve victory,
unconcerned about individual glory.
Totem: Polar Bear
Traditional Role: warrior and bodyguard
Common Classes: fighter, berserker, cleric
The Hvidbamsnet are the keepers of tradition in
Skane society, and act as the private guard of the king, and for
the most important jarls. Hvidbamsnet was formed several hundred
years after the Bamsndvaerder society, out of Bamsndvaerder
members that felt that constantly seeking personal glory wasn't
always best for the Skane as a whole. It has always been a small
society, as their standards for admission are strict and few Skane
have the patience for the careful work necessary to its goal. It
is the society most likely to recruit clerics.
Totem: Briggeld's Spear
Traditional Role: Woman warriors
Common Classes: Fighter, Cleric
The Wroddraeden, or Red Hand, is composed
entirely of women, and is dedicated to the goddess Briggeld. The
Wroddraeden dedicate themselves to the defense of sacred places
and the defenseless. While some Wroddraeden still go to war with
their men as in the old days, this way of life is fading as the
Skane become less nomadic and more pastoral. This trend has been
reversed in recent years, as more and more Skane men fall in
battle. Unwilling to flee and leave the sacred places to the
trolls, an increasing number of Skane women have joined the
Wroddraeden, and many have taken the fight to the enemy.
Totem: Snow Owl
Traditional Role: Magician
Common Classes: Wind wizard, sorcerer, wizard, druid
Very little is known about the Uglesne society,
and few dare approach itís reputed sanctuary in the high moors
near to the Aldwood.
Traditional Role: scouts
Common Classes: ranger, rogue
The Hvidunkat are the scouts of the Skane. They
are one of the newer societies, but currently one of the most
respected. They have managed to evacuate and save countless Skane
by tracking the positions of the Ice Trolls and sending word of
likely points of attack. They also probably have killed as many
Trolls as any other society, though often with less than
forthright means. They are firmly allied with the Ulvdrabsmand
Warrior Societies Today
The Drakendvaerder society has been destroyed.
When the ice troll invasions first began, the four living
Drakendvaerder set forth to determine what was causing the
problems in the north, but were never heard from again. A common
rumor is that the next Drakendvaerder will only come at the time
of greatest need, and will in fact be an avatar of Halthallir. The
priesthood of Halthallir is doing nothing to refute this and it
holds true with some of their sacred prophecies.
The Bamsndvaerder is recruiting members as
quickly as they can, but the cream of that society has been slain
fighting Ice Trolls. Membership is less than a hundred for the
first time since the foundation of the society. Since it takes at
least 50 members for the ritual of Berserkergangen, their power is
almost broken, and they have been clustering around the Jarls with
the expectation that they will only be used at the time of
The Ulvdrabsmand are holding up much better
than the Bamsndvaerder as they donít have a tradition of
fighting until death. They are still losing members quickly, as
more and more Skane territory is lost the ice trolls. The
Ulvdrabsmand have been trying to scout out the ice troll
territories in hopes of finding the source of the Ice Troll
migration, but have thus far been totally unsuccessful.
The Hvidbamsnet is very concerned for the
safety of the Jarls, but their membership is still fairly high.
Many of the Bamsndvaerder have considered rejoining their society
with the Hvidbamsnet in order to keep the Bamsndvaerder society
alive and a military power.
The Wroddraeden membership has more than
tripled in the past ten years. Led by the stout and infamous
Bjerdis Trollbane, the Wroddraeden have surpassed many of the
older societies in importance and influence.
MAJOR POPULATION CENTERS
NaharadŻm ( Large Town; population 8,280) NaharadŻm is a
large town populated entirely by dwarves that lies within and
beneath Azhar-nara, the Crown of Stones, a tall hill surmounted by
a natural ring of bare, craggy cliffs. Both the town and the
hill are known to the Skane as Silverholme. In addition to
silver, the dwarves of NaharadŻm mine stone, iron ore and
precious gems, which are traded to the Skane for furs, oil, fish,
grain and amber. Much of the silver and gems mined in
NaharadŻm also makes its way to Tirgonia, via Skane traders and
the occasional caravan from Antiphia. Of greater interest to
the Tirgonians are the finely-crafted wares of the dwarves,
including jewelry, fine metalware of all descriptions and of
course, arms and armor. The smiths of NaharadŻm are
particularly famous for their great cunning in the cutting of
NaharadŻm was settled before the coming of the Conorrians, and
its residents hold that they are descended from the last survivors
of fallen Azan‚rgud, and that the royal
line continues in the blood of Prince BarakŻl. Whatever the
truth of this statement, if any of the sages of NaharadŻm know
the location of lost Azan‚rgud, they have not told a soul.
For centuries, the dwarves waged a low-level conflict with the
goblins of the Finnathan mountains, who would raid north every
summer, and the ice trolls, who would raid south every
winter. In the last several decades, however, the threat of
the ice trolls have caused the dwarves to become cautious in the
extreme. No ice troll has ever set foot on Azhar-nara and
lived to tell the tale, but the elders are increasingly concerned
at tales of an army massing in the north.
Of more immediate concern is the fact that the miners have,
despite careful planning, broken into a system of caverns that
leads into the Underdark. This tunnel system has been walled
off and guards have been set, but for several years now, great
black stone trolls have been breaking into the town from
below. Divinations and omens have shown that these
incursions are the work of a dark force beneath the town.
Some believe this to be connected to the increasing numbers of ice
trolls on the surface, while others believe that NaharadŻm may be
perilously close to a large underground city of drow elves.
IMPORTANT LOCAL SITES
The Skane warrior societies were written and
invented by Michael Dobbs.