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Skaneholme

Warrior Societies
Skane History
Population Centers
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SKANEHOLME
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Warrior Societies1

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". 

Society Membership 

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 member. 

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 new memberís. 

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 

Name: Drakendvaerder 
Totem: Dragon 
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.

Name: Bamsndvaerder 
Totem: Bear 
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.

Name: Ulvdrabsmand 
Totem: Wolf 
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.

Name: Hvidbamsnet 
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.

Name: Wroddraeden 
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.

Name: Uglesne 
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.

Name: Hvidunkat 
Totem: Lnyx 
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 society.

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 greatest need. 

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.

 

HISTORY

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 jewels.

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.

 
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