- 1 Introduction
- 2 Life and Society
- 3 The Land
- 4 History
- 5 Political
- 6 Important Figures
- 7 Plots and Rumours
- 8 Domain Holding Table
The Stjordvikers are a people both hardy and independent in the greatest Rjurik traditions. Southern Stjordvikers, especially in Ustkjuvil, Saerskaap, along the coast of Hollenvik live in or near towns, and are accustomed to the urban contact. Even so they remain warm and friendly with the herding northerners and the nomads that pass through. A strong and proud people, the Stjordvikers are deeply concerned over the future of their realm and the divisions between the king and the jarls.
Life and Society
Stjordvikers are hard working, honest people who prefer their farms and herds to raids and warfare. Yet circumstance requires them to be warriors, and so they are. They never run from a fight and are quick to take offence if they feel an insult has been made against their honor. Like many Rjurik realms, every freeman, or bondi as the native language calls him, practices with spear and leather or hide byrnies. Wars with the neighboring bandit realm, Rjuvik and with the always aggresive Blood Skull Barony keep the tradition of military preparation as vital as ever. The Stjorvikers, however, are always eager to lay down their arms after victory and return to their farms and herds. In more remote areas, where hunting is a viable way of life and certainly among the nomadic Rjurik, archers are the common soldiers who answer the call when the war horn is blown. Among the longhouses of the nobility, a few professional warriors, known as housecarls or huskarls, act as armed retainers for their lords, and assemble with them as a heavy infantry company in war under the banner of the king. In the hills where the herds outnumber the men, the common form of fighting is on horseback, and these men too assemble to fight when the call goes out.
Art and Crafts
The arts of Stjordvik typically return to the themes of immortal glory and fate. Immortality is through to be achived by great acts of heroism or creation of masterpieces of craftsmanship which will always be remembered. Fate is a foundational principle in the Rjurik outlook on life. Skalds sing stories and recite poems of heroes who have shed their arrow dew and passed from this world according to their fate. Yet humbler people of exceptional skills are remembered too when their creations are preserved as works of art. Arvaald has a tradition of exceptional embroidery. Weavers from every province vie in the fairs for recognition by peers and customers. Perhaps the art form most specific to Stjordvik is woodcarving. The craftsmen do not limit themselves to heroic themes and stories of fate, however, and this form more than others is liable to depict weathered farmers or fishermen, ordinary people hard at work. Another favorite subject are animals, and the realism is such that more than one stranger has petter or called to a carved cat or dog of wood. The towns now support dozens of metal workers whose best work is considered to rival the best Brecht artisans. Leatherworking, on the other hand, is widespread among people closer to the herds, who are not craft specialists, but people working with the materials available to them. Yet there are such among them that produce works that rival the most practiced specialist.
Carved into the royal throne, which has served as the royal seat for several centuries now, is the runic legened: "Of the crown by the bondi." That statement, attributed to Stjorndahl has long influenced the government of Stjordvik. Of the Rjurik realms, the athing is perhaps most powerful in Stjordvik. Each province has its own athing, presided over by a skald who holds the office of lawspeaker, known as a laghman. Once every year at Midwinter the great Kyndelsting is held at Sundsvaal, where all of the freemen able to hold a weapon can participate, and the assembly is lead by the lawspeaker of Stjordvik. These assemblies are opportunities for the people to block actions by the jarls or the king which has no basis in the traditional law. If any participant in the assembly denounces some action as illegal, the lawspeaker recites all of the pertinant law, and the assembly debates the issue. If a majority of the participants vote that the action was illegal, it is struck down. The assemblies can petition the lord for any action, but such petitions are not binding, though it is unwise to ignore them.
The traditional laws and the workings of the athing and Kyndelsting have kept the crown bound to the will of the people. As such no specific rights or duties of the sovereign has ever been recorded on parchment or carved in stone. The kind and the amount of the taxes the king may impose are proscribed by law. Under emergency conditions, the king is allowed to impose extraordinary taxes on anyone except the farmers. This usually involves a tax on the towns and nobles. Such taxes are naturally unpopular, even in crisis. In exchange for the right to collect taxes, the king is required to undertake the duty of defending the provinces.
The king has the right to impeach a jarl, but the athing is the body that tries the jarl and rules him a just jarl or removes him from office. The king has the authority to appoint new jarls, and in this regard the athing is allowed only to vote in favor or opposition, without debate.
Any offender given a sentence of death or condemned to thraldom has the right of appeal to the king's lower courts. If such a sentence is upheld by the royal courts, the defendent can petition for an appeal to the king, but the king is under no obligation to hear the case.
The king may wage war without review by either jarl or freemen, but the king depends on their support in the actual conduct of most wars.
The king may nominate his sucessor, and traditionally and practically this has been the eldest child of the reigning king, but the Kyndelsting must ratify such a nomination for the person to be designated as heir. Refusal of the Kyndelsting to accept a nomination makes investiture very difficult. If the throne is vacant, the jarls meet and offer a nomination. The Kyndelsting is still required to ratify this nomination.
The athing has the right to depose a jarl, but the king retains the authority to nominate his successor. In theory, the Kyndelsting could depose a king, but this would be a most dire step.
Traditional Rjurik law differs from Anuirean law by recognizing the freemen as the owners of their land. They do not pay rents to their lord, but rather pay taxes, for which the jarls are responsible for wise use.
All of the faiths of Cerilia are found in Stjordvik, but only the Oaken Grove and Emerald Spiral are looked to as political authorities. The guilds and nobles are held in check by the temples of Erik, while other temples can only claim to hold this person or that person in their sway. The temples of Erik's divine family are found playing a small role in both the Grove and the Spiral. The temples of Holn, Narikja, Kirken, and Sera are affiliated with the Oaken Grove and play their role in that organization. The temples of Lirorn are part of the Emerald Spiral.
Narikja's temples are largely confined to the coastal provinces of Hollenvik and Ustkjuvil since her role as goddess of the sea dominates her role in Stjordvik. Nearly all who worship her are sailors, fishermen, and their wives. Susanne Kjetilsdotter if the chief priestess of Narikja in Stjordvik. Susanne looks to the Oaken Grove for political leadership and religious authority, and to the Coastal Temple of Nesirie for doctrinal and theological leadership.
Arvaald is the only province in Stjordvik which has no foreign border. Jarl Olfjor Ylvarrik rules from the security of Olfjorby. Even so, the distance to the Blood Skull Barony is small, and the lightly populated provinces which seperate Arvaald from the Blood Skullers do little more than provide warning. Olfjorby is little more than a day's relief from the main defensive places in Udvika, Lofkirdik, and Hjorvaal. Jarl Olfjor relishes his role as the cavalry coming to the aid of the besieged neighbors and the idea that no real battle can take place in the frontier without him.
The province itself sees little in the way of raids or violence, and is a quiet community of farmers in a land of rolling hills and terraced fields. The major produce includes wheat, rye, flax, and cattle. While all of Rjurik is known for its embroidery, the ancient and exquisite patterns of Arvaald are sought after as far away as the Khinasi cities, and custom orders at custom prices are not uncommon.
This land in Hjorvaal is a natural pasture, and the province has developed a reputation for its cattle and pony herds. Like most herdsmen, the people are aggressive and carry a weapon with them always. Danger to the herd is always present. The jarl, Njall Olvisson, maintains a permanent compound, called Njallby, which has only a few hearty families and Njall's own followers as year round residents. However, this tiny settlement serves as a meeting place and market during the warmer months and the temporary residents number several hundred.
Hollenvik has two great resources in abundance, the fish which swim her waters, and the magnificent highland oak timbers which fill her lands. The expert woodsmen here are justly proud and practice a strict code they ascribe to Erik:
First those felled by wild storms,
Then the aged before life ebbs,
Last the ones prevent new growth.
For each you cut, plant two in rut.
As such, the timbers here supply more of the shipping of the Taelshore than any other source. The woods supply ample deer and pigs, and the hunters who cull these herds are just as careful in their hunting as the woodsmen are of their cutting. Venison and pork preserved in sea salts make for a unique culinary tradition in Hollenvik. It also creates a demand for Khinasi spices, especially pepper.
Old Guthrim is a hateful man who casts scorn on the world. He hates the king, he hates the festivals of the Rjurik, and cares only for himself. He has gathered all law and commerce into his own hands, and makes himself rich. He is mostly alone in the world, for he has no wife, no children, and his brothers died while he was a young man. His only friend is Olfjor Ylvarrik, who shares his opposition to Varri and his counselors. The people of his province consider his a sad story and lament the pain endured by their lonely, hardened, and deformed jarl.
Lofkirdik bears the brunt of its long border with the Blood Skull Barony. For not only is its border more than half the total border with the Blood Skullers, but the mountains leave a great portion of the province exposed to the goblins and orogs while cutting off the Stjorvikers in the rest of the realm. As such, the people of Lofkirdik are alway on their guard and make sure to be aware of the best refuge at any location. Relief from the rest of the kingdom usually comes through Olfjorby and through the pass at Goblin's Neck. Every inhabitant of the province is a warrior and practices with weapons. Twice a year, in spring and fall, festivals include games and challenges with handsome prizes going to the most skilled.
The jarlless, Arnora Hadrimssdotter, knows all of her people by name, though they number nearly two thousand souls. Arnora is autocratic and dictatorial, but the constant war footing of the province makes this a necessity.
The former jarl of Namverg, Huljim Namvik, called the Ironhanded, joined the jarls Olfjor and Guthrim to keep the crown weak and quiet. Huljim, unlike his ally Olfjor, was not a beloved eorl, but a hated one. He allowed the guilds a free hand to exploit the land as long as they rewarded him with a share of the additional profits. The nomadic tribe of Loddi took offence to the abuse of the gifts of Erik and began to create trouble for jarl Huljim. The old jarl attempted to suppress the Loddi by force, but that brought the whole province to rebellion. Huljim took refuge in his fortified town of Namvik, but the townspeople hated him as much as the peasants and tribesmen. A small band of citizens crept into his manor and killed the old eorl.
Today, Brand Fyrisson holds the office of Geardholder. As one of the assasins of old Huljim, it was Brand who was hailed as the new leader. It is the right of the king to appoint a new jarl, so the athing elected Brand as Geardholder instead. King Varri decided not to interfere. Otherwise, Namverg is a quiet community of farmers in a land of rolling hills and terraced fields. The major produce includes wheat, rye, flax, and cattle.
A scion of Udvika, Skjada Njalgrimsson set out to earn glory in a military career before setting into a good marriage. Skjada found glory in victories with the Frontier Thunderers, and was able to get his brother, the jarl of Udvika, to arrange a marriage with the daughter of Saerskaap's jarl. Skjada today is a pleasant and jovial man with a penchant for story-telling. While he may not be a supporter of a strong king, he is no opponent of the throne either, and always lends his law holdings in support of whatever tax the crown imposes. In fact, Skjada is quite savvy politically and has excellent relations with both Dhoesone and the Three Trees Traders. The eorl takes his pious duty as a steward of the land seriously and demands that two seedlings be planted for every tree felled. As he puts it, "one for the future and one for Erik."
Their boundary to the southeast, the Northbyrn River fertilizes some of the richest soil in the realm. The wheat and rye grows heavy, and the abundant crops are known as Erik's gifts. There is a small woodland that Skjada protects, allowing only woodsmen who are devoted to Erik's laws. In addition to grains, beer is a common product of the province.
Hrafnhild Djursunsdotter is the jarlless of Udvika, having succeeded her father. She is the cousin of neighboring jarlless, Arnora of Lofkirdik. Early in Hrafnhild's tenure as jarlless, she made the mistake of trying to conduct relations with her uncle Skjada as his superior, owing to her superior rank in the family (her father was his older brother) and her superior bloodline. Skjada made it clear that he was her elder, and his office of eorl was no less dignified than hers. She has since attempted to repair the relationship with some notable success. Relations, however, are not as warm as they could be between such closely related kin. Hrafnhild and Arnora remain very close and confer often. They often combine their seasonal festivals as well.
Along the riverbottoms of the Northbyrn River there is good farming, but the bulk of the province is mountainous. Djursundby is guarding a pass in the mountains that connects the interior of the country with the piedmont along the Northbyrn.
The Tael Firth bounds Ustkjuvil on the south while the Northbyrn River lays on the east. The rich, fertile soil here produces an abundance of crops, though to the west, the land grows hilly, and herds are pastured instead of crops planted. A great fishing fleet as well as a considerable trade network operate from the city of Hollingholmen. The great city has almost 3300 residents, more than any of the three frontier provinces.
King Varri governs the province of Ustkjuvil as his royal demense. The king is well loved here, as he is often found about the province (and indeed the kingdom) hunting and mingling with his subjects. He is known to come into a village with a deer or two and declare a royal feast for the villagers, eating with them and hearing their views.
Hollingholmen(Large Town): Conventional; AL NG, LG; 5000 gp limit; Assets 740,000 gp; Population 2960 (human 96%, dwarf 2%, halfling 1%, other 1%).
Authority Figures: King Varri (CG male Rjurik noble 2/ ranger 2), King of Stjorvik; Storm Holtson (LN male Rjurik rogue 6) Guildmaster of the Stjordvik Traders; Jan Hrustraad (LG male Rjurik noble 2/ rogue 2) Guildmaster of the Three Trees Traders; Herkja Hollenviker (N female Rjurik noble 1/ druid 5) Archdruid of Stjordvik.
Important Characters: Hjalmar Helder (NG male Rjurik druid 5), Lord of Kolding, Royal Chamberlain, First Lieutenant; Heidrek Bern (LG male Rjurik noble 2/ fighter 8); Thjodor Drottsson (LG male Rjurik fighter 4) Captain of Hollingholmen.
The capital city of Stjordvik rests where the Northbyrn river enters the mighty Tael Firth where there is a sheltered harbor. It is one of the oldest true city in all the Rjurik realms, and one must travel as far as Tariene in Boeruine to find one older. Hollingholmen is as sophisticated as any city, indeed a cosmopolitan center surrounded by rustic Stjordvik. Many guilds make a fortune bringing goods to Hollingholmen for other, local guilders, to distribute throughout the Highlands. Both the Three Trees Traders and Stjordvik Traders have headquarters here, though Jan Hrustraad of the Three Trees can be found here much more often that Storm Holtson, who is always on the move.
The ancient palace, Ravensroost sits on top of a great hill that overlooks the city.
Stjorvik is one of the first realms founded and one of the first to coallese after the discovery of bloodlines in the aftermath of Deismaar. Because of its preoccupation with the Blood Skull Barony, Stjordvik did not participate in the great war of the elves. After Deismaar, Roele tried to bring the Rjurik into an Empire by force and diplomacy. For nearly a thousand years Stordvik was am Imperial territory, but the death of Michael Roele began to unravel the Empire and within two generations the Rjurik simply declared their independence. The five hundred years since then have passed with wars, but no great conquests. The realm has grown stronger and better able to resist the Blood Skull Barony, though they still pose a grave danger.
When the Shadow drove the five tribes out of Andu, the Rjuven took to their longboats and travelled the great salt road until they arrived in what is now Halskapa. Tired, weak, and in a strange land, the Rjuven clustered together for security. This was not the traditional Rjuvik way, whoever, and when chiefs took to bickering during the Bitter Winter, one Stjorndahl rallies a desperate group and marched south vowing to keep going until they saw green. This trek forged a distinct identity among this group and when they arrived in the lands which were named Stjordvik in honor of their leader, they had already begun to diverge from the rest of the Rjurven.
The Anuirean Millenium
Five Centuries of Independence
Stjordvik is in a political deadlock, between the king, eorls, and the people, in which each of these distrusts each of the others.
- Varri Haraldsson, King of Stjordvik
- Hjalmar Helder, Lord of Kolding, Royal Chamberlain, First Lieutenant
- Heidrek Bern, Lord of Uleåborg, High Marshal of the Armies, Second Lieutenant
- Olfjor Ylvarrik, Jarl of Arvaald
- Njall Olvisson, Jarl of Hjorvaal
- Guthrim Gauksson, Jarl of Hollenvik
- Arnora Hadrimssdotter, Jarlless of Lofkirdik
- Brand Fyrisson, Geardtholder of Namverg
- Skjada one-eye, Jarl of Saerskaap
- Hrafnhild Djursunsdotter, Jarlless of Udvika
- Herkja Hollenviker, Archdruid of Stjordvik
- Storm Holtson, Guildmaster of Stjordvik Traders
- Jan Hrustraad, Guildmaster of Three Trees Traders
- Ohlaak the Dragon, mysterious wizard
Plots and Rumours
Default Random Encounter Table
- 1 Rjkar Hunters: one Ranger and two Warriors
- 2 Noble: one noble possible entourage
- 3 Patrol: one Fighter and two Warriors
- 4 Animal: deer, elk, or moose
- 5 Traveler: various; druid, skald, merchant
- 6 Special: rare encounters
Domain Holding Table
|Arvaald (2/3)||Ol (2)||GB (2)||SH (2)||-|
|Hjorvaal (0/4)||Nj (0)||-||-||Oh (3)|
|Hollenvik (2/3)||Gu (2)||GB (2)||Gu (2)||-|
|Lofkirdik (1/4)||Ar (1)||GB (1)||SH (1)||-|
|Namverg (2/3)||Br (1)||GS (2)||JH (2)||-|
|Saerskaap (4/2)||Sk (2)||GB (3)||SH (2)||-|
|WW (1)||WW (1)|
|Udvika (1/4)||Dj (1)||GS (1)||JH (1)||-|
|Ustkjuvil (3/2)||Va (3)||GB (3)||Va (2)||-|
|Abbreviations: Br=Brand Fyrisson; Dj=Djursund; Ol=Olfjor Ylvarrik; Oh=Ohlaak the Dragon; Nj=Njall Olvisson; WW=White Witch; Ar=Arnora Hadrimssdotter; Gu=Guthrim Gauksson; Va=Varri Haraldsson; Sk=Skjada Njalgrimsson; JH=Jan Hrustraad (Three Trees Traders ); SH=Storm Holtson (Stjordvik Traders); GB=Günther Brandt (Oaken Grove of Erik); GS=Gretta Seligsdotter (Emerald Spiral).|
- Law: The jarls are the law in their provinces.
- Temples: The Oaken Grove of Erik is the favored temple.
- Guilds: Some jarls control trade in their provinces, but the Three Trees Traders and the Stjordvik Traders both see Stjordvik as home territory.
- Source: The Rjurik would be loath to think any wizards were in their realm, but then there is Ohlaak the Dragon.
- See Also: Stjordvik income detail