Njalgrim's Doom

This article is Fan Fiction
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright lore or history.
The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and are applied for roleplaying purposes only.
This is an expansion of the introductory adventure Njalgrim's Doom from the Rjurik Highlands.


Long ago Rjurik heroes forged their destinies and earned their birthrights. Their sacred blood flows in the veins of heroes today. Their achievements are sung by skalds. Their enemies still curse their names. One such hero was Njalgrim and he is the ancestor of one of your PC?s. Njalgrim?s Doom, a BIRTHRIGHT adventure set in Rjurik, features elements of Rjurik tradition, beliefs about honor, and introduces players to situations and locations common to the Rjurik Highlands, including the Shadow World. In their quest to redeem a slain ancestor and put his spirit to rest, PC?s must face a war band of the Blood Skull Barony and agents of the White Witch.
The PC?s need not be regents, but at least one of them should be blooded. The adventure, which requires a trip to Hogunmark, will pit the PC?s against the Rjurik winter. Such a journey is certainly easier from the Taelshore than it would be from the far Northlands or from the Wild Lands.
the adventure outline
Part 1: Apparition, a joyful mid-winter festival is interrupted by the appearance of a spectral scion ? the spirit of a blooded hero who has not passed on to the afterlife but lingers to fulfill some destiny yet unfinished. Killed by the evil Hrothwulf, his weapon was taken from him and now lies with the remains of Hrothwulf, and this is a weapon of legend. Three of his ancestors imbued the weapon with great power which is destined to play a critical role in the destiny of the Rjurik people, but as it lay, anyone could find it and use it for good or evil. Njalgrim suffered death alone and no one came to bury him or recover his mighty sword. Now others are attempting to locate the weapon and make use of its power. Njalgrim, aware of this, wants the weapon in the hands of his descendent. The weapon, Frostbiter is a sword with powers useful to a Rjurik hero. Selecting the PC who is to be Njalgrim?s heir is important because of the future of the weapon. Certainly the character must be able to use a longsword, but the weapon is also most appropriate to someone who might be a champion of the Rjurik people.
Part 2: Winter Travel involves trials against the winter conditions with opportunities to visit important locations and find normal Rjurik encounters.
Part 3: Battle in Valkheim involves the PC?s in a full-scale invasion of Valkheim by the ferocious warriors of the Blood Skull Barony. The PCs discover that the war band was send by Thrakkazz, the Scarlet Baron, who also desires the powerful, ancient weapon, Frostbiter.
Part 4: Assassins pits the party against the agents of the White Witch also sent to recover the Frostbiter. Njalgrim appears once again to reveal that he is redeemed and freed of his doom. He departs, finally at peace in Erik?s arms.
Part 5: Epilogue sorts out some of the consequences of actions taken during the adventure.

[top]Part 1: The Apparition

Njalgrim?s Doom begins on Midwinter Night. This annual celebration elicits great rejoicing, feasting, and drinking among the Rjurik, who know that it heralds shorter nights and the onset of spring. The adventure opens as a blooded scion and his companions greet the shortest day of winter.
It is Midwinter Night. In the great feast hall sounds of revelry and the warmth of crackling fires and boon companionship help drive away the fearsome chill of winter. It has been a long, cold season. Though frigid days are not yet over, you know that the green of spring soon will come, melting the snows and bringing forth new life in the realms of Erik the Druid.
Tonight marks a time for celebration ? drinking toasts to each other?s health, to the goodwill of the druids, and to the benevolence of Erik. You and your companions enjoy food and drink saved all winter for this occasion. The fruits, stored by drying and sealing them in jars has been made fresh by druidical alteration, enabling you to savor fresh fruits and vegetables along with the freshly baked breads and newly slaughtered meats. As revelers call out hearty toasts and eat their fill, you feel so warm and content that spring almost seems to have arrived early.
Your joy and happiness end abruptly with the sudden arrival in the hall of a cold wind, though no window or door is open. One of the old men calls out, ?Shut that door!? But no source of the cold wind is found. The once glowing candles are blown out and the fires are reduced to glowing, whirling cinders. A cold blast of fear permeates the room despite the numerous kith and kin who crowd the hall.
The room grows loud with murmurs and people begin to speculate that some dread specter of the Shadow is present. The fires grow again with a deep red color giving everything a reddish hue. A fearsome apparition appears standing on the table, and the room grows silent. The figure is a great one, battered yet undeniably impressive. He wears old style chain nail over a leather byrnie; great leather gauntlets cover his hands, a massive scabbard on his hip, though it carries no sword. He appears ancient and grizzled, bearing a thick beard and wild hair, his eyes points of white light. The cold air mixes with the hot food and the specter seems bathed in a red, glowing aura. All in the hall sit transfixed. The specter approaches [name of the PC] and points ominously.''
The apparition is the restless spirit of the ancient Rjurik warrior Njalgrim, an ancestor of the PC in question. Once the spectral scion has appeared and pointed out the PC, he vanishes.

[top]discovering the meaning of the vision of the warrior

This vision will naturally have everyone in a state of considerable excitement. The best person to provide some answers would be a skald, but if one is not present, a druid can offer some guidance. A skald in the party can attempt a bardic knowledge check with a synergy bonus from either Knowledge (history) or (nobility) to the check.

? If the skald gets a 20 or better, he knows that the vision matched the description of Njalgrim the Lost, who set out to slay the giant Bergelmir.

? If the skald gets a 25 or better he knows that Njalgrim bore the famed sword Frostbiter, a sword of heritage, and set out with his companion Hrothwulf to slay the giant. However, after the giant was slain, Hrothwulf turned on Njalgrim and slew him to steal the powerful Frostbiter.

? Some member of the family gathered for the feast will recognize the name Njalgrim and identify that he is reputed to be an ancestor of the PC.

? Either a skald or a druid will council the PC to be alert to his dreams for it is likely that this ancestor will have words for him in sleep.

If the players want to consult an expert, it will take a day and will reveal the same as the skald result of 25 or better.

[top]the dream

That evening, unless the PC takes precautions to prevent the specter from influencing his dreams (something that will require a cleric or druid who can rebuke spirits), he will dream about Njalgrim.

You find yourself at the feast again. All is well and the feasting is good. Warmth and joy fill the room. Suddenly, the apparition appears. All is cold and the fires die as they did at the feast. Amidst the red glow the figure points ominously at you. You are aware that no one else is around any more, just you and the figure. He speaks, bellowing in an eerie, wavering voice. ?You!? he cries out. ?Fate requires you to make a journey. Inexorable fate calls to you to redeem me and to take on the mantle that I carried in life. See my sword? I am without my sword. Your destiny, for good or for ill lies in Valkheim, where I met my doom. There you go and recover my sword and redeem my heritage and my honor. Ignore the call of fate at your own peril!?

The vision is gone and you look around in the empty, cold great feast hall. You open the door to the outside and wander out into the snow. You are not in your homeland. Your longhouse is nowhere to be seen. You wander across an arctic landscape undistinguished by trees, features, or other landmarks. You don?t know where you are or where you are going. It?s a perpetual twilight. You are aware that a predator stalks you, but you can?t identify where or what lurks out there. Suddenly the ground gives way. You must have stepped on a snow covered gorge and the snow has given way. You tumble down. In an icy cavern you land and immediately spot a sword with the first third of the blade buried in ice. You reach for the blade just as someone else reaches as well. As your reach for the sword, you hear the sounds of a crackling fire. As your hand gets close, the sound of the fire grows to the volume of a campfire, though none is present. Your arm extends as your reach forward and the cold bites into you. Suddenly, you awake, cold and shivering.

[top]moment of decision

If the players are well-versed in Rjurik culture, they should recognize the spirit?s appearance and call of destiny as a sign of fate that cannot be ignored. Such conduct would result in a doom more horrifying than one could imagine, and bring about the decline and possible destruction of his family.
Actually, refusing Njalgrim will result in a curse (as Bestow Curse) which will reduce the PC?s Charisma score by 6 (minimum 1). See the epilogue for the effects of refusing Njalgrim?s call to fate. Perhaps more important, the PC will frighten people he encounters, and his reduced Charisma won?t make it easy to talk his way past that. His family will shun him hoping to avoid the fate of decline and destruction and will urge him to undertake this destiny with honor and courage. Older Rjurik will insist that fate is unavoidable anyway and that it will work its destiny on the PC one way or another. The honorable man (or woman) meets his fate with bravery, while the coward flees and thus brings shame and catastrophe upon his house. Further, elders will council that it is honorable and indeed admirable for one?s true companions to undertake the risks of sharing one?s fate.

[top]Part 2: Winter Travel

Of course, a journey to Hogunmark in the dead of winter will be fraught with peril. Snow chokes the roads, rivers are frozen, and winter storms ravage the land.

Native Rjurik will know the equipment they need to brave the ferocity of winter. As scions and nobles, they have the resources or connections to borrow, obtain, or purchase such gear with little trouble. While there may be expenses, these will trouble the great but little. Appropriate gear includes fur-lined cloaks, woolen tunics, bone carved into snow goggles to prevent snow-blindness, skis, snowshoes, hardy Rjurik horses, dogs and dogsleds, sleighs, provisions, gloves or mittens, saddles and packs, axes, bows, extra arrows, and anything else the players think they need for a winter adventure. Sons of lords would have most of these goods and connections to obtain the rest, while the sons of jarls would likely have such goods on hand.
Close attention to the next section, Winter Travel, will help guide the DM so far as necessary provisions and consequences if the players are lackadaisical. Very likely, early portions of the journey will be in the Taelshore, where conditions are not as harsh as they will be in Hogunmark, though they may be still sufficient to warn players that their characters are at some risk. The characters will probably make the longest part of their journey from either Stornomark, Innsmark, or Viborg to Veikanger. The trip to either of these cities would allow characters to re-supply and possibly increase their preparations, if they were under-prepared.
The provisions for men and dogs weigh a pound for one day, and four pounds for a horse, though the bulk of a horse?s food is twenty times as voluminous as that of men or dogs. The characters will need transportation for themselves and their provisions and gear.
A sled is an open vehicle on runners suitable for transporting heavy loads. Two horses are needed to pull a sled. A sled can carry 600 pounds of weight. A dogsled is a vehicle for one person and gear. A dogsled weighs 50 pounds and can carry another hundred pounds plus a rider. Six dogs are required to pull a sled, though eight are not uncommon for a full load.
Players should consider whether they wish to bring followers or retinues. Individuals who perform tasks will earn a share of experience related to those tasks (negotiations, combat, &c). They must be supplied and provisioned.
Once preparations are complete it is probably best to depart at dawn. Winter days are short and night travel imposes serious penalties on navigation when the clouds block view of the stars, which is common. So, with the vision of the specter fresh in their mind?s eye, the PC?s set off on their adventure.

[top]Outline of the Journey

The players will select their own route, but it is likely that one of three routes will be selected:

? From their homes, characters from Dhoesone, Stjordvik, or Rjuvik will likely break their journey at Viborg. From Viborg most characters would travel on to Veikanger, and then after re-provisioning and re-supply, they would continue into Valkheim.

? From their homes in Svinik or perhaps eastern Rjuvik, or perhaps Halskapa, characters would travel to Innsmark to break their journey, before continuing on to Veikanger. Thereafter they might choose to re-provision and re-supply, before continuing into Valkheim.

? From their homes in Halskapa or Jankaping, characters would travel to Stornomark. From their they would continue on to Veikanger. Thereafter they might choose to re-provision and re-supply, before continuing into Valkheim.

Of course players may elect to bypass any of these places, but they have been detailed for the benefit of any visits there that may occur.
Locations Note: These locations have been detailed with certain assumptions in mind. Principal among these is that the population of Rjurik and indeed Cerilia approximates that of medieval Europe, rather than the near empty provinces detailed in standard BR (at roughly 1/10th expected populations). Lowering populations, by half or two-thirds to simulate a much smaller population (these named cities would still be big, just more isolated) would effect the gp limits and the expected upper range of character levels.


This stone walled city is the last and strongest defensive place facing the Blood Skull Barony. The city is a strange mix of neglect and gaudy opulence. The law provides no justice, but is just a tool of the regime to control the people. Viborg is the capital of the realm, but Fulgar, the king, prefers Yvarre. Hardened warriors grimly wait for the next orog raid, thieves and outlaws walk the streets with pirates turned merchants. Everywhere visitors turn they are taxed, extorted, or conned. The prices of goods and services mostly depend on how much you can pay. And if you can?t, they aren?t available. Much work is available for adventurers and mercenaries in Viborg, but the risks are correspondingly high.

Viborg (Large Town): Nonstandard; AL CE; 5000 gp limit; Assets 935,250 gp; Populaton 3741; 96 % human, 2% Halfling, 1% dwarf, 1% other.

Authority Figures: Thurak the Trollborn, Gruskarl (Marshal) of Rjuvik (NE male hobgoblin fighter 4/ bone warrior 4), Dagmar Arngeirsdotter, Starfsmaðr (Steward) of Rjuvik (CE female Rjurik Rogue 3/ Priestess of Eloéle 6/ Demagogue 3), Djarrik Vidarskeeper, Guildsman of Svakennek (CN male Rjurik rogue 4).

Important Characters: Adriala the Dark (CE female Brecht noble 2/wizard 8), ambitious, unscrupulous wizard; Captain Olaf Leifsson (CE male Rjurik rogue 4), master of the Black Knives, a gang of highwaymen and bandits in service to Fulgar, Geralda Hringsdotter (NG female Rjurik bard 3) activist to restore Rjurik values

Black Knives: are a bandit gang as well as being part of the company of Rjuvik raiders which defends the area from outsiders. They prey on the local populace as well as defend them from outsiders. It?s a protection racket. While the Black Knives include some fifty members, they are dispersed to perform their functions. Groups will include four Warrior 1, two rogue 1, and are lead by a rogue 3.

Huskarls: are a body of warriors swarn to service to the king. Sometimes they are employed as muscle for Fulgar, but mostly they are the elite defenders of Viborg and Svarkannek from the Blood Skull Barony. There are twenty fighter 4, twenty fighter 3, and thirty fighter 2 in the Huskarls.

Militia: this group of locals under arms are getting their turn to bully their neighbors. They number a total of eighty commoner 2, lead by ten warrior 2 sergeants, and a fighter 3 lieutenant. Eight commoners and a sergeant would be a normal encounter.


This open town is along the easiest route to Veikanger. Jurva is only a long day?s horseback ride away, though allowing for two days is prudent. Svinik is one of the most populous realms in Rjurik, and towns line the route from the south.
Innsmark(Large Town): Conventional; AL CG; 3000 gp limit; Assets 463,000 gp; Population 3086; 96 % human, 2% Halfling, 1% dwarf, 1% other.

Authority Figures: Ulfgrim Andersson (NG male Rjurik noble 2/fighter 4) Jarl of Innsmark; Olam Eriksson (NG male Rjurik priest of Erik 4) druid of Innsmark.
Important Characters: Osmund Taelrhud (LN male Rjurik fighter 5) Captain of Innsmark.


This fine city and the province it rests in are controlled by Jarl Daalhar who is a thoroughly modern Rjurik. Though the city and his people take no issue with his willingness to embrace modern ways and welcoming of advisors from the Taelshore and even Anuire and Brectür, other Jarls and the tribes are hostile to Daalhar and the city of Jurva. Jurva is a bright, bustling city of stone and brick rising from the riverside with a curtain of taiga behind it. The rich soils near the river are farmed and the interior lands support many herds.
Jurva (Small City): Conventional; AL LN, LG; 15,000 gp limit; Assets 6,280,000 gp; Population 8373, 96 % human, 2% Halfling, 1% dwarf, 1% other.

Authority Figures: Daalhar hu Jurva (LN male Rjurik noble 4/fighter 1) Jarl of Jurva; Elka Hjolvik (LN female Rjurik priest of Erik 3) druid of Jurva.
Important Characters: Lars Ulverth (LG male Rjurik fighter 6) captain of Jurva; Ingwas Juriksson (LG male Rjurik noble 2/ fighter 7) captain of the Black Arrows.

City Guard: The city guard is mostly for the town?s defense, though as an armed force they will be summoned in case of serious violence in the city. There are ten fighter 4, twenty fighter 3, ten fighter 2, and twenty warrior 2 in the city guard.

Black Arrows: These elite mounted archers and scouts are the core of the realm?s army. They generally winter in Jurva at the Jarl?s expense. Daalhar is a foremost advocate for the Black Arrows, as they hunt down bandits and keep the routes through the country safe. Encounters would be with groups of 3rd and 4th level fighters with specialties in archery and horsemanship. There are 25 fighter 4 and 25 fighter 3 as well as five lieutenants who are fighter 6 in the Black Arrows, along with Lars Ulverth.


A grim, gray city of stone rises from the central taiga. Its surroundings are dominated by farm lands and still further, grazing. The walled city contains the great granite palace of Jankaping?s King Alnor. Perhaps as much as Jurva offends those who prefer the traditions of old, Stornomark does as well. The king lives in the style of a traditional Jankaping king, with long hunts and great feasts, but it does not appease the traditionalists and just seems quaint to the modernists. The city itself is mostly a capital city and many of the city?s sections are just those of government business and the luxuries of a great court. Compared to Jurva, there is much less trade and commerce. Stornomark is much more of an administrative center than a trade center. Even so, the city lies on the road from Aaldvika to Skapa Hjarring, and so is a trade station. Also, what trade does not go by river between Jurva and Skapa Hjarring often finds its way through Stornomark.
Stornomark (Small City): Conventional; AL N, NG; 20,000 gp limit; Assets 5,860,0000 gp; Population 5861, 96 % human, 2% Halfling, 1% dwarf, 1% other.
Authority Figures: Alnor (male Rjurik noble 4/ fighter 2) King of Jankaping; Volund Volundsson (N male Rjurik noble 2/ druid 3) Archdruid of Jankaping; Sigurd Othinnsdotter (N female Rjurik druid 6) High Druid of Jankaping

Important Characters: Herrn Thogrim Alfsson (LE male Rjurik noble 5) Kanslern (Chancellor) of Jankaping; Rjannka Fryggvaal (NG female Rjurik ranger 9) chiftess of the Fryggvaal tribe.

Fryggvaal: This tribe wanders between Stonomark and Jurva, its traditional hunting grounds, but finds less and less to sustain them as the settled populations of Harlskaang and Jurva expand into all the best lands. The tribe spends less and less of its time in pursuit of traditional life ways, and more and more of it trading with foreign merchants and rebellious jarls. Unlike the Othrugaard, to their north, the Fryggvaal have not become a bandit tribe, but they are hostile to the changes that the cities have imposed on their lands and way of life. There are six hundred Fryggvaal.


The capital city of Hogunmark

[top]Weather Challenges

This section details the hazards of winter travel in the Rjurik realms. It certainly adds to the flavor and challenge of a Rjurik adventure. Indeed, the PC?s primary adversary on the journey is winter itself. Certainly through the journey as far as Veikanger, the route will be trail or better. Movement should be normal for an eight hour travel day, except for any mountainous or hilly terrain near the Silverhead mountains.
Terrain and Overland Movement
Terrain Highway Road or Trail Trackless
ForestX 1X 1X ½
HillsX 1X ¾X ½
MountainsX ¾X ¾X ½
PlainsX 1X 1X ¾
SwampX 1X ¾X ½
Tundra, frozenX 1X ¾X ¾
Movement Modifiers
Conditions Light Moderate Heavy
SnowX 1X ½X ¼
Forest DensityX 1X ½X ¼
Light, moderate and heavy refer to the relationship between the character?s size and the description of the condition. A tiny amount of snow is light to a small creature, and negligible to a medium creature. Keep in mind that working dogs, like huskies are medium creatures, as are mules and ponies. Horses are large and would only be slowed by a large amount of snow. The movement modifiers for snow and ice effect tactical movement as well as overland movement. For forest undergrowth, tactical squares can either be labeled as undergrowth, which increases the cost to enter by +1, imposes a +2 difficulty to Tumble and Move Silently checks, and provides concealment; heavy undergrowth, which costs +3 movement to enter, imposes a +5 difficulty to Tumble and Move Silently, and provides cover with a 30% miss chance; or a thorn patch, which attacks anyone who enters with spines, barbs, and thorns with a +3 attack for which the defender cannot apply their dexterity bonus. Thorns do 1d3 vitality damage. Entering a thorn patch costs +3 movement.
Hail is generally too light to have much effect on travelers, other than being unpleasant.
Heavy Hail (CR1) Fortitude save DC 10; 10 minute interval 50% chance to continue; +0 bonus /interval; 1d6 vitality damage; -4 penalty to listen checks
Severe Hail (CR3) Fortitude save DC 15; 1 minute interval 50% chance to continue; +0 bonus /interval; 1d6 vitality damage; -4 penalty to listen and spot checks
Whether mist rising from the ground or low lying clouds, fog obscures all vision, including darkvision.
Strength Clear Concealment Total
Light 0-20 ft 21-60 ft 61+ ft
Moderate 0-10 ft 11-30 ft 31+ ft
Thick 0-5 ft 6-15 ft 16+ ft
Cool: No effect on characters
Cold: Fortitude save DC 15; 1 hour interval; -1 penalty per interval; 1d4 vitality per interval
Freezing: Fortitude save DC 15; 30 minute interval; -1 penalty per interval; 1d4 vitality per interval
Frigid: Fortitude save DC 15; 10 minute interval; -1 penalty per interval; 1d4 vitality per interval
Abyssal (CR2): Fortitude save DC 15; 5 minute interval; -1 penalty per interval; 1d4 vitality; 10% chance each liquid freezes solid.
It takes 20 minutes to melt a vial in temperatures significantly above freezing. 5 minutes in an open flame.
See core rulebook II, pg 95
Blizzards and other extreme conditions can drop a tremendous amount of snow in a short period of time over a region.
Light Snow 10% strong wind
1-70 light snow
71-95 moderate snow
96-00 heavy snow
Heavy Snow 20 % strong wind
1-50 moderate snow
51-90 heavy snow
91-00 severe snow
Extreme Snow 50% strong wind
10% wind storm
1-20 moderate snow
21-60 heavy snow
61-00 severe snow
Strong Wind Whirling snow obscure all sight beyond 20 ft. A creature within 20 ft away has concealment (20% miss chance). Creatures beyond 20ft have total concealment (50% miss chance) and cannot use sight to locate.
Light Snow snow increases the snow conditions on the ground (from fine to diminutive) every 8 hours
Moderate snow every 4 hours
Heavy snow every 2 hours
Severe snow every hour
Times are doubled for each snow category after reaching small, medium, large, and huge, respectively.
A DC 15 Survival will predict the weather.
Taelshore Weather
d% Temperature Storm/Wind
1-8 Frigid None
9-12 Frigid Mod Wind
13-14 Frigid Light Snow
15 Frigid Heavy Snow
16 Frigid Extreme Snow
17-30 Freezing None
31-38 Freezing Mod Wind
39-45 Freezing Light Snow
46-50 Freezing Heavy Snow
51-55 Freezing Extreme Snow
56-75 Cold None
76-85 Cold Mod Wind
86-95 Cold Light Snow
96-98 Cold Heavy Snow
99-00 Cold Extreme Snow
Weather north of the Hjarring River
d% Temperature Storm/Wind
1-5 Frigid None
6-10 Frigid Mod Wind
11-17 Frigid Light Snow
18-19 Frigid Heavy Snow
20 Frigid Extreme Snow
21-35 Freezing None
36-45 Freezing Mod Wind
46-62 Freezing Light Snow
63-67 Freezing Heavy Snow
68-70 Freezing Extreme Snow
71-80 Cold None
81-87 Cold Mod Wind
88-94 Cold Light Snow
95-98 Cold Heavy Snow
99-00 Cold Extreme Snow
Getting Lost Survival DC
Taelshore, Mountain 12
Taelshore, Hill 6
Taelshore, Forest 10
Taelshore, Storm +6
Northlands, Mountain 15
Northlands, Hill 10
Northlands, Forest 15
Northlands, Storm +6
Hunting Survival DC
Storms 20
Normal 15


The following table includes normal encounters for selected regions.
1 Rjkar Hunters
2 Noble
3 Patrol
4 Deer
5 Elk
6 Moose
1 Fjrlaaf Hunters
2 Bandits
3 Patrol
4 Farmer
5 Goblins
6 Special
Wolves attempt to cripple pack or other animals and fall back. Won?t fight humans.
Rjurik bandits: enough encounters to establish the nature of that realm.

[top]Standing Stones

When the party is lost, this encounter is possible.

You enter a large circular clearing surrounded by tall, snow-covered trees. Strangely, the snow cover decreases as you move to the heart of the clearing. You see a circle of standing stones in the center of the clearing.

If the party approaches

The center of the clearing near the stones is entirely free of snow. The standing stones surround a tall, carved column. As you approach, you observe that the column is intricately carved. Even more amazing, in the snow-free area, the grass is green and the area has many white flowers blooming.
The temperature is 50-60 degrees. It is a specially blessed druidic shrine for use by travelers.
  • Everyone heals at double rate here
  • No food or drink is necessary here

The stones are carved with intricate spiral and knotted patterns, intermixed are runes. Also carved into the central column is a great serpentine creature.
If the party sleeps in the circle, they will all experience the sword in ice dream. Start with the line, ?You wander across an arctic landscape?.?

[top]Ogre Attack

The party has crossed into the killing zone of an ogre ambush. Three (or more if the party numbers more than nine, including guards) ogres have set out to raid Rjurik settlements, but upon spotting the party, have taken up ambush positions. The ogres have a +2 to their spot and listen checks, and make dexterity checks (-1) to hide. Because the ogres are hiding they receive a -2 penalty to their spot checks. Moderate forest offers a +2 Hide modifier and heavy forest grants a +4. The forest will allow a spot check with a DC of 25 for both sides at 50 ft and 20 at 20 ft. As soon as the ogres spot the party, they will throw their javelins and take a move action to close for melee. As large creatures, the impact of snow-cover on their movement speeds will be less than medium size creatures.

[top]The Wanderer

A presence walks the Hjarring River valley and nearby lands. Guided by powerful divination and aided by woodland creatures, Jorrik the Wanderer acts as a protector of travelers, advisor to nomads, and lookout for humanoid incursions.

Jorrik is aware of the party, and knows something about their mission, having seen visons. He knows their route and the dangers they face, and will appear at any time they have suffered a serious challenge and are in need of healing and protection. If the party is in danger of being killed, he will use spike stones between the party and their enemies and shepherd them away from danger.

Though Jorrik is a formidable combatant, he will not fight himself, for he has sworn never to take a life. He will mislead, confuse, or harass as required. More likely he will appear soon after battle.

A lone figure appears from the snow-covered trees that surround you. The tall, thin man is dressed in a long white druidic tunic with silver embroidered trim. He is covered in a fur-lined cloak. He carries a staff and a backpack, his bearded face serene. For a moment, you all stand in silence regarding each other. At last the man speaks, ?I am called Jorrik. What quest brings you to these frozen forests when others are safe and warm in a mead-hall with your family and boon companions??

Jorrik knows that a restless spirit has summoned the party into action, and that the object of their search is a weapon of great power. Whether these events are for good or for ill, Jorrik does not know, and so will be circumspect.

The party will have heard at least a bit about Jorrik, and even if they fail Knowledge (geography or local) or Bardic Knowledge tests, at the very least, the party will have heard that Jorrik is a wandering druid who protects settlements and travelers from the hazards of the wilds.

The character who was visited by Njalgrim should make a diplomacy check, aided by druids, skalds, or nobles. Jorrik begins the encounter as indifferent to the characters and offers his healing and protection as a religious duty rather than because he likes the party. If Jorrik is shifted to friendly, he will offer useful responses to questions about the party?s adventure. Otherwise he will be very brief in his replies.
  • If asked about the original manifestation of Njalgrim, Jorrik responds, ?Upon death a spirit almost always makes the journey to Erik?s dominion, aided by a spirit guide, unless some dire unfinished business makes them unwilling to pass on to the next world. This business almost always involves treachery, vengeance, or jealousy. Such spirits of normal men can do very little to effect the daylight world on their own. Sometimes such spirits speak to their descendants or others devoted to the same purposes as they pursued in life. Did this specter appear to be an ancestor of yours?? (This point may still be unknown.)
  • If asked about the dream, Jorrik replies, ?Dreams sometimes foretell the future, but in the context of your specter, I suspect this dream was sent to you by your spirit visitor.?
  • If the players describe the visitation, including the specter?s missing sword and the sword from the dream, Jorrik will add, ?The weapon you seek is the reason this spirit has not passed on to Erik?s realm. It must be a weapon of great power. Such weapons often have distinctive omens. If there is a special color, symbol, or sound which is associated with the weapon, it may help skalds identify the weapon in lore.?
  • If asked about Valkheim, Jorrik says, ?I have heard that the foul legions of Thrakkazz muster for war, despite the winter season. That is most unusual, so their cause must be particular. When winter?s blanket is thick upon the earth no army finds victory easily. I have spotted their camps and sent ravens to warn Queen Freila. Perhaps she will have time to repel the attacks. I will be moving soon myself to block the pass at Karböle with obstacles.?

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[top]Part 3: Battle in Valkheim

Instead of bandits or wandering monsters, encounters in Valkheim will be with goblin scouts in an obvious war party of the Blood Skull Barony. If the party has encountered Jorrik the Wanderer, he has most certainly warned them of the threat of an invasion by the Blood Skulls. One to three encounters with scouts would be appropriate.
After some time in Valkheim, the party will encounter an Aegilsgaard hunting party, or even the Aegilsgaard winter camp itself. The hunting party is hurrying back to camp as they have heard the war horn and are returning home to repell invaders. The Aegilsgaard would welcome aid in the defense of their homes and families.
Whether they find the winter camp on its own, or follow one of the hunting parties back, the party approaches an Aegilsgaard winter camp which is about to be attacked. It should be nearing twilight, as the goblins seek to attack at dusk.
The silence of the winter woods is disturbed by the sound of loud voices. You hears calls to arms, to readiness, and to seek shelter. It sounds as if a village is preparing for attack. As you approach you hear the clank of metal, some animals, and even the frightened cries of children.
As the players approach...
''Hurrying forward, you spy what appears to be a tribal winter encampment ? a circle of low shelters built from windfall, a central firepit, and a longhouse on one end with two torches burning near the entrance.
''The camp is in chaos. Fur-clad men and women run back and forth, some gathering up weapons, and clanking as they do, and some putting on leather and hide armors. Other lead family members to the longhouse. In the center of the camp you spot men wearing the tabards of Hogunmark. Some seem to keep a watch on the tree-line, others bark instructions, or help others don armor.
One of the tribal warriors, a grizzled man with a great white beard and tough hide armor with fur trim and a great claymore spot you and shouts, ?You! Are you more of Freila?s soldiers? You come at the right time for our sentries spot the approach of the Blood Skulls!
As seen on the flow chart on the next page, the PC?s will join one of the groups defending the village (unless they attempt to flee) and will attempt to resist the charge of goblin cavalry. If the lines are not breeched, the goblins will call in orogs to make the charge. If the lines are breeched, the PC?s defend the village area preventing the Blood Skulls from reaching the longhouse. Battle ragers will come forward to push back the attackers. If they fail there is a final fight for the longhouse. If the PC?s score two victories and acquire 60 victory points, the Blood Skulls have been defeated and retreat. The victors pursue to achieve complete victory. If the PC?s would rather assist other defenders, shortly after the PC?s arrive the enemy retreats and its clear they are retreating on all fronts.
A. Once the PC?s have taken up their positions along the tribal Rjurik, the attack begins.
''The woods around the village fill with the noises of the Blood Skull forces. Arrows begin to fall in the tribal village. The assault of arrows grows more intense. No troops come forward, so it appears that the Blood Skull forces plan to weaken the defenses of the tribe.
Bodvild, a very capable looking female huntress calls to her fellows, "If the Blood Skulls think they will defeat us in a contest of archery, they are gravely mistaken." She pulls her bow and lets arrows fly.
Terrain: Goblin archers are in a medium wood taking cover behind trees, they get a +2 AC bonus because of cover. If the PC?s force a Reflex save on them, their cover provides a +1 Ref bonus.
Combat: The PC?s are up against goblin archers, but behind and among the archers are orog warriors ready to charge forward. The distance is 75 to 90 feet for individual archers. Combat begins at twilight. Archers close to 50-60 feet as darkness falls.
Creatures: A number of goblin archers equal to the party engage with missiles. Other goblins engage with the Rjurik around the party.
1. (CR 1) First Wave
Goblin Archers: hp 5 each, init +1, Spd 30, AC 16, Base Attack +1, shortbows +4 (1d4 x3), Fort +3, Ref +1, Wil -1, Weapon Focus (Shortbow)
If the players kill all of the goblins they were in direct combat with, and attempt to target others score 10 VP.
2. (CR 2) Second Wave
Goblin Worg Riders: hp 5 each, init +1, Spd 50, AC 16, Base Attack +1, +3 small lance (1d6 x3), Fort +3, Ref +1, Wil -1, Mounted Combat, Handle Animal +2, Ride +6
If the players turn back the worg riders, score 30 VP and the goblin archers will take up their bows again.
3. (CR 2) Orog Charge
Orogs: hp 9 each, init +4, Spd 30, AC 13, Base Attack +1, +4 Greataxe (1d12 +3 x3), Fort +3, Ref +0, Will -2, Improved Initiative, Rage +4 to Str, +4 to Con, +2 on Will saves, -2 to AC for up to 6 rounds.
4. (CR 1) Rjurik Lines Breached
Hobgoblin Warrior: hp 13 each, Init +1, Spd 20, AC 18, Base Attack +2, Grp +3, +4 mwk longsword (1d8+1, 19-20), chainmail, heavy steel shield.
5. (CR 2) Berserkers Counter-Attack

[top]Aegilsgaard?s Skald

Whether at Veikanger or after the battle, it is likely that the party will seek out a skald for their knowledge of lore in hopes of uncovering clues about their adventure. If the party stops at Veikanger, they can get the 1st point, and if they ask a skald at the tribal camp, they can get the 1st and 2nd parts.
Part 1 If the players describe the distinctive sound of the sword, the crackling fire, the skald will mention that a few such swords have been so described. He?ll ask the following questions.
1. Did the sword have a red blade or appear to be on fire? (no)
2. Was the sword inlaid with gold and possess a curved blade? (no)
If its neither of the those swords, the skald will reason, it might be Frostbiter, which was lost generations ago. He skald will tell the story of Karena, herself a skald of great fame. (See Story of Karena) He also knows that the sword was a key to Karena?s power, though its impossible to guess where her natural abilities left off and the sword?s augmentation began.
Part 2 If the players got part 1 in Veikanger, part 2 is obtained in the tribal camp. If the tribal camp is the source of part 1, the skald knows of a nearby skald who may know more, but a half day?s journey away.
The second skald can match the description of the sword, the crackling fire sound, the description of the blade, and match it to the description of Frostbiter. The second skald knows two additional facts.
1. Frostbiter was last known to be carried by Njalgrim the Gray, who disappeared while pursuing the giant Bergelmir. The old giant was never heard from again, but neither was Njalgrim or his party.
2. Frostbiter was first carried by Aethelwulf, and the skald can tell the story of Aethelwulf (see Story of Aethelwulf). The sword was imbued with some of the old ranger?s experience, because his successors who carried the sword possessed some of his skill at surviving adventures in the winters, just like this one.
While the players wonder where to go next, young Bodvild, the warrior maiden who fought with the PC?s will beg audience with the tribe?s skald. Interrogation of the prisoners has revealed a strange fact, and the tribe needs its loremaster. According to the information gained, the camp was not the primary target of the Blood Skulls, rather a burial mound just to the north east was the target, but they felt they could not disturb a Rjurik burial while hundreds of Rjurik warriors and their druids rested so near. They were afraid their violation would not go unnoticed and they would be attacked collecting their reward.

[top]A Hero?s Dream

If the party does not leave camp after the battle, and has the information they need, the dream occurs then. If they seek information from the nearby druid, half a day there and back is a full day, and the dream occurs then. It should occur just before the party travels out to the burial mounds.
That evening, unless special precautions are taken, the fated hero will dream again
You pull aside the tree branches in front of you, and before you lies a burial mound of a substantial size and the mounds of his karls as well. You give honor to Erik and Narikja and approach. As you come upon the great burial mound, you feel a terrible pain in your back and fall forward into the snow. You hear laughing and someone in a deep voice demands your sword. You awaken with a terrible pain in your back, but no injury is apparent. However your bed clothes have fresh blood on them as though you just suffered an injury.

[top]Part 4: The The Burial Mounds

A full six hours (a full day's light) away lies a burial mound known to the skald. Daylight will not last much longer.
Before you lies a clearing dotted with low mounds arrayed about a central mound that is perhaps the height of a man. Atop the central mound sits a carved monolith, but the thick blankets of snow prevent you from discerning any details. All is silent and still; a light snow falls.
The party may take any preparations they deem worthwhile. As they finish up...
Brittle cracking and crunching sounds fill the air as if ice covered tree limbs were falling to the snow, but no such icy trees are to be seen. All around you, the mounds begin to shake and heave, their snow topped surfaces splitting open.
Nightmarish figures arise. Once human, they still wear the remains of hardened hides, metal helmets, and rusty swords. But now they are skeletons rising from the ground toward you.
The central mound too shakes and shudders, abetted by an eerie keening sound. The occupant who emerges is no mere skeleton. Though he lacks flesh, this leader of the undead karls has burning eyes, fixed on [PC] and moves with dread purpose. It pulls forth a sword and the sound of a crackling fire can be heard. The sword is a clear uncorroded blade with a whitish silvery color, noble and true.
(EL 2)
Skeleton Chief (Hrothwulf)

hp 12, bearing Frostbiter, +1 Longsword (1d8+1)


3x the number of players if a cleric is present, 2x if no cleric can turn undead.

hp 6, shortspear (1d6)

Once Hrothwulf?s skeleton has been slain, but before anyone obtains Frostbiter, Groa the White appears. She casts charm person spell on a barbarian, if available, or a warrior which looks the least aristocratic. Druids, Skalds, and Aristocrats would be her last choice.
A woman?s voice calls out, ?defend me!? A cold wind slaps you in the face and at the opposite tree line you see a figure, a woman, dressed all in white with red hair. She wears the robes of a druid, but is no servant of Erik.
She has cast Summon Nature?s Ally I and summons a badger to join her animal companion (another badger) to attack the party. The badgers charge the party, she stays back and casts spells.
Groa the White

Female Rjurik Druid 3; CR 3

NE Medium Humanoid; HD 3d8+3

VP/WP 19/13

Init +2; Senses Listen +6, Spot +6

Languages: Rjurik

AC 16 (Dex +2, Arm +2, Class +0), touch 14, flat footed 14

Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +5

Speed 30ft Melee quarterstaff +3

Ranged sling +5 (d6)

Base Atk +2; Grp +2

Abilities Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 8

Feats: Master of the Staff

Skills: 42 (max 6)

Possessions: hide armor, quarterstaff, the quarterstaff has a glyph of ice skating, and of Magic Weapon.

Spells: 11 spell points

Groa cast Summon Nature?s Ally I (1)at the beginning of the encounter and followed up with Charm Person (3). She has Chill Metal (3), Numbing Sphere (3), or Magic Stone (1), Magic Weapon (1), and Cure Light Wounds (1) available
Groa?s will hold Obscuring Mist (1) in reserve, and has an escape route through deep snow and across ice, using her Arctic Stride to increase the distance between her and her pursuers.
Nature Sense +2 on Knowledge (Nature) and Survival checks
Snowcasting Spells have the cold descriptor, and snow or ice increases the effective caster level by +1.
Arctic Stride normal movement in snow or on ice.
Winter Step leaves no trail and cannot be tracked in ice or snow.
Cold Focus +1 to the DC of all saving throws against Groa?s spells.
Frozen Magic Spells with the cold descriptor are cast at caster level +1.
Master of the Staff May gain an additional attack by using the off-hand side of the quarterstaff with a -2 penalty on all attacks.
Groa has an animal companion CR ?

Badger 20 hp, AC 18, standard attack claw +4 (1d2-1), full attack 2 claws +4 (1d2-1) and bite -1 (1d3-1)

Rage: Once the badger is damaged in combat it flies into a berserk rage on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead. It gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and -2 to Armor Class.
Raging Badger Companion

Badger 26 hp, AC 16, standard attack claw +4 (1d2+1), full attack 2 claws +4 (1d2+1) and bite +1 (1d3+1)

Groa summons a second badger CR?

He remains for 4 rounds.

Badger 6 hp, AC 15, standard attack claw +4 (1d2-1), full attack 2 claws +4 (1d2-1) and bite -1 (1d3-1)

Raging Badger 8 hp, AC 13, standard attack claw +4 (1d2+1), full attack 2 claws +4 (1d2+1) and bite +1 (1d3+1)

[top]Njalgrim Redeemed

Once Groa is defeated, and has fled, Njalgrim returns to address the party.
The air shimmers. Above you appears the gleaming form of the spirit who first sent you on this journey. He looks different now- prouder, stronger, his armor new and shining, his face determined.
?[PC], you are my heir and I leave unto you my sword, Frostbiter. You are worthy of the weapon and shall in time learn to master its powers. Now, my duty has passed, for you have redeemed me, and I shall pass on to union with Blessed Erik and become once more part of the land that I loved so! Know that this day, you have fulfilled a mighty destiny, and greatness lies before you, if you will but grasp it. May Erik guide you and bless you.
The air shimmers and the apparition disappears.


If Groa escaped, she is still after Frostbitter. Her master, the White Witch will perform an espionage action seeking knowledge of the sword and its new master.
Groa will continue to advance in character level along with the PC?s and should remain one character level above them. Her next feat is Frostfell Prodigy. She will keep an eye on the party, and especially the owner of Frostbiter. With other agents of the White Witch, she will plot the acquisition of the weapon which has been the bane of winter druids for generations.
When the party gets back home, their exploits will win them honors from their heads of house. Everyone gets a point of renown for participation in the recovery of Frostbiter.

[top]Part 5: Lore

The following tales can be told by bards as suggested in the sections above, or as the DM sees fit. If all of the tales are not told during this adventure, skalds later might be able to fill in gaps and tell any story to the PC's.

[top]Njalgrim?s Story

When Njalgrim walked the earth, the Trygvaar tribe acknowledged Njalgrim?s line as a great ally of their tribe, though more out of awe than love. One Hrothwulf was such a Trygvaar who swore service and loyalty to Njalgrim and was his companion. Njalgrim?s death was the result of betrayal by Hrothwulf. He had seen the power of Njalgrim?s sword, Frostbiter, and coveted the sword. In his final adventure, Njalgrim took his party out to avenge the predations of the giant Bergelmir. Njalgrim tracked the giant and finally came upon him at Loki?s Pass in the high hills. Njalgrim confronted the giant and he and his companions fought the giant. The battle was most desperate and several good men fell that day to Bergelmir?s spear. When the giant fell dead, only Njalgrim, Hrothwulf, and Hrothwulf?s brother, Vilhjelm remained on their feet. As Njalgrim went about attempting to revive those who were not slain, Hrothwulf stabbed Njalgrim in the back and followed up with a few more blows. Njalgrim tried to defend himself, but to no avail.
Hrothwulf returned and won leadership among the Trygvaar and argued against friendship with the settled people of Gundviir and the Halskorrik tribe. The Trygvaar abandoned their alliance and returened to raiding their neighbors and it is said that Hrothwulf grew rich, though there are no accounts that he ever discovered the full use of sword, Frostbiter. Greedy for its power in the next life, Hrothwulf was buried with Frostbiter.

[top]Aethelwulf?s Story

Aethelwulf is mentioned in some other saga?s and there are references to a song of Aethelwulf, though that tale is unknown today. Most of what we know of him is pieced together from other stories and what seems to be a short summary of his own saga. Aethelwulf discovered that the druid of his tribe was no servant of Erik, but worshiped Kriesha instead. This revelation divided the tribe, for the winter druid had been popular, had helped many people, and healed many sick. Aethelwulf was zealous for Erik and accepted no excuses on the ice priestess? behalf. Though she was now in hiding from the other druids, she lurked near the tribe hoping to recover her position in the tribe by defeating Aethelwulf. Aided by an augury from the gifted sage Osmund, Aethelwulf, a cunning tracker, took to the woods, his second home, and began a game fo cat and mouse with the winter druid which lasted the whole winter. Several times they encountered one another in stalemate before Aethelwulf proved victorious. Throughout the rest of his life, Aethelwulf hunted those devoted to Kriesha.

[top]Varrig?s Story

When Hoguns began settling Gundviir between the court at Veikanger and the Hjarring River, the Trygvaar found it easier to raid their neighbors than to hunt the open lands for game. The Rjurik who settled abandoned the practice of the raid and took up trade instead. The
Trygvaar retained their nomadic ways and and became more aggressive raiders. Varrig lead many of the Halskorrik tribe into settled life and was acknowledged by the King of the Hoguns in exchange for responsibility to defend the Gundholm hills against Trygvaar and goblins who lived beyond. Settlement meant that Varrig?s people had to stay at their houses and tend their animals and farms. Varrig and his few karls took up these significant duties alone. No matter which village the Trygvaar attempted to raid, Varrig rushed to their defense and thwarted the raiders. Karls from every village begand joining Varrig a month at a time in service. In three climactic battles, Varrig defeated the Trygvaar and at a hill known to the elves as ?Bree,? he defeated the Trygvaar chief in single combat. The Trygvaar abandoned aggressive raiding and remained quieter for some time.
Varrig believed that the best defense for Gudviir would be to build a defensive point west in Valkheim. The King of the Hoguns was dubious of such a plan and wanted to avoid antagonizing his nomadic subjects. Varrig convinced the king to give him a chance. Varrig organized a group of volunteers to settle in Valkheim and met with the leaders of the Halskarrik, Jarnkaspel, and Aegilsgaard tribes. He promised that the town he proposed would not be the start of full settlement of the province as Gundviir and Djaalfund were settled. Rather, he argued, to present a permanent trade post and fort to fend off goblins and other dangers. He won the support of the nomadic tribes and settled opposite the best route east into Gundviir. After the settlement survived its second winter, the King of the Hoguns made Varrig the Jarl of Valkheim. His settlement, now known as Varrik, is still visited by nomadic Rjurik for trade and its defenses are also well known.

[top]Karena?s Story

Karena was a diplomat and skald who later took on the mantle of her ancestor Aethelwulf. She served in the court of the King of the Hoguns as well as in the musters of her brother, the Jarl of Valkheim. When the Jarl?s party was attacked by winter druids and their followers, Karena rallied the stunned guards, exorted them to victory and personally defeated the lead druid. The Jarl gave her the ancestoral weapon, Frostbiter, and she toured not only her brother?s province, but all of Hogunmark preaching the history of the Rjurik and their long connection with the summer druids of Reynir and Erik. Often times she was called upon to defend herself with Frostbiter against attacks by the winter druids, who were disappointed to find how little effect their spells had on Karena. Just as she rallied the guards attacked by servants of frostfell, so did she rally the nation to Erik and restore ground lost to a generation of evangelism by the winter druids in a time of crisis.

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