Satchkep's Vorostokov

My version of the Ravenloft domain of Vorostokov (which was retroactively connected to the Vos after the release of Birthright), set in the Shadow World parallel to The Mistmoor.
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.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Status: NPC


Land of VorostokovLand of Vorostokov

The cursed land of Vorostokov once was a paradise (by Vos standards) of warmth and happy people. However, the people today tell how, thirty years ago, that changed when a blooded warrior named Gregor killed the Boyar (regent) of the realm in a tangled situation of a love thought betrayed. The dying regent called out to the gods and the forces of the Shadow World and wrought a great curse upon Gregor, the realm changed its nature overnight. As the local people understand it, it became a land gripped by the Ice Queen: the summers are now very brief and the mountain passes seldom unthaw enough to allow anyone to travel through them into the realm. The almost eternal winter means that the locals have turned increasingly to the thinning population of wild game for survival and each year life becomes more tenuous that the last. Gregor, assuming the role of Boyar, organizes the hunts but has become increasingly violent and erratic as the years have passed. Perhaps more troubling to some, despite close to three decades passing, Boyar Gregor has not appeared to age a day.
The truth, however, is far more horrific than almost anyone knows (not even Gregor himself). The curse that was laid upon the land and its current regent did more than blanket the land in cold, it actually ripped Vorostokov out of Cerilia and into the Shadow World, creating the region today called the Mistmoor between Rhzlev and Vosgaard proper. Centuries have passed in Cerilia while only decades are ticked off in Vorostokov. It is the Dark Power that increasingly controls the Shadow World that is the true master of Vorostokov and draws out the suffering of the poor people of that land.
Cold damage, exposure, frostbite, hypothermia and starvation all are major concerns of any traveler within the domain. Even small tents and fires are not strong enough to protect travelers fully. Those who have disregarded this often given advise freeze in the colds. The only inhabitants that seem to be able to move in the normal weather with little difficulty are the large populations of wolves that scour the lands. They travel in packs and on occasion a lycanthrope may be with them.

Adventuring in Vorostokov
The realm of Vorostokov is designed to be a place to adventure in more than as a realm that the players deal with on a long-term political basis (a cursed land of eternal winter trapped in the Shadow Realm ruled over by a mad wolf-man is hardly a suitable trade partner or even geopolitical foe).
Adventurers most likely would find themselves stumbling into Vorostokov unwittingly, the move from Cerilia to the Shadow World could occur most anywhere, but is most appropriate while traveling through Vosgaard, especially over high passes during a snowstorm and ideally through the Mistmoor itself. Desperate characters barely escape a horrific blizzard by stumbling into an isolated Vos village, having no idea that they have in fact entered the Shadow World.
Characters may attempt to escape but find the high passes blocked by snow and the vicious wolf packs. Being the first outsiders to visit in years, they immediately attract the attention of all of the powers-that-be. Contact with the Temple of Lirovka and their allies will probably be necessary for PCs to understand their predicaments. Likewise, the Boyar and his men will be interested in the party as possible threats, allies or prey.
There are several adventure opportunities for the party. Every party will inevitably seek out a manner of escape, and adventure in itself. However, there are more possibilities than that: the Temple of Lirovka may attempt to recruit a low-level party to carry a message to their counterparts in Cerilia, mid-level characters may be asked to rescue the Icon of Serebryanoe Blagoslovene, a move that would inevitably raise the enmity of the Boyar. With the Icon, the priests may have access to enough power to reverse the realm?s banishment. High-powered parties may even be asked to assist in destroying the Boyar/Black Wolf.

[top]The Land

The vast domain of Vorostokov is more than three hundred miles north and south and one hundred miles across; slowly, the powers of the Shadow World have stretched the land here, making Vorostokov of today much larger than either its pre-Curse self or the modern Mistmoor that takes its place. Except for the terrifying northern border with the dark forests of Tuar Annwn, impassible peaks from the border of this domain. Rumors tell of high passes that used to lead travelers in and out of Vorostokov, but anyone who has attempted them in the last thirty years has found snow and ice blocking all escape.
The land is locked in a dire, endless winter, and the tiny villages struggle to survive on scant food stores and the bounty of the hunters who roam the icy planes and frozen coniferous forests. Perhaps Vorostokov was once a wild and beautiful land, but today it has a grim, foreboding feel to it. Even the trees seem to contain malice, much less the treacherous mountains or the deadly glaciers that creep further downhill every year. Some say that it is the trees that have driven the hunters to occasional acts of wild barbarism; rumors even hint at cannibalism practiced amongst those who have spent too long under the boughs.
Geographically, the land is a narrow valley in the south, creeping upwards to the high passes of Siberski and Nova. As it travels northwards, the valley widens out into a broad, plain of ice and rock, finally ending at the eaves of the Grovnekevic Forest and the land of Tuar Annwn. The mountains, especially in the south, tend to be cloaked in forest while the lowlands are open, especially as one heads north. The people here tend to fear both the mountains and the forest and hunters that venture into them were traditionally viewed as local heroes. However, of late, this elevated status is declining as more and more young men are returning from the mountains?changed.
Daylight is a precious commodity here. The sun barely peeps over the horizon for about six hours before disappearing for the night. Sunrise and sunset are followed by periods of twilight lasting anywhere from one to two hours. The shadows are long and cold beneath the snow-covered trees.
During the winter months the temperature is from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 20 to 30 degrees below at night. Often there are frequent blizzards that coat the land dropping temperatures to below -50 degrees with wind below 70 miles per hours. This time is called the "Black Ice". Anyone unwise enough to be caught out in one of these blizzards is given up for lost.
Cold damage, exposure, frostbite, hypothermia and starvation all are major concerns of any traveler within the domain. Even small tents and fires are not strong enough to protect travelers fully. Those who have disregarded this oft given advice, freeze in the colds. The only inhabitants that seem to be able to move in the normal weather with little difficulty are the large populations of wolves that scour the lands. They travel in packs and on occasion a lycanthrope may be with them.


Several thousand people live in Vorostokov today; the many empty, haunted villages attest to the precipitous decline since the ascendancy of Boyar Gregor. The people have clustered closer and closer, but are still spread out among more than a dozen small villages in the more fertile, warmer southern provinces. The village of Vorostokov is the largest of these settlements, home to two hundred thirty people, and is the de-facto capital as it is the traditional seat of the Boyar.
Most homes in the villages are low, one-room buildings. The people live in one end, and what little livestock they own (mostly sheep and goats) are confined in the other end. The body heat of the animals helps warm the structure. The roofs are made of sod and the walls of rough-hewn logs. The smoky interiors are often the only places of warmth in the entire land.
Vorostokov is inhabited entirely by the Vos; other humans would be viewed with suspicion and non-humans with hostility. Elves are attacked outright due to the long conflict with Tuar Annwn to the north. The people here are farmers, foresters, and hunters, with few craftsmen and little or no trade. The people get by with a system of barter and exchange. Very little gold exists here beyond the treasuries of the Boyar, and when found, it is viewed more as interesting decoration rather than coinage; after all, gold will not feed or clothe a person. The closest commodity to a currency are warm furs, against which the value of all other objects is measured.
Men tend to do most of the trading and hunting. They usually dress in buckskin and wear thick fur coats. Heavy beards and mustaches are favored by all who can grow them, although they must be carefully tended when out in the cold - otherwise the breath condensation freezes through the facial hair and causes frostbite.
Women are generally found in home, where they tend to household chores, the livestock, occasional crafts, and caring for the children. They wear long, woolen or suede dresses, with several layers of underskirts, and small blankets are worn as shawls when outdoors.
Wood and bone carvings, colorful woven rugs, and music are the primary artistic expressions of the people. The illiteracy rate is almost one hundred percent, but Vorostokovites have a rich oral tradition of song and folklore.
Central to the social life of every village is the sweathouse. Villagers gather here on a regular basis to discuss the events or trade stories and song in thick heat. A wide variety of beliefs and rules for social conduct govern the sweathouses, so that even though it is traditional to enter the sweathouse naked, men and woman use the sweathouses simultaneously. Important men, especially lineage heads, will construct sweathouses and compete for the patronage of others, creating the foundation of the elaborate system of alliances that governs Vorostokovite life.
Religion in Vorostokov has not died yet. Everyone here makes offerings to placate the Lady of Winter, though Kriesha has no outward worshipers as the Boyar has murdered her priestesses and it is hate and fear, not reverence that motivates the sacrifices. The worship of Belinik is more common, though the Boyar?s hatred of the gods prevents it from being expressed openly or via priests; yet, the Boyar himself promotes an ideology of rage and cruelty amongst the Boyarsky that draws heavily from the old worship of Belinik. The acts of cruelty of the Boyarsky are often ritualistic and related to the rites once performed by the Order of Might.
The one faith that does survive in Vorostokov is the ancient reverence for Lirovka, the god of mystery and the moon. The temple here is closely related to that practiced by the Tor of Lirorn in Hjorig and Ruornil?s Silver Guard in Grevesmühl. Some priests of Lirovka survive here, though the beautiful wooden temples on the edges of the villages lie empty and derelict. The people still look to the moon for protection and those hunters not yet drawn into the Boyarsky worship the god of hidden glades and secrets over the one of rage and hate.

[top]Domain Holding Table

Domain Table: Vorostokov (Shadow World)
Kargo (0/7)Boy (0)Mme (2)
Kirinova (1/4)Boy (1)Ter (0)Otw (0)Swh (4)
Nordvik (0/5)Boy (0)Swh (3)
Novayalenk (0/7)Boy (0)Mme (7)
Oneka (0/5)Boy (0)Swh (2)
Siberski (0/7)Boy (0)Mme (3)
Torgov (0/5)Boy (0)Swh (4)
Voronina (1/4)Boy (1)Ter (0)Otw (0)Swh (5)
Vorosotokov (1/4)Boy (1)Ter (1)Otw (1)Mme (4)
Abbreviations: Boy= The Boyarsky; Swh=The Sister Witches; Mme=Marik the Mouse Eater; Ter=Terensky; Otw=Oleg the woodcutter.


The realm of Vorostokov has largely forgotten the lands and people outside its own borders and visitors from the outside would create a great stir. It is a land of harsh winters that bring death to the unwary through blizzard, freezing fog and avalanche, and cool summers that fade all too quickly. The realm?s temples, once bastions of hope have crumbled into ruins under the uncaring rulership of the current king; the only faith that survives within the land is that of Lirovka run by Terenshy Mackelfis. The land?s mercantile trade has dwindled to near nothing over the past few years as well with the few guild holdings remaining. Magic and mystery run deep within the hills and valleys of the land. It is said that elemental forces and dark spirits roam the land here in the bodies and minds of its inhabitants; strangers are unwelcome in these hills where isolated families raise their kin and packs of zegracki roam.
Provinces of VorostokovProvinces of Vorostokov


At one time, each village was more or less independent, with the boyar of Vorostokov merely serving as an organizer of militias in times of crisis and a tax collector. Since the eternal winter has seized Vorostokov and the mountain passes have closed, Gregor Zolnik, the mightiest hunter of the village of Vorostokov has appointed himself boyar. By recruiting some of the most vicious men (Boyarsky) in the domain to enforce his rule, he has extended a brutal reign of terror. Some communities are trying to resist Gregor's iron fist, but their hunters are often murdered as a result.
Gregor?s law is collectively governed by the Boyarsky; a group of men paying allegiance to the Boyar himself. The law in Vorostokov is harsh and any who oppose it simply vanish, or their remains are found having been ravaged by wild beasts. As harsh as the rule of the Boyarsky is however, there is little else to appeal to the youth of the region, many of whom desire to one day take up the reins of the older law holders. The Boyarsky is tied closely into the cult of the hunter and the Belinik-inspired ideology of rage promoted by the Boyar.


The faithful here are scattered to the far reaches of the domain. There is one open temple to Lirovka (Vorynn) in the realm. It is located within the city of Vorostokov and is led by Brother Terensky (MV; P1; Vo, minor, 16;LG), a middle aged man who has seen the glories of the past and dreams of them still. His temple is taxed heavily by the Boyar and its few staff often bullied by the Boyar?s men, the congregation seldom openly visits and to the casual observer the people seem to have lost hope of bettering their lives and the temple seems unable to restore their vitality. The Boyar, it seems, has grown to hate all religion since the curse came into effect and looks forward to the day when Terensky?s blood will flow through his fingers; Terensky and the temple?s formal staff never leave the village out of fear of the hunters.
However, Terensky operates several underground shrines however where he or his secret servants preach to his isolated worshipers though many of those who come do so merely to briefly lift the gloom from their lives by listening to one of the few people who yet dares to speak out against the king and of better times. Terensky, along with his ally, the wizard Marik the Mouse Eater, are the only individuals in the realm who truly understand what has happened to their land. They see themselves as bastions of Lirovka?s light in the Shadow World and hunger to contact their former leader, the Tor of Lirorn in Hjorig or the Temple of Rilni itself, for aid in returning their land to Cerilia.


While no one person operates all of the local trade through out the region, the Wood Cutter, Oleg seems to have the respect of many in the area and his word in merchant affairs is often heeded. Oleg (MV;F1;Br, minor, 23; NG).


The magical forces are divided between the Sister's of the Boyar and Marik the Mouse Eater. The sister witches, Natalya (FV; M6; Az, major, 32; LE) and Elena Zolnik (FV; M6; Az, major, 34; LE) live in a small house in which they leave only rarely. They despise their brother Gregor, but are terrified to make any move against him openly. They have become more and more twisted in their years as they have slowly turned into twisted crones and are now filled with nothing but hatred, malice and spite viewing all others as tools to use, or enemies to dispose of.
Marik the Mouse Eater (MKh; M2; Ma, tainted, 8) lives alone and most believe this frail man of Khinasi decent to be addle brained. He is fond of proclaiming himself, "I is Marik, hedge wizard, say you have hedges..." As a result of his strange comments and bedraggled appearance most people discount the man although none know if he is really as dim witted as he appears or simply playing the fool to allay Gregor?s suspicion. Regardless, over the course of the years Marik has avoided death at the hands of the notoriously wizard-hating Vos and claimed half of the sources within the land, Marik has often supported the battered temple of Lirovka in Vorostokov with regency, spells, and even small amounts of gold ? though the church would never say where it got the money from lest Gregor remove their last source of real funds. In truth, Marik moves between sanity and lucidity; it was he who discovered the true nature of the realm and his mind has been warped by expeditions into the rest of the Shadow World seeking a manner to free his home.

[top]Domain Assets

Regency Generated/Accumulated: 2/34 RP.
(Gregor Zolnik collects regency from all of the provinces and also collects all of the regency from the Boyarsky).
Treasury: 12 GB.
Gregor mainly has money left over from when the lands were warm and rich. Now he has very little use for his gold for his pleasures lie in the thrill of the hunt and not in fineries and other things brought by gold, as such he and collects little taxes from most of his remaining people ? although in this wretched land few people remain and they have little of value left to be taxed.
The Boyarsky and their followers comprise of two units of irregulars in total, which serve at no cost to the state. In addition Gregor can summon two units of wolves to fight in times of crisis as well as one unit of lycanthopes (Krov Volka werewolves, see below).


The Boyar, Gregor Zolnik (MV; F8; Az, major, 37; CE) is a very charismatic man who it appears is not affected by the passage of time. Gregor rules his people with an façade of boasting and broad confidence that most believe is the true nature of the man. What is little known amongst the people is that long ago he was afflicted with a curse that has left him with the disease of lycanthropy. Since that day Gregor has come to terms with his warped nature and has determined that all who follow him will do so as a lycanthrope as well. He has gained the ability to control other werewolf lycanthropes as well as those he or his followers personally infect. His curse it seems has also given him an ability to resist the effects of age. To what details no one knows.


Gregor trusts few people - even amongst his lycanthropes he constantly watches for treachery. Currently he mainly uses his brother Alexei Zolnik (MV; F5:Az, major, 32; CE) or acts through Dmitri Dneprov (MV;F6; non blooded; CE) when he cannot personally take charge of a matter.

[top]Important NPC's

The youngest brother of Gregor, is Mikhail Zolnik. He has also been effected with the curse of the Loup du Noir, lycanthropy. Due to his shared bloodline of his brother he appears to be able to resist the controlling effects of the other werewolves in the domain. As of yet Mikhail does not yet know he has been affected. If he also has the ability to resist the evil temperament as his curse remains to be seen. (MV; R6; Az; major, 32; CG)

[top]Allies & Enemies

Nations seem unable, or unwilling, to breach the colds and the high passes of the mountains. Gregor in turn has seemingly no interest in lands outside the borders of Vorostokov. As a result Vorostokov has neither allies nor enemies.

[top]Rumors, Plots and Secrets

The Black Wolf: People speak in fear of the terrible Black Wolf that stalks the forests at the head of a great pack of his kind. Some say that the beast serves the Boyar, others say that the two compete to be the cruelest, most effective hunter in the land. The creature may be a demon come to plague Vorostokov, an awnshegh, simple a mighty but conventional wolf, or simply a legend.
The Stolen Icon: Serebryanoe Blagoslovene, the Icon of the Silver Blessing (see below) went missing close to thirty years ago and the Temple of Lirovka has suffered considerably ever since. Recently rumors as to its whereabouts have begun to circulate; some say that it is held by the elves of Tuar Annwn, others say it is in the treasury of the Boyar but the most convincing (especially to the Temple) is the growing suspicion that it was withdrawn by Lirovka himself as punishment for an unknown sin and that it rests safely today in a high cave in Kargo, awaiting a hero of sufficient courage and skill to rescue it. The Temple is actively seeking such a hero.
Horror in the North: A small band of starved vampires stalk the forests of northwestern Vorostokov, in the shadows of Tuar Annwn. With the decline of the local human population, they are slowly slipping away and howl discordantly at night in their pain. The only living humans to remain in the area are Old Nicolai and his plethora of wives. Whenever a girl is born to the clan, she is put into service in the household and eventually becomes one of her father?s wives. When a boy is born, he is left out in the forest as a sacrifice to the forest stalkers.
Heroes of Novayalenk: Years ago, a band of heroes managed to cross the Nova pass to challenge Gregor. All were killed save a single warrior who led the entire village of Novayalend into the southernmost hills, barely escaping the wrath of the Boyarsky. No trace of them has emerged since, though small warbands have recently begun to harry Gregor?s forces in Novalayenk.

[top]Other Vorostokov Information

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