On top of the world: the Almeri north country

June 15, 2020 at 9:01 pm

“Nothing burns like the cold.”

― George R.R. Martin

 

Beyond the storms and the endless gray swells of the Middlesea, those who venture north will eventually be greeted by the sheer cliffs and pine-topped ridges of the Einnen coast. It is a harsh and foreboding landscape, but there are those that call it home. With their communities seemingly carved out of the coastal cliff walls, the Einnen are equally at home on land or sea. They range across the rocky shores and narrow inlets of the Einen fjords in their high-prowed ships with skill and daring.

But in the end, these rovers unerring return to their ports. Because of the limited resources of their harsh clime, the Einnen do not build cities, but instead gather in smaller communities united by blood or other loyalties. Usually no more than 1,000 Einnen are attached to any one Cotte, and of that may be ranging at any time. Most decisions are made by the elders within a community, but when they come together to make group decisions ship captains wield outsized authority. These choices are made by the popular vote of all adults, and those who disagree must either accept or leave the Cotte.

The Einnen are a dark people — in contrast to their icy landscape — with thick hair that ranges from middle brown to blue-black. They regard the sexes equally, and have an open concept of bonded relationships that southerners can find disturbing.

Frozen winters and long sea voyages give the average Einna a fair amount of down-time, and craftsmanship is highly-honored among these people. They may not bright jewels or rich fabrics, but the prosperity of an Einnen is shown in the quality of their gear.

One of the most prized crafts of the Einnen is the carving of whalebone or ivory into scrimshaw. From combs and buttons to ship mastheads, these intricate carvings enrich the life of the Einnen. This has seeped into their magical culture. A Wizard with the Master Woodcarver skill and the Augment Carving Spell (below) can create a magical device capable of holding the energy of a spell that can be released on the holder’s command

New IQ Spell: Augment Carving (S): Lets wizard create an enchanted carving. The wizard must know both the Augment Carving spell and the spell to be written on the scroll. ST cost: None. Writing a scroll requires a wizard’s whole effort for as many days as the IQ required for the spell; they must make his DX roll once on each of those days or their knife slips and it ruins the scroll. Therefore, ST cost is inapplicable; it just takes days of work. A scroll cannot be made for any spell that creates a magic item.

The more complex the magic, the more elaborate the carving must be. And since any figure may try and activate a scrimshaw, it costs twice as much to create an enchanted carving.

 

Cost for Storing Spells in Scrimshaw
IQ of SpellCost to Enhance
8$600
9$700
10$800
11$900
12$1100
13$1250
14$1400
15$1600
16$1800
17$2000
18$2200
19$2500
20$3000

Self-powered scrimshaw can be carved with the ST held within the carving, with the typical 10 times the cost and time invested.

Beyond the shoreline of the fjords, the icy tundra and deep forests of the Einnen show little signs of civilization. In the forests the cave bears (ITL, p. 91) and giant wolverines (ITL, p. 92) reign supreme. Einnen hunting parties and foraging groups can sometimes be found, but there are few permanent settlements inland.

Until you reach the slopes of the Krunnarangs that ring the northern wilds of the Almeri shard. There you can find the delving and forges of the Kivilim dwarves. While not numerous, their tunnels range wide through the mountains and the smoke of their forges and tracks of their chain wagons can easily be spotted in this desolate country. Frost giants are known to roam the forests and low hills before the mountains. They are not as huge as some of their kind (ST30-35), but are much more clever (IQ9-13), and are capable of forging their own armor and weapons. These giants are proud and quick to offense, and feel superior to their brutish southern cousins.

The Kivilim are known to have the secret of steel, and their armor and weapons are famed throughout the world. The raw material for these works is usually the sky iron found only in this northern region. High in the northern sky, far from the shimmering band of the Scintillant is the fiery molten shard know as Surtor, who throws burning chunks of itself down on Almeri. The dwarves (and their competitors the frost giants) claim these fragments and forge them into the sharpest and strongest of tools. Steel weapons break as if they were magical and do an additional hit of damage. Steel armor can be made much lighter than iron or bronze, and has -1 less DX penalty when worn. The dwarves are happy to sell their works when the price is right, but divulging the secrets of its making is a mortal offense.

Some of the splinters of Surtor that reach Almeri continue to smolder and can be used as fuel for the great dwarves forges. They also build mighty engines that drive the chain wagons that move about the Kivilim delvings. These are heavy, wheeled carts mounted on long tracks, with chains that pull them along. These are used to haul heavy ore, bulk materials, and even passengers great distances throughout the dwarven lands. The engines that drive them are massive and complex, and it takes both the Chemist and Mechanist talents to manage one. The wagons themselves are quite simple, with only a brake and a clamp to grip the chain, and can be maneuvered without checks by a figure with the Drive (chain wagon) Talent. A Mechanist unfamiliar with the setup could figure out its functions with a successful 3/IQ test.

Each Kivilim hold is controlled by a heredity leader, and they in turn swear fealty to through family ties up to the High King at Keinenhold. Dwarves do not bear children as easily or as often as other races, so these bloodlines are often convoluted connections to cousins, half-siblings, and adopted heirs. The right to rule is passed on to the oldest hero regardless of whether they are male or female.