There are not many Half-Nuklanders in the Northlands, and the few that there are tend to be in the northernmost lands such as Estenfird. Your father had a grand adventure in his youth that took him and his brothers far up the Ice River north of Nieuburg. While traveling in the frozen reaches of Nukland, giants attacked them and your father was the only survivor. Left for dead, he was found by a tribe of Nuklanders and nursed back to health. One of that tribe, Jasil, was your mother, and the two fell in love during your father's convalesces and the long winter that followed. The next spring your parents tracked down the giants and brought terrible vengeance upon them.
Leaving her people behind, your mother returned to Halfstead and became one of Jarl Olaf Henrickson's best woodsmen, even going so far as to accompany him on several forays into Seagesterland. At her feet you learned of woodlore, and the ways of her people, excelling at the former but often having trouble with the latter. Still, you are one of the best scouts of your generation and should one day take your mother's place as your jarl's premier woodsman.
Sadly, marriages between Nuklanders and Northlanders do not always go well. The differences between the cultures, not to mention the races, are often too vast for both parties to handle. His wife often eclipsed your father, and he became jealous of the time she spent off in the woods or on the jarl's journeys. He turned to drink, and his already mayfly human life ended early.
Tofa Gormdottir: Your mother's people would stone her as a witch, but this is not Nukland, and so these aberrations must be accepted.
Agnar Gormson : A half-giant! In the jarl's household nonetheless! What is this world coming to?
Kraki Hallason: You played together as kids, but he has grown into too traditional of a Northlander to ever be a suitable mate. Still, you are good friends to this day.
Ingvar Thordson: You have not had much use for your father's gods, and instead call on the spirits of the land as your mother and her people do.
Sigvid Arison: A constant irritation and known gossip, being saddled with him is an affront to decency.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson : A good man, a ring giver as his people call him, brave and honorable, but also somewhat reckless when away from home.
Jasil the Nuklander: Your mother has always been a great part of your life and you have followed in her footsteps.
Halla Gyrdsdottir: Proof that women can be warriors amongst the Northlanders, and good ones at that.
Berg Geirson: Can this man complain any more than he already does?
One-Eyed Sven: When you were little he was like a kind uncle, if only he would stop and act like a companion and borher in arms.
Ljot the Elder: Dour, stern, and bitter.
Ljot the Younger: This untested youth is of more danger to his fellows than the enemy.
Hauk Arinbjronson: A failed bearsarker, but just as crazy, and deadly.
Thord Cnutson: Even more annoying than his son.
Skuld the Slave: This girl has strange eyes, she is more than she seems.
Hild the Bold: I may leave the Jarl's service and join her crew, if not for her witchy family.
Agnar Gormson Male Giant-Blooded Barbarian 1
You were found alone and naked on the Moors by your adopted father, a hirdman of some standing in Halfstead. As a babe you were large, but not terribly well developed mentally, however Gorm took you in and raised you as his own. To the surprise of Gorm and his wife (not to mention their only other child, Tofa), you grew at a prodigious rate, at least physically. In three years you had gone from a mewling toddler to the size of boy of ten years, though at this point you had only learned a few words. By the time Tofa was thirteen, her brother was larger than most men, but had the intelligence and personality of a ten year old.
Your strength and endurance quickly became legendary, and Gorm put his son to work on the farm. At first you were capable of only the simplest tasks, but after a few years you could be trusted to perform more complex variations of lift that or carry this. You have become very popular with those needing to build new structures, as you can carry a fifteen foot beam all on your own, and hold it in place while the pegs and lashings are applied.
To all and sundry it has been assumed that you have giant blood, and that most likely you are the product of a giant and a Northlander captive. How you got lost is unknown, but all are impressed by your physical might, attracted to your open and friendly ways, but fearful of your terrible rages. Often you can’t control the anger that flows in your veins, likely a result of your giant heritage. The best thing is to avoid confrontation, something fairly easy to do when you are taller and broader than any other man in Halfstead. Last year you tried to join a bearsarker cult, hoping that by channeling your rage towards a holy purpose you might be able to control it. Sadly, they would not take you because you are suspected of having giant blood, Instead you have entered the jarl's service as one of his warriors. Fighting is not something you enjoy, but it is fun to lift bulls for the jarl's guests.
Tofa Gormdottir: Your sweet 'little' sister, you are as protective of her as she is of you, only now you are adults and it is she that needs to be defended from those who would harm her. Her gift is strange and scary, but it is something you have come to accept.
Kraki Hallason: A boon companion and good man, if only you could learn to fight with skill like him, instead of brute force as you are inclined to.
Ingvar Thordson: He talks to gods! That must be such a strange thing to do. You asked him to explain about the bersarkers and how they worship Odin, but you just didn’t understand.
Boll Ulfdottir: She is a bitter face.
Sigvid Arison: He knows secrets, and will tell them. Did you know there is a blue skinned dwarf who lives in the jarl's cellars? For thirty pieces of hacksilver Sigvid will show him to you.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson: He is the master of all, obey his words and deeds.
Jasil the Nuklander: She is scary, like her daughter.
Halla Gyrdsdottir: I once stole a spear from her, she was kind in punishing me herself and not telling mom and dad.
Berg Geirson: Berg always say we will all die, but he is never right.
One-Eyed Sven: Always has sweets and likes to share.
Ljot the Elder: Another bitter face, and never shares his mead.
Ljot the Younger: He is even clumsier than me!
Hauk Arinbjronson: Scary, and not in the good way.
Thord Cnutson: He won’t let me into his godi house, and that is not nice.
Skuld the Slave: Why do people fear a tiny little girl?
Hild the Bold: Aunt Hild paid me a whole pig to carry some cargo off her ship. Nice lady.
Ingvar Thordson Male Northlander (human) Godi (cleric) 1
Like many Godi, you inherited your occupation and position from your father, the chief Godi in Halfstead. You grew up in the small cottage that sits behind the shrine, and started helping with services as soon as you were able. When not busy at the shrine, you tended the family's farm alongside your seven older siblings (and later the six younger). When the jarl went on a journey, your father went along, and your oldest brother took over the shrine. It was a good life, and the gods repeatedly blessed you father with fortune and glory.
When you came of age, you naturally became a Godi of Thor, but as your brother inherited the shrine and adjacent farmland, you were left with nothing but a name and the promise of a place to sleep. Jarl Olaf doesn't need another Godi, but has agreed to take you into his service as a warrior. How better to serve your patron deity than through glorious battle?
In the Northlands, clerics are called Godi and normally don’t dedicate themselves to one patron deity, but lead prayers and worship for the entire pantheon. You have given yourself to Thor, but like all Godi can perform rituals to all the gods of the Pantheon. Being a Godi is a part-time job, and there is no conflict with living a warrior's life at the same time. However, you are still expected to uphold the tenets of the Northlander gods (i.e. honesty, honor, and courage), as well as perform religious services as needed.
Tofa Gormdottir: Your father always said the cunning women were our main competition, but Tofa is far too pretty to be a rival. Perhaps if I can make a name for myself I can offer her father some cattle for her hand, and then the cunning blood will be in my family.
Agnar Gormson: I am not sure we are supposed to accept giant blooded into our communities, but he does seem all right, at least for now.
Kraki Hallason: This is the sort of man that makes Thor proud, tall, strong, and brave, with an open and honest face. Like the jarl, Kraki would be a good man to serve one day, and no doubt will in time become a ring-giver himself.
Boll Ulfdottir: I have never seen her at the shrine, or taking part in any of the festivals. This cannot be a good sign.
Sigvid Arison: Loki probably fathered this one.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson: A great leader, a ring-giver, filled with mind's worth and firm in the shieldwall. Also, he respects the gods.
Jasil the Nuklander: A strange foreigner with strange gods, and not even human!
Halla Gyrdsdottir: Kraki's mom gets so angry when he and I make trouble, thankfully we are grown men now and never make trouble.
Berg Geirson: The gods are kind, but he still thinks they have picked him out for special cruelties.
One-Eyed Sven: Always a kind word from him, but I am a godi of Thor now, not a simpering babe and expect to be treated as such.
Ljot the Elder: He needs to hear a sermon about the kindness of community.
Ljot the Younger: Once when we were kids, Kraki and I threw Ljot the Younger into a pile of manure. Didn’t fertilize his brains any, did it?
Hauk Arinbjronson: I have some doubts about a man who they say failed at joining Odin's sacred bearsarkers.
Thord Cnutson: I will make my father, and his patron god, proud.
Skuld the Slave: Just as a precaution, we should burn this one.
Hild the Bold: Another woman who prefers the path of the sword over the butter churn, not a good thing.
You grew up on a wealthy farm, your father one of Jarl Olaf's hirdsmen, a rich farmer who can report for war with a full array of weapons and followers of his own. As a child you spent most of your time romping through the woods or across the fields, your adopted brother close at your heels. Many a night he carried your small exhausted body back to the farmstead, and some of your fondest memories are of sleeping safe and secure in his arms. Some of your worse memories are of defending him against bullies who preyed on his childlike demeanor, and of keeping him from hurting them (at least too much) when he became filled with rage.
Your mother's line is known to produce cunning women, women with the gift of magic. Most of them become midwives and other healers, though some have taken to traveling with bands of warriors and having wild adventures. You mother did not have the gift, and so at the age of thirteen you left your farm and went to live with your aunt, a cunning woman, in her cottage not far from Halfstead. You learned a lot about magic and healing, and were close enough to visit with your parents and your brother, Angar. It was a comfortable life, but not what you wanted. Although your aunt is a kind woman and well respected in the community (though a bit feared for her otherworldly powers), you wanted to be more like your other aunt Hild, a famed warrior-woman who uses her magics to aid a band of wandering warriors in their adventures.
Oh the stories Hild would tell when she came home to visit! Far off lands, battles against giants and other monsters, hidden treasures in sunken ruins, not to mention the tales of menfolk she whispered to your mother late at night when the kids were supposed to be asleep. When you came of age, you entered the jarl's service; he is always wiling to give someone a chance (especially someone with bizarre powers). Your mother disapproves of your choice, but is happy that you can remain near Angar and keep him out of trouble. You are certain that aunt Hild would be proud, but she has been missing for the past three years.
Agnar Gormson: Oh, poor overgrown child Agnar, let your sister guide you, I am a cunning woman after all.
Kraki Hallason: You were out gathering herbs for your magic when you saw him at the hot springs where the people of Halfstead go to bathe. Maybe you were gathering herbs there because you knew he would be at the springs. Anyway, that's one fluster inducing man.
Ingvar Thordson: Your aunts always warned you about the Godi, but this one seems less interested in casting dispersions on your abilities, and more interested in something else.
Boll Ulfdottir: How can so one so pretty and skilled be so bitter?
Sigvid Arison: Prattle on, prattle on, no one of worth is listening.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson: He let your brother live, accepts cunning women as part of his house, and is abrave, honorable, and just man.
Jasil the Nuklander: Strange, but not as bitter as her daughter.
Halla Gyrdsdottir: A fine warrior who produced a very fine son.
Berg Geirson: How can I convince him that there is hope?
One-Eyed Sven: He has been like an uncle to you, and you always feel safer when he is around.
Ljot the Elder: Bitter, angry, and odd.
Ljot the Younger: Like your companions a young man looking to make his way in the world.
Hauk Arinbjronson: This man is not right in the head.
Thord Cnutson: He always speaks out against cunning women, what is his problem?
Skuld the Slave: This one is definitely touched with power, but doomed by the station of her birth.
Hild the Bold: Aunt Hild, what wild life you live.
Kraki Hallason Male Northlander (human) Fighter 1
Your mother was a rarity in the Northlands, a woman who not only became a warrior, but rose to the honored position of huscarl. Of your father, there is not much known, and your mother does not speak of him other than to say he died before you were born. You grew up in the jarl's hall, a part of the household since your earliest memories. Like your mother, you showed an early interest in all things martial, and have grown to be a fine example of Northlander warriorhood.
One thing has always troubled you, and that is although your mother has dark hair and eyes, you are fair-haired and have blue eyes. As a child you assumed this came from you deceased father, such coloration is more common in the Northlands than your mother's darker colors. However, in facial feature, though definitely not in build, you bear a slight resemblance to Jarl Olaf's eldest daughter, Inga. No one has ever commented on this, but there is often tension between the jarl's wife and your mother, especially when the jarl takes your mother with him on one of his journeys.
Tofa Gormdottir: So pretty, too bad she is a cunning woman and thus poison to any man who has her.
Agnar Gormson: Well, having a stupid brute can be useful, and at least he is friendly.
Ingvar Thordson: Always a good friend and companion, and touched by the gods as well.
Boll Ulfdottir: When you were children you were friends but she has become distant of late. Her skill and woodslore is impressive, and she should be respected for that, if nothing else.
Sigvid Arison: A skald should sing men into battle, not tell lies behind other's backs.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson: The best of men, a great leader, ring-giver, and warrior.
Jasil the Nuklander: Too foreign to talk to, and much more like a creature of the wild than anything else.
Halla Gyrdsdottir: I wish I could be half the warrior my mother is.
Berg Geirson: Lighten up, you are ruining the morale of everybody for no purpose.
One-Eyed Sven: The second best tutor in the arts of a warrior than any could have, and a fine fellow to have in the shield wall.
Ljot the Elder: Best axe-thrower I ever met.
Ljot the Younger: This callow youth needs more time practicing before he is ready for battle.
Hauk Arinbjronson: A warrior should keep his wits about him at all times, not like this one.
Thord Cnutson: You spent half your youth at his house with his younger son Ingvar, and Thord has been like the father you never had.
Skuld the Slave: Who?
Hild the Bold: She has forsaken the first duty of a warrior, to defend hearth and home, to become a noted viking and pillager.
Sigvid Arison Male Northlander (human) Skald (bard) 1
Oh the tales to tell! From your first memory your head has been full of tales, legends, and gossip. You came by it naturally, your father is the jarl's herald and chief skald, and your mother is the head cook (and lead gossip of the hall, why, even of all of Halfstead). As a child of the household, you were always underfoot and often overlooked. As a result you have heard things you were not supposed to, some of which you told to your mother for further dissemination, others you kept to yourself.
You know that Asgeir the stable master skims off some of the cream from the jarl's cows and eats it himself. Gorm, the hirdsman didn't find his giant blooded adopted son, he bought him from a giantess for a kiss and three goats. Frothi the thatcher is in love with Osk the miller's daughter, but is three times her age and so won’t do anything about it. When he was nine, Ingvar stole some butter from the jarl's pantry while on a visit with his father. There is a blue skinned dwarf who lives in a secret room in the cellar. Tofa's aunt Hild was seen with her ship, Dragon Eyes, off the coast of Monrovia last spring. Sibbe the Unkempt, a wild witch woman, haunts the forest west of Halfstead. Kraki Hallason is the jarl's bastard child, as is Skuld the slave girl. There is an outlaw who lives in the woods behind the hall, his lover is a washerwoman named Thora, and she brings him meat and mead from the jarl's table. Ulf, father of Boll, didn’t drink himself to death, his Nuklander wife poisoned him out of despair and shame at what he had become.
You also know tales of heroics and of the gods. The usual stuff any skald knows, but the gossip is what interests you the most, that and finding your own tales to tell. You can sing, play the harp, and roar men into battle, like any good skald, but these small stories of daily life, these are the songs you wish to sing.
Tofa Gormdottir: Wonder what this pretty one has been doing, spying on a certain blond warrior?
Agnar Gormson: How will his story play out, giant blood tells and he becomes a tragic villain, or a hero who overcomes his heritage?
Kraki Hallason: Picture a hero from an ancient tale, now look at Kraki, yep, same person.
Ingvar Thordson: Godi rises from obscurity to greatness? Or falls from grace?
Boll Ulfdottir: Her mother's tales are many, and if the daughter is the same her tales will be, interesting.
People of the Jarl's Hall
Jarl Olaf Henrikson: Tales have already been sung about this great man, but none about his, shall we say indelicacies with the ladies?
Jasil the Nuklander: A great warrior and hunter, but she won’t share her people's tales with me. I wonder why?
Halla Gyrdsdottir: Kraki's mother is as accomplished as the Jarl, and just as sneaky in the dark.
Berg Geirson: Just shut up already.
One-Eyed Sven: He lost his eye to a Southlander in a drunken street fight in Halfstead.
Ljot the Elder: He once kept three thralls as his personal harem, until they all died of the pox three years ago.
Ljot the Younger: Picture a fool from an ancient tale, now look at Ljot the Younger. Yep. Same person.
Hauk Arinbjronson: His tale will end badly.
Thord Cnutson: Despite his great protestations to virtue and honor, he once bedded Hild the Bold while on a mission for the Jarl.
Skuld the Slave: That one, he, he, she will have some degree of power and madness one day. How much for the Jarl's bastard daughter, and how to get the hacksilver?
Hild the Bold: Naughty Hild, what have you been doing?
I am a thirty-seven year old writer, educator, archaeologist, geographer, and stay at home dad. My publications include:
"A Bit of History", A Monthly Column of History and Roleplaying on rpg.net
The Adventures "The Ransom" and "The Promise" in Veni, Vidi, Vici from Alephtar Games
The Adventure "The King, the Maiden, and the Mad Man of Las Islas de los Muertos" in The River Terror and Other Adventures from Chaosium
The articles "Shovel Bums", "Looting Your Lifepod's Locker", "Roma Universalis","Voices in My Head", "Night of the Megacarp", "Martian Tech", and "Wreck of the Savoy", "Moondragons and Stranger Things", and 'Sky Galleys" in Pyramid Magazine
"Things That Go Bump on the Spaceship" in dInfinity #3, and "62 Interplanetary Feats" in dInfiinty #4.
"NS-1 Vengeance of the Long Serpent", "NS-2 Beyond the Wailing Mountains", "NS-3 The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist", and "ONS-2 Death in the Painted Canyons" from Frog God Games.
My editing work: Nameless Streets and Aegis from Alephtar Games, Trin'Dar from Panthos Entertainment.
Currently I am not accepting projects. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.