Shadow Over Volfsten

A Brief History of Volfsten
Where does your character fit into all of this?

This post contains vital information regarding some of the history of Volfsten and the context in which this campaign will take place.

VOLFSTENGRAD
Volfstengrad is the capital city of Volfsten. Perched atop wave-battered cliffs that overlook the Norwoth Sea, Volfstengrad is a frost-bitten city wracked by storms. Despite the poor weather of the area, Volfstengrad has stood for centuries as a hub for trade. It attracts peoples of all cultures and races, making it the largest, most diverse city in the North.

ANCIENT HISTORY
Volfstengrad is a city steeped in history – starting with when the city was built thousands of years ago by the dwarves. At that time, it was called Fort Balderk. During a short ice-age, the water levels of the Norwoth Sea rose, forcing the dwarves to migrate west, where they eventually settled in the Giant’s Club Mountains.

Once the water levels receded, a warlord and his clan settled the then-abandoned dwarven city, renaming it Vermici (after his family’s name). The Vermici family began a campaign to conquer the baronies of Volfsten, and sparked what would be one of the bloodiest civil wars in all of history. The Blood Wars, as they were later called, resulted in the innumerable deaths.

The legendary hero, Kain Volfyr united the clans of Volfsten and resisted the Vermici family. Kain slew the warlord, thus claiming the capital city. The city was later renamed in his honor, and a bronze statue of Kain Volfyr remains in the plaza of Volfstengrad to this day.
The Volfyr family has ruled Volfsten for nearly two hundred years now. Kain’s descendant, Darius, is the current King of Volfsten.

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On Races:
The Peoples of Baltaria

What races can be found where? – That is the question, and I’m sure I’ll be getting that question a lot. So, in order to resolve some of the confusion, here’s a short guide on the races found in Baltaria. This guide will also cover what subraces populate the lands of Baltaria (and are available for play!)

HUMANS
Humans are mostly concentrated in the large cities: Volfstengrad, Bradvyr’s Gate, and Port Solace. They are also common in some of the smaller settlements: Vigil’s Watch, Faust, Asvallhem, Grayrock, Vistra, and Sur.

Although humans have no subraces, choosing a regional feat will help you to define your character a little more. See the previous Adventure Log post for information regarding regional feats.

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DWARVES
Ah, yes – the robust and hardy dwarf! Baltarian dwarves are split into two subraces: the hill dwarves and the mountain dwarves.

The hill dwarf (the “generic” dwarf) is the more common of the two, and they can be found residing in the Giant’s Club Mountains (the more western of the two mountain ranges Volfsten). Their capital is Khordaldrum, home of the Khordal Archives, the greatest collections of literature and information in the North. The hill dwarves tend toward the paths of cleric and paladin. Those that spend considerable time in the Khordal Archives can even become wizards. The hill dwarves have a strong sense of patriotism.

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A close cousin to the hill dwarves, the mountain dwarves claim to be the “first dwarf race” and believe that “all other dwarves are descended from them”. The mountain dwarves make their home in the base of Mount Juun (an active volcano), in the ancient dwarven city of Holderhek. These dwarves are very militant – they have to be in order to keep invaders at bay. Mount Juun has been the sight of many battles throughout history, and the dwarves passionately defend their ancient homeland.

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Duergar (gray dwarves) are not playable, as they are evil.
Deep dwarves are not playable, as they are highly sensitive to sunlight.

ELVES
Elves inhabit the more secluded regions of the continent, as well as some of its largest cities. There six (yes, six) different subraces of elves that inhabit Baltaria: high elves (the most common variety), aquatic elves, drow (dark elves), gray elves, wild elves, and wood elves.

The high elves, the most common variety of elf, make their home in the Mythweald, (the grand forests of south-central Rollowynn, north of Fenmouth). High elves also inhabit the large cities, where they tend to favor the rogue class.

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Amongst the twisted trees of the Great Western Wood reside the wood elves (also called sylvan elves). These elves live deep in the forest in treetop villages. Whereas high elves favor the wizard class, the wood elves prefer the path of the ranger.

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Further east, in the tree-city of Sharyynd, reside the immortal gray elves. Here, they perfect the art of magic through continuous study and meditation. They allow entry only to few outsiders, but the idyllic city of Sharyynd is the perfect place for one to study magic. The enchanted Candlewood that surrounds the city is filled with powerful spirits. The gray elves favor the wizard and sorcerer classes.

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A tribe of aquatic elves lives in a small and secluded region on the south-western shores of Rollowynn. They live in dwellings carved out of the cliffsides that overlook the ocean. Aquatic elves have “pale, greenish silver skin” wish small scales and “emerald green hair”. Their “ears are pointed” (and sometimes serrated), and their “finders and toes are partially webbed”. These elves revere the power of nature, favoring the druid class. Those that abandon this lifestyle typically become pirates or vagrants.

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Dark elves, sometimes called drow, make their homes in subterranean cities far beneath the surface of the earth. While most drow are considered evil, depraved beings, some leave their corrupt kin behind and venture to the surface. There, they are hated by most other races. They are only accepted (and I use the term accepted loosely) in large cities, where they can easily blend into the population. The drow favor the rogue, ranger, wizard, and cleric classes.

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Wild elves are rarer than other elves, but can be found in small encampments, particularly Sur, where they are ruthless and barbaric. They prefer the sorcerer class to wizard, and are also sometimes rangers, rogues, or barbarians.

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GNOMES
Gnomes are somewhat rarer in Baltaria. Their home is the small, peaceful village of Weeping (imagine the Shire from Lord of the RIngs), which rests among a grove of willow trees. Here, rock gnomes live in harmony. Some, however, become overwhelmed with a desire to travel. Bards are very common among these gnomes. In larger cities, gnomes are alchemists, wizards, and tinkerers.

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Other gnome sub-races are not playable, as they are incredibly rare in Baltaria. The Svirfneblin are almost all but extinct, and Forest Gnomes are a rare sighting.

HALF-ELVES
Half-elves are common in larger cities and villages near forests. Asvallhem, in particular, has an unusually large half-elf population.

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HALF-DWARVES
Outcasts from dwarven society, half-dwarves seek out human civilizations for acceptance. Others, still, prefer to journey on their own. Half-dwarves favor classes such as ranger and fighter.

If you wish to play as a Half-Dwarf, just send me a message for statistical information.

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HALF-ORCS
Half-Orcs are refugees from the mountainous regions of Keld. They were driven out, however, by the goliaths (also a playable race) several decades ago. Now, they make their homes in small encampments in Rollowynn or in the mountains of Volfsten. The barbarians at the Sur encampment are mostly half-orcs. Some are welcomed in cities, where they are commonly thugs or brigands.

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HALFLINGS
Lightfoot halflings (the “generic” variety) live in Heron, a halfling colony, and Fenmouth is the lightfoot home-town.

The tallfellow halflings, the taller, fairer variation of the lightfoot halfling, are more common in cities than in halfling encampments. Here, they run gangs or trade syndicates.

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Deep halflings are not indigenous to Baltaria.

GOLIATH
Goliaths tower over humans at 7-8 feet tall. They routed the half-orcs from their mountain home in Keld and renamed it Gae-Al, after their deity of the sun and sky. Goliaths favor classes such as barbarian, fighter, ranger, and druid.

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Regional Benefits

At 1st level, each character gains a bonus regional feat. Regional benefits are small bonuses that come from your character’s background. For example, the people of Volfsten live in a harsh, cold environment. As a result, they have built up a natural resistance to the cold. Choose ONE of the following regional feats during character creation. It cannot be changed later.

Note that you must meet the prerequisite for each feat. If multiple feats apply to your character, you may still only choose one.

VOLFSTENER
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in the nation of Volfsten.
Description: Having been raised in the arctic region of Volfsten, you have built up an immunity to the cold.
Benefit: +2 regional bonus on Survival checks made to endure cold conditions. In addition, you have resist cold 2.

ROLLOWAN
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in the nation of Rollowynn.
Description: The city-states of Rollowynn are well-known for their ability to keep peace amongst themselves. As a result, you have developed a more diplomatic mindset. In addition, you have had great exposure to the diverse cultures of Rollowynn, making you a more worldly person.
Benefit: +2 regional bonus on Diplomacy and Knowledge (geography) checks.

KELDORAN
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in the nation of Keld.
Description: The desolate wasteland of Keld has hardened your body, increasing your stamina and vitality.
Benefit: +1 regional bonus on Fortitude saving throws.

TORULDAN
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in the nation of Toruld.
Description: The lands of Toruld are plagued with brigands, thieves, and the like. As a result, you have become more cautious… but also just as sly.
Benefit: +2 regional bonus on Bluff and Sense Motive checks.

HOLDERHAN
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in the nation of Holderhek.
Description: The lands of Holderhek are filled with fire and ash, making it near-unbearable to live there. You however, have managed to build up a resistance to the heat.
Benefit: +2 regional bonus on Survival checks made to endure extreme heat. In addition, you have resist fire 2.

EASTERNER
Prerequisite: Must have been born and/or raised in or near the Eastern Kingdoms.
Description: The people of the Eastern Kingdoms bring with them not only rare and interesting goods, but also their knack for trading and bartering. You have picked up some of their skills during your lifetime.
Benefit: +2 regional bonus on Appraise checks and Diplomacy checks made to barter. In addition, you gain an additional 10 gold when buying starting equipment.

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