Fantasy Races Overview
WITCHLAND follows in the footsteps of the sword and sorcery fantasy novels of old where variations of the human archetype made up the bulk of the central players in the story. The bulk of the available player character races in this campaign are human stock with the single exceptions of the elf born and troll born.
The WITCHLAND campaign begins with the very same beginning as the epic tale Beowulf. The players are a collection of heroes hoping to obtain personal fame and fortune by answering the call set forth by King Hrothgar, the King of the Danes. The tale however takes a very different turn as soon as the heroes set battle shod boot onto the cold gravel beach which marks the edge of Hrothgar’s Kingdom.
Heroes of Men
The Frisian (Free-zhun)
Frisians are generally tall, strong and blond. They are known to be excellent sailors and navigators and the waters extending to the West of their lands are known as the Frisian Sea. Several centuries ago the Frisian’s successfully fought off an invasion by the Romans out of the lands of the South. Their territories remain fiercely independent and staunchly pagan. What few missionaries of the new Christ god have ventured into their lands have been met with disdain and few survive longer than a winter or two before they join the ranks of their so called martyrs. The Frisians get along well with the numerous Saxon tribes bordering their territory to the South and East. (As a note: Saxons and Romans, while they exist in the context of the setting and story do not enter the campaign as a playable character race.)
The land of the Jutes rests between the Kingdom of the Danes to the East and the land of the Frisians to the West. The Jutes dwell in a region largely given over to bogs and wetland country which is miserably humid and insect / disease infested during the warmer parts of the year and a semi-frozen stinking coastal swamp during the winters. Because of the poor quality of their lands the Jutes have constantly struck out against their neighbors be they Frisian, Dane or Saxon (to the South). During the Roman expansion into the North the Jutes surrendered to the Romans once Saxon military resistance crumbled on their Southern border. Since that time the Jutes have been subject to a Roman governorship and a small Roman garrison.
Other humans in the campaign view the Jutes as a whole as somewhat backward and barbaric even by their own standards. The Romans are known to employ the Jutes as trackers and scouts. In most “civilized” pagan settlements they are regarded as outsiders and potential thieves.
The Geats range in the middle for height and build although they are known to be broad of shoulder, stronger than average in their arms and tough. Their people tend to have dark hair running in the shades of brown to black with eyes that are pale blue like ice or an almost shimmering green. Their lands remain divided into dozens of small petty kingdoms who only in times of greater common threat band together for mutual defense. The Geats have earned a reputation in the lands of the Saxons and even more so among the Romans as willing mercenaries. Over the last few centuries good sized treasures of Roman gold have made their way through Geatish military success on their behalf into their Northern lands. Unfortunately the Geats enthusiasm for fighting for coin abroad has slowly led to the depletion of their military strength at home. It is only a matter of time before the Kingdom of the Svear (The Swedes) to the North invade and successfully absorb the fragmented barons and minor kingdoms of the Geats.
The Wulfing (also Wylfing or Wolf Clan) are the most powerful of the clans of the Geats. The Wulfing rule over nearly a third of the total territory occupied by the Geat folk and rule all of the Eastern territory associated with them. They are so well known and respected in the region that they operate in the context of the campaign as a kingdom or race unto themselves.
Like their Geat brothers the Wulfing have indulged in generations of mercenary service far to the South in the armies of the Romans. Years of successful campaigning against the Germanic tribes has made their coffers filled with Roman gold and the loot they have plundered during their adventures. In addition the Wulfing are well known to rival the Frisians in the art of sailing and the use of the longboat. Wulfing war parties are known to go a raiding up and down the Northern Frankish coast.
Physically the Wulfings tend to be slightly shorter than other Geats and slightly more broad of shoulder. They general stand between five foot and four inches to five foot and ten inches in height. The Wulfing are known for their stamina and their woodscraft. Not a few of them have pursued a career as rangers.
Fantasy races such as elves, dwarves and the like are largely legendary in this campaign setting. The age when elves were routinely encountered spans back some thousand years ago. During that time the tall and lofty, strange and magical elves occasionally struck up alliances and even loving relationships with certain humans who were well respected for their craft or heroic nature.
The Elfkin are a reminder of that ancient mixing of the elf and human bloodlines as there have likely been no encounters beyond those which are fleeting and perhaps violent between any remaining elves and humans in centuries.
Elfkin may begin as comely and healthy infants who grow into adolescence to slowly reveal the slight point in the ear, more almond shape of the eye and an almost ethereal quality that often makes them regarded as handsome or beautiful.
It should be explained here that many human tribes and cultures view the elves with suspicion. Conflicts over land in the distant past led to blood centuries of warfare. The end result being that the much more numerous and quick to multiply humans largely pushed the elves into the remote corners of the world. Elves remain but they defend their remaining strongholds be they in dense and ancient parts of the forest or in high hidden places in the mountains with cunning and brutality. Humans are known to set out offerings of mead and hunny to placate any elves that might pass their farms during nights when the moon is absent. Elves are not seen as evil necessarily but as a race which has been greatly wronged by men and which is quick to take offense and full of wrath. Elves are considered synonymous with magic and because of this they are often feared. Elfkin children are sometimes labeled as changelings. The implication being that the real child of the house has been traded for an elf child as a test or possibly a curse upon that family or village. Because of their heritage most Elfkin face difficult lives where their oddness makes them outsiders even within their own homes and villages.