The Linnorm Kingdoms
Leader: Freyr Darkwine, Castellan of Trollheim
Headquarters: Trollheim, Lands of the Linnorm Kings
Goals: Patrolling the border with Irrisen and destroying all enemy infiltrators
Members: Ulfen soldiers
A military unit of Ulfen warriors whose duty is to patrol the border between Trollheim, in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and Irrisen: a border often tested by Queen Elvanna’s monstrous armies. The force is most associated with battles versus ice trolls and typically carry flaming arrows and alchemical fire as part of their equipment. Their commanding officer is Freyr Darkwine, Castellan of Trollheim.
Individual Blackraven scouts are varied in class and race, but rangers used to the arctic conditions are most common. Scouts are trained vigorously in arctic combat and how to effectively combat their foes to the east. A typical Blackraven patrol consists of four to six members, sometimes mounted on horses or on dogsled, and patrol the border regularly in unpredictable patterns in order to make their movements difficult to predict. Their headquarters is the granite fortress of Blackraven Hall
Attacks on Hagreach settlements often become sieges, with defenders retreating to fortified buildings and attempting to hold out until the raiders exhaust their supplies. This defensive method of holding the line rankles many of Hagreach’s soldiers, though, and as such many eager young mercenaries and those hungering to take the offensive seek out membership in Hagreach’s
most admired military organization—the Blackravens.
The Blackravens are an elite band of protectors who have sworn their lives to fighting the agents of Irrisen. Most Blackravens hail from Hagreach, but many come from other Linnorm Kingdoms as well, compelled by a sense of racial or national pride and eager to defend their traditions on a warfront—even if the front is little more than a literal cold war. Most Blackravens are barbarians, fighters, or rangers, while clerics of Gorum and Desna provide divine support. Several bards and sorcerers have made their home in the Blackravens as well, their arcane magic lending extra firepower against their monstrous foes. Most Blackravens are of Ulfen descent, but an increasing number of dwarves and even a few gnomes are joining the ranks as well.
The Blackravens have traditionally led the most successful Ulfen raids into Irrisen, primarily because they never raid without significant preparation. Companies of Blackravens rove the entire region, from the Stormspear Mountains to Grungir Forest, dealing with small-scale monstrous incursions and keeping tabs on more dangerous ones. Larger contingents of Blackravens rotate through the settlements of Hagreach, reinforcing the local forces against expected raids. At any given time, three-quarters of the Blackravens are somewhere on the border.
Freyr Darkwine, Castellan of Trollheim, is also Commander of the Blackravens. He divides his time
between Blackraven Hall and Trollheim, managing both jobs competently. His heart, however, remains on the border, and he spends almost every waking morning preparing and strategizing, holding back the winter witches and their minions as much as possible. Freyr sees the Blackravens as an asset of the Ulfen people as a whole, and routinely requests aid in warriors and treasure from the Linnorm Kings. He never receives much, but all of the Linnorm Kings give, if only grudgingly. Most donate only gold, and this only sparingly, but White Estrid has taken
to granting Freyr soldiers as well, sending 40 warriors per year to join the Blackravens’ ranks. These draftees from Battlewall spend a year learning to fight the forces of winter and aiding in the protection of the Ulfen lands and then return home, wiser and more skilled in warfare. Freyr
hopes that White Estrid’s example will encourage the other Linnorm Kings to do likewise— while gold is always appreciated, the Blackravens need as many soldiers as they can get.
Of late, one of Freyr’s greatest concerns and frustrations is the simple fact that Hagreach does not extend the full length of the Irrisen Border. The Blackravens do periodically patrol the narrow stretch of land where Grungir Forest abuts the border, but further to the south, where Southmoor shares this border, the Blackravens generally do not venture—but not due to negligence. In fact, the troll and giant tribes that dwell in this region, combined with Southmoor’s near hostility whenever the Blackravens approach with requests for support for more southern patrols, are what renders the southern extent the most poorly defended portion of the border. Freyr takes solace in the fact that, according to reports from his increasingly few deep cover agents stationed in Southmoor, the eastern hills and badlands remain as hostile to Irrisen as to any other nation, yet the ranger still fears the day the witches manage to strike a truce with those giants.