Chronicles of War

Death of the Patriarch

One of the odder missions the Guard has ever had to accomplish was a simple one, but one for which they earned the favor of a semi-influential noble. When Stetven Albrectson died he left behind three sons. All bastards as his wife was barren. All three sons had witnesses to that one time long ago when Stetven had promised they were his heir. Lacking any real proof in the form of a will, the obvious candidate would have been the eldest. However since he was a cruel boy, the town Shaman, Yurgi Almstedt decided the only way to be sure which boy was the true heir was a great hunt.

Yurgi spoke with his spirit guide a ferocious wolf who went out and found a worthy game animal. He found a Buck with only one set of antlers. The other side had been lost i a fight with a purple worm. This was truly a beast worthy of this hunt. The rules were simple they were to go out and hunt this buck, the son who was able to lay a single hand upon the buck would become the heir of Stetven.

The community was small, and their window for harvesting food for winter was narrow. So they hired outsiders who could be trusted to watch the three sons and verify the winner. It was for this reason they called on the Varangian Guard. Knowing their reputation for honesty meant they could be sure of the results.

It took the youngest son only three days to track and ambush the great stag. And thus Sutgar Albrectson became the leader of House Albrectson. In honor of the victory he threw a feast, during which his eldest brother, Trimede Albrectson, tried to poison him. The plot was caught by members of the Varangian Guard, and Trimede was banished.

So Lord Albrectson owes both his life and his crown to the Guard. Unfortunately this matters for little as he is lord for three small settlements who have maybe a total of 3,000 inhabitants between them.

Ladonica the Hydra
To slay or not to slay a legendary beast?

Brennagh O’Hicidhe has traveled back and forth from the River Kingdoms from time to time. Being a poisoner the best place to sell her wares, as well as purchase materials for making new poisons is always Daggermark.

ladonica_the_hydra.jpgOnce a few years ago she heard a tale of a legendary creature who killed anyone who came searching for her. Ladonica the Hydra. Deep within the Wilwood forest in the River Kingdoms she dwells.

The first challenge any who face her have to encounter is an entire forest of unfriendly creatures. With Fae, Druids, Giants, and other denizens who treat the forest as sacred ground, the idea of adventurers there to slay a beast is simply not a good reason and they are kindly asked to leave, escorted out and told never to return.

Next is locating the monsters lair, as none have ever returned who knew where the lair is.

Finally since none have faced the beast and lived, none know the powers of this beast. Legend say Ladonica went to the First World and was touched by the Fey Magic there gaining magical powers the likes of which the world has never seen. Legends also say she is immortal. Legend says she attained demi-godhood and she can slay mortal creatures with ease. Legends says Ladonica is no longer a hydra, but a fey deity using her body as a conduit to this world so she can rule.

However, the rewards would be great, as many have tried to kill her, and none have come back, somewhere deep in the Wilewood Forest possibly sitting inside her lair is a treasure trove to make a dragon jealous.

A little backstabbing never hurt anyone

After the Death of Norwich and the subsequent rivalry with Grosgrick. The Guard went back to their home base to lick their wounds. In an attempt to once again find a healer, they found a Grifter by the name of Gwendalynne Shaele. While not necessarily a healer, she could do several different things to help the group including healing in a limited capacity. So with her in tow they jumped at the first chance to get revenge on their new rival.

There was a town to the south, Larforn, of almost seven hundred people. The townsfolk had been an easy target for an ogre warlord and his raiding party. He said they were now under his protection for a small fee. The townsfolk knew they couldn’t afford it, so they hired a band of mercenaries to protect the town when this Ogre Warlord, Azrog Kyrkenhog, they would be able to stop him.

It was the Order of the Beard who took the contract. Obviously helping the evil Ogre warlord extort an innocent town just to get back at Grosgrick would be a little over the edge, so instead they hatched a devious plan. After Azrog saw the town had mercenaries helping them the Varangian Guard approached him and agreed to help him raid the town if they got a portion of the extortion money. Azrog accepted and the plans were set to raid the town.

Using invisibility the Guard were able to subdue several of the Order of the Beard’s sentries before the main attack even began. When the Raiders began to attack in earnest and Grosgrick saw how the battle would turn out, he packed up his remaining members and fled, leaving the town to fend for itself.

At this point the Varangian guard turned on the Ogre raiders and using the element of surprise they were able to cut them down, and force the remaining members to flee, saving the town, and dealing a blow to the Order of the Beard.

I hate Trolls
The Beginning of the End for Clerics!

Trolls are mean, they regenerate, they love the taste of humans, but worst of all they have archers. Not many people think of Trolls as skilled combatants, but they can be. So poor Norwich found out.

Norwich was the Guards first Cleric. Unfortunately he chose the wrong mercenary company to join. He would start the precedent of Clerics dying, so many have died that the Guard no has a rule against hiring Clerics.

There was a band of Trolls attacking small caravans and cattle in the Golushkin Mountains on the north facing slopes. Lord Arn Dupon was Jarl of a village which had recently lost three lads to these horrible trolls. In a town of only 5oo, three boys is a lot of loss. So they quickly put together a raiding party from nearby villages, to kill these vile beasts. In the end the raiding party returned with another two men dead, and no dead trolls to show for these corpses.

It was time to find mercenaries who were equipped to be fighting such fierce beasts. The price was good so there were three mercenary companies who set forth to find these trolls. The Varangian Guard, The Order of the Beard, and Haemer’s Corsairs.

The corsairs we not used to the rugged mountain landscapes and were unable to get anywhere near the trolls.

The Guard were the first to find them. These trolls were unlike other trolls. They were clever and devious. They set traps and lured the Guard right into them. Luckily the Guard were never ones to back down from a fight and were well prepared for the encounter. Having flasks of Alchemist’s Fire, Scrolls, and potions to aid them and whittle down the trolls. They did so with what seemed like ease, however after two trolls had dropped in combat, their leader joined the fray. Coming out from his hiding place in the rocks above the Guard. He rained arrows upon them from the high ground. The Guard was undaunted by this and slayed another of his comrades.
That’s when everything changed. In less time then a horse blinks it’s eyes the Troll leader drew back his bow and rapidly fired three arrows into poor Norwich. One hit his leg, next his chest, and the final arrow exploded his head. For a poor gnome to be hit by an arrow almost three inches in diameter was just too much. Next the Troll took aim at Kasai who had to summon creatures to take the arrows for him as he was already wounded from the fray.

The Guard eventually had to retreat.

While they regrouped the Order of the Beard came in and finished what they had started. Any reasonable mercenary company would have split the reward as three of the seven trolls were killed by the guard, and they had revealed the hideout of the trolls. This was not to be though. The Order of the Beard took great pride in bragging how they succeeded where the mighty Varangian Guard could not.

The Evil Warlord
Bloodthirsty Barbarian Gets a Conscience?

Lord Gudmund Eklund was Jarl of a small town, Haffnarfjall. His town was small and horrible. To make things better, he came up with an idea. They needed slaves. Not the weak ones you could get for cheap, but the strong Issians capable of building a great city with towering walls.

The problem is the way you would normally do this is by raiding their town and beating them in honorable combat. His warriors weren’t that good and neither was he. So he did what any potential despot would do, kidnapped them. Turns out even a tough Issian when ambushed while hunting and forcibly disarmed and armored can be over come by a significantly weaker coward and his twelve friends.
This angered the other local Jarls, however Jarl Eklund had a strong enough force and a defensible enough town that an all out attack was not advisable. So they all pitched in for a small bounty to have mercenaries try it and avoid shedding the blood of their warriors which were needed for other battles.

The Varangian Guard took the job and had a chance to kill the Jarl in his sleep along with most of his men, the only problem was his son’s were int he great hall with them. It was Kasai who argued against his compatriots, saying they had to protect the innocents. In the end he won the argument and Brennagh saved the kids.
In the end it worked out better for the Guard who received a reputation that was good on just about all fronts. They got the job done. They did it in a horrific manner making sure those who would go against them quaked in their boots (fire, poison, and slit throats.) They rescued the children and were saviors.

So while there are those in the group who still think risking the mission for a few innocents is a pretty silly idea there is no denying the fact this was the beginning of their rise as one of the most reliable mercenary groups in all of Brevoy.

Laying a False Trail
Kasai on the Run

Once they got back from their first mission, The Varangian Guard needed to take a little break. This was not to be. They found a new recruit who was on the run from some pretty impressive foes. Most wizards, or wizardly types are hard to come by in the mercenary world. Their years of study normally means they come from wealth or talent and are swept up by the mage’s guild or similar group, or they go into adventuring where the money is better. Those who stoop to mercenary work normally come with baggage.

This was definitely the case with Kasai.

This “baggage” was tracking him, with pin point accuracy and focus worthy of an Epic. Following him from half way around the world, he needed to make it look like this city was no different than the rest. One contract stood out which would help them keep this rouse. It was a simple case of black mail, but in order to get the dirt on a Lord they would have to follow him to the River Kingdoms and beyond. His fiance’s father knew he was buying illegal drugs in the River Kingdoms, but couldn’t prove it. Anyone who was able to provide the proof, would receive a hefty sum of gold.
They brought along a member of the guard from Grayhaven who would be able to be a reliable witness. They indeed did accomplish their task, and visited at least a dozen other cities on this trip.

In the mean time the evil force following Kasai had been recalled and had last been following his trail over two hundred miles from his new home of Grayhaven.

Lord Pinkerton lost his marriage and his reputation. He is still a bachelor and harbors no friendly thoughts or feelings for the Varangian Guard.

Ancient Aliens

GM’s Note: As time goes on, I’m going to have little back story ideas from the way way long ago. This is the first to be inserted into the campaign. Why this one first, well it’s simple. The following text is literally cut and pasted from the Inner Sea World Guide Book:

ancient_aliens.jpg“Today, the phenomena of Osirion’s dramatic rise from barbarism is intensely studied by specialist sages known as Osirionologists, who postulate several different theories to account for the empire’s sudden and otherwise inexplicable spike in cultural and military success. Although dismissed by more responsible academia, some treatises hypothesize that Osirion’s advancement was accelerated by a visitation from outsiders—possibly from unknown entities from beyond the vast gulf of space.”

That is correct – Osirion – the Country Kasai is originally from has Ancient Alien Conspiracy Theorists.

In order to increase the coffers of Osirion their current king has opened up the borders to treasure hunters to retrieve treasures from the ruins of Ancient Osirion.

From his time there, Kasai knows one of the most widely rumored treasure troves is the Great Sphinx. The Great Sphinx has a large head jutting out of the sand in the north west of the country. While it is widely known there is a large body buried underneath the sand, there are also rumors of there being a large treasure trove, and receptacle of ancient knowledge buried beneath the body.

The only thing which is known about this “treasure trove” is every adventurer, archivist, and/or explorer who has gone inside looking for it has not returned. Not a one.

The Kobold Uprising
The Beginning

The very first mission of The Varangian Guard was a kobold uprising. Barely a mercenary company at this point there were only two members – Freki “Skull-Crusher” Jǫtunn-móðr Draugadróttinnson and Brennagh O’Hicidhe. The had no base of operations and Freki had barely registered as a mercenary company with the Captain of the Guard at the time an aging human, Samuel Dupon. They went to the local bar The Runoff and found the listings for mercenary contracts int he back corner.

It was barely a few years after The Vanishing and there were always more contracts then there were mercenaries. One contract in particular stuck out to the understaffed Varangian Guard. It was killing kobolds. During the Vanishing the Golka Dwarves who dwelled int he Golushkin Mountains disappeared as well. Leaving their vast network of caves and cities abandoned. Of course squatters moved in, as well as the normal denizens, Lord Garess himself had to call on the Mendev Crusaders when some demons took up in what used to be one of the dwarves larger cities. These kobolds though weren’t a real hindrance to the crown, but one noble in particular.

Lady Erikka Dupon is the head of House Dupon and their territories lie on the other side a Roc’s Peak from Grayhaven. Their lands have a total of 5,000 people on them and their largest settlement is Gorvidr. Their primary export is lumber. As such they rely on the Litvatn river. It is small averaging only ten feet across and at it’s deepest it won’t drown a horse, but the water is the lands life blood providing the water for the trees, which are known many kingdoms away for their deep red hues.

Kobalds.jpgThe kobolds living in the Golushkin mountains had mined underneath the river and redirected it into their home. Every time Lady Dupon sent a raiding party the kobolds simply melted away into the darkness. She employed priests and priestesses to repair the mining through stone shape and get the river back on it’s true course, however within a few weeks the kobolds had “fixed” the river again. It was time to bring in the mercenaries. With only the two of them, they were able to practically walk into the kobold town before the kobolds even realized they were a threat.

koboldsboss.gifThe fighting was intense and Brennagh still has a scar from a spear wound she took during the attack. In the end they killed almost one third of the kobolds. While the mercenaries chased the remaining kobold warriors, Lady Dupon had time to have miners, priests, and priestesses cause a cave in around the city making it completely impractical for anyone to try such a stunt again.


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