The Saxalings

Atilla and his Hordes Overrun Italy and the Arts (detail), between 1843 and 1847, Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix

(xposted with Bridge of the Damned update)

Hello friends!

In a past series of posts, we looked at two Middarmark clans, the Ageirings and the Tualings, along with their ættir.

I’ve been working on The Bridge of the Damned adventure and figured I would give the clans involved in that adventure a similar treatment. This week we’re taking a look at the Saxalings, whom we previously learned a little about in Adventure Design: Robber’s Bridge (Part VIII) and Life in a Ruined Village.

The Saxalings

The Saxalings are a Gott clan in the Gottmark. They owe fealty to Tancred the Fair, greve of the Southern March. During the conquest of the Gottmark 20 years ago, Hincmar was chieftain of the Saxalings. He and his warriors seized lands along the northern bank of the Vimur River that belonged to the Bjorning clan known as the Runungs.

Among those lands was Kviholl, the hall of Grima, chieftain of the Runungs. Grima and his household were caught unaware by the rapidity of the Saxaling advance through their lands. Not only were Grima and many of his huskarls slain when the Saxalings burned Kviholl, the Saxalings also captured the shrine to Runa the Battle-wise, ættir (ancestral spirit) of the Runungs. As a result, several pieces of the Runung clan regalia fell into Saxaling hands. Some were destroyed, but one, a buckle of finely beaten gold in the shape of a falcon, caught Hincmar’s eye. He incorporated it into his own clan’s regalia.

Today, Ishildis, daughter of Hincmar, is chieftain of the Saxalings. She rules from her hall at Skyholl, erected in the very spot where Kviholl once stood. Ishildis is guided by Saxa Horsekiller, ættir of the Saxaling clan.

Saxa Horsekiller

Nature 5*Might 5
Binding and Cursing, Protecting, Prophesying
Belief: Blood must be paid for any and all slights against me and mine.
Instinct: Protect my bloodline.Type: Spirit

Special Rules: The ættir is the embodiment of her bloodline and can speak to those who share her blood in dreams. She lives in the clan’s regalia—a banner, piece of jewelry, weapon, article of clothing or relic of some sort—and can communicate with the bearer directly.

Hit Points

Banish
5
Convince
6
Battle
9
WeaponConflictADFM
Bound to ClanBanish
Capture
+2D
Fed with Regular
Sacrifice
Banish
Capture
+2D
MatriarchalConvince+2D
Prophetic VisionsBattle
Capture
Convince
+1D+1s

Note: Before the Bjorning raid, Saxa was Nature 6. Her current Nature 5 reflects the loss of the Falcon Buckle. Should the buckle be returned and rededicated, her Nature will be restored to 6.

Saxa Horsekiller Description

Saxa is a warlike spirit, eager for conquest and increase in her descendants’ power and prestige, while merciless against foes of her house. In the Otherworld she generally appears astride a great white stallion, clad in gleaming mail and helmet with a lance in hand.

She has grown restless over the past two decades. The curse of the Vimur River has prevented her clan from expanding south and “friendly” clans box the Saxalings in to the north. She has begun agitating for her clan to feud with those neighbors in the hopes of seizing their lands. While enraged by the impudence of the raiders that stole her Falcon Buckle, part of her exults: If they could cross the cursed river to mount an attack, her people can do the same.

Contrary to her deed-name, she was known in life to care deeply for horses, lavishing her steeds with love and affection. She earned the name by riding one of her beloved horses to death to warn her family of a surprise attack by a supposedly allied clan during one of the frequent brushfire wars that consume the old country of Gottland.

Don’t Bug Out

Bridge to Nowhere by Todd James

Hello friends!

You know what you can never have enough of as a Torchbearer GM? Monsters. I’ve been experimenting with some fun new critters inspired by the arthropods all around us, and Luke has been experimenting with a new stat block. I can’t replicate it exactly in WordPress, but this is a close approximation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on both!

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Have You Heard the One About…

You All Meet at an Inn… by Rebekah Bennington

Hello friends!

The Rumor Events Table in the Town chapter is perfectly fine, but if you’ve been running Torchbearer for a while, you might be a bit bored with it. Fortunately for you, Luke has worked up a brand new table to add a little spice to your trip to the tavern. It’s actually a combination of rumors and events.

Check it out, use it in your game and let us know how it goes!

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Friends shall gladden each other

Walhall, die Götterwelt der Germanen (ca. 1905) by Emil Doepler

[41] Friends shall gladden each other | with arms and garments,

As each for himself can see;

Gift-givers’ friendships | are longest found,

If fair their fates may be.

[42] To his friend a man | a friend shall prove,

And gifts with gifts requite;

But men shall mocking | with mockery answer,

And fraud with falsehood meet.

Hávamál, from The Poetic Edda, translated by Henry Adams Bellows

Hello friends!

How much do you make use of relationships in your games? Do the PCs frequently call in at home so their parents will do their laundry? Do they lean on their friends for help? Do they seek instruction and guidance from their mentors? Do they seek out their rivals for a loan? Why not?

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It’s a Trap!

Fall by Rebekah Bennington

Hello friends!

I want to apologize for this blog’s recent hiatus. Many of you probably don’t know that my other hobby (apart from making games) is coaching women’s flat track roller derby. 

I coach two teams in the Gotham Girls Roller Derby league: Manhattan Mayhem (a home team) and the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars (a travel team). Over the past six weeks, Mayhem has played twice (a victory against Queens and a loss to Bronx), and the All-Stars have played five games across two tournaments (victories against New Jax (Jacksonville, Fl.), Arch Rival (St. Louis, Mo.), Victoria (Melbourne, Australia), Crime City (Malmö, Sweden) and Dirty South (Atlanta, Ga.)).

As you can imagine, I’ve been a little distracted! The good news is that both teams are now headed into the post-season. Mayhem will play Bronx again for the local championship in August. The All-Stars still have a few more games ahead, but our success has put us back in the #2 spot ahead of Victoria, and we hope to reclaim the Hydra from Rose City (Portland, Ore.) at the International WFTDA Championships in Montreal this November.

In the meantime, I’ve got a little breathing room to think about games once again — which is good, considering that this time next week I’ll be at Gen Con (Burning Wheel will be at booth 2150; come say hi!). On to Torchbearer!

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