Broken Bay

 Last of the True Ulfen Raiders

Alignment

CE

Capital

Bildt (6,730)

Notable Settlements

Skjoldmur (1,500)

Ruler

King Ingimundr the Unruly (CE male Ulfen barbarian)

Major Races

Humans (Ulfen)

Languages

Skald

Religion

Gorum

Resources

Ambergris, mercenaries, ships, ship supplies, slaves, weapons, whale oil

Located on the westernmost fringe of the Linnorm Kingdoms, Broken Bay comprises the waters surrounding the islands of Aegos, Orthost, and dozens of smaller uninhabited rocks. Of these, only Aegos is what could properly be called “civilized.”

Broken Bay itself is home to plentiful schools of fish and the occasional pod of whales, and fishing is the primary industry for those brave enough to make a living here. The region is notorious for its storms, powerful tides and currents, and treacherous shallows—the “broken” in its name refers to the countless wrecked ships that lie in the waters or sprawl upon rocky isles. Life in Broken Bay is cold and rough, and those who grow up here are shaped by these environs, becoming mercenaries and raiders who seek to plunder coastal settlements throughout the Inner Sea region. Ingimundr the Unruly rules Broken Bay from the city of Bildt, the only natural harbor in the region. He has grand plans to restore Bildt’s prominence and strengthen his own influence by increased raiding and adopting a more martial lifestyle, and sees Broken Bay as the last bastion of bona fide sea-raiders in the Linnorm Kingdoms.


Society

The people of Broken Bay hearken back to a simpler time in Ulfen history, when plundering the southern lands constituted a sort of regional pastime and trading was restricted to well-defended ports. These folk see the other inhabitants of the Linnorm Kingdoms—particularly those of landlocked Hagreach—as varying degrees of cowards or traitors to their ancestors. While the raiders of Broken Bay still focus their assaults on Cheliax, Varisia, Nidal, and other southern nations, they are increasingly turning their attention to other Linnorm

Kingdoms as these views of regional cowardice grow. The shipyards of Bildt have been turning out more longboats and fewer fishing boats, and the hearths of the city overflow with tough young warriors eager to make names for themselves. Raiding is more fun than fishing for a warrior, but there have to be targets to attack. Finding a way to make a consistent living off of the unwary and undefended of western Avistan is the challenge of the age—a challenge Ingimundr must overcome if he wishes to keep his crown.

Ingimundr himself is a hard man and a brash one. But beneath his boasting lies a shrewd, calculating, and manipulative leader, a fact exemplified by his handling of the raiding issue. Ingimundr has done more than anyone to increase Ulfen raiding, a feat he achieved by publicly espousing a more warlike and traditional lifestyle, without explicitly encouraging violence and theft. This approach keeps him from being held to account by other, more conservative Linnorm Kings. At the same time, he privately encourages raids and officially ignores the provenance of the goods and gold that enter the port. As a result of these policies, he’s seen Bildt’s fame rise as plunder surreptitiously f lows into the port and into his coffers.

Ingimundr sees a return to the old ways not only as an end in itself, but also as a means to greater power and glory for himself. Broken Bay is the natural home of the true Ulfen raider—if raiding becomes more important, his region does as well, and with that increased importance will come increased clout among the Linnorm Kings. Even if “unsanctioned and unfortunate” raids on fellow Linnorm Kingdoms do little beyond encouraging those kingdoms to return to their roots and seek revenge, Ingimundr would call it a victory.

Most of the citizens of Broken Bay dwell on the southern shores of Aegos, in the cities of Bildt and Skjoldmur. Small fishing settlements dot the eastern shore, but the uplands of the center and the bleak, windy strands of the northwest are completely deserted. The interior of Aegos is home to aggressive wildlife, including dire wolves and the boreal bears that sometimes swim over from Icemark. Settlements in the north of Aegos always place their middens well away from town for just that reason.


Gazetteer

Broken Bay is a cold, unforgiving place, and the monsters and predators that hunt the region tend to be large and well insulated. Sea monsters of various sorts abound below the waves, while giant crabs of all sizes lair along the shorelines of the islands, lying in wait for the unwary. The rocky inland of Aegos is relatively free of larger wildlife, with the exception of a large population of wolves, dire wolves, worgs, and winter wolves that periodically trouble the coastal towns and prey upon livestock, while polar bears are often seen on the northern shorelines.

Bildt: Nestled among three rugged basalt crags, Bildt is Aegos’s only natural harbor. In the Linnorm Kingdoms, the city is second only to Kalsgard in the quality of its shipyards. Unlike southern port cities that focus on deep harbors and extensive dock infrastructure, Bildt features flat, gravelly strands on which longboats are beached when not in use. Ulfen longboats usually need less than a fathom of draft, so the only deep part of the harbor is reserved for foreign trading vessels, although the inhabitants of Bildt see fewer of such ships as their reputation for violence grows. The town itself is dense and crowded along the shore, since almost everyone here makes a living from the sea. The nicest houses overlook the harbor, while cheaper housing squeezes in behind them on muddy, ill maintained roads. When not at sea, the young Ulfen who crew the longboats and fishing vessels tend to live in large communal halls called hearths. The typical hearth houses 20 people, keeping the density of the city up and the walks to the harbor short.

Non-Ulfen visitors to Bildt can expect an unfriendly welcome at best, especially from the young Ulfen who make up the raiding parties. Bildt’s notorious bar fights and brawls can swiftly turn deadly when foreigners are involved. Much of this danger dissipates in the face of impressive displays of prowess or ruthlessness, however, and parties planning to spend much time in the city might want to slay a monster or defeat and befriend an important brawler, just to be on the safe side. The weather in Bildt is also unfriendly to visitors—Bildt fronts on the Steaming Sea, and storms roll in frequently. The harbor is protected from the violent winds and squalls, but the higher reaches of the city are more exposed. A weathered, windblown look marks the longtime residents of Bildt, and anybody whose face isn’t chapped by the salty winds is regarded as an outsider.

Highpoint Tower: The tall, thin spire of Highpoint Tower stands atop Aegos’s highest peak. Today little more than a shell, this tower once commanded extensive outbuildings and hosted many rooms where soldiers could train. The tower itself was used to watch the horizon for approaching fleets, and the massive hearth that now lies in ruins within the tower once generated fire and light that could be seen across the island. Bildt’s remote location and the treacherous nature of its seas have done a far better job at dissuading invaders than anything else, though, and eventually the people of Aegos abandoned Highpoint Tower to the wilds. The old trails that lead to the tower from Bildt still exist, although they are quite treacherous to travel. The largest tribe of winter wolves and worgs on the island now claim the ruins, and they do not suffer visitors lightly.

Orthost: Orthost is also known as the “Isle of the Dead,” for it is here that the people of Broken Bay have traditionally buried their dead. The remains buried on the isle are rarely those of highly successful raiders, for when such a person of note dies and his body can be salvaged, he is given a proper “hero’s burial” at sea on a burning ship. The majority of those who die in Broken Bay do not warrant the destruction of a perfectly good ship, however, and are instead brought across a narrow strait to be interred amid the necropolises and graves that grace this rocky isle.

Monuments ranging from headstones to stone cairns to more elaborate mausoleums and vaults cover Orthost’s northern edge. Farther to the south, such traditional resting places become scarce, and most of the island remains an untracked wasteland. The island is home to many uneasy spirits and other dangerous undead. Regular rituals and propitiations by Ulfen mourners and priests from Skjoldmur keep the majority of these spirits at rest, but some are more aggressive and less forgiving. No one, not even the bravest of the cairn guards of Skjoldmur, willingly stays on Orthost after dark when the undead are at their strongest and most active.

Rivenstone: While the people of Broken Bay know well the dangers of the towering spires known as Rivenstone, most visitors to the region are unlikely to notice this deadly mountain, for its peak only rises above the waves of the bay on the lowest of tides. Rivenstone is a spire like monolith that rises from one of the deepest valleys on the sea bed of the bay itself. The spire fractures into seven different spires along its length, the tallest two of which reach within a few feet of the surface of the sea. It is these two spires that sailors are most familiar with. For when the tides and currents are just right, the spear like points have an uncanny propensity to place holes in hulls and sink ships. Were this the only danger that Rivenstone presented to nautical travel it would be dire enough, but the lower slopes of the submerged mountain are rife with tribes of gutaki—unusually intelligent devilfish said to be infused with the blood of Dagon, the demon lord of sea monsters. The Rivenstone gutaki are led by a cabal of a dozen powerful priests consisting of clerics and oracles of Dagon for the most part. While most gutaki tribes prefer to dwell in the ocean’s deepest abysses, those of Rivenstone dwell in relatively shallow waters of only a few thousand feet. With the aid of charmed giant octopus and squid minions, these gutaki are among the most dangerous denizens of Broken Bay.

Skjoldmur: Near the southern tip of Aegos lies the whaling town of Skjoldmur. Skjoldmur commands a small region of arable land that produces most of Aegos’s grain. The people of Skjoldmur are also tasked with keeping the lore and legends of Orthost, the funeral island to the south. Expeditions to Orthost first stop at Skjoldmur, where clerics of Gorum hold ceremonies to prepare the dead for passage to the afterlife—these clerics accompany groups of mourners as they travel across to the island to bury their dead, both to aid in rituals and to protect mourners from the restless dead that dwell on the isle.

Skjoldmur itself looks more like a fortress than a traditional town; it is built on a steep bluff and surrounded by ancient and thick stone walls. Its harbor is small, built primarily to service whaling and fishing boats and not for war. The town itself is ruled by Arik Grimfire (CN male Ulfen cleric of Gorum 9), whose ancestors have held sway over the town for centuries. Grimfire and his acolytes are renowned across Ulfen lands for their skill in fighting and warding off the undead, and individual cairn guards that he’s trained often find their way south and east, aiding the living throughout Avistan. Arik secretly disapproves of his liege’s lust for war and raiding, since he sees the destruction of both Bildt and Skjoldmur as the inevitable result of such actions, but he knows his place, and focuses on providing the people of Broken Bay with food and honoring and protecting its dead.

Sunken City: One of Broken Bay’s most legendary sites lies not on its islands but under its waves. Known as Udeomel by historians who study ancient Thassilon, the so-called Sunken City is a massive complex spanning the Howling Straits at the north end of the Broken Bay. Smaller portions of the ruins extend onto the northern shores of Aegos and the western edges of Icemark, but the bulk of the ruins are submerged by the waters of Broken Bay. Here and there, black towers pierce the surface of the water, while others lurk just below the surface, making the area dangerous to navigate by ship. Further, the ruins are home to a population of aggressive sharks and killer whales that attack anyone foolish enough to swim here or even get too near in a small boat. Other, more dangerous creatures dwell in the deeper structures, including sea drakes, draugr, sea hags, and scrags. What few expeditions to the flooded portions of the ruins have been made confirm that the site was once some form of northern outpost to the Thassilonian nation of Cyrusian, but what purpose the site served remains a mystery.

Thanesrest Mausoleum: The most elaborate mausoleum on Orthost was not originally built to inter the dead. The elaborate edifice is of Thassilonian make, and may have once served as a fortress or prison. Whatever its purpose, the chambers below are extensive and sprawling, extending deep under Orthost for many miles. The site has long captured the imagination and pride of the people of Broken Bay, and was used as a mausoleum for leaders and kings for nearly 600 years following the founding of Bildt. Each time a new noble or king died, a new wing of the understructure was explored, cleared of traps and denizens, and converted into a mausoleum. The practice came to an abrupt end with the burial of King Kernic Quicktongue, when his body became possessed by a demonic spirit released during his interment ritual. Quicktongue slaughtered the entire funeral procession and used their bodies as necromantic puppets—had the demonic spirit wished to extend its influence beyond the building’s walls, the people of Broken Bay would likely have had quite a fight on their hands. Yet for whatever reason, the demonic spirit never pursued its foes into the outer world, either as a result of ancient magic binding it to the structure or simply out of lack of interest.

In any event, the people of Broken Bay abandoned the practice of interring their kings here and moved on to the more traditional practice of employing funeral ships for the dead. The doors to Thanesrest Mausoleum remain closed—but periodically, eager and brave adventurers force them open for a chance to seek the strange treasures believed to lie within. The demon inhabiting Kernic’s corpse is said to still rule the depths below, and those who linger too long in the dungeons have a habit of vanishing forever.

Broken Bay

Lands of the Linnorm Kings HillaryRenaeMize