Warrior Societies (Brotherhoods)
Warrior Societies is a term used to describe a variety of organizations, not just pertaining to warriors. These are groups of specialists dedicated to a philosophy or activity that transcends the normal strata of Nine Worlds civilizations. Often, these societies are religious in cast, acting as a specialized cult dedicated towards one or more specific god, goddess or philosophy.
In game terms these societies are a means by which an adventurer might gain specialized items, access to prestige classes and adventure opportunities. Think of them as “adventurers guilds” though one built around a philosophy and/or specialized interest.
Player characters may begin play as a member of one of these organizations, though a newly initiated one. These (and other) societies should be a means for adding depth to a character rather than limiting his choices.
Brotherhood of the Bear (Thor Cultists)
"His men rushed forward without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were as strong as bears or wild bulls, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon themselves."
The Brotherhood of The Bear is a warrior brotherhood and cult to Thor, recognized by their bear skin cloaks. These reckless warriors pursue action and reckless adventure whenever possible, seeking tests of strength, endurance and skill on battle. The Barbarian class is the most beloved of members, but can also be found amongst them. All members receive a cloak made of bear skin, the symbol of this order of warriors.
Clerics in the Brotherhood must choose from the Strength and War domains and take the Warhammer or Greathammer as their favored weapon. Such clerics see Thor as the most admirable of the Aesir and seek to emulate him in all ways.
Requirements: Membership in the Brotherhood requires that the character have levels in either the Barbarian or Fighter (LL- Fighter ar Dwarf) class and be of non-evil alignment. Members are expected to be bold men full of joy for life. Eating, drinking, wenching and war are all virtues in the eyes of the Brotherhood.
Benefits of Membership: Members of the brotherhood gain considerable clout as renowned heroes. Brotherhood members can undergo a ritual known as “donning the bear shirt” in which the warrior must kill a bear in single combat using only a single melee weapon and no greater than light armor. This skin is used to create a bear shirt for the character (see below) by binding the animals spirit into the shirt.
Bear Shirt (Item)
The skin of a bear, with the head still attached, made to fit over the characters head like a cowl. Closing this head over the characters own causes it to fuse with the character, transforming his or her head into that of a bear. This transformation grants the character the scent special ability, natural armor and a secondary bite attack. More potent versions of these items exist that allow for transformation into a half-bear monster but are intelligent items.
Black: +2 AC, secondary bite attack (1d6+ ½ str modifier), Scent
Brown: +5 AC, secondary bite attack (2d8+ ½ str modifier), Scent
Dire: +7 AC, secondary bite attack (2d8+ ½ str modifier), Scent
Moderate transmutation; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, appropriate skin, lesser planar binding; Price 4,000 gp (black), Price 7,000 gp (brown), 9,000 gp (Dire);Weight 1 lb.
Golden Manes (Boar Frey/Freya Cult)
"The battle-bold Freyr rideth First on the golden-bristled Barrow-boar to the bale-fire Of Baldr, and leads the people."
The Golden Manes are a warrior society originating in Vanaheim amongst the Elves, but can be found amongst Iberian, Elf and Half-Elf peoples all over Manheim. Members are considered to be great warriors, thoughtful and courageous. The war trumpets and military tactics of the Golden Manes are considered the most dashing and awe-inspiring in the world.
Fighters, Rangers and Sorcerers number highly amongst the Golden Manes, though a considerable number of Bards, Rogues (Scouts) and Clerics (Sun, Good and Healing domains) can be found. Longswords and Longbows are favored weapons amongst the golden manes.
Requirements: To be a member of the Golden Manes one must be an Elf, Half-Elf or Human of Iberian descent. Members must speak High Elven (Vanir) and are expected to revere Frey and Freya.
Benefits of Membership: Members of this society are considered friends of the elves and the Vanir wherever they go (even if they are human). Membership in the Honorbound and Forester prestige classes use membership in the Golden Manes as their "Special" requirement rather than that listed. Furthermore, Golden Manes who contract Wereboar lycanthropy do not suffer the threat of an alignment change.
"By means of a secret charm, to draw All creatures living beneath the sun, That creep or swim or fly or run, After me so as you never saw! And I chiefly use my charm On creatures that do people harm."
-Dr Radovan Karadzic
The ravens are a brotherhood of wizards who seek out knowledge and power wherever it may be. These magicians follow in the footsteps of Odin, sacrificing much in their search for magical power, tomes, rings, scepters and other artifacts. Membership in the Ravens allows for members to pool their efforts to unlocking magical knowledge away from the uneducated. As such research requires resources, the ravens have become widely known as wizards for hire, as advisers, war-mages and poisoners.
Humans number the highest amongst the Ravens, though a good many half-elves and dwarves can be found. The dwarf members in-particular are some of the nastiest and most ambitious of Ravens. Most members choose Raven or Wolf familiars, to more greatly associate themselves with Odin (and thus cause fear and awe).
Requirements: Members must always have levels in Wizard and be of non-chaotic alignment. All members must share some amount of magical knowledge with his fellows, though some hoarding is expected. Members must aid fellow members in times of need, particularly concerning supernatural threats such as fire demons and Helheim.
Benefits of Membership: Ravens are known world-wide as dangerous magicians. Tutors, spell components and magical libraries are available for members at Raven enclaves. Raven enclaves are amongst the only places where adventurers can buy magic items.
Root wardens (Guardians of The Tree)
"An ash I know there stands, Yggdrasill is its name, a tall tree, showered with shining loam. From there come the dews that drop in the valleys. It stands forever green over Urðr's well."
The great tree Yggdrasil is the central, middle point between all the Nine Worlds, and is thus considered very holy indeed. It is seen as a middle ground between powers, where the mighty and the weak might both be heard in turn. Root Wardens bring this philosophy of negotiation and true-thinking to the world, acting as impartial judges to the worlds woes. Their goal is not peace per se, but right and correct action.
Druids are the most common Root Wardens, though Bards, Rangers and Sorcerers can be found in their rank’s. All races can be found amongst the Root Wardens with a great many Trolde in particular.
Requirements: Characters must be of Neutral alignment, and revere nature as a druid. Members must forsake the politics of their former race and people upon joining the Wardens.
Benefits of Membership: Root wardens are considered to be great law-speakers and are frequently sought to settle disputes. Root Wardens are much sought-after to act as advisors by kings and commoners alike on matters as varied as the purchase of pigs to military tactics.
Valkyries (Choosers of the Valiant)
"Three times nine girls, but one girl rode ahead, white-skinned under her helmet; the horses were trembling, from their manes dew fell into the deep valleys, hail in the high woods; good fortune comes to men from there; all that I saw was hateful to me."
-Poetic Edda, Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar
Warrior maidens of extreme skill, the Valkyrie are a sight of glory. These warrior maidens are all considered to be the “daughter” of Odin, who seek out the valiant dead. The truth is that these warriors are amongst the greatest of warriors and quickly make the baser sort of warrior feel their sins and cowardice distinctly. Members must have levels in Paladin, however a great many also have levels in Cleric (Law, Strength, War and Protection domains are favorites).
Requirements: All members are human woman Paladins and of considerable beauty (Cha 14+) and must remain chaste. Valkyrie who marry are considered fallen paladins.
Benefits of Membership: Membership in this sisterhood offers high renown, with those of the sisterhood seen as the most admirable of women. Also taking a Pegasus as her special mount is always an option for a Valkyrie at no additional cost.
Daughters of Disir (Daughters of Wolves)
"Foul is the sign if thy foot shall stumble As thou goest forth to fight; Goddesses baneful at both thy sides Will that wounds thou shalt get."
The Daughters of Disir are specialized cultists seeking to encourage war, strife and violent upheaval. They endeavor to encourage violent conflict between peoples, nations and races towards the end of strengthening mankind so as to produce valiant dead for Ragnarok. These deeds are often considered to be evil, with all manner of cursed undead to be found in their numbers.
Fighters, necromancers, rogues, ranger, sorcerers, druids, assassins and blackguards (fallen Valkyrie) are all common character classes in this society. All races can be found amongst the Daughters of Disir though dwarves are rare, as few women are born to that race.
Requirements: Female and of non-good alignment. Though evil members are allowed (and numerous) the end goal of the society is to toughen the races, not to destroy them.
Benefits of Membership: The daughters are considered to be good advisors and tacticians in times of war, especially concerning evil kings and other power players. Members of this society are always welcome in chapter fortresses or amongst despots all over the lands.
Night Dragons (Malice-Strikers)
"She there saw wading the sluggish streams bloodthirsty men and perjurers, and him who the ear beguiles of another’s wife. There Nidhögg sucks the corpses of the dead; the wolf tears men. Understand ye yet, or what?"
The Night Dragons are a Scythian warrior-society that uses the powers of the underworld to enhance their effectiveness in battle. Towards this end they study the nature and lore of the children of Niddhoggr, and revere this dread worm as a god. Individual Dragons use terrifying tactics, necromancy and undead in their wars with the trolde of the Glasir Plains and other foes, and are much feared. Many members seek this power in an effort to do good by the careful application of evil.
Humans and Elves (of the Svart-Alfar sort) are the most numerous race in the Night Dragons, though Dwarves and Half-Elves can be found in some numbers as well. Barbarians, Fighters and Necromancers number greatly amongst the Night Dragons, though a good many Sorcerers and Jotun Clerics (Chaos, Destruction, and Evil domains) are found in great numbers as well. The Blackguards (multi-classed from Barbarian mostly) and Shadowdancer prestige classes are both of high renown within the Night Dragons.
Requirements: Must be of non-good alignment and have rank in Ride. Members undergo an initiation ceremony involving the consumption of undead flesh (and surviving the resultant disease). All members must revere the dread dragon Nidhoggir.
Benefits of Membership: Due to their initiation practices, night dragons rise as either ghoulish (4+ HD) or ghastly (7+ HD.) version of his or herself within 1d4 days of death. Night dragons of lower HD rise as standard ghouls with no memory of their former lives. The Night Dragons have access to a great deal of lore and necromantic magic items. They are an excellent source for evil magical items and a willing buyer of such.