On the shores
of a distant plane, hidden from the eyes of the gods and the worries of
men, the dead crawl out of the black surf like a fisherman's curse...
the Dead continues the exploration of Niflheim, the d20 fantasy setting
based on the legends and folklore of Iceland. The 79-page pdf is filled
with plot hooks, story arcs, npc's and new creatures of the goddess Hel.
A new class
variant, the stave - based on the principles of an ancient Norse martial
art - is introduced, as well as ways to incorporate runic magic into your
game. Fully bookmarked, with hand-out maps, Nordic naming conventions,
runes and their meanings, and a section devoted to scenes and encounters
makes Fishers of the Dead a highly-detailed continuation of the Niflheim
the ten page demo here!
The Storm of Swords
the smell of rain, as it was, when I was home. That was a fine smell,
rich and green, and the trees would look to it. The trees would glow,
in anticipation of the rain. Me and my woman would dance in the summer
rain, and revel in the beauty of our grove. Those days are gone like the
color’s gone from the air here and the hue’s gone from every,
damned, living thing. I can still smell it, just before the rain’s
about to come. But here it’s putrid, black and foul. The rain’s
just as clear, just as wet, as it was so long ago – but it stinks
like the grave and it’s the grave that it hungers for. I hold it
back. Been doing so for years, and years. What will they do when I’m
a particularly cheerful man, but he has an important job. He controls
the weather – the Storm of Swords – which erupts whenever a
new body is planted in his burial grounds. For three days and three nights
Halldor sits or stands in a circle of dwarf yew trees in the middle of
the cemetery and keeps the rain from falling anywhere within a half mile
radius of his grove. He’ll be the first to mention the irony of protecting
bodies when once he protected trees – and it’s best not to broach
the subject with him.
to Niflheim as a young man, after his wife was killed by soldiers. On
the material plane, with nothing to lose but his own life, he volunteered
to go on an expedition in the caves overlooking the nearest town. He was
looking for a way to be free of his pain without having to take a blade
to his own throat. Not wise in the ways of the world, Halldor thought
it would only be a matter of time before fate took him the way it had
taken his wife. The expedition found itself in Niflheim, and not long
after, the druid realized death was something to be avoided at any cost.
Halldor managed to survive the many raids on his group by the monsters,
beasts and brigands of the Barrens, and made his way to the Four Villages.
There he was accepted by the villagers of Pettbyli and given room and
board, in exchange for his work in the fields. One winter’s day,
a Pettbyli woman delivered a stillborn baby. Halldor helped her husband
fashion a tiny coffin and dig a small grave for the infant. The druid
noticed the husband watching the skies with growing anxiety,and when he
asked what the man was watching for, the husband whispered, ‘storm
of swords.’ He would not explain further.
later the rain came, rain like Halldor had not seen in his home on the
material plane. Fat, cold drops of rain broke the ground and turned the
hard soil into mud, breaking clots of sod off of roofs, sending cows and
goats running for shelter. The poor woman who’d lost her child was
inconsolable, wailing in the night that her baby should not be taken for
the Greedy Queen. At last, the husband knocked on Halldor’s door.
say you are a wizard,” he said, shivering with cold by the light
of Halldor’s hearth.
be mistaken," said Halldor. "I’m a master of the woods
– a man of the green.”
you stop this storm?” asked the man.
would I?," answered Halldor. "Miserable as it is, it
is part of the cycle of things.” The husband then quickly explained
why this storm was different – that it was a ploy of Hel to rob the
ground of fresh bodies for her house of undeath, and that their tiny daughter
would be carried to the Sea of Death, then to the shores of Nastrond,
then taken to Hel’s stronghold. Halldor rushed outside, pelting up
the hill even as he began chanting the words to control the storm…
that night he has kept the dead of the Four Villages buried. It is a grim
purpose, but it sustains him nonetheless.
It is hard
to keep the dead buried. The land seeks to serve its mistress, and the
skies obey Hel’s whim. When someone dies in Nifl heim clouds begin
to gather above, and within three days’ time it begins to rain. The
rain falls relentlessly, changing at times to hail, but then resumes to
rain until the ground can no longer hold its dread cargo. The dead float
to the muddy surface and are swept away in floods and swollen rivers until
they are given to the Sea of Death, where they are resurrected as servants
of Hel. No death goes unnoticed, and even the very young – or very
old – are taken to be the goddess of undeath’s minions. The
caretaker of the only cemetery in the Four Villages, the druid Halldor,
does his best to keep the Storm of Swords at bay once he buries someone
in his plot. He has never failed to keep his dead, so far, and people
will often travel for many miles to beg him to keep their fallen. He usually
complies, provided the travelers have no taint of evil.
of lightning sizzle across the blue-black clouds above, and the wind is
driving across the plains like a swarm of sharp blades, cutting at you
and bending the already gnarled trees and shrubs til their frozen, bare
tips scrape the roiling, muddy ground.
A Storm of
Swords has a definite area of effect. It extends for a radius of 10 miles
around the resting place of the deceased. Within this area the storm rages,
bringing icy cold rain and hail.