Of Kings and Dragons
Capital: Trollheim (12,120)
Notable Settlements: Eldentre (3,460), Hellirin (2,300)
Notable Places: Blackraven Hall, Shrine of Pharasma, Hero’s Rest (Empty Boneyard), Stormspear Keep, Summerglen
Ruler: Freyr Darkwine
Major Races: dwarves, humans (Ulfen)
Religion: Desna, Erastil, Gorum, Pharasma, Torag
Resources: furs, gemstones, iron, leather goods, quartz, silver, stone, venison
Hagreach encompasses the current eastern edge of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, yet this was not always the Linnorm Kingdoms’ eastern border. When Baba Yaga and her winter witches carved out the territory of Irrisen in 3313 ar, they subjugated and overwhelmed all of the eastern Linnorm Kingdoms. Conquest after conquest saw Irrisen grow and the Linnorm Kingdoms recede—it wasn’t until a year later that the Ulfen managed to set aside their bickering to unite along the Iceflow and the Thundering River to halt the witches’ advance. With the fortification of Trollheim and additional aid from the fey of Grungir Forest in 3318, the tide finally turned and the Linnorm Kingdoms actually began to retake land south of the Iceflow.
Today, border skirmishes with trolls, winter wolves, and winter witches remain common, and the towns of Hagreach are more like armed camps than typical villages. Trollheim is heavily walled and exhibits an intentionally confusing street layout, while the smaller villages of the region are surrounded by strong walls and dense swaths of vegetation. The people of the Hagreach are more battle-ready as well, and are always wary of strangers and quick to violence.
The region has had its share of Linnorm Kings in the past, but they have traditionally fallen quickly in the face of the ongoing struggle with Irrisen—few Linnorm Kings of Hagreach can long resist the temptation to seek the glory of being the one to retake one of the lost kingdoms to the east, even though those who lead these ill-advised assaults are swiftly defeated. The current “ruler” of Hagreach—Freyr Darkwine, Castellan of Trollheim—has yet to defeat a linnorm, and has not claimed any plans to attempt such a feat anytime soon. Freyr is more interested in helping to keep Hagreach a strong bulwark against its enemies to the east than he is in personal glory. While his civil authority doesn’t extend beyond the bounds of Trollheim, his moral authority and the respect he has gained from his single-minded fight against Irrisen have spread across the whole region.
The towns of Hagreach tend toward hunting and subsistence agriculture, and oversee some small iron and silver mines as well. Garnets abound on hillsides and in the streams that lace the plains, and trade in these and other gems provides most of the region’s foreign exchange. In return for such commodities, the region imports weapons and extra food, as the effort expended patrolling the border sometimes makes the agricultural yield unreliable.
And the border does need patrolling. While Baba Yaga’s daughters have been mostly content with these boundaries, they routinely encourage ice trolls, winter wolves, and mercenary bands to raid across the border to steal Ulfen children, wreak havoc, and loot treasure. Residents of Hagreach have lived with the constant threat of violence their entire lives and are always ready with a spear, sword, or bow to defend themselves. Villages are well organized, with military tasks for men and women alike—even children and the elderly are routinely armed and expected to help defend against raids.
Attacks on Hagreach settlements often become sieges, with defenders retreating to fortified buildings and attempting to hold out until the raiders exhaust their supplies. This defensive method of holding the line rankles many of Hagreach’s soldiers, though, and as such many eager young mercenaries and those hungering to take the offensive seek out membership in Hagreach’s most admired military organization—the Blackravens.