Ashes of Asgard
The Eternal Keg
Skalds have always served an important purpose in the savage lands of the Horn. Where rulers and clans rise and fall with the turning of the seasons, few exist to keep order. There are the Old Ways, of course, which provide guidance as to what acts are and aren’t honorable, but honorable acts aren’t worth much when no one knows about them, and breaking a promise has few repercussions if the only people who know of your misdeeds are dead.
The Skalds of the Eternal Keg serve as a beacon of peace and neutrality in a wartorn realm, and one of the few sources of true authority when two Jarls point fingers at one another. It is the Skald’s responsibility to chronicle the heritage of the Northmen, to observe, remember, and tell the tales of the Horn’s heroes, villains, and commoners alike. Unlike anyone else, Skalds enjoy the freedom to travel where they will, without fear of being hunted by enemies. It is said that no honorable man denies a Skald hospitality within his means, and that no honorable man stands by when a Skald is attacked. It is a black stain on the banner of a leader who turns away a Skald of good reputation who requests an audience, or to join a feast.
Spells: Beast Friend, Bless/Curse, Blind, Boost/Lower, Concentrate, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Growth/Shrink, Healing, Invisibility, Light, Legerdemain, Mind Reading, Obscure, Puppet, Quickness, Sluggish Reflexes, Slumber, Speak Language, Speed, Succor.
On a raise…
Stupor: disorient a target, reducing its parry by -2 while the power is active.
Rejuvination: Automatically rejuvenate a Shaken target.
Minor Sin: Refusing hospitality to one who comes in peace, provided they are willing to hand over their weapons. If the Skald is staying with a host who has refused hospitality to another, he may no longer stay with that host.
Major Sin: Refusing to mediate a contract between two parties, misrepresenting a party in a contract, or divulging the details of a private contract.
Major Sin: A Skald who learns of a living Heretic must add his name to the Song of Heretics. If asked, he must sing this song at any town or Inn that grants him hospitality.
Heretics: Free Mages, Ashseers, Cultists. A Skald may not be forced to sing of Shieldbearers or Bloodfire’s followers in the Song of Heretics simply because one considers the other a threat.
The Eternal Keg is a traveling shrine – a migrant festival caravan that travels through all regions of the Horn, stopping at major cities and villages along the way. Starting and ending at Krennak’s Forge, it completes a full cycle every year and begins anew, often with a vastly different crew than that which began the journey. Pilgrims travel with the Caravan for the safety it provides. Warriors escort the party in hopes of earning their Name by performing some heroic act in the presence of so many bards. Hunters compete for the most impressive kills, that their deeds might go down in history. Orphans, young rebellious children, and willful daughters disgusted by their betrothed run off with the festival to escape their homes.
The Eternal Keg is the youngest religion in the Horn – created to give Skald’s a way to protect themselves beyond simply relying on the goodwill and generosity of the Horn’s increasingly vicious rulers. The tales of where the Keg’s magical power originates are many, and the truth is likely buried or scattered somewhere in between the songs. What is known is that the Eternal Keg never seems to need to be refilled, and those have imbibed report feelings of unparalleled euphoria. When the Flagon Wagon rolls into town, it is a party of epic proportions, and often a transformative for the townsfolk. New, unexpected romances bloom, talents are discovered, craftsmen gain unexpected insights, old grudges are settled, and sometimes new ones are forged.
Serving as both high priestess and Madam for the Holy Order of Wenches, a woman known as The First Wench watches over her congregation. Her wenches may be simple servers or entertainers, but to be a courtesan trained by Holy Order is a great honor indeed. A Wench need not be a Skald, and a female Skald need not be a Wench (though less honorable men may very well treat her as if she should be – at which point the Skald is more than justified in defending her own honor). The First Wench travels with a hefty tome that chronicles the contracts brought to her by the order of Skalds.