Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wörld of Metal Gazetteer: The Volklands

The Svetsmelt
Land of Folk Metal

The River Svets is the broadest and longest in the known wörld, making its way from far northern Vikrölsandr, down through the dead kingdoms of Magherall and Carceron, to finally reach the kinder lands of the Svetsmelt in the south. The river is known for its unnatural chill and lumps of black ice, which absorb all the vile taint of fallen Carceron. But where the river enters this verdant valley, there are ancient warding-stones built to purify the river and melt the ice: hence, Svetsmelt.

The Svetsmelt is a place of thick woods, small river villages and ancient pagan magic. The people who live here are simple folk, but they are defended against invasion by powerful spells bound to the land itself and maintained by the enigmatic druids. Those who have tried to conquer the Svetsmelt have found the very earth and trees rising against them, to say nothing of the terrible finntrolls and coiling wyrms. Even travelling peacefully through the Svetsmelt is risky, for the land cares little for outsiders and the druids often devour living victims as part of their ecstatic blood rituals.

The locals have traditions dating back many centuries, among them the secret to forging Folk Metal. This metal is a form of rusty iron that has been imbued with many generations of ritual and blessing by the family that owns it. Usually this metal takes the form of a horseshoe, a hammer or some other simple object. The exact power of the talisman depends on the family who made it, but common properties include warning the bearer against impending betrayal, or protecting the bearer from harm so long as they stay on a straight road to their destination. These powers only apply when the talisman is freely given; if it is stolen, then it will bring down a curse on the bearer. It is not unheard of for Svetsmelt families to loan their talisman for a generation or two as a sign of great gratitude.

Sounds like: Finntroll, Cruachan, Glittertind.

Land of National Socialist Black Metal

Most of the Svetsmelt is inhabited by quiet, simple folk with little interested in the outside world. However, in one corner of the forest, near the mountainous northern border, there is a small nation of militaristic, xenophobic humans known as the stadtvolk. Presided over by their pagan masters, the rune-priests, the stadtvolk hate all civilisation that lies beyond their city walls. Non-human races they will put to death, whereas non-völkisch humans are merely enslaved. The stadtvolk are constantly plotting to invade other realms, and though their land is small they have made several serious incursions into Amaranth, Cipangu and even the lands of the Brotherhood of the Sun.

The rune-priests of Bodenstadt are descended from the same tradition as the Svetsmelt's druids, but their paths diverged long ago. Rather than drawing on the power of the land through natural relationships, the rune-priests tear it up out of the ground and bind it into occult runes. The lands around Bodenstadt are wracked with deep furrows and forests of tree-stumps, all to be burned in the city's furnaces to power their foul and unnatural rituals.

The stadtvolk have developed a new form of metal called Nation's Metal. Resembling polished iron, this metal has the power to cause searing pain when it touches the flesh of any non-human creature, whether it be elf, dwarf or even some unlucky woodland animal. The metal is used to forge weapons and also to test suspected spies for their purity. The stadtvolk are paranoid about the prospect of being infiltrated by doppelganger spies, despite the fact that the doppelgangers have very little interest in taking on such a risky mission.

Sounds like: Nokturnal Mortum, Absurd, Hate Forest.

Next on Wörld of Metal Gazetteer: Beyond the Dead Kingdoms.

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