Friday, June 24, 2011

Harald Sorenson

Harald, son of Soren, is the blacksmith of Odense (which means Odin's sanctuary), a small village in the northern coast of the Isle of Fyn. He learned the basics of the craft at a young age helping his father. However, his father was not a common blacksmith; his specialty was not the making of tools, weapons or armor, but of chains and shackles. His father was a blacksmith in a slave ship. Long, hard months at sea were spent plundering the coasts of Northumbria and East Anglia, to return with loads of slaves to be sold in Frankia or Frisia. Several years went by working in this horrible but lucrative business. During daylight hours young Harald perfected his skills as a blacksmith and also tried, in his idle time aboard the ships, to grasp the art of navigation. But at nightfall, in his dreams, he was haunted by the gaze returned by the slaves when he held fast the incandescent rivet while his father's hammer sealed their fate.

Many times they were followed after a raid but always, thanks to the gods, they had the good fortune to escape. As always, the men upwinded the sails to the limit and the slaves were forced to row until their calloused hands bled. However, this time was different; the sails on the horizon became larger and larger. Had the English become more daring? Were their ships now as good as the Danish longships? At bowshot, the English launched several flaming arrows, some of which landed on the ship and on the sails, which caught fire. The English rammed the Danes from the starboard side trying to disable the rudder, breaking several oars along with the arms of many rowers in the process. What followed was the bloodiest affair Harald had lived so far, since he was too young to take part in the raids on land. Helmets and skulls crushed by axes, arms and legs mutilated by swords, torsos pierced by spears, fierce looking men crying like children trying in vain to contain their spilling entrails with their hands.

The Danes, recovering from the initial surprise, managed to repel the English attack and bring most of the combat to the enemy ship. In the Danish ship, which was rapidly being engulfed by the fire, the slaves struggled to escape from their chains. Harald, dagger in hand, and his father, who wielded a hammer, were trying to fend off the assault of two English warriors. Harald stabbed one of them in the calf unbalancing him and his father sunk his hammer on the head of the attacker. The other warrior lunged forward plunging his sword into Soren, mortally wounding him. Harald let out a cry and dropped his dagger to stop his father's fall. The warrior lifted the bloody sword to kill Harald but fell pierced by a spear. Harald raised his father's hammer and repeatedly smashed the head of the wounded warrior.

From the smoke emerged the figure of Sven Magnusson, the Danish captain, who commanded Harald to accompany him to the other ship. Seeing that Harald refused to leave his father, he said: "There is no greater honor for a warrior than to die in combat; this burning ship will take him to the gates of Valhalla." After capturing the English ship, the survivors watched their longship being consumed by flames as the piercing screams of the unfortunate got lost in the distance.

Many winters have passed since then and now Harald and his assistant Ulrik attend to the village forge. During all these years he has forged many things but none as special as "Nedrivning", a hammer made from a rock that fell from the sky in the nearby marshes, beaten with his father's hammer and hardened in the water of the first thaw. He still remembers that night when the village völva awakened him and, along with Ulrik, they went to gather the rock. At the völva's request both worked relentlessly several days at the forge under her watchful eye. He does not remember having slept or taken any food, only the satisfaction of the endeavor seemed to have kept them up. The völva drew with charcoal the runes to be carved on the weapon and whose meaning he never found out. "Nedrivning" remains hidden, "awaiting the right time", in the völva's words. He has tattoed on arms and chest the same runes the völva draw for "Nedrivning".

Age 29; Human; 1.80m; 120kg; Bald, fat, tattooed.

ST 12 [20]; DX 13 [60]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 10 [0].
Damage 1d-1/1d+2; BL 29 lbs.; HP 14 [4]; Will 13 [0]; Per 13 [0]; FP11 [3].
Basic Speed 5,75 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Block 9 (Shield (Shield));Dodge 8; Parry 9 (Axe/Mace).

Social BackgroundTL: 3 [0].CF: Norse (Native) [0].Languages: Norse (Native/None) [3].
Advantages - None
Disadvantages - Code of Honor (Pagan) -2 [-10]; Fat [-3]; Gluttony (12 or less) [-5];Vow (Minor) [-5].
Skills - Area Knowledge (Jutlandia)-13 (IQ+0) [1]; Armoury/TL3 (BodyArmor)-14 (IQ+1) [4]; Armoury/TL3 (Melee Weapons)-13 (IQ+0) [2];Axe/Mace-13 (DX+0) [2]; Broadsword-12 (DX-1) [1]; First Aid/TL3-13(IQ+0) [1]; Hiking-9 (HT-1) [1]; Merchant-13 (IQ+0) [2]; Navigation/TL3(Sea)-13 (IQ+0) [2]; Riding (Horse)-12 (DX-1) [1]; Seamanship/TL3-13(IQ+0) [1]; Shield (Shield)-13 (DX+0) [1]; Smith/TL3 (Copper)-12 (IQ-1)[1]; Smith/TL3 (Iron)-13 (IQ+0) [2]; Smith/TL3 (Lead and Tin)-12 (IQ-1)[1].

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What the...!?

Since I started blogging the site has had an average of about 300 visits a month, but this month that count rocketeered to about 4800! Surely there must be something wrong, right? Have this happened to anyone else?

I've been barely posting lately (most of the attention goes now to my 3 month old son) but I wanted to take some time to welcome my latest followers: Grendelwulf and Rule of the Dice. Oh, and I haven't fogotten what I said on my last post about posting my GURPS and ME characters.