Ruins of Adventure
- Races: Human
- Classes: Any
- Ability Requirements: Health 14, Stamina 10
- Alignments: Any
- Starting Cash: 4d4 x10 gp
- Bonus Languages: Sossic
- Recommended Languages: Naric, Rasallesian, Ulutiun
- Weapon Slots: +1 slot
- Non-weapon Slots: By class
- Available Categories: By class
- Bonus Proficiencies: Survival (arctic)
- Required Proficiencies: none
- Recommended Proficiencies: none
Overview: This fantastic kingdom of pale, blonde humans is the northernmost nation in the Realms. The Sossrim, who inhabit the fabled kingdom, are a strange and wondrous people. Many folk who live in more hospitable climates wonder at their ability to survive in a land as hostile as the frozen North. Like the Iulutiuns, the Sossrim have adapted to life in a place where no other native of Toril would likely survive for even a few days.
Description: Even the Iulutiun people have not adapted to the brutal environment of the north as well as the Sossrim. These folk have skin that is as pallid as snow and hair with the fine, silver tint of an icicle. So perfectly camouflaged are the Sossrim that they can throw themselves flat upon snow and virtually vanish from sight.
The Sossrim, dress in the white furs of polar bears. They often remove the hides of these creatures in such a way that the head remains intact and attached to the rest of the skin. When such a robe is fashioned correctly, the bear’s head is placed over that of the wearer. Seen from a distance, it is easy to mistake a hooded Sossrim hunter as an upright polar bear or some manner of lycanthrope.
Role-Playing: “As cold as the snow that hides them” is how one sage described the warriors of Sossal. They are slow to laugh, and even slower to trust anyone who is not of their blood. Even when that trust is earned, it must be constantly renewed and re-earned, given their “What have you done for me lately?” attitude.
Sossrim are cold-hearted pragmatists who have no qualms about taking actions that others may find uncivilized. A wounded comrade who will die slowly is slain quickly. After all, why make him suffer needlessly? Old people who have outlived their usefulness can either wander out into the icy waste and die in the cold, or take a quick-acting poison brewed from a scraggly arctic plant.
The Sossrim feel exposed and vulnerable when not in the arctic environment of their homes. At first, this merely makes them a bit edgy. Within a fortnight, however, a Sossrim traveler begins to become almost paranoid. The evolutionary traits that allow him to survive in the frigid north often work against him in warmer regions of the world.
This is not to say these folk are cowardly. The expression “ice water in their veins,” meaning that someone shows no fear or any emotion whatsoever, is a very appropriate description of the Sossrim. The dangers they face in their daily lives would leave most citizens of Waterdeep or Dales merchants cowering and broken. The Sossrim will certainly press on if he feels his reason for traveling is important enough. However, he’ll take a direct approach to his business in the outside world and get it over with promptly so that he may return to his homeland.
- Characters from the Cold Lands are very well adapted to their climate. They have a +4 bonus on any saving throw they must make to escape or lessen the effects of a cold-based or ice-based attack. Any damage they suffer from such attacks is made with a -1 penalty per die rolled.
- In addition, Sossrim gain a +1 on their saving throws versus dragon breath, and a +2 bonus on saving throws against any type of dragon-fear.
- The magic of the Sossrim is based partly on a natural understanding of the sparse life that manages to survive in the frozen North. A Sossrim has the ability to assume the shape of the many animals that live around him. This power may be employed once in any 24-hour period, with a duration in turns equal to his character level. The transformation takes one round and functions much like the wizard’s shape change spell.
Unless the DM rules against a specific animal, the Sossrim may become any creature whose natural climate is Arctic. The principle limiting factor of the character’s ability is that the creature cannot have more than half his own Hit Dice, rounded up. For example, a 16th-level wizard can become an arctic creature of as many as 8 Hit Dice, like a polar bear, for as long as 16 turns.
- In a setting with snow on the ground, Sossrim can naturally pass without trace (as the spell). Sossrim also are able to hide against snowy terrain, until it seems that they are nearly invisible. This works exactly as the Hiding non-weapon proficiency, save that it only works in snow terrain. In areas of heavy snowfall, the Sossrim receives a +2 bonus to this check. He suffers a -4 penalty on the check when attempting to hide from someone with Infravision.
- Characters of the Cold Lands suffer greatly from heat-based or fire-based attacks. Any saving throw made to escape or reduce the effects of attacks like this suffers a -4 penalty. These characters also suffer an extra 2 points of damage per die rolled from any such attack whether or not they successfully save against it.
- Life in the Cold Lands can be harsh and brief. As a result, most dwellers in these lands marry and produce offspring at an early age. Most Cold Lands folk are married at age sixteen, and have one child soon after that. Each starting warrior has a 50% chance of being married, with his or her mate “back home.” Fifty percent of those characters without a mate, are widowed. If the character’s starting age is eighteen (or equivalent for non-humans), there is a 70% chance that he or she has a child. Roll again for every year beyond eighteen. A twenty year old warrior could start out a game campaign as the parent of three children!
Unless the character is childless and widowed, he must set aside 20% of his earnings for his family’s welfare. Once every season (three months), characters who are married or parents must return to their land to visit their families, and bring them the money.
- In places where the temperature tops 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the Sossrim becomes agitated and uncomfortable from the heat. All of his ability scores are reduced by 2 until he can get to a cooler site.
- The fanatical hatred that the Sossrim have for dragons is taught from birth and has become an ingrained part of their culture as a rite of passage. When a Sossrim reaches seventh level, he or she must slay a white dragon within a year; the PC cannot rise above 7th level until he or she has killed a white dragon (50% or more of total damage).
- This extreme enmity has not gone unnoticed by the white dragons around Sossal. The DM should create an NPC white dragon specifically as the PC’s enemy and begin working the warrior slowly towards the life-or-death confrontation with the dragon.
- Finally, the range of creatures encountered by the Sossrim is limited indeed. There are many monsters whose natures and abilities baffle and surprise the Sossal warriors. Thus, a Sossrim character is surprised on a 1-4 on a d10 when encountering monsters that are not native to Arctic environments.
Return to Homelands.