Prominent figures are major NPCs within the game space who represent the important or well known people of Runeheim.
There are many other NPCs who serve as catalysts, connections and personal plot vectors.
What They Are
The central prominent figures are NPCs present in Runehiem whose existence is well known to Characters in the city. They are portrayed by Staff members and the Nornir. These characters will be present often and are usually available by Invitation (see the Streetwise skill) when they are not.
These characters will frequently be the source of plot developments, presenting quests, challenges, news, problems, and opportunities to the players. They convey common opinions and outlooks of the NPC community. They will also hold their own in-character perspectives, which will frequently conflict with the perspectives of other prominent figures. Note that in practice, the expectation is for PCs to drive and lead what action is taken.
PCs are encouraged to create connections – both friendly and unfriendly – with these prominent figures. During character creation, consider what your relationship might be like. If appropriate, take perks and flaws to represent particularly strong relationships. It’s important to discuss these relationships with the Staff Member helping you during character creation – they need to be consistent with the NPC’s personality, and we need to make sure the NPC is appropriately briefed when a PC enters the game with an existing relationship.
Future events may bring changes to the roster of prominent figures, as the story of Runehiem develops.
What They Are Not
Prominent figures are not the heroes of the story. That place is reserved for PCs.
Prominent figures are not designed to solve every problem. They may be useful, but more as a tool in the PCs’ problem-solving toolkit.
Prominent figures are not infallible. They do not speak with the omniscient knowledge of staff or advocate for what is right or just in every case. Their statements should not be taken as “word of god” or “word of staff”.
Prominent figures are not invulnerable. Some of them are stronger/tougher than others, but it is certainly possible for them to be defeated and even killed. Of course, there will inevitably be significant consequences for such an incident.
Some prominent figures like other characters based on past interactions and will act accordingly. These prominent figures start with a Bond of your choice to your character and a relationship defined by your character’s backstory. While they will not always be available and have a life of their own, they will help your character when they can. The cost of this Perk is between 2 and 5 points, but many of these figures fall on the high end of that spectrum.
This bond can be broken or changed based on interactions in the game space. This Bond is not immune to removal based on dramatically negative interactions with the NPC or someone attempting to remove the Bond with social skills, however the NPC will use their abilities to defend this Bond and forgive all but the most egregious offenses.
Opposition and Enemies
The world reacts to your character’s actions, which may include negative consequences. It is possible for sufficiently extreme actions to result in retribution from Prominent Figures and other major NPCs – for example, attempted murder or discovery as a Kuarlite might result in many prominent seeking to capture or kill the character, regardless of Favor. Extreme actions can result in enemies being developed over the course of play and this includes Prominent Figures. Several Flaws exist to represent such an enemy at character creation.
Known Prominent Figures of Runeheim
Grafin Vindicta Dragomir (She/Her)
Grafin Vindicta Dragomir is the recently elevated ruler of Hose Dragomir after her eldest brother’s demise. The Grafin was no stranger to leadership or warfare before her ascension and is not a power to be trifled with. She has never hesitated in making difficult decisions as a leader and is often viewed as heartless.
Vindicta views her House’s efforts in Stragosa as being wasted and unappreciated, and refuses to speak on the subject. Instead, her focus is now on breaking the backs of the traitor Njords and properly establishing Gothic rule here. It is well known that her true interests lie in a victorious return to the Throne, a wish she has shared with her father and grandfather. Vindicta has not established the harsh restrictions of Frosthearth here in Runeheim, but those who know her know what she’s capable of and attempt to resolve social issues before she has to step in.
Though those outside of House Dragomir would call her cold, even cruel in matters of rulership, she is considered quite charming to her knights and the gentry of her house. She has established a tradition of Saturday morning breakfast where she eats with those in her direct service and listens to news and concerns.
Ten men broken and flayed on display is a hundred men too scared to be next.
Dame Ysan "Tongue Splitter" (She/Her)
Dame Ysan Ivansdottir, branded Tongue Splitter, is a Thane of Clan White Eyes in service to Vindicta Dragomir as a Knight. Known as fair and stern, Dame Tongue Splitter has made a name for herself as a powerful negotiator. In conversation she respectfully listens to all perspectives, making space for a variety of opinions to be heard before making a final decision. Her great tolerance has its limits, however, and it is known that Ysna earned her name by severing the tongue out of Bearhide clansmen who spoke over her during negotiations- a tactic she is more than willing to utilize to encourage civility among her petitioners.
Within Runeheim, Dame Tongue Splitter interfaces with the towns members with great frequency, dispensing the Grafin’s justice and hearing the injustices voiced by the townspeople and nobility alike. Though she takes on many of the duties of a Seneschal, she has never been granted that title.
Sir Egon der Reitzen - Lord Marshal (He/Him)
A man of few words, Sir Der Reitzen appears to silently judge the inhabitants of Runeheim. The Lord Marshal is methodical and possesses an uncanny stillness that makes some uncomfortable- until he cracks a well timed joke. In conversation he has little subtlety- and is quick to address errors in action and flaws in plans. Despite his awkwardness, no one would contest his competence or steadfastness when faced with a challenge; Sir Egon Der Reitzen is always a professional and delivers on his agreements, especially in the war room. Outside of the strategy meetings, Sir Egon is seen less often than others. He spends a lot of time with Vindicta’s army, acting as its commander and overseeing its special training.
In matters of the law, Sir Egon is a pillar of Gothic virtue. It was under his watchful eye that the Gothic enclaves in and surrounding Frozen Hearth. While the warfront and the necessity of allies complicates the restrictions that he can impose for improper conduct, he still uses strict standards when dispensing justice and anyone who isn’t a fellow Gothic conservative strives to manage disagreements without him whenever possible.
“Never waste your breath pontificating. It is a finite resource, with an indeterminate longevity”
-Sir Der Reitzen
Manfred of Lubeck - Master of Coin (He/Him)
Manfred of Lubeck is an unimposing man of advanced years. He is bespectacled and often requires the use of a cane to walk and an amplification cone in order to hear conversations clearly. Despite his infirmity, it would be unwise to assume this shrewd businessman could be outwitted, or convinced to act against his miserly nature. His fiscally conservative tendencies have been critical in the development of Runeheim and he is quick to regale anyone who seeks his counsel with the multitude of horrors which could befall a city should gold be treated with frivolity. Still, he is said to enjoy games of strategy and befriends those who will play with him or introduce him to something new.
Father Elias Gottschalk - Eparch
Father Elias Gottschalk, a Priest of the Mithrihim order, did not expect to be appointed the Eparch of a settlement. Traveling north with the army, Father Elias is driven to save the souls of mankind and is unshaken by the obstacles in his path. Father Elias’ deep empathy for the wellbeing of mankind is more global than personal, however, which can lead others to believe he lacks compassion. Truthfully, he is more at home among the ranks of the military than he is in Runeheim, but he does his best to support everyone. With his unwavering faith as his guide the Eparch of Runeheim guards the souls of the pious Benalians with true leonine ferocity. He is just as likely to be found fighting side by side with the great warriors of the settlement as he is to be preaching within the safety of the sanctuary.
Father Klaus Barz - Melandihim Missionary
Father Klaus Barz, who often requests to be addressed as Gudbrand- his Njordic name, has resided among the Njords for sometime and developed a deep understanding and fondness for the people of the North. Father Klaus speaks often of a deep calling within his soul, to aid the people of Njordir in harmonious integration with the Throne. Gudbrand can be counted on to be the first voice in Runeheim to address injustice committed against Njords and will do so without prompting by the offended party. Due to his charisma, boldness and positive message, he has quickly gained a following of likeminded Gothics seeking to help the less fortunate.
Tommaso Leto - Head of The Hestrali Guild
Tommaso Leto has bravely, but foolishly, navigated the perilous seas to connect the savage north lands with the rest of civilization. Unfortunately, this cost him half his crew and the seaworthiness of his ship. Attempting to make the most of a bad situation, he has repurposed the drydocked vessel as a general store of sorts and done fairly well for himself- keeping a steady supply of necessities for those with coin to pay for them.
Despite his current circumstances, Guildmaster Leto fancies himself a courageous trailblazer, nobly facing unknown dangers in pursuit of wonders and profit, and is always ready with a story of his exploits. Tommaso moves with an aura of eccentricity and the people of Runeheim are left to wonder how much of his mind has been lost to the Sea of Coils.
The Spy Master
For someone entirely unknown to the town of Runeheim, the Spymaster of Runeheim is the source of infinite conversation and numerous rumors.
“I’m certain that Alastor Dragomir is alive and well- as the spy master of Runeheim- his death was the only way he could continue his work as an Air Mage while supporting house Dragomir.”
“I heard she traveled from the far north- deep in the Rimelands. She was WAITING for Vindicta when she arrived, full of weird prophecies and warnings.”
“There is no spymaster. Anyone who says otherwise is just superstitious. A spymaster is just a bogeyman that Gothics use for control.”
“Vindicta struck a deal with something not of this world- her spymaster isn’t even human. Its a pale creature that moves freely through the dark corners of Runeheim. It can appear from any shadow and slays with a spike to the neck. Nothing you ever say will escape its ears.”
“He is the most unassuming man- as plain as a snow covered morning. You could look him straight in the eye and forget him the next second.”
“There isn’t a single spy master- Grafin Dragomir feeds the orphan scum of the town, anytime those pesky gutter snipes are around you’d better mind your tongue.”
Hans Redhand of The Fire Guild
As a Fire Guild battlemage Hans has one priority, utter superiority in warfare over the Rimeclans. Sent here to oversee the use of mages on the warfront his assistance has been essential to the Throne’s military success so far. Like many fire mages, Hans is rumored to be unhinged, but he seems to confine it to the battlefield- offering no quarter to his enemies and utterly destroying anything that stands in his way. Still those who have ever argued with him have seen the glint in his eye, as if he’s holding himself back with great effort.
To his Guild subordinates and the unit of battlemages he commands, Hans presents a stern but reasonable face. While he always focuses on efficiency first, those who serve him note that he learns about them and will sometimes modify their duties without prompting when they’re having difficulties- physically or psychologically. He claims that this is all in the interest of unit effectiveness, but those who have been with him longest think he might just care.
Helga of Crowseye
Helga has lived in Runeheim since long before the arrival of Vindicta. Though she is past the prime of her life, this hardy woman seems to have her ear to the ground at all times- if something is afoot, Helga likely knew it yesterday. She stands as a voice of times long past in Njordr, and sings praises of their fierce ancestors who carved a life out of an unforgiving wilderness. While Helga is a member of Clan Crowseye, a Rime Clan, she has many friends in Runeheim and Clan Crowseye has yet to raise a banner against the Throne. Those loyal to the Throne try to keep a close eye on her, but she’s mostly viewed as harmless.