The Frozen Realm of the Ice Queen
Kislev is a land of dark pine forests, snow-clad wilderness and wind-swept steppes. The inhabitants huddle around huge log fires in timber halls protected by massive stockades. The ruler of this cold and extensive realm is the Ice Queen, Czarina Katarin the Great, Shaman-Khan of Keslev, daughter of the notorious Tzar Boris Goblin Basher whose many battles in the east expanded the Kislev Empire beyond the Worlds Edge Mountains.
The realm of Kislev lies on the northern borders of the Empire. For centuries it has been a buttress against the onslaught of Chaos from the wastes to the north. Thanks to the Empire's support, Kislev has never fallen, although many of her cities have suffered devatation at the hands of the Chaos Hordes. To this day, Kislev remains a strong friend and ally of the Emperor, and is always willing to send fighting forces to help fight his wars, as he is to help Kislev fight their wars.
Surprisingly, at least to those who don't know the Kislevites, Kislev boasts some of the oldest settlements in the north of the Old World. The area was first settled over 1000 years ago by a formerly nomadic people called the Gospodars, who had been raiding the region from the far side of the Worlds Edge Mountains for many years. Realising that the disintegrating Empire was far too absorbed with internal fueding to deal with an invasion, they seized their oppurtunity with both hands. By the time The Empire began to stir itself, the Gospodars had already established their realm.
COMMONLY KNOWN HISTORY OF KISLEV
As Told By The Kislevites Themselves...
The History of Kislev reaches back a long time, from the times when the hordes of Gospodars finally arrived over the Worlds Edge mountains in strength. The Empire, long a realm torn by internal strife was too weak to hold it's northernmost provinces which had become independent. When the Empire finally gathered its strength, the Gospodars had already firmly established their realm.
The Emperors realised that the Empire would benefit from this bulwark against chaos and the barbarous Norse, and formed an alliance with the tsar Alexandr I. Since then Kislev and the Empire have enjoyed a strong alliance with each other, and often send allied troops to help their friends in the hour of need. A notable example of this is the Gryphon Guards Legion that is based in the Empire and includes many of the noblest sons of Kislev.
Both Norse and nomadic horse barbarians, as well as the dread hordes of Chaos threaten the borders of Kislev. Because of this the army of Kislev is numerous and powerful, and mercenaries are always welcome in Kislev. The realm is considered to be in a permant state of continual warfare, and the people have grown hard in the face of their trials.
The last great Chaos Incursion almost nearly overran the Lislev, and only by the valiant efforts of the Kislevites, supported by the dwarfs, darves, halflings, an Adarian Foreign Legion and a mighty army of Magnus the Pious barely turned the tide 200 years ago.
The current ruler of Kislev is Czarina Katarin, who followed her father Radii Bokha after his mysterious death. The City States of Kislev, Erengrad and Praag in particular are independent realms, but owe their fealty to the ruler of Kislev.
Kislev comprises the city of Kislev and a number of vassal and colonial states situated between the river Lynsk to the north and the Talabec to the south. It is the only Old World state to extend eastwards over the Worlds Edge Mountains, although these lands (known as "Zaborota," or "Farside") are only tenuously held by marcher boyars (barons), and only in the peak of summer are the mountain passes open. Westwards, the Sea of Claws and the Forest of Shadows form more secure frontiers.
The River Urskoy is the easternmost of all navigable rivers in the Old World. It enables cargoes from Kislev to be transported throughout the Empire, as far as the sea at Marienburg, almost 1000 miles away. At Altdorf the Urskoy join joins the mighty river Reik and cargoes may be transferred to ocean-going vessels.
The River Lynsk marks the boundary between Kislev and the Northern Wastes. It is navigable by river boats as far as Praag, although it is a brave captain who would risk his vessel on such a journey, when it is open to assault from the Chaos hordes that prowl the northern banks. During the months of winter, the river is frozen for miles at a stretch, and the citizens of Praag must look to their storehouses to survive.
PLACES OF PARTICULIAR INTEREST:
Of the trading cities of the Old World, only the Imperial City of Renown is larger and more important. Whale-oil, sea-ivory, timber, pearls, tar and fish are traded here, and even the sleek ships of the High Elves often come here, daring the dangers of the seas polluted by the Chaos. Traders from Bretonnia, Marienburg and the Empire come to this city which is situated in the lagoon at the head of river Lynks.
This city stands in the banks of river Urskoy, and is built around "Gora Geroyev", known also as Kreml, "The Hill of the Heroes". It is a fortress-city, for the Realm of Chaos draws ever nearer every year, and the many valiant Kislevites are buried every day in the red soil of Kreml. Dwarfs hired from the Empire and from their own realm work tirelessly to strengthen the defenses.
During the last great Chaos Incursion this once-beautiful city was completely overrun by the forces of Chaos. The minions of the Four Powers breached the defenses of the city and put the inhabitants to sword. Those few who survived by fleeing in the surrounding woods returned to find their homes twisted by the Chaos. The buildings had melted with the flesh, forming disturbing and sickening visage of horror.
The Tsar of Erengrad ordered the city to be burned down and re-built. This was done, but the Chaos returned. Travelers tell tales of cries of agony that pierce the nights, and faces appearing in the walls of the buildings, consuming unwary with sharp teeth. Kislevites burn down and re-build their homes continually to retain some measure of sanity. They refuse to move away, for they feel that this would mean giving in to Chaos.
Current Tsar Saltan spends his time drilling his militia and dreaming of the revenge he will inflict upon the foul spawn of Chaos.
The Cities In More Detail:
The three largest Kislevite cities are Erengrad, the country's major port; Kislev, the capital; and Praag, the beleaguered city of Tsar Zoltan.
Erengrad is second only to Marienburg among the northern ports of the Old World. Through its harbours pass the innumerable wares of the Norscan coast - whale oil, sea-ivory, timber, tar and fish. Ships based in the city journey far to the north to trade with barbaric Norsemen and the fabled Northern or Winter Dwarfs, braving the dangers of the terrible northern seas which seethe with the mutations and evil lintentions of the noisome Elder Lords of Chaos. Upon the quays of Erengrad Norse rub shoulders with traders from as far away as the great trading centers of Marienburg, L'Anquille, and occasionally with sailors from ports as far distant as Bilbali and Magritta. The city stands at the head of the chill lagoon at the mouth of the waters of the river Lynsk, the huge lagoon offers shelter from the cold sea and the ravenging winds of Chaos that blow from the north. The principle trading docklands are situated on a sizeable island, joined to the main city by means of a fabulous timber bridge built upon vast piles sunk deep into the bed of the lagoon.
The architecture is unique to the region - few buildings are over two storeys in height, apart form the many temple towers, with their quilded cupolas and mulititudinous bells for which the city is famous. On great civic occasions, these are rung in unison, and their peels echo for miles around. The city presents walls of solid timber to beings cowering in the dark forests, and from its great bronze gates a lone and dangerous path winds its way towards Middenheim and the Empire.
Kislev stands high on the banks of the river Urskoy, within a great loop of the river at a point where it skirts the steep "Gora Geroyev" (or "Hill of Heroes") upon which the city is built. Its walls are strong and steadfast, if somewhat molten in appearance in places where the tides of Chaos have lashed against it before being back by the stout-hearted defenders. Kislev stands at the very frontiers of anarchy, upon the borders of an area whose exact form can shift and change with the wind. The city has suffered siege and assault by both the servants of Chaos and the mutating winds that accompany them. Many of Kislev's older buildings bear witness to terrible battles in which flesh and stone flowed like water before assuming new, horrific shapes.
The wharves of Kislev are built around an artificial pool within the city walls, and are accessible only through a well-defended river-gate. East of the city, the river is much shallower and is the preserve of flat-bottomed barges and small river boats, craft whose crew congregate in the way-side inns and houses along the wharfside.
Upon the crest of the Hill of Heroes stands the palace of the Grand Tsar of all Kislevites, Radii Bokha, the Overlord of the north and sovereign to all the Tsars of Kislev. This mighty fortress rises in tier upon tier of stone towers and gaily festooned battlements, reaching a pinnacle in a great golden dome which is plainly visible from many miles around.
Praag is less fortunate than Kislev, and was once completely overswept by mutating storms from the north. Amid howling gales of destruction, the servants of Chaos strode the city streets, slaying women and children as the city slowly melted into a screaming tapestry of terror, becoming a travesty of its former grandeur. When the tides of Chaos receded, those fortunate enough to have escaped into the forests returned to find their homes transmuted into the foulest of nightmares. Where neat rows of houses once stood side by side, there now flowed a weird warren of molten glass, melted by some incredible heat, distorted into caverns and caves and all manner of disturbing shapes. Nor was the effect restricted to inanimate matter, for everything passed over by the Chaos hordes became mutated and intwined, so that it was no longer possible to distinguish between living creatures and the rough stone of houses. Thus, the survivors of Praag found their city completely corrupted, where walls were split to show rows of teeth in a gibbering mouth, and where floors moved as if composed of a writhing mass of small creatures....
In desperation, Tsar Zoltan ordered that the city be burnt to the ground, cleansing the foulness from it so that the people might build it again. This they did, erecting a new city whose stone walls stood as solid as those of Kislev itself. But little could they imagine the true power of Chaos, for its creations cannot so easily be banished, and soon the terrors of the old city began to grow back, polluting the new buildings. At first the city began to whisper, then the night air was filled with pitiful cries of anguish. Once more, faces appeared in the walls, and grasping hands rose from the pavements - only by vigilant burnings and rebuilding is any sanity retained. The reputation of Praag is grim, and travellers tell sickening tales of its horrors. In his nearby Palace Praag, Tsar Zoltan drills the Stalgrad Militia, and broods on how the Chaos spawn can be defeated and his people avenged.
The Kislevites and their subject peoples have long since intermingled with the native Old Worlders, and yet remain enigmatically "different". TGenerally they are a tall people, broad-shouldered, with dense dark hair, males sporting long wild beards. Blonde or red haired individuals are fairly common due to the racial intermixing. Although reputedly quiet and dour when sober, they are known to be hard drinkers. It is said that Kislev celegrations are at be near- riots. They are resolute fighters, sworn to root out and destroy the minions of Chaos that threaten their lands from north and east. They are also great music lovers, and the battle songs of Kislev are an impressive sound when sung by the deep-voiced warriors before a battle.
The mainstay of the people of kislev are gospodars tall, broad shouldered and blond or red-haired people with deep voices. They are quiet and grim in the face of the outsiders, but in fact they are very sentimental people, with deep love for their families and their land. They are mighty fighters, and the most courageous opponents of Chaos anywhere.
Womenfolk of Kislev are famed for their beauty, and the Kislevites value their females as highly as men. There is no reason why a woman could not rise into important positions in the government, and the bloodline is traced by the mothers side. Most kislevite women tend to stay at home, however, but in the house and home their authority is absolute and far above of that of a man.
Most powerful kislevite sorcerers are always women, and many tales have been told about Baba Yaga, the most powerful Witch of all time. Gospodars love music, and their dances, especially the Bladedance, are famous throughout the Old World. Their battle-songs are one of the most impressive sounds in the Known World, and their dreaded war-cry "URAAA! URAAA!" is feared where-ever it is heard.
Kossacks are a semi-nomadic people who live on all the borderlands of the Kislev nation. Racially very mixed, being a Kossack is as much about life-style as race. They are horsemen and scouts without peer, these brave warriors have always stood in the defense of the realm against the wrath of Chaos. Year after year a war of ambush and counter-ambush is fought, and usually the Kossacks are victorious. Even when faced with overwhelming odds and power, their hatred against the forces of Chaos often sees them through.
The most primitive and savage of all the peoples of Kislev, the Geruns live little better than animals. They file their teeth, the males scar-burn their faces so beards will not grow, various bands of Gerhuns scar their bodies in various ways, and many of their tribesmen enter battles in a berserker state of fury. Often described as monkeys mounted on greyhounds, they are perhaps the best horse archers in the world. They are a cannibalistic, vicious race, but never-the-less fearless in the defense of their land. No opponent wishes to be captured by the Geruns, for his fate shall be worse than death.
Although the Kislevites have long since adopted the Old World tongue, their past is not completely forgotten and many still use the tribal speech of old, which is reputedly furnished with a wealth of highly descriptive terms of abuse. Their voices are rich and sonorous, and when using the Old World tongue, they have thick accents and tend to say "v" instead of "w".
The Norse barbarians and hordes of Chaos that live in the northern wastes must travel through Kislev before they can penetrate the Old World - and the Kislevites are sworn to stop them. For this reason, they maintain a strong army of valiant warriors, and employ many mercenaries and sell-swords. Kislev is a state under siege, right in the front line of the war against Chaos. Unfortunately, like everywhere else, the taint of corruption runs far deeper than anyone can imagine, and the forests of Kislev are filled with all manner of Beastmen and their treacherous, power-hungry, Human allies. The city-states comprising Kislev are kingdoms in their own right, although in effect little more than provinces with monarchs strictly under the thumb of Czarina.
The Ice Queen of Kislev
In ages past, a tribe of fierce warrior horsemen called the Gospodars rode from the east, crossed the World's End Mountains and settled in the valley of the River Urskoy. Although barbarous and uncivilized they were led by a determined and ambitious Shaman-Khan whose first action was to conqueror the native people, drive out the goblins and build the city of Kislev. Since that time the Kislev nation has prospered and its capital city gas sprouted golden domed temples and palaces.
The first Shaman-Khans of Kislev were mages of great power. Unlike the mages of the more civilized realms to the south, they draw their power from an older, more elemental source. Over time the Shaman-Khans became Czars, and their magical powers grew, especially in the female line. Drawing their powers from the frozen land they became the greatest practitioners of Ice Magic - the mamipulation of chill, frost and biting winds.
The Czarina Katarin is the current ruler of this warlike people, having succeeded to the throne on the death of her father Czar Bokha. It is believed that she is the most powerful wizardess to ever wear the crown, and with her aloof majesty and icy disposition has earned her her nickname of the Ice Queen of Kislev.
Quite often, when the empire request troops for a campaign, or if the need is great, Katarin will often personally command and lead the troops into battle herself. Rather than appoint a regent, she usually leaves the running of the Kislev government to several of her greatest boyars with limited authority to act, but none has enough power to gain power. Important matters are shelfed until her return.
The Ice Queen carries the enchanted blade Fearfrost, heirloom of the Czars of Kislev which was forged by the great Shaman-Khan-Queen Miska the Slaughterer. Katarin never wears any armor. In the past Katarin has fought on foot, from horseback or on magical or fabulous steeds.
Ice Magic the Ice Queen of Kislev is said to employ
ARMOR OF COLD
The caster may cast this spell onto himself. It will surround the caster and any unit they are with armor of intense coldness. The Armor of Cold can be dispelled if enough damage is done to it.
BRIDGE OF ICE
The Ice Bridge may be moved over at normal rate. It should be noted that the Ice Bridge does on have to be the level (i.e., with both sides of the bridge anchored at the same elevation). Thus, an Ice Bridge can be made to "slope" so troops can move onto a castle wall, a rocky pinnacle or other elevation.
An icy blast erupts from the caster and strikes the first target in its path and within its range of 24 yards. The target is chilled to the bone, causing limbs to snap and weapons to break. The Chill Blast inflicts cold damage apparently armour does not help.
This spell may be cast against any one opponent in hand to hand combat with the caster. Parts of the opponent are frozen solid and turn into ice, causing terrible wounds or killing him outright.
This spell may be used to freeze over an entire body of water anywhere on the battlefield, for example an entire river, a marsh, or a lake. A frozen river, marsh, lake, etc., may be moved over at normal rate. Once frozen a body of water remains frozen for the rest of the game - the spell does not remain in play and may be cast again at a different body of water. A dispel attempt of any kind will not unfreeze water once it has been frozen, but any Fire or Light spells that cause damage that are cast on the water will automatically unfreeze it.
A volley of sharp icicles fly out from the caster's hand and strike the first target in their path at a range of up to 24 yards.
This spell enables the caster to transport a friendly or an enemy unit or a single individual across the any terrain and in any direction. Affected troops are swept up upon a heaving sled of ice and carried to their new location. Troops may run down any intervening creatures, buildings, terrain and/or any other obstacles or scenery. Move is at least as fast as a charging horse.
WARRIORS OF KISLEV
Kislev armies usually include a high born noble to lead them into battle. This will usually be one of the Czars or a powerful Boyar.
The land of Kislev is inhabited by many Shamans, who use the magics of the land and animals to battle their foes.
The Beastmasters of Kislev train the great bears of the North to fight the enemies of Kislev. In times of war, they take their bears with them to do battle.
Heroes are warriors of exceptional prowse and courage. They have gained much fame and fortune with their skills, and are often sent to lead small bands of warriors in battle.
The Winged Lancers are the nobles of Kislev, going forth to war from atop their warhorses. Their name comes from the great wings that adorn their backs of their armor and the tall lances they carry.
The Horse Archers are the most famous of the troops of Kislev. From their saddles they ride around the battlefield, harassing their foe and assaulting from the flanks.
The armies of Kislev contain many foot warriors armed with axes, ready to go to war should they be needed by their Czarina.
Kislev's armies also use many foot archers as well as their mounted archers, for these are very useful in holding and defending important positions.
The armies of Kislev often contain many of the tribesmen from the hills that dot the land. These fierce warriors move ahead of the main force, disrupting the opposing army's troops with their javelins and harassing attacks.
The Kislev army will occasionally take with them a train of War Wagons, which are small mobile fortress pulled by a team of four horses.
Besides their warhorses, some heroes, shamans, army commanders and sometimes even elite units will have bear or griffin steeds.
I - SOMETHING ROTTEN IN KISLEV
~ or ~
MYSTERY AND NECROMANCY IN THE FROZEN EAST
Something is rotten is happening in Kislev. Strange creatures are raiding. Killing and burning. The dead are walking the streets of remote cities, and entire colonies are rejecting the Czarina's rule. But are these mysteries linked, and if so, how?
The adventerers are sent by an Patron or emploter (such as The Imperial Minister of Barbarian Affairs, the Merchant Leaguemiester, one of the leaders of the five Great Houses, a powerful Adarian noble, the Church or even the Adarian Emperor himself) to 'help' the Czarina. The adventurers will find themselves contending not only with undead and beastmen but also with ghosts, elite Hobgoblin warriors, creatures of Chaos and strange nature-spirits - plus the Kislevites themselves, who can be less than friendly at the best of times, as well as puzzles, dilemmas and ominous curses to occupy their minds and keep them in trouble.
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