Brethren of the Blade

A new campaign, set in Jutland, north-west of the Auran Empire.

The Brethren of the Blade are a military brotherhood that claims descent from the housecarls of Sægrímr, wielder of the sword Dauðadagr, high king of the Juts. When Sægrímr and his sons were betrayed and murdered by his jarls at the Black Yule, his sword sundered by evil magic, the Bróðir i Brandr pledged themselves to vengeance against the treacherous nobles. Fighting first for one realm, then another, the Bróðir i Brandr waged a long retaliatory war that lasted for a generation, until finally every scion of every family that had participated in the betrayal of their king had been slain. These glorious deeds are recounted in the Saga of the Bróðir.
The sagas recount that the last of the traitorous jarls were burned to death in Sægrímr’s own hall, which the Brethren of the Blade set afire when the nobles convened there in hopes of a peace treaty. For this reason, it is often warned that “once you shed blood in his father’s hall, a Blade-Brother would rather burn it to the ground than let you leave it.” Whether this particular event actually happened, its overall sentiment reflects historical truth. The bloody vengeance of the Bróðir i Brandr destroyed any chance that Sægrímr’s greatest accomplishment, the unification of Jutland, would survive his death. Any noble strong enough to potentially become high king had fallen to their red revenge. In the century since then, Jutland has been a patchwork of kingdoms, chieftaincies, and jarldoms without the leadership of a single throne. Constant, petty warfare and raids grip the land.
As the skalds write:
It is harsh in the world, a time of troubles,
An axe age, a sword age,
When shields are riven.
A wind age, a wolf age,
Before the world goes headlong,
And no man will have mercy on another.

This sword-age well suits the Bróðir i Brandr, for when strife and chaos rule, silver and slaves flow to the best warriors, and there are none better. But every brother still swears oaths of loyalty to the lost House of Sægrímr. The skalds claim that if the sword that was broken were re-forged and taken up by a scion of Sægrímr, then the same bloody-handed slayers who brought Jutland to ruin would feed the ravens once more to restore the kingdom…

ooooh, this sounds pretty exciting. Are we going to see some supplemental rules for XP from raiding and pillaging?

A Viking supplement for ACKS? That would be lovely.

It’s actually for the Heroic Fantasy supplement.

I may have to upgrade my interest level in the Heroic Fantasy supplement!

Could you clarify what you mean by this? As in, your internal alpha playtesting, the same way Opelenean Nights did so for D@W?


In this case, however, it may not happen. I realized last night I’m experiencing heavy GM burnout. 6 years of GMing 2 sessions per week ++ game design…woo.

That’s too bad, this campaign intro had me very intrigued. Nothing against Opalenean nights, I just get drawn in by viking themed stuff.

Sounds like you need someone to delegate DMing the rules you write to, preferably in front of a camera so you can watch it later. Might even give you some insight into how other people interpret your writing. Or you could just give yourself a break, that works too!

I run between 2 and 4 sessions a week of ACKS with a rotating roster of ~15 players. If you need someone to run some playtest material for you, let me know. :slight_smile:

Jard and Kamard, feel free to email me at

sorry! I wasn’t volunteering, just brainstorming. Though technically you can see all the ACKS DMing I do because I run a play-by-post:

Sorry, too late. I insist you email me. :stuck_out_tongue:

I will begrudgingly email you, but only so that I can recite the Blue’s Clues mail song

Ha! Oh good lord I’m glad my youngest is off that now.

The campaign I’m starting would probably be able to benefit from this, as I’m going for a lower/slower-magic “Prydain” style theme (with more of a Slavic/Bros. Grimm bent than a Welsh, perhaps?), but I don’t expect to get much in the way of “beta test quality” feedback from 7 to 10 year olds?

I’d have to talk with my group, but I know I’d love a chance to run some playtest material for ACKS. We’ve been playing with increasing regularity, averaging about 2 sessions every 3 weeks (before my vacation out of the country, but the guys have kept playing meanwhile): not a lot compared to many other groups (jobs, significant others, kids, etc.), but we’re a pretty experienced bunch, with most of the group having been together for over 15 years, and have experience in BECM, AD&D, and 3E (plus, of course, many many other systems).

More than a few of my campaign ideas would probably benefit from the Heroic Fantasy rules: I’ve had designs for a Hyborian Age setting ever since I got ACKS (I’m a huge fan of Howard’s Conan), and my Mesopotamian Land of Kings -campaign setting idea is meant to be sword & sorcery. They’d probably also fit my ideas for a 17th Century campaign and a Roman Empire era campaign.

Email me and I’ll send you a beta document.

The beta quality feedback will come from you, as Judge, describing how the mechanics work in play.

Also, I believe I assure you, that ACKS has been entirely built on playtesting by gamers with the mentality of 10-year-olds.

“Tonight,” said the NPC, “We dine in Valhalla”.
“But I’m not huuuungry,” said the player.

Sounds good. Email me and I’ll send you a beta document.

Also, I believe I assure you, that ACKS has been entirely built on playtesting by gamers with the mentality of 10-year-olds.

Shoulda seen that one coming. The “adult” game I play in had a kobold-henchman-turned-stone-golem stored inside a live mekillot for a while. Pretty sure we hit bottom on that one, to turn a phrase.

I’ll drop a line shortly.

Hmm… I’m currently between games, but this sounds like something my group would be really interested in. If you’re still looking for more playtesters, I can pitch it to them.

I feel for you. I experienced this early last year, and realized it had been more than 7 years since I’d been in a seat as a player. Sometimes you just have to step away for a while to keep things from falling apart in the game, or worse, have it become entirely unfun.