Friday, December 17, 2010
Guarding this bridge is Ol' Nik. Know one is sure of his age, he has been at the bridge since the Great Collapse. Traders and surrounding surviving communities just became accustomed to "paying the toll" to Nik and for a time, his brother Klem. It's unusual for two male trolls to coexist in the same territory, but these two were formidable foes to any who tried clear the bridge of them. Many an armed group of peasants or traders had enough and made a run at the trolls. The result was usually quick and messy.
Klem has not been seen, however, for over 20 years, although Ol' Nik can still be heard talking to him. Tancred, barkeep at the Hole, has hinted that he is cause of Klem's disappearance.
For now, Ol' Nik still guards the bridge over the Black, extracting whatever he can from the few survivors Beyond the Wall. He takes gold, food, or the occasional lone traveller. Ol' Nik can the dumb old bridge troll when he needs to, but he should not be underestimated. He is a cold, calculating, survivor with quick talons and a sharp mind. And even sharper teeth....
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Giants were both a nuisance and gift during the Empire's Golden Age. Settlements could just as easily been both prey to giants, or protected by them, depending on the creature in question.
The most commonly encountered giant Beyond the Wall seems to be either the Hill or Mountain variety. Neither is particularly bright, or evil for that matter, but they are easily tricked or bribed into vile acts by darker souls. They are greedy, however, and fond of drink, much like the dwarves they have been known join in battle. Indeed, dwarvish and giant are similar languages, a fact which dwarves tend to gloss over.
All of the Great Incursions have included giants in their armies; their great strength used to tear large sections of Wall down. The creatures are usually countered by the garrison by lobbing huge casks of ale or sheep into the giant's ranks. Once drunk, the giants tend to wander off to sleep.
Giants tend to stick to the highlands, but lack of food and stronger forces have been driving them more into the lowlands Beyond the Wall. Adventurers be wary when a long shadow passes their way.