Monday, September 30, 2019

Legacy of the Linnorm - Commentary onThe Vikings' Dragons By Jean Rabe- The Linnorm From Dragon Issue# 182

So this morning's visit with DM Raj along with the rug rats was both informative & very much a trip down the nostolgia lane. But it did prompt me to dig out my copy of Dragon issue#182 & refresh my memory about the scourge of dragon kind the Linnorms. Now the article is very well done by writer Jean Rabe & it was meant to highlight the new second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Viking book. "HR1: Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (1992), by David "Zeb" Cook, is the first book in TSR's ine of Historical Reference books, which describe new, real-world settings for AD&D campaign play. It was released in May 1992" To me these were some of the second edition AD&D books worth getting.

The worms are some of the most dangerous creatures that any adventurer can run across, seriously these are bad ass dragon wyrms;"Among the most feared creatures in the Norse lands are dragons, there called linnorms, as noted in the AD&D® 2nd Edition HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (VCS). These great wingless and legless serpents are among the fiercest of the Norse countries denizens, in some cases even dwarfing the power of the vicious giants. Fortunately for the Vikings and other peoples, linnorms are also very rare. Linnorms, like dragons in traditional AD&D 2nd Edition campaigns, have 12 age categories. Linnorms never stop growing, and the older a linnorm becomes, the more awesome and frightening it gets, gaining more abilities, a thicker hide, and the capability to mete out ever-increasing amounts of damage. Sages speculate that the oldest linnorms are insane; centuries of solitude and a fixation on power and wealth take a toll on their intellects. This has not been proven, however, as the only recorded survivor of a battle with a great wyrm linnorm was the hero, Sigurd, who slew the legendary Fafnir. All linnorms are evil and seek to better themselves and increase their riches at all other creature's  expenses. While some of the craftier linnorms have been known to strike up temporary alliances, they turn on their partners after the great feat they allied to achieve is accomplished. Most linnorms are solitary because of their selfish natures and because they do not trust their peers, much less other races"

Alright so let's dive right into these monsters & speak about the fact I look at 
linnorms completely & utterly evil one off indivdual NPC monsters. These things are the central figures & villains of a campaign setting. They cast a long shadow of evil over a setting, the communities, even many of the dungeons of a campaign. There is a linnorm for each wilderness adventure location from forrest to dread. They're all deadly & would easily overwhelm most mid to even high level adventurers in a heart beat. The linnorms are so good that Paizo did a Viking style setting taliored around them called Lands of the Linnorm Kings for Pathfinder. But what about using them for OSR games?! Well that's not all that hard at all. The linnorm wyrms are OGL these days & can easily be incorporated into a wide variety of settings but I've got two OSR settings in mind for these insane bastards. The first would be Dark Albion where one or two might completely dominate a country or two. There might also be a very large & dangerous chaos cult associated with a linnorm. This is where Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos comes in very handy.

Now let's stick with the cult of chaos for my second pick here & add in a linnorm into Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Now before anyone here starts booing there are several reasons for this: 
  1. Second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons works very well with AS&SH 
  2. The linnorm are completely individual & one off monsters. They will completely dominate a landscape. 
  3. linnorm will fill the gaps left by the lack of Hyperboreans & other top teir predators within the Hyperborean landscape. 
  4. These bastards make excellent quests for Viking & Keltic PC's within AS&SH. 
  5. The linnorm are perfect for guarding dangerous artifacts or treasures of the ancients. They also have the added bonus of making excellent guardians of Norse or Keltic barrows in the game. 
  6. Linnorm make excellent representives for the Ashen Wyrm of AS&SH especially for the Outer God's cults.

Linnorm should never be generic dragons, these are monsters straight out of the nightmares of any sane living being. Engines of destruction gleaned from the time of legends & the gods. These horrors could give an immortal of Mystara, the gods of Greyhawk, etc. a hard time & that's exactly the sort of niche that these horrors fill! PC's should never incur the wraith of a linnorm! These are the vilest of dragon kind & royalty among villains of the darkest pitch. They should never be common & always feared in the eyes of mortals. As you can tell I do love me some Linnorm!

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