Wintermark commonly exports crafted goods and imports food. Good relations exist between the Winterfolk and their southern neighbours in the Marches. The grain, barley and salted meat that flows north in exchange for beautifully crafted and enchanted goods ensures that since the foundation of the Empire the Wintermark has never suffered a great famine of the kind that was common before.

Merchants are important in Wintermark, but they are often regarded with caution. A merchant who uses trade to enrich themselves at the expense of their Thane and hall will be given short shrift, but a merchant who uses wisdom and cunning to bring wealth and prosperity to their hall and the warriors it supports will be held up as an example to all.

One of the most valuable exports for Wintermark merchants are crafted items marked with runes. Both magic items made by Wintermark artisans, and mundane items expertly marked with the runes, are prestigious items sought after in other Imperial nations, and by merchants from across the Known world.


Costume by Jo Perridge

The most prestigious role for Winterfolk merchants is to act as a mediator, negotiating weregilds. A fair weregild is considered one that matches the severity of the crime and satisfies the victim but is accepted by the perpetrator. The Winterfolk tradition of weregilds has been incorporated into Imperial Law but now they are approved by the magistrates who took over responsibility from the Thanes. In order to benefit from a weregild arrangement the accused must ensure that agreement is reached before their trial and for this purpose mediators are often employed to negotiate with both parties to find the right weregild. Such negotiations must often be done in haste, so that all can see that justice has been done. Identifying the right weregild and convincing both parties to settle for it is considered an exceptional skill and talented mediators are in high demand and well regarded. By tradition they are expected to be paid in equal amounts by both parties.

The weregild not only replaces any compensation to the victim that would otherwise have been set by the magistrate, but agreeing this settlement with the victim is also taken into account positively during sentencing. Magistrates will refuse to take into account weregilds which are unfair to the victim. Even where the weregild is accepted, the Magistrate will still apply severe punishments if the needs of justice demand it.

The Winterfolk celebrate and remember the past, but they are never bound by it. This attitude to the past is the foundation of the Wintermark legal system where each transgression is judged on its own merits, rather than on the basis of past precedent. This practical attitude to legality helped to form the basis of the Imperial codes of law.


Those who use their skills to enrich themselves are often called maggots. Maggot is Wintermark slang for a looter on a battlefield. Before the Empire, maggots who were caught were summarily executed, as Thanes expected to divide the loot from the field between their warband. That tradition is now rarely used except when Wintermark warriors are taking the field alone. Since the adoption of Imperial Law, a looter can only be convicted if they are stealing from the body of an Imperial citizen, not from an enemy. However the epithet remains a powerful Wintermark insult, applied to greedy merchants and camp followers. Ultimately anyone who makes profit from battle without taking the field themselves risks being reviled as a maggot.

Runesmith's Law

Isolde Hannasdottir.jpg
Isolde Hannasdottir

Runesmith's Law is a special body of artisan knowledge available only to the artisans of Wintermark. When the lost artisans of Gildenheim returned to Wintermark they brought with them the knowledge of how to create a number of unique magic items. They were prepared to share their knowledge, but only with their fellow Winterfolk. The Wintermark National Assembly sent the runesmith Isolde Hannasdottir to consecrate an memorial for Isenbrad in the chilly caves. This allowed the artisans and smiths of Runegrott to create the Runesmith's Law, allowing any Wintermark artisan to study there and master its secrets.

Isenbrad's Tomb is essential to support the Runesmith's Law. Those who wish to master the Law must travel there and train with the smiths and artisans who practice their craft at the tomb. There is a powerful aura of Wisdom in the tomb itself - the defenders of Runegrott will not allow anyone to study the Law until they have submitted to a powerful geas, never to share the Law with those outside Wintermark. The ceremony is conducted at the heart of the tomb in the presence of the Wintermark egregore. Those who later break their bond with the egregore find themselves unable to craft any of the items contained only in Runesmith's Law. Magical means to share this knowledge with someone outside the nation, even temporarily such as through the ritual Secrets of Skillful Artifice, also break the geas and cause the Wintermark artisan to permanently loses access to Runesmith's Law.

The rune Pallas, the Rune of Wealth, has quickly become a symbol associated with Runesmith's Law.

Adding a new schema to the Runesmith's Law requires the schema to be handed over to the artisans, runesmiths and stormcrows who tend Isenbrad's tomb at Runegrott. At present the best way to do this is to hand the schema to Wilda, the Wintermark egregore, during a summit. She will ensure that it is taken to Runegrott and placed with the others. Rather than being returned to the artisan, the schema is added to the body of Runesmith's Law and becomes available to any Wintermark artisan who studies at Runegrott following the summit.

It is not possible for the Imperial Conclave to use a declaration of dissemination or Imperial lore to affect a schema that is part of Runesmith's Law, nor is it possible to either remove a schema from Runesmith's Law, nor to recover the schema once it has been added to the body of knowledge.

The geas ensures that any former Wintermark citizen who leaves the nation loses access to items that are part of Runesmith's Law; they can be replaced using the normal process of changing mastery.

Items in Runesmith's Law

ItemPowerFormMonthsGreen IronOrichalcumTempest JadeWeltsilverAmbergeltBeggar's LyeDragonboneIridescent GloamingTotal
Stalwart's SwordYou gain one hero point and the weapon counts as a source of spiritual strength for overcoming fear.One-handed Weapon110400004018
Hero's HauberkYou gain one rank of endurance and the armour counts as a source of spiritual strength for overcoming traumatic wounds.Heavy Armour10802002012
Runesmith's GlareYou gain one rank of endurance and one hero point.Full-sized Shield18700305023
Isenbrad's LegacyYou gain the ability to cast Timeless Hammer Rhythm on yourself once per summit.Tool17474060028
Three TearsYou gain four hero points.Battle Standard1161000010141060
Mediators PurseYou gain one rank of endurance and the armour counts as a source of spiritual strength for overcoming anger or confusion.Light Armour10400403011
Four Spirit's MaskGain 1 rank for casting Strength of the Bull, Hammer of Thunder, Swan's Cruel Wing and Swift Leaping Hare.Ritual Focus10500003311
Redwall's WrathYou may spend a hero point to call STRIKEDOWN with this one-handed weapon.One-handed Weapon1115180005039
Icewalker's AnvilOnce per day you can use one personal mana as if it were crystal mana when casting a ritual.Ritual focus1004000037
Thorn's MarkTwice per day you may call STRIKEDOWN with this one-handed spear.One handed spear112370080030
Kingfisher's PromiseOnce per day you may use this ring to gain one additional rank of Autumn lore for the purposes of performing a single ritual, subject to the normal rules for effective skill.Ritual focus15073003018
Limbsetter's PointYou may use this tool twice per day to restore the use of a limb as if you were treating it with a dose of cerulean mazzarine. This takes 30 secondsTool1000240006

Further Reading

Core Brief

Further Reading