Norge Smithhammer is the son of Roald Blueflint, son of Umberto Gerd Firestone, son of Olan Perr Smithhammer, the great-grandson of Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes. The Smithhammer line is a “unter-royal” line, which originated when Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes, defended Ironholt against the Giant hordes of Oobrass in the year AK 1157. Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes had been part of the last line of defense of Ironholt. Though he had wanted to join the Svorack (the offensive brigade of the Dwarven army), his skills as a blacksmith dictated that he remain at Ironholt. To this day, some of the most prized dwarven armor and weapons were crafted by Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes. When the Svorack failed to stem the tide of Oobrass’s attack, Gunnar Erlend Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes fell in battle. Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes, had found himself defending Gunnar Erlend Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes in that battle, when he was struck down. Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes, struck down Oobrass with the very hammer that he had made for Gunnar Erluind Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes. He then lead the push to expel the rest of the giants from Ironholt. With the death of Gunnar Erlend Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes and his sons, Dwarven hereditary law was suspended due to popular demand, and the Dwarven Crown of Command was placed upon Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes’s brow. Despite the populous call for Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes, the royal families were not pleased. Though there were no direct descendents of Gunnar Erlend Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes, left alive (all of his sons had died in the war against Oobrass), several infant grandsons survived, but none were prepared to ascend to the throne, and many saw Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes as the logical (and sentimental) choice, plus, dwarven law does not provide specifically for regents. Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes’s queen, Adaleiz, was given the Smithhammer surname and the Smithhammer lineage springs from her.
Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes ruled for 40 years, his rule being fair and just, but much grumbling remained from the royal quarter, and a plot was hatched. On Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes’ 200th birthday, he collapsed and died. Two months later, his oldest son Sverre Smithhammer was killed in a hunting accent. Six years later, his second of two sons Rolf Jorgen Smithhammer, Thane of Thanes, had his throat slit by his own wife, Ingvild Mountainkiller, a member of the Mountainkiller royal line, whom he had married five years earlier, in what he had thought was a union to solidify his family’s royal status.
With great sadness, the Dwarves of Ironholt returned to the royal lineage of the Graniteshoes and placed the Crown of Command upon Anders Jon Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes’ brow, grandson of Gunnar Erlend Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes.
The following era of the Graniteshoes were prosperous years for Ironholt. However, unbeknownst to all, Rolf Jorgen Smithhammer, Thane of Thanes had had a son. Even after killing her husband, Ingvild Mountainkiller had been unable to abort her child by him. Secretly he was raised, oblivious to who his father and mother actually were. He lived a hard, simple life, and died at age 104 in the mithril mines. However, Ingvild also had a daughter by Rolf Jorgen Smithhammer, Thane of Thanes, older than the son. A quirk in Dwarven law allows a female Thane of Thanes, only in the event that an elder sister survives all younger brothers. It had happened only once, 5000 years before, from which the precedent had been codified into law, when the legendary Tatjana Icecraig, Thain of Thains, picked up her fallen father’s axe and led the Victerile miner’s revolt, and in a case similar to Eirik the Smith, Thane of Thanes, a common individual was allowed access to the highest seat of dwarven power.
Because no one knew at the time that Oddkatla Smithhammer actually had had a younger brother, there was no one advocating that she had a legitimate claim to the crown. In fact, it was only after her brother’s death that her mother admitted to Oddkatla, in a fit of remorse and regret, that she had, indeed had a brother. Oddkatla had always had a bit of a cruel streak. Most attributed it to her having been raised by the very family that had killed her father, and that would drive anyone to be a bit off. Upon learning of her younger brother, Oddkatla thought that she herself, should be Thaine of Thaines, and she took her father’s name, renouncing her mother’s clan. Yet, she knew that she was not loved by the people, and had no political support. She spent years scheming, and within ten years, at age 119, she married a man half her age, from the Slatesmiter royal clan, and bore a child (late in life, even by Dwarven standards). Oddkatla raised her son Olan to believe that he was the rightful heir to the throne. With her help, he cultivated support, both popular and political. Unfortunately, it became clear that he was not the natural leader that his grandfather had been (Oddkatla blamed it on the Slatesmiter blood), and when it was obvious that they did not have the political support necessary, their work became focused on Olan’s son, Umberto Gerd Firestarter.
Umberto was cruel from birth. He was entitled by both of his parents and his grandmother, yet he was taught to control his cruelty, and act the part of the populous leader. He acted the part perfectly, and the general populous loved him. Those who knew him saw through the charade, but his popularity and power only grew. In addition, not only did Oddkatla’s marriage into the Slatesmitter clan bring renewed legitimacy to her cause, but she was able maneuver herself to become the sole landowner of the Slatesmitter holdings, when her husband died of a heart attack at a tragically young age, and thus Umberto had the vast wealth of the Slatesmitter mines to substantiate his power.
When Leonhart Graniteshoes, Thane of Thanes, passed away, he left behind a politically weakened clan and a son that privately suffered from the Halfling Shakes, but all those in power knew, and confidence in his ability to lead was low. This was the perfect moment for Umberto to act. Umberto revealed his grandmother’s legitimacy to the throne, and then claimed it for himself, with her blessing. Not only was Ironholt split, but the entire dwarven kingdom erupted into a series of civil wars, sparked by this coup d’état. After 25 years of fighting, by various terms; political, economic as well as by arms, all those that had initially supported Umberto had been variously backstabbed or abandoned, Oddkatla, Umberto and his son Roald stood alone. In a last ditch effort to grasp power, they made a deal with the giants of the north, where the giants would attack the dwarves in their weakened state, with information provided by Umberto. Umberto’s forced would then be perceived to drive the giants back and save the majority of the dwarven lands, with the exception of Copperholt, which would be the giants’ payment, along with Umberto’s promise that the dwarves would withdraw from the northern territories.
The giants attacked Copperholt, but to the surprise of all, the defenses held despite the information provided by Umberto. Umberto’s betrayal was soon found when the captured prisoners were tortured as to how they had got their information. Umberto and Roald were able to defend their stronghold for 15 years, but all other holdings were captured and returned to the Slatesmitters. Oddkatla passed away during the siege. Norge had been born to Roald Blueflint’s wife, Eliissa Smithhammer, during the battle of Copperholt, who intuited that things were not going well, and under the premise of her milk being sour, sent him to live with her sister, Valdis, who had married a shipwright from Seaholt. Once the siege of Umberto’s stronghold began, Valdis raised Norge as her own son.
When Norge was older, and was being harassed for being a Smithhammer, Valdis told him the truth of his parentage. The siege had ended several years earlier, and Norge’s father Roald was captured and imprisoned. Umberto was never found.
After learning the truth of his heritage, Norge constantly questioned himself whenever he felt angry or violent, wondering if he was as evil as the blood that flowed through his veins, of which he was constantly reminded by others. He thought about trying to change his name and continue to live amongst the dwarves, but felt that would do nothing to purge the evil. Norge decided to enter the order Moradin and dedicate his life to the dwarven god, to atone for his father’s, grandfather’s and great-great-grandmother’s sins. He traveled to Ironholt, to apply to the main temple there. Unfortunately, the Moradin’s priests were not forgiving. They told Norge that his heart is black and that Moradin would never allow his family’s sins to be absolved. The city guard then entered the chamber and he was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor in the emerald mines. After two years of not hearing from him, his foster mother Valdis began searching for word of what had become of him. She learned of the priest’s betrayal, and after ten years of legal red tape, was finally able to prove that Norge had not even been alive during Umberto’s reign of terror and he was reluctantly released by the dwarven high council. “For his own good” Norge was put on a ship, sailed east and marooned on one of the remote Shattered Islands.
The island was largely unpopulated, with a few elf villages, who were not happy to have a lone dwarf running around on their island. Norge decided to try and live the life of a hermit, but as he had no natural survival skills, 2 months later an emaciated, haggard dwarf, stumbled into one of the elf villages and promptly passed out. The elves took pity on him, and brought him to a Bahamat monastery on one of the neighboring islands.
The monks quickly nursed him back to health, and it was here, that Norge found acceptance, peace and purpose. Here he spent 15 years in meditation and study. While Norge’s faith in the Gods, and in himself, waivers to this day, Bahamut bestowed his blessing upon him and was charged with going out into the world to help shine the light of justice upon the dark places of the earth and to heed the Platinum Dragon when it calls.
Norge is the only member of the initial group with prior D&D experience (and it is an extensive experience at that) and as a result makes me nervous as a DM. He knows what to expect, how the worlds tend to unfold, and can generally see the arc of a dungeon or adventure rather quickly. In short, he’s seen it all, and the idea of having to come up with something he hasn’t seen yet is a monumental task.
The others of the party naturally look to him as a leader (and his class technically is a Leader class), but he is reluctant to take that role, not wanting to dominate the group because he’s been there before. As a result Avyx is the nominal leaders. However, when he does speak it’s generally immediately acted upon. He is the one generally called upon to negotiate social situations (despite his Dwarven irritability).
Norge is a “typical” dwarf, hard drinking, gruff, etc. His backstory is interesting as it was one that really incorporated the little notes I had made about the world of Naissus and expanded it beyond the scope I’d sketched, but in the same general direction I’d indicated. Unfortunately his story has, as of yet, been difficult to really work in due to the isolation of Dwarves, but I have made periodic nods to it as my way of saying “thanks.”
It is through Norge that aspects of Naissus have come to light, mainly that religion is foundering, and worship of the gods is practically non-existent. Norge is personally offended by how few temples exist, and the state of the shrines that are the only religious buildings in the non-important cities.