|Images of Irrisen|
Irrisen (pronounced IHR-ih-sehn) is a harsh, cold northern land covered in the snow and ice of a winter that has lasted centuries. The snow never melts, and almost as omnipresent as the snow and ice, is the feeling of dread that pervades the nation, for as harsh and unforgiving as the land is, it is nothing compared to those who rule it. The land is governed by the white witches of Irrisen, the descendants of the terrible crone Baba Yaga. All the white witches are obedient to their queen, who is a daughter of Baba Yaga herself.
Irrisen is, in some ways, run by quite a conventional monarchy. There is only one ruler whose word is absolute and whose power is unassailable. However, unlike almost every other monarchy on Golarion, Irrisen is not a hereditary monarchy. Instead, the monarch is chosen by the witch Baba Yaga who originally founded Irrisen over a thousand years ago. Every century, she returns from her endless wanderings amongst the planes to place a new daughter in charge of Irrisen; the old daughter leaves with Baba Yaga to view the infinite wonders of the multi-verse by her side. Baba Yaga also takes all of her daughter's children (Baba Yaga's grandchildren) with her; this means that every hundred years. there is a complete change of leadership and aristocracy of Irrisen. The grand children of the queen (the great grand children of Baba Yaga) are left behind and are one of the lasting legacies of any previous queen of Irrisen.
Although the rulers of Irrisen have little real interest in diplomacy with outside powers, they still pay some heed to nearby nations.
- Lands of the Linnorm Kings
- Hated and despised by the Ulfen nation to the west, Irrisen gives and expects no quarter from the wild warriors, and raids from both sides occur frequently. Irrisen was carved from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings by Baba Yaga in 3313 AR.
- Realm of the Mammoth Lords
- Although distrusted by their eastern neighbours, both nations have come to an accord recently, and now have an uneasy truce.
- Separated by the near impassable Kodar Mountains, Irrisen has little interaction with Varisia.
The nation also enjoys some trade (especially food since the frozen land is not ideal for farming) with southern nations.
Along Irrisen's borders, the white witches have erected huts much like the Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga to ward off trespassers. These huts each contain only a single porcelain doll in the image of a crone. Each of these dolls contain the corrupted soul of a stolen child. At night these dolls come alive and hunt any foolish enough to invade Irrisen.
The history of Irrisen as a nation begins in 3313 AR - before this, the lands that now make up Irrisen belonged to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. The winter of 3313 AR was particularly cold and harsh, even by the standards of the north. The first warning the men of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings received of Baba Yaga's fell intent was when her armies of cold fey and blue skinned ice trolls marched down from the Crown of the World. Led by Baba Yaga herself, the queen of witches was all but unstoppable, killing any who resisted her and enslaving the rest. It took her less than a month to claim the lands that she wanted, that would become Irrisen. Strangely enough, almost as soon as she had conquered Irrisen, Baba Yaga seemed to lose interest in it. Instead she installed one of her daughters as the reigning monarch. Shortly afterwards, Baba Yaga returned to her life roaming the myriad planes as her whims desired. After a hundred years, she returned and placed a new daughter in charge of Irrisen. This pattern has repeated itself every century with Baba Yaga returning to place a new daughter on the throne and take the previous monarch with her to travel the planes.
Irrisen is a land dominated by the cold. It sits at the northern most limits of Avistan and borders on the edge of the Crown of the World with its glacial sheets forming Irrisen's northern border. Its northern location is not the only reason for its cold climate. Ever since being conquered by Baba Yaga Irrisen has been locked in an eternal winter. This harsh eternal winter gives Irrisen a palpable sense of dread. The second biggest feature of Irrisen is Glacier Lake which takes up a large area within Irrisen's interior. Two of Irrisen's three largest settlements are built either on its shore or on on of the rivers connected to it. Irrisen's capital Whitethrone sits on its north eastern shore.
The people of Irrisen generally come trace their heritage to one of two sources. Either they are descended from the Ulfen that were enslaved by Baba Yaga or they are distantly descended from one of Irrisen's previous queens. Regardless of their heritage the people adore the white witches though no one know whether this is genuine adoration or simply a result of Irrisen citizens fear of the terrifying witches. This adoration is put to the test when the changing of queens is imminent as before the arrival of Baba Yaga three knights; the white rider, the red rider and the black rider roam Irrisen assessing the loyalty of Baba Yaga's subjects. Those they find to be truly loyal are awarded with boons while cursing or completely destroying those they find to be disloyal. The people of Irrisen are generally quite isolated from the rest of Golarion as few traders ever visit Irrisen and just as few resident muster the courage to attempt to leave. They generally spend their days tending what few crops will grow in the harsh conditions.
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- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 246. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Erik Mona and Jason Bulmahn. (2008). Gazetteer, p. 33-34. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-077-3
- Elaine Cunningham, with Dave Gross. (2010). Winter Witch, p. 241. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-286-9
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 80-81. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1