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PaganMegan

Norse/Northlands Campaign, No Grumps!

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Wow, I read The Moor, and had completely forgotten about Sabine Baring-Gould! I think I thought he was fictional!

 

He sounds like he would make a great PC for Call of Cthulhu. ::D:

 

Thanks! And, wow, he wrote a lot. I mean a LOT.

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Talked with Grump WAY into the night, about dungeon mastering and mythological archetypes. This is my first time world building, and I wanted cues.

 

I have a name and a main plot for the campaign now!

 

The Cursed Lands, and the background arc is nasty, as children conceived in the Cursed Lands are born monsters.

 

The Here Be Monsters on the old map that starts this does not mean what the players may think it means. ::D:

 

I have settled on orcs as the general monster in the region, but starting early on will be hints that they were humans, but that children born here have gone wrong.

 

Half orcs are the first generation, and any later generation that is a mix of human and orc, but the second generation is all orc. Fearing the sun, loving the darkness, raiding, killing, and pillaging. If the PCs settlement wasn't there they would be doing the exact same thing to each other.

 

The first settlers were wiped out by vikings, and cursed the lands, so that the vikings and their children would become monsters in body, mind, and soul.

 

The new group are settlers, though I will be pushing for some raiding and cattle stealing with the orcs, but the Curse Won't Care they are of the same people as the raiders that killed the original inhabitants, so monsters they will become.

 

Grump's character has two daughters, and at least one of them will marry and have children here. :devil:

 

Getting rid of the curse is going to be the major arc. (And too late for his daughter.)

 

I am thinking about stealing Grendel's Mother from the movie version of Beowulf. Grump describes her as "a conflation of Grendel's Mother and Echidna and other Mothers of Monsters from archtypal mythological cycles". He then goes on for a while because Grump. <_< We had a conversation last night about it, he made me want to read Campbell's nonfiction and The Golden Bough.

 

I think that rather than being vikings the PCs will start as settlers, turning to raiding after the orcs and their allies begin raiding the new colony. More the settling of Iceland than the raiders in their dragon ships.

 

Giants will be a real mess, with Chaos being their main theme over Evil - some will be raiders, others potential allies, and others just good old fashioned plot complications. ::P:

 

Frost Giants will be a real problem, with WINTER following behind them. Fire giants will be in the volcanoes to the north and west, but the PCs will have to go to THEM. They do not like to leave their volcanoes.

 

Other giants are likely to become the victims of the PCs and their settlers, the giants from Skyrim, because I liked them.

 

Mamluk is going to be a very old giant god, father of the herds and inventor of husbandry. Not very B-R-I-G-H-T. Lawful neutral god of a chaotic neutral people. ::):

 

Two main types of dragons, raiders and Leave Me Alone. The last CAN be bargained with, but will want the better side in any bargain. The raiders will BURN wooden fortifications, but will ruin stone fortifications and move in. Dragons Don't Share!

 

And, SURPRISE! Some of the dragons were not born as dragons, with the Curse changing them over time. Mostly dwarves overcome by a lust for gold.

 

Oh! And Grump told me that his hero is based not on Cossacks but on the "Kiev period", whatever that is, that while the warriors themselves were rowdy, rough, and as nasty as any other bunch of bloodthirsty glory hounds their mythological HEROES were as righteous as any others, like Arthur's knights had nothing to do with real knights.

 

Around the first millennium he says, as civilization and Christianity start changing things, that the strange old things going away was a recurring element in the myth cycles of the region and time. That part I can work with, and it is where I get my new plot.

 

He has ordered some books, it looks like I will be in for some reading. I think that I will discover that he and I have very different methods for world building.

 

But I am not going to go too deep on the Kiev thing, it will just be that his character is an outsider from the main group of Scandinavian types that will be settling. I think that is going to be the kind of difference that makes a difference for Grump, but most of us will go Cossack and move on. ::P:Horse warrior, close enough. ::D:

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Elves will be native but rare, the people that have been driven into the wilderness by the first wave of vikings, who burned their treetop villages and killed many, taking others as slaves. If any players want to play an elf then the character will be local.

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The Curse will be working on the elves as well, even though they are the ones that unleashed it. Drow.

Does anyone make Norse style orcs?

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I'm wiping out the high elves. ::D:

 

Wood elves will survive, though their larger towns and some of their forests have been burned.

 

But the high elves, in their gleaming towers? Pillaged, and the towers torn down. Their dark remainders becoming the root drow, and slave taking among their woodland kin and the humans both. And blaming the wood elves for the fall, not because it is true, but because they will not blame themselves.

 

Other drow are wood elves twisted by the Curse, dark elves more than drow, and called to gather in the North. While identical rules wise they are different cultures. They are forging a dark alliance with the giants, and want to rid the lands of the humans, the dwarfs, the drow, and their own woodland kin. They want a burning.

 

I was originally thinking dwarven ruins, but now I am thinking elven ruins, with magical booby traps and undead stalking the halls.

 

One of the BEST ways for the settlers to begin to drive back the Curse is to forge alliances with the woodland kin. Striking into the strongholds of drow and dark elves alike.

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Technically bugbears would make better viking monsters than orcs. The "original" Basic/1st edition AD&D bugbears were described as big hairy goblins who were strong, violent, sneaky and with a propensity for throwing small hafted weapons such as maces. Also their equipment had a generic dark ages feel.

 

Quote

Around the first millennium he says, as civilization and Christianity start changing things, that the strange old things going away was a recurring element in the myth cycles of the region and time. That part I can work with, and it is where I get my new plot.

 

This could be the basis for a whole other discussion.

 

One of the earliest Christian writings about pagan creatures regards a Christian meeting a Satyr who is weeping intensely. When asked why he cries he explains that he is weeping because when Christian humans die their souls go to heaven but because he is a pagan, he has no soul and thus shall never get to experience what heaven is like.

 

Dwarfs in pre Christian myths and folklore are friendly and helpful. They are that little man by the side of the road asking for assistance and, if it is granted, he'll tell the hero some vital piece of information. Often the dwarf does not ask for any help in return. He's just helpful.

 

When the Christians write of dwarfs suddenly they become evil, treacherous, untrustworthy and, later on, very Jewish.

 

It's also worth remembering that, if you're using Norse mythology as a basis then the dwarfs are an insect based life form (being descended from the maggots and lice that infested Ymir's body). Not a lot of people choose to represent them as being insect based but that opens to interesting possibilities. Furthermore they are both the dvergr, the dokk, and the dokk alfar (literally dark elves). The word alfar means "not human" or "not from our local community". It's a way of Othering the outsiders and does not literally mean they are related to the elves. There's a reason I bring this up because......

 

Elves. In Norse mythology the elves (Liosalfar and Dokalfar) don't really do very much. The Liosalfar are basically light elementals (literally being without a physical body that are made of light). They never seem to do much apart from drift about being happy. The Dokalfar, on the other hand, may or may not be the dwarfs (it varies depending on interpretation).

 

In Celtic mythology the Elves look just like normal people. However they live in The Otherworld (or The Other World, if you will). They are a race of passionate individuals who like to hunt or have parties that go on for centuries. They often get carried away with their activities and lose track of normal time. Nothing about pointed ears (although once or twice they are described as having "an Iron Tooth" or something similar like a cow's hoof although these might be part of the latter Christian demonising of them too).

 

Later on, as the Christians write of elves they become smaller industrious like the German "The Elves and the Shoo Maker" kind of elves. Basically taking over the role previously played by the dwarfs. As we enter the 19th century they then become smaller, fairies, and become ineffective/infantalised/too obsessed with their own affairs to really be involved in those of other people.

Edited by Balgin Stondraeg
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On 6/16/2019 at 2:26 PM, PaganMegan said:

 

Elves will be native but rare, the people that have been driven into the wilderness by the first wave of vikings, who burned their treetop villages and killed many, taking others as slaves. If any players want to play an elf then the character will be local.

If you've never read Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn I highly recommend it. There are no elves, but the peoples similar to them in the series are named Sitha, and they were deposed and driven into exile by the Norseish peoples who showed up in their lands and started doing what Norseish people generally do with bright iron. Also a great take on magic and the power of named items. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 8:26 AM, Loim said:

If you've never read Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn I highly recommend it. There are no elves, but the peoples similar to them in the series are named Sitha, and they were deposed and driven into exile by the Norseish peoples who showed up in their lands and started doing what Norseish people generally do with bright iron. Also a great take on magic and the power of named items. 

I had forgotten that, thanks!

 

I wish I had started working on this when Bones 4 was running.

 

I am going to need those hill giants. About seven or eight of them.

 

I am thinking that the 5e sized hill giants might be mountain giants, hill giants with the giant simple template. Bigger stronger hill giants.

 

I think the big caveman style hill giant already out will be a cave giant.

 

I am trying a new thing, coming up with an encounter I like and doing the math, then fitting it in at that level, with all the maths done. :upside:

Edited by PaganMegan
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I had some writer's block.

 

Grump suggested just writing enough for two months, using just what I already have planned out.

 

Sat down to work on just those two months and POOF! No more writer's block.

 

I just needed to break it down into bite sized pieces. ::D:

 

Sticking with orcs over bugbears, I like the feel of the Flee the Light orcs.

 

Grump just sent me the files for Mighty Empires tiles. I really did not have enough in just the one box. Thanks Zink!

 

I have planned out and torn apart three general maps already.

 

And Grump suggested scanning the map, then adding details in CC. Woods, I definitely want some forest.

 

And I never knew that Poland has a desert until now.

 

Using the map tiles is fun in its own right.

 

I'm pining for the fjords!

 

Also, while I feel that the Frog God Northlands campaign is deeper, wider, more detailed, and better written than the Kobold Press version, I like the Kobold Press version more. The Frog God version feels too complete? Too finished?

 

And for some reason playing with the tiles makes me want to try Mighty Empires, it looks like fun.

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How would starting the PCs off with an exile work? A Burn The Ships When You Hit Land beginning.

 

Or maybe Turn The Ships Into Houses like Dublin. Grammum told me about that. The boats were used as roofs. I need to ask about a children's rhyme she told me about. A thousand years later and children were STILL singing about hating King Olaf of Dublin. THAT'S how you hold a grudge! And made the song about another King Olaf in Skyrim familiar. A mocking song can last a LONG time.

 

Instead of stranding the PCs in another world, just have it so they either have to pay off a MASSIVE weregild or face death.

 

Making trade possible once they are rich.

 

And make the PCs the wronged party, giving them a King Olaf to hate. Probably NAME him King Olaf. Dennis will get it and Jon will get it. Duncan WON'T get it, but will look it up.

 

Oh! Jon knows Norse! I need to ask him about it. Funny, his grand dad was Swedish, but Jon learned Norse, a dead language, instead of Swedish, because Norse is more useful in the SCA. ::P:

 

One of Grump's ancient ancestors, or at least the person his patronym comes from, supposedly killed Odin with a stake of holly through the heart. <_< One of those Christianity throwing out/killing the pagan gods myths. And SURE Brian Boru was really Christian. (I have my doubts.)

 

The Irish are big on mixing history with myth with wouldn't that make a cool story.

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If you can find a copy of Albion: Land of Faerie, a game originally published by SPI in Ares magazine in the depths of time, there's a useful map and quite an interesting set of conflicts set up. I also liked the game, but I was ... younger  ... then, so who knows how well it would hold up. Maybe Grump has a copy?

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Norse is not a dead language. Modern Norwegians speak Norse. Old Norse is (except that it isn't either as Icelanders speak a dialect of Old Norse that's so similar they can practically translate the old sagas without even thinking).

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9 hours ago, PaganMegan said:

How would starting the PCs off with an exile work? A Burn The Ships When You Hit Land beginning.

 

Or maybe Turn The Ships Into Houses like Dublin. Grammum told me about that. The boats were used as roofs. I need to ask about a children's rhyme she told me about. A thousand years later and children were STILL singing about hating King Olaf of Dublin. THAT'S how you hold a grudge! And made the song about another King Olaf in Skyrim familiar. A mocking song can last a LONG time.

 

Instead of stranding the PCs in another world, just have it so they either have to pay off a MASSIVE weregild or face death.

 

Making trade possible once they are rich.

 

And make the PCs the wronged party, giving them a King Olaf to hate. Probably NAME him King Olaf. Dennis will get it and Jon will get it. Duncan WON'T get it, but will look it up.

 

Oh! Jon knows Norse! I need to ask him about it. Funny, his grand dad was Swedish, but Jon learned Norse, a dead language, instead of Swedish, because Norse is more useful in the SCA. ::P:

 

One of Grump's ancient ancestors, or at least the person his patronym comes from, supposedly killed Odin with a stake of holly through the heart. <_< One of those Christianity throwing out/killing the pagan gods myths. And SURE Brian Boru was really Christian. (I have my doubts.)

 

The Irish are big on mixing history with myth with wouldn't that make a cool story.

And now I'm wondering about the story of King Olaf.  Havent found anything about why Dublin would hate him.. Someone toss me a link if available?

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They called him Olaf Sandle, or at least that was what Granmum said, cheap shoe.

 

They hated him because he was an invader and did not treat his people well. At all. And not just the natives, he did not want to be there.

 

And then he left, so they could say whatever they wanted about him.

 

 

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I am going with the bugbears as the monsters under the bed and stairs.

 

They do not raid, they terrorize.

 

Killing a child in the bed and leaving it there for the parents and siblings to find.

 

Slaughtering a horse snd putting its head on a spear.

 

The witches among the bugbears cursing the fields of two farmers, and blessing that of a third, so that they war on each other, or blame the prosperous farmer of witchcraft.

 

And, yes, they eat babies.

 

I never knew Pathfinder bugbears were supposed to be like that until I read the write up.

 

Kobolds are what happened to dwarfs, smaller and weaker than before, with cruel and grasping avarice driving them. But keeping the beards, these aren't the lizard-dog creatures from the Monster Manual, even if they DO have the same stats.

 

 

Edited by PaganMegan
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