Heroes of Midhgardhur
In the “Heroes of Midhgardhur” campaign, you play an adventurer from a region simply referred to as “The North” in a world the Northern peoples call “Midhgardhur.” The Northern peoples are part of a larger world, but have always maintained their independence. A thousand years ago, when the demon-haunted Norrani Imperium was conquering the known world, they were never able to conquer the North. The final collapse of the Norrani Imperium was at the hands of barbarian hordes from the North. The Northerners alternately trade with the other parts of the known world and send raiding parties to take by force what they do not get in trade. The folk of the North have a fierce reputation as some of the greatest seafarers, raiders, traders, and warriors in the world.
The “Heroes of Midhgardhur” campaign is about high adventure! Your character should be an adventurer! The campaign will involve travel, so make your character a merchant, a viking, a mercenary, a wanderer, or some other character who is not “tied down.” Every one of the “Heroes of Midhgardhur” is a hero, an adventurer who faces the darkness in the quest for fame, fortune, and/or power!
The “Heroes of Midhgardhur” campaign is dark fantasy! This means a savage world of bloodthirsty berserkers, cunning vikings, and crude barbarians. You can play a semi-civilized character (and Ethelling from the great city of Thamesburg, a Danir from the city of Jorvik, etc.), but even these characters are likely to hold the “soft,” civilized peoples beyond the North with contempt. The warrior ethos of the North is that of a dark age.
The “darkness” in dark fantasy also means a world where horror is ubiquitous. Vile undead crawl from their graves to attack the living, evil sorcerers invoke dark forces, barbarian skraelingar are so savage that no law constrains them from the worst crimes imaginable, and the ruins of the demon-haunted Norrani Imperium hold horrors the modern world can scarcely conceive. There are older, darker things hidden in the desolate places of the world. Your role is to face the darkness!
Gazetteer of the North
The following is a list of places that form part of the “Known World” of the North:
Denaland – A nation of low-lying lands and islands ruled by warrior-kings. The Danir are great conquerors of men, though their own lands are beset by ancient evils.
The Denalagu – A Danir kingdom on the island of Prytania, north of Ethelland. The capital is at Jorvik, formerly called Eoforwic by the Ethellings. The Danir conquered the land from the Ethellings.
Ethelland – Most of the island of Prytania is part of the nation of Ethelland. The capital is at Thamburh. The Ethellings conquered the island from the Prytani, who are now nearly extinct.
Gautland – At the southern end of the Northern Subcontinent, the land of the Gautar is ruled by jarls, much like the Sviar, but the people are far less religious. The Gautar are famous monster-slayers. One of their great cultural heroes, Bodhvarr, killed many trolls oppressing the Dsnir and slew an ancient red dragon oppressing his own people (but was killed himself)
The Gray Isle lies in the sea to the west of Ethelland. It is shrouded in perpetual mists, and is forbidden to humans. The island is the stronghold of the mysterious alfar, the race of elves.
Noregur – Lies on the western end of the Northern Subcontinent. The harsh coast is mostly mountains and fjords, and the people are famous sailors – raiders and traders. The entire nation is under the rule of the Einkonungur, the One King, to whom the Northmenn are fanatically loyal.
Nyrheimur – An island far, far away to the west. The ancestors of the Nyjirmenn came here long ago because they refused to submit to the tyranny of any king, especially the Einkonungur of Noregur. They founded freeholds on their island nation, ruled by democratic assemblies called things. The island of Nyrheimur is exceptionally peaceful, and many young people leave and sail east, seeking fortune and adventure in the lands of their forefathers.
The Sviar are a nation to the north of Gautland. The Sviar are a deeply conservative and religious people. They are ruled by jarls, having no kings. The greatest center of power, however, is not a jarldom, but the city of Uppsalir, home to the Great Temple which is the center of worship for the Northern gods.
Beyond the Known World of the North
Gardhariki – A land far to the southeast of the main Northern lands. The natives are mostly barbarians, but they are ruled by the Rys, the descendants of Sviar nobles who emigrated to Gardhariki long ago. The Rys control great trade routes through the east, including a route by river to Palnorra
Gaunorria – A land arising from the ashes of the Norrani Imperium, often a rich target of raids by vikings from the North. The capital city of Sequanaborg has been sacked twice by vikings.
Groenland – Semi-mythical land even further west than Nyrheimur, said to have narrow fertile lands along the coasts but massive inland glaciers. The land is inhabited by frost giants and other terrible beings.
The Hierarch States lie far to the south of the main Northern world, the sad remnants of the Norrani Imperium ruled from the city of Norra by the Hierarch of Dyovis, the high priest of the Norrani faith. The people are said to be soft and decadent and unspeakably corrupt.
Karelia – A country east of the main Northern world, made up of small human settlements beset by giants and trolls (sometimes in kingdoms of their own). The humans are said to have strange magical arts. They trade in timber and furs.
Palnorra – The so-called “Silver Empire,” the successor to the Norrani Imperium in the east. Ruled from the capital at Argyropolis, the Silver City. The Emperor has a bodyguard of Northerners known as the Barangoi Guard. The Empire of Palnorra is corrupt and decadent, but has not yet fallen as the Norrani Imperium has.
Permia – also known as Bjarmaland, lying to the east of the main Northern world. The rulers of the human settlements here tend to be wizards, and there are kingdoms of trolls and giants as well. The people trade in furs and silver, among other treasures, but tend to hate the people of the North and attack them on sight. There are also barbaric skraelingar here.
Tafestaland – a region east of the main Northern world, inhabited mostly by trolls and giants. There are said to be great treasures here as well, but few adventurers survive expeditions in search of those treasures. If there are humans here, they are skraelingar.
Urkneyjar – The Urkney islands lie northwest of Ethelland and are ruled by independent jarls who are culturally Northmenn and theoretically subject to the Einkonungur (although the One King has difficulty enforcing his will so far from home). Most of the jarls of the Urkneyjar are vikings. The islands are important stopover points for supplies for those travelling to or from Nyrheimur.
Vinland – Mythical land even further west than Groenland, said to be inhabited by savage skraelingar.