Vocabulary

Herein is a dictionary of potentially unfamiliar vocabulary words of the North:

A

  • -a (plural -ar) – “river” (geographical term).
  • Alfur (plural alfar) – a mysterious race of beings somewhat similar to Pathfinder elves. Some humans believe alfar are the reincarnated spirits of dead humans who have “evolved” into beings more similar to the gods. Others believe they are kin to the Vanir. According to the latter theory, they are not of this world, but native to another world known as Alfheimur. There is a race of alfar who oppose the gods, known as svartalfar or dockalfar (dark elves), somewhat similar to Pathfinder drow, who come from the world of Svartalfheimur.
  • Almenning – common land between settlements, unclaimed by either – a concept found mostly in Nyrheimur.
  • Althing – the democratic national assembly in Nyrheimur, at which laws are passed and trials held
  • Apturgongumadhur (plural apturgongumenn) – “After-going-man” – Term for “walking dead,” the undead.
  • Argur – an adjective roughly meaning “effeminate,” a pejorative term for a “womanly” man
  • Asa- – a prefix meaning “of the Aesir,” e.g. the god Thorr is sometimes known as Asa-Thorr.
  • Ase (plural Aesir) – god, specifically one of the divine family known as the Aesir, who are mostly gods of Northern civilization and its important concepts (law, war, justice, etc.), in contrast to the Vanir (mostly gods of the natural world and its processes).
  • Asynja (plural asynjur) – goddess of the Aesir (female equivalent of an ase)

B

  • Berserkur (plural berserkir) – “Bear-shirt” – Warriors who go into a ferocious rage in combat, sometimes even blinding them to friend and foe. Also called ulfhedhnar (wolf-skins)
  • Blot – A religious ceremony of sacrifice to the gods.
  • Bondi (plural boendur) – A freeman, usually a peasant farmer, eligible to take part in the levy by taking up the basic folkvopn.
  • Bragarfull – “Promise-cup” – Cup or drinking horn used in the swearing of oaths during a feast ( sumbel ). Also called a bragafull, which can be interpreted as “best cup,” “chieftain’s cup,” or even “Cup of Bragi.”
  • Byrdhingur – “ship of burden,” a type of cargo ship.

C

  • Ceorl (Theodisc) – “churl,” a free man who is not a member of the aristocracy, etymologically equivalent to Thjodisk karl, but with less of a militaristic sense. Slightly derogative in some contexts.

D

  • -dalur (plural -dalar) – “dale,” “valley” (geographical term).
  • Domur (Theodisc dom) – “doom” – judgment in a legal proceeding, such as by jury. ALSO – “reputation” (in the sense of judgment and consensus about someone or something)
  • Drakkar – (Thjodisk dreki, plural drekar) – A smaller longship used primarily for raiding (viking).
  • Draugur (plural draugar) – corporeal undead, such as zombies.
  • Drengskapur – “warrior-ship” – a sense of honor and the ethics of the warrior’s code. The opposite of drengskapur (honor) is nidhur (shame).
  • Drengur (plural drengar) – warrior, soldier.
  • Dvergur (plural dvergar) – a mysterious race of beings somewhat similar to Pathfinder dwarves. Despite the name, most dvergar do not resemble Pathfinder “duergar.” Dvergar are said to be born of the very stone and earth of Midhgardhur. Some among them are great craftsmen, the creators of some of the mightiest artifacts in Midhgardhur. Some say they are not truly of this world, but rather are locked in an eternal struggle for the world that men call Svartalfheimur.

E

  • Einvigi – A type of duel, involving unlimited personal combat to the death with no restrictions.
  • Eldskali (plural eldskalar) – “fire-hall” – a traditional turf-longhouse with a long central hearth, found commonly in Nyrheimur (among other places).
  • Ergi – a man who is argur, or “effeminate,” “womanly” – generally a term of abuse in the North
  • -ey (plural -eyjar) – “island” (geographical term).
  • -eyrr (plural -eyrar) – gravelly riverbank, or a small tongue of land projecting into the sea (geographical term).

F

  • -fell (sg. and pl.) – “mountain” (geographical term).
  • Finnur (plural Finnar) – another name for the Kvenir, a race of people, usually thought of as skraelingar by the people of the North, who dwell in the wastelands and are said to know many strange magics.
  • Fjorbaugsgardhur – lesser outlawry, involving confiscation of property and three-year banishment from the country. Failure to abide by the terms of the lesser outlawry is punishable by the greater outlawry (legal term).
  • Fjorbaugsmadhur (plural fjorbaugsmenn) – Lesser outlaw (legal term).
  • -fjordhur (plural -firdhir) – “fjord” (geographical term).
  • Folkvopn – "Folk-weapons* – the basic gear required to take part in the levy – a sword or axe, a spear, and a shield. A bow may be a substitute.
  • Frialsgjafi – “freedom-giver” – a manumitter, one who frees his slave(s). Under Northern law, a frialsgjafi is always considered the heir of his freedmen (since they owe all their property to him anyway).
  • Frilla (plural frillur) – a concubine.
  • Fulltrui (plural fulltruar) – “Fully-trusted” – a patron deity upon whom one feels one can depend for support and aid.
  • Fylgja (plural fylgjur) – The “fetch,” or spirit-double, a guardian “spirit” believed to be possessed by every wight in Midhgardhur (technically, it is a part of each wight’s soul). There are skilled magicians, called Summoners (see the Advanced Player’s Guide), who can manifest their fylgjur to do their bidding (thus, the fylgja replaces the concept of the “eidolon” from the _Advanced Player’s Guide"). Dopplegangers take advantage of the belief in a “spirit double” and appear as the fetch of a man doomed to die . . . a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the dopplegangers intend to kill and replace those whom they imitate.

G

  • Galdrabok – A spellbook.
  • Galdramadhur (plural galdramenn) – a man who has knowledge of galdur, i.e. who has knowledge of standard arcane magic, e.g. a bard, sorcerer, or wizard.
  • Galdur (Theodisc galdor)- “song” or “spell” – a type of magic cast through knowledge of the runes, and therefore derived from the teachings of the god Odhinn. Usually seen as the province of men (and therefore it is unusual, but not impossible, for a woman to practice galdur). Galdur is the practice of standard arcane magic (sorcery and wizardry, and even the magic of bards).
  • Godhi (plural godhar) – a (male) Cleric of the North, a priest. In Nyrheimur, a chieftain.
  • Godhordh – the office of a godhi or gydhja, the priesthood – in Nyrheimur, the chieftaincy.
  • Gordh – An arbitration process to settle a dispute (legal term).
  • Gordharmadhur (plural gordharmenn) – An arbitrator called in to help settled a dispute (also called a sattarmadhur). (legal term).
  • Gorningstakkur – a “witch’s shirt” – magical clothing, woven with seidhur magic, that protects its wearer.
  • Gydhja (plural gydhjur) – a (female) Cleric of the North, a priestess. In Nyrheimur, a female chieftain.

H

  • Hafskip (“sea-ship”) – Another name for a knorr, a sea-going ship.
  • Hamhleypa (plural hamhleypur) – “Shape-leaper” – a word for a shape-shifter (e.g. a lycanthrope, a druid using wild shape, a wizard with magic to change forms, etc.). The word is feminine and is almost a synonym for “witch” in popular parlance.
  • Hamingja – “Luck,” as an essential quality passed down through family lines (inherited). In the Midhgardhur setting, this is the name for the “Hero Point” system introduced in the Advanced Player’s Guide.
  • Hamrammur – (feminine Hamramm) -“shape-strong” – a word for a shape-shifter. The word can be used for anyone who changes shape by any means – druidic wild shape, arcane spells, victims of lycanthropy, etc.
  • Handsal – “hand-sale” – a sworn agreement. The name refers to the slapped together hands or handshake that formally seals the deal. It is a matter of honor to honor any agreement made via handsal.
  • Haugur (plural haugar) – a burial mound or barrow, also called a “howe.”
  • Hauldur – a free person owning odhal. Also called an odhalbondi. (legal term).
  • Hirdh – “court” – the sworn retainers of a noble
  • Hof – the virtue of moderation
  • Hofsmadhur (plural hofsmenn) – a moderate person, one who shows hof.
  • -holl (plural -holar) – “hill” or “stone heap” (geographical term)
  • Holmganga – (literally “island-going”) – A formal duel or trial-by-combat with elaborate rules, originally involving a trip to a small island (which became the “arena”), later involving more symbolic arenas.
  • Holmgongumadhur (plural holmgongumenn) – “duelist,” a man who fights in a holmganga duel.
  • -holt – “woodland” (geographical term).
  • Howe – another term for a haugur.
  • Hrosshval – “horse-whale” – a walrus (derived from the alternate “hvalhross”)
  • Huldrufolk – a mysterious race of beings somewhat similar to Pathfinder gnomes. The huldrufolk (or “Hidden People”) have very little contact with humans, preferring to live in isolated places, and using their reputed powers of illusion to hide from the race of men.
  • Huskarl – literally “house-man,” a retainer of a great household, sometimes a bodyguard.

I

  • Irminsul – “World-Pillar” – The great pillar of the world that symbolically holds up the sky, in Northern religion. A symbol of the Northern gods in general and Tyr in particular.

J

  • Jarl – “earl,” a lord, usually second only to a king.
  • -jokull (plural -joklar) – “glacier” (geographical term).

K

  • Karfi – A type of small but seaworthy oceangoing ship.
  • Karl (Thjodisk) – a free man, one who is not a member of the aristocracy. The term does have connotations of “a free warrior,” unlike the Theodisc equivalent ceorl, which is slightly more derogatory.
  • Kinfylgja – The personified or semi-deified traits and might of a family, usually dwelling with the head of family or the leading member of the family.
  • Knorr – (Thjodisk knarr singular, plural knerrir) A larger longship used primarily for trade. Also known as a hafskip (“sea-ship”).
  • Kona (plural konur) – Woman (or female human). Often a suffix in compounds.
  • Kvenur (plural Kvenir) – A race of people native to the North, but ethnically distinct from the main peoples of the North (the Danir, Gautar, Sviar, etc.) – a people known for their reverence for nature and their sorcery.

L

  • Landnam – “land-taking” – the process of settlement or colonization.
  • Landnamsmadhur (plural landnamsmenn) – “land-taker,” a settler or colonist.
  • Landvaettir – “land-wights,” collective term for the races that inhabit the land (usually meaning demihumans, rather than humans, and possibly also including fey races).
  • Langeld – “long-fire” – the long central hearth of an eldskali (“fire-hall”).
  • Leysingi (plural leysingjar) – freedman, one who was a slave until freed by a frialsgjafi. A leysingi has many of the same rights as a freeborn person, but their hair must always be their frialsgjafi who freed them.

M

  • Madhur (plural menn) – Man (or male human), often a suffix in compounds.
  • Minni – “Memory, Remembrance” – a toast, usually in memory of those lost, also called a minnis-ol (“memory-ale”), minnis-horn (“memory-horn”), minnis-full (“memory-cup”), minni-sveig (“memory-draught”). Toasts may also be drunk in honor of particular gods, e.g. Odhinsfull (“Odhinn’s cup”), Freysfull (“Freyur’s cup”), etc.
  • Mordh – “Murder” (distinguished from vig, “manslaughter,” by the attempt to conceal and “get away with it” (legal term).

N

  • -nes (sg. and pl.) – “ness” (geograpical term).
  • Nidhur – Villainy, the lowest form of shame and misdeed. The opposite of drengskapur (honor).
  • Nidhingur (plural nidhingar) – a term of extreme abuse – a villain, coward, traitor, oathbreaker.

O

  • Odhal – inalienable, inherited ancestral land (legal term).
  • Odhalsbondi (plural odhalsboendur) – a free person owning odhal. Also known as a hauldur. (legal term).
  • Odhur – Inspiration and/or fury, given to the human wights of Midhgardhur by Odhinn’s brother Hoenir.
  • Ohof – The vice of excess, of immoderate passions, intemperance, lack of restraint.
  • Ojafnadhur – The practice of ohof, characterized by injustice, unfairness, overbearing.
  • Ojafnadharmadhur (plural ojafnadharmenn) – An unruly person, a disturber of the peace, an overbearing person against whom the community must take action.
  • Ond – The breath of life, given to the human wights of Midhgardhur by Odhinn
  • Orlog – Fate, destiny – that which is woven by the Norns, and which spae-craft is meant to discover

P

Q

R

  • Runakefli – “runestick” – a stick engraved with runes for a magical purpose.
  • Runecaster – usually refers to a wizard, or sometimes a sorcerer – one with knowledge of galdur magic

S

  • Saett (plural saettir) – a settlement or reconciliation brought about through arbitration (legal term).
  • Sattarmadhur (plural sattarmenn) – an arbitrator or peacemaker called in to settle a dispute. Also called a gordharmadhur. (legal term).
  • Seidh-hjallur – a high seat or platform upon which a practitioner of seidhur sits to perform seidhur magic; some may be enchanted
  • Seidh-kona (plural seidh-konur – a woman who practices seidhur (q.v.), usually a member of the Witch class from the Advanced Player’s Guide
  • Seidh-madhur (plural seidh-menn – a man who practices seidhur (q.v.), usually a member of the Witch class from the Advanced Player’s Guide_. Such a man may risk being seen as effeminate (_argur)
  • Seidhur – a type of magic, usually classed as “womanly” (and therefore somewhat unusual – or even shameful – for a man to learn) that is said to have its origin in the teachings of the goddess Freyja. Witchcraft.
  • Sidhur – “custom” – The closest word in the North to “religion,” which is inseparable from daily life, even though many in the North choose to “trust in their own might and main” rather than hold faith with a god or gods.
  • Sjalfdoemi (“self-doom”) – “self-judgment” – offered by one accused of committing a wrong to the one allegedly wronged, giving them the opportunity to assess the compensation they believe they are owed (legal term).
  • Sjonhverfing – magical delusion, “deceiving of sight” – another name for Illusion magic
  • Skald – a bard of the North
  • Skali (plural skalar) – a traditional turf-longhouse of the kind found in Nyrheimur (among other places).
  • Skogarmadhur (plural skogarmenn) – greater outlaw (legal term).
  • Skoggangur – “forest-going” – greater outlawry, involving confiscation of property and permanent banishment from the country, under a kill-on-sight order (legal term).
  • Skraeling (plural skraelingar) – a term of abuse indicating an uncivilized person, a barbarian (even by the standards of the North) – literally a “wretch” – often applied to trolls and humanoids as well
  • Spae (also called spae-craft) – a type of magic involving the perception of the future and prophecy, often equated with a type of seidhur, but perhaps closer to the magic of Oracles.
  • Spae-kona (plural spae-konur) – a woman who has mastered spae magic (usually a member of the Oracle or Witch class from the Advanced Player’s Guide).
  • Spae-madhur (plural spae-menn) – a man who has mastered spae magic (usually a member of the Oracle or Witch class from the Advanced Player’s Guide).
  • Strandhogg – “shore-strike” – the viking practice of raiding along the coasts from the sea.
  • Sumbel (Theodisc symbel) – a ritualized feast, during which may be made boasts and oaths with the bragarfull, toasts of remembrance with the minnisfull, etc.

T

  • Taufur (plural taufir) – a talisman or amulet, usually created by means of rune magic (galdur)
  • Thane – also thegn, usually a noble vassal of a king.
  • Thegn – “servant” in Thjodisk, but also a term for a noble vassal in Theodisc and Thjodisk.
  • Thing – an assembly of the members of a tribe, usually for the purpose of deciding a law case or choosing a new king. In Nyrheimur, where there is a democratic society and no nobility, the local thing is the local government, and the Althing is the national assembly.
  • Troll – used as a catch-all term in the North for any sort of humanoid monster (including traditional Pathfinder trolls, but also orcs, goblins, etc.).
  • Trollkyn – the offspring of trolls and humans are known as trollkyn. The trollkyn vary much in appearance and attitude, but are similar to Pathfinder half-orcs, and tend to hail from barbaric and wilderness areas.
  • -tunga (plural -tungur) – “tongue,” a tongue of land at the confluence of two rivers (geographical term).
  • Tyr – a generic word for a god, but also the proper name of a god (Tyr) when capitalized

U

  • Ulfhedhinn (plural ulfhedhnar) – “Wolf-skin” – another word for a berserker
  • Utgardhur – “Out-gardh” – the wild space, lacking human order, at the outer edges of Midhgardhur (the realm of human habitation).
  • Utiseta – “sitting out,” to “sitja a haugi” (“sit on a barrow”) – a magical practice in which divination might be enhanced by sitting on a burial mound, but at great risk of stirring the dead interred within to attack

V

  • Vaettur (plural vaettir) – a wight, i.e. a sentient being, a human or demihuman such as an alfur, dvergur, etc. See wight
  • Vane (plural Vanir) – a god, specifically one of the divine family known as the Vanir, who are mostly gods of the natural world and its processes, in contrast to the Aesir (who are mostly gods of concepts such as law, war, justice, etc.)
  • Vardhlokur – a chant used in seidhur, a seidhur-spell (contrasted with galdur).
  • Vargur – an outlaw (literally “wolf”), usually a greater outlaw ( skogarmadhur ), one cast out of Northern society under penalty of a “kill on sight” order.
  • -vatn (plural -votn) – “lake,” “water” (geographical term).
  • Vig – manslaughter (distinguished from mordh, “murder,” by public acknowledgement and offered atonement by compensation (legal term).
  • Viking (the noun is actually Vikingur, plural Vikingar) – “pirate,” “sea-raider” – literally “Men of the Bay (”Vik")". The word “viking” is used in a very specific sense to refer to seafaring warriors who combine raiding and trading to make a profit, and to the activity itself (e.g. “to go viking in the summer”).
  • Vinfengi – Friendship, alliance (usually socio-political)
  • Vinatta – Friendship, alliance (usually genuine affection)
  • Vitishorn – “penalty-horn” – a large drinking horn used as a punishment at royal courts for courtiers who breach etiquette.
  • Vitki (plural vitkar) – a term for a male wizard or oracle.
  • -vollur (plural -vellir) – “plain” (geographical term).
  • Volva – a wise woman, a seeress (usually denoting a woman of the Oracle class from the Advanced Player’s Guide), a woman who has mastered spae magic or spae-craft. The name volva appears to come from a root meaning “a woman’s magical/ritual staff,” hence a volva will almost always carry a staff for use in ritual, even if it is not magical

W

  • Wiccecraeft (or wiccedom) – “Witchcraft,” an Ethelling concept roughly equivalent to Thjodisk seidhur
  • Wight – a concept among the Ethellings of a sentient being, e.g. a human, an elf, a dwarf, etc. Not to be confused with the Pathfinder monster of the same name. Used as a generic term for the human and demihuman races. The Thjodisk equivalent is “vaettur,” a much rarer term.

X

Y

Z

Vocabulary

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