I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a Viking-styled d&d game, and I’ve come up with a few ideas.
However, since I’ve also been playing a lot of Mass Effect, been reading some of Marvel’s Battle world stuff and thinking about the Thor Corps, AND partly inspired by the article over on the D&D website, I’m making the setting a bit more scifi than just plain Vikings.
So, how’s this working exactly? I’m. Mixing together a bunch of notes as I write this post, so hopefully it won’t be too disjointed.
The World Tree, Yggdrasil, can be travelled. The interaction of the different realms has long been a fact, and so many races exist across the many realms, not just their own homes.
In scifi terms, they’re all originally human stock, but for some reason or other had been ‘locked’ into their own world so long that they evolved into separate races. Then the barriers came down.
Many of these worlds were more like pocket dimensions, but Midgard, the ancestral home, is huge, and filled with baseline humans.
Other races that now live in Midgard:
The Aelfr and Svartaelfr – elves and dark elves, though I might make them more grey elves than drow.
Dvergar – dwarves
Svirfneblin – gnomes
Niflungr – goblins
Trolls – orcs (maybe? Traditional d&d trolls would become Jotun – giants!)
In theory, I could also throw in:
Dreki – dragonkin
Djöfullinn – Tieflings
And then Aelfblood and Trollblood for half elves and half orcs, respectively.
I’ve taken out half lings for now, and replaced with Goblins. Because I like goblins!
Next up, classes. At this stages, I’ve only reskinned the names,but I’ll be fiddling a little bit too. All translations taken from Google Translate.
Bard – Skald
Barbarian – Berserkr
Cleric – Prestr
Druid – Hamaskr
Fighter – Hermathr
Paladin – Vaeringjar
Ranger – Skógarvörthr
Rogue – Fantr
Sorcerer – Galdramathr
Warlock – Norn
Wizard – Töframathr
Now, this being scifi influenced as well, I’m flying to add in the firearms rules.
That means anyone who gets full weapon proficiency is also likely to pick up guns as a proficiency (fighters, some clerics etc).
The guns available will be the modern pistol and rifle, though access to laser rifle and pistol is a possibility, and I’m debating making these more like Stargate’s Jaffa staff weapons and Zzzats. Either way, they’d be rare or the equivalent of magic items (maybe the gods run around with them?)
Armour would likely gain a damage reduction against ballistics, but again that’s something I need to work on. I don’t want to make the weapons too lethal, as they’d break the game, and ammunition needs to be important.
In the case of laser weapons, I’m tempted to make them recharge over time, so they have a very limited number of shots that only recharges on a rest, and possibly only partially for short rests. Again, something I’m still working on.
At the moment:
Modern pistol: 1d8 damage
Modern rifle: 1d10 damage
Laser pistol: 2d6 damage, option to stun
Laser rifle: 2d8 damage, option to stun
Light armour: 2 DR versus ballistics, not against lasers
Medium armour: 4 DR versus ballistics, 2 DR against lasers
Heavy armour: 6 DR versus ballistics, 4 DR against lasers
(I’d probably get a bit more detailed and make it certain armours, not the entire rating)
On to important aspects of the setting!
I want to add in the Honour ability score. It’s cool and I think it fits. Oaths are important. Oath breakers, called Nith, are very important.
The pantheon is the standard Aesir/Vanir of Norse mythology.
Dragons are a thing. They are called Hoggr.
I’m ripping social classes and such out of a combination of Saxon and Norse stuff, should be familiar to Skyrim players.
The castes are broken down into
The King/Rix. Probably one for each realm.
The Etheling. Nobles, both Jarls and Thanes.
Thralls. Slaves tied to a person and serfs tied to the land.
Felags are communities to which a character belongs. They might be obliged to serve in some way, as the felags are usually centred around a trade or military venture.
A big army barracks is surrounded by support people, so is a large vineyard or weapon manufacturing centre. Even a town known for art will have charcoal burners, quarries and paper makers all around it, plus farmers etc.
The sib is the basic family unit. Hence the term sibling.
Fostering of the children of blood sworn kin is also common, though these are the links between the various sibs.
Injury between sibs can be collected upon through fines, called weregild (the worth of a man). Weregild is claimed at annual Things (the meetings of a populace) and decided upon by Gamuts, a court of popular vote. Sometimes an ordeal might be issued.
Gamut can also declare outlaws, who are banished on pain of death, their rights revoked and their marriages dissolved.
So where does this leave my current idea?
The characters are all. Members of the same Felag, which involves trade with other settlements and sometimes other realms. Travel through Yggdrasil will be happening, but has become more difficult of late.
The group is attached to a caravan to carry wares to another settlement, then on to another realm. I’m imagining that the ‘branches’ of Yggdrasil are gateways to travel through, perhaps an astral or shadow realm.
Ultimately I want to involve Ragnarok, or the fear of Ragnarok, and perhaps a villain being sponsored by the Jotun or the Dragon Nithoggr, or both, to bring Ragnarok about.