I’m toying with the idea of doing a Mythic Norse game. Musing with ideas of new lifepaths, racial stocks (Aesir), which I will most likely never do (unless pressed), I did nail down a trait which I think would be cool. Maybe I’ll expand it into an emotional attribute, but we’ll see…the trait first.
Wyrd is gained during trait votes by Men, or taken by Aesir during burning. Wyrd is ones personal fate. This destiny can relate to Ragnarok in the more mythic sense, or bring it down to midgard, make it about the death of a king, the destruction of a village. It must related to the end of something the character cares about.
When a character gets Wyrd (har har), their fate is revealed to them. When a Man gains the trait through a vote, the GM takes the character’s belief (or the situation) and codifies it into their Fate. An Aesir Wyrd relates to Ragnarok, the GM figures their role in Ragnarok this should relate to the Big Picture (or at least the situation). The player then creates a belief relating to their fate, either for it, against it, or however.
Thats the trait idea, now expanding to an emotional attribute. I’ve got this idea, keep the above but add…
Whern as the character faces their Wyrd, they earns checks towards advancement. When Wyrd hits 10, the character gets the spotlight for one session as they face their Fate, and then die horribly. If this is an Aesir, Ragnarok will kick off (the player will then make a mortal character with some bennies).
You can tap your Wyrd (har har) if the action relates to fulfilling your fate.
I don’t know enough about Emotional Attributes to comment on that, but the trait looks good. Though I would suggest changing the name of fate to destiny (or something else). Fate already means something and I was pretty confused at first.
Cool stuff. Make sure you make rules for viking rune magic, and make dwarves BIG!
I once played in a viking campaign. The GM was an historian, so we were real vikings. That is to say, we were farmers who played soccer with sheep bladders and went on raids when the king taxed us too much. It still ranks as one of my favorite campaigns to date.
Yeah, Wyrd was more of an Anglo-Saxon concept, and it predates the Viking age. Viking mythology had the Norns, who controlled the fates of men. Technically, Urðr (anglicized as Urd) is the closest to the concept of “wyrd,” as both refer to fate specifically. But “wyrd” was used in a broader sense, and didn’t appear to refer to an actual being.
EDIT: I highly encourage the use of poetry and/or singing as the primary spellcasting in this setting.
I’m looking at another punchier word to use, thanks for the feedback!
Well, unless I’m mistaken, weren’t the elves in Tolkien at least partially inspired by the Aesir? Either way, I’m thinking of using the Elves as my “base” to begin tinkering with. Including using poetry and songs for casting spells (not to mention the Secret of the Runes!).
I recommend listening to Therion’s Secret of the Runes for inspiration. Also, because it’s awesome.
I don’t think the Vikings really had a single word like “wyrd” the same way the Anglo-Saxons did. The Vikings seemed to get quite specific in their mythology and such. The various vaettir all had specific roles, or were generalized to the point of being essentially identical.
Actually, Vikings were very very big on luck. Being lucky was a crucial part of their spirituality - to be unlucky was a very branding thing, the equivalent of being called “cursed” or “damned.” I’m not quite sure how you could work that as an emotional attribute, but it’s a start at least.
The Aesir all had their own individual powers, so I’d be reluctant to make aesir “stock.” The best things for “stock” would be the elves and dwarves (dwarves were sometimes portrayed as being more malevolent, akin to spite elves), the fire giants, and possibly valkyries. Those are all somewhat “nameless” beings that all shared certain common traits, but were also distinct from one another. Frost giants and the gods were simply far too powerful and unique for “stock” to be useful. Frost giants in particular were amazingly powerful - moreso than the Aesir.
You should know that Vikings treated absolutely all of these things as spirits - beings that would always remain unseen to mortal eyes. In that way, a Spirit Binding analogue is probably the most appropriate thing you could use to represent Viking magic. Spells in Viking myth weren’t really specific incantations so much as statements of intent spoken in a magical way - a lot like negotiating with the spirits for favors.
If you want the aesir to appear, I wouldn’t have them be primary actors. They should be called upon using Summoning or Spirit Binding, and you’d have to negotiate with them for favors. Spirit Binding is probably more appropriate for representing various landvaettir (land spirits), while Summoning would be used to actually call for the presence of Odin or some other specific being. Consequences of failure can be giants or Loki.
Gray shade is probably appropriate for most aesir - even Odin, who would at most have a white Perception. The aesir were remarkably vulnerable in the mythology, though mortals could never hope to harm them - though a legion of Loki’s undead could probably do some harm.