Middengard home of heroes. Of course heroes are only needed when circumstances become dire. You have been warned. Enter freely and leave gloriously. But glorious or damned you won’t leave alive!
Important starting details.
This is a low metal start area. Any all metal items cost triple. Also the low quality of the iron means that long blades are usually too fragile to use. All long swords must be masterwork. Masterwork cost is included before tripling for metal cost. So a good long sword non-magical will cost 945 gold. Carrying a long sword gives you a +2 circumstances bonus to diplomacy and intimidate checks (only successful, rich, warriors are likely to be wearing one). Other long metal items are rare and probably the same masterwork requirement.
Quick childhood and world intro.
Farmers, shepherd, cow herd, pig farmer, fisherman, forester, miner (usually peat swamp iron mines), blacksmith, carpenter, huscarl (armsman). These are the more common occupations outside of a city. Just remember its a very primitive world when you think what your parents profession might be. Most Manners are small villages in all but name, most of these occupations and more will be in each of them.
Organization of settlements
Manor house (~40 pop, with ~20 thralls, ~15 freeman, ~5 huscarl and the owner & wife)
Small Noble Manor (~120 pop, with ~50 thralls, ~30 freeman and ~40 huscarls and 1 friherre & frifrue)
Large village (500-800 pop, 1/3 thralls, 1/3 shopkeeper freeman. 1/6 free laborers, 1/6 huscarls/ 1 greve & grevinde)
City (< 2000 pop usually, 1/3 thralls, 1/3 shopkeeper freeman. 1/6 freeman laborers, 1/6huscarls and 1 Hertug & hertuginde)
Lots of Friherre. About 1 per 10 manner farms. 10 friherre to 1 greve. 10 greve to a Hertug. These are not precise numbers. Just an idea of the structure. The ranks in more common lingo would be knight, baron, count, duke.
Any given summer half the Freeman and Huscarls are out raiding. Thralls are NOT slaves. they have rights and provisions to get out of thralldom. Thralls are easy to spot by the lack of weapons, they might have a small knife and a staff. All freeman carry a metal weapon, usually a saex (Short sword) and will probably have a spear, wood axe, pick, bow or whatever there profession requires as well. The rule on thralls with weapons is not a firm one. If you get attacked by scary monsters or raiders anyone with 2 good arms will probably get a weapon. they just don’t own the weapons.
Each manner is a defensive building. No smaller settlement is likely because of dangerous wildlife and potential raids. Most farms are near the coast or a river. A few are in mountains, on a river, or in forests but all Vieslings live on a mass of islands. Kids are not counted in the numbers listed above. There will usually be around 40% again children. Boy children are encouraged to play together and more then frequently fight each other. It is important to find out which children are the dominant ones. Particularly strong/skilled boy children might get adopted by the owner and given better food and training. Bullying happens. A potential bully will usually have to fight for every act. Even if he wins it gets obvious. If you give in to a bully you are a coward and not worth helping. This is not a soft world and soft people deserve what they get. Most deaths are to disease, animals, and work injuries not bullying or murder.
Prep For your Characters:
1) Pick one of the above to start in. If you want to be a noble see the random roll table below.
2) Were you the lead boy in your farm/neighborhood? Were you a bully? Were you protective of the week? What did you parents do? were you a dutiful son? or an orphan adopted for high skill?
3) If you want to be a druid you will have a slightly different experience so send me a note and ill send back some info. Druids are secretive. Think old British druids by the way. Scary and wise.
4) This is the real basic start info I want you to have thought about. More back story is always better but that’s up to you.
You might be the son of a friherre, the lowest class of nobles. Or the son of a manner farm owner. But you have to roll for that. Random roll a percentage and send it to me and i’ll send back who your father is. Only do this if you want to be a nobles child, the roll might make you a lonely orphan instead. If you pick a lower class you don’t have to roll it. Just run it past me. If you want something outside of the normal rolls just ask. If you make it sound cool and it will fit I will probably let you do it.
Son of Table:
Roll again to determine bastard or legitimate son of who.
99-100 Minor Noble
93-98 Manner owner
1-10 Shore born (washed up on shore as any race/nationality you can convince me you won’t abuse)
If you are not a manor owner son or a son of a minor owner you can choose as you please to be adopted. Since you will naturally be heroic type characters it is reasonable to assume you stood out as a child. Thrall born isn’t pleasant but your not born into thralldom and Impressive thrall children are adopted as well.
Bastard children of nobility and children adopted by nobility for showing skill are common. You don’t count as nobility but you do get a nice contact and better food/training growing up. The adoption is not usually a close adoption. He gives you his name and food/training. He gets prestige if you go on to do well and you usually pay him back with gifts or by becoming his huscarl. Voluntary gifts show the honor of the giver.
This is the Viesling Pantheon. Other gods exist both within it and of other peoples in there area.
What I’m Using
Wotan- King of The Viesling Gods. He is a god of war, but also associated to wisdom, poetry, and magic. Wotan has a spear that when thrown never misses. He also only has one eye, because he sacrificed one to drink from the fountain of wisdom. This let him learn the runes of power.
Favored Weapon: Short Spear Domain: Knowledge, War, Magic,
Fricka/Frigga – Fricka and Frigga is Wotans mate. She is two goddesses in one person. She is often portrayed as twins with one shared mind. One goddess is the patron of love beuty, attraction. The other with fertility, prophecy and death. They are identical and according to myth this is why occasionally instead of love and marriage pregnancies occur. Lust and fertility are two sides of the same coin.
Favored Weapon: Staff and Sickle. Domains: Love, Charm, Death, Healing
Donnar- The red-haired and bearded god of thunder. He is the son of Wotan and Fricka. It is said that the lightning is his thrown hammer and thunder the sound of it hitting the ground.
Favored Weapon: War Hammer Domains: Storm, War, Battle,
Tiw- He is the god of single (man-to-man) combat. Tiw only has one hand.
Favored Weapon: Long sword Domain- War, Justice, Single Combat
Heimdall – Heimdall is the guardian of the waves. He is the son of at least nine different mothers. Heimdall watches the paths of the waves. He determines who is allowed through and who is barred from Middengard. He is the patron of all waveborn. He is not the son of Wotan but is a loyal friend.
Favored Weapon- Viesling Round Sheild Domain: Travel, good, Truth, Water, loyalty
Skadi – Skadi is the goddess of hunting. Another Child of Wotan and Frigga. She gave the bow to the vieslings and taught the first hunters how to travel through the forest without fear.
Favored Weapon: Short Bow Domain: Nature,
Hulda – The daughter of Loki and a giantess. She is half alive, half dead. Half of her face is beautiful, reminiscent of her father, while the other half is ugly and difficult to look at like her mother. From the waist up the skin is pink, alive and healthy. Below the waist is dead and rotting. She is the queen of the frozen Hells. Her job is to punish those who died of old age and disease. Those who died in battle do not come to her halls. She also chooses to allow those who have suffered enough to be reborn and try again.
Favored Weapon- Great Axe Domain: Death, Justice
Sif- Goddess of the home, of field and of the crop. It is also said that she has some control of destiny
Favored Weapon- club Domain: Hearth, Harvest
Bragi – God of music and petry. He is often seen with his harp. He is an old man with long gray hair and a long gray beard. It is said that when he tells a story, poetry, even the birds stop to listen.
Favored Weapon- Staff Domain: Music, Performance
Baldur – Wotan’s second son. He is the god of summer sun, light, and radiance. Baldur also has a ship, which is the largest ship ever built. It is called Hringhorni.
Favored Weapon- War Axe Domain: Sailing, Sun, Healing,