Archive for the Fate of the Norns Category

The Vanagard Stories

Posted in Fate of the Norns, Norse Mythology, Roleplaying Games, Satire, Vanagard, Writing with tags , , , , on September 7, 2017 by Chall

As I mentioned before, a long time ago, I was a storyteller in Jungle Cat World in Orono. It was an experience that changed my life, I loved it. I want it back, hence I’m telling  Vangard Stories on the internets.

Of course, these tie into the game, which you can back here. Their purpose is threefold:

  1. To promote the game
  2. To provide lore and ideas for running the game
  3. To share a story that’s been rattling around in my head for a while

It’s a fun thing to write. I have an opportunity to fill in the myths in my own way.  I’ll tell the story of when Odin and Loki met Freya, how Frey got his magic sword, why Nord has such fine feet and how Freya gained her field of Folkvangr. None of what I’m telling is authentic buuut it’s based heavily on the myths. It’s my way of filling in the gaps. It’s a worthwhile project that I will see to completion.

There will be 12 stories that can be listened together or individually. I’ve completed three and am well on my way to the fourth.

I plan on releasing these in written format; if we make our stretch goal.

You don’t need these stories to play Vanagard. We won’t arrest you for straying from the myth and the lore, in fact, we’re hoping you do. The stories you tell with our game are yours, you can add as many Norse and non-Norse elements as you’d like. Still, if you enjoy the mythology and the set up of the game, I fully believe listening to these will enhance your experience.

You can find my stories on:

So please take a look and, if you like them, feel free to back our Kickstarter.

 

 

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Vanagard: The Vanir

Posted in Fate of the Norns, Publishing, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Vanagard, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 29, 2017 by Chall

Stanza 23 – Voluspo – Poetic Edda

On the host his spear | did Othin hurl,
Then in the world | did war first come;
The wall that girdled | the gods was broken,
And the field by the warlike | Wanes was trodden.

This above snippet recalls a time when walls of Asgard fell and the Aesir faced an elemental, unrelenting force… ages before Ragnarok. The Giants had nothing to do with this. These mighty ones, these warriors strong enough to face the Aesir, were the Wanes, also known as the Vanir, also known as the old gods. I can picture it: Ancient Njord striding forward, an entire ocean roaring behind him. Golden haired Frey throwing his sword and it spinning like a buzzsaw seeking blood. Beautiful and terrifying Freya, charging in her chariot, drawn by giant cats, with an army of specters riding close behind. Standing on the wall Odin, young and full of strength; he will survive the crumbling walls to wreak havoc on the foe. At his side his blood brother Loki, a cruel smile on his face, ready to assume a thousand forms each more deadly than the last and teach these invading old ones new tricks.

War

I invite thee to bring it!

With all our shining stars, cinematic wizardry, and legions of writers, I fear we may never see such a scene played out on our screens. This is because we’ve forgotten the Vanir.

I hope to counter this with Vanagard.

Not much is known about the Vanir. By the time Snorri Sturluson wrote the Eddas, Christianity was firmly entrenched and before that worship of the Aesir (we’re talking about Odin, Thor, Frigg, and the like) was prominent. The Vanir came before the Aesir and with two whole theologies between us and them, most of their myths have been lost.

In Vanagard do my best to feature elements we have. The Vanir keep their dominion over nature, how they act in my stories is based off how they act in the Eddas, their look and feel are pulled from authentic sources. However, there are still gaps which need to be filled to make a cohesive game world.

I’d be lying if I claimed this isn’t a golden opportunity, I relish making connections and adapting old ideas to new themes.  The Van-Folk, Phantom Wood, and even some of the set up of the young cosmos are my own creations. Also, enjoying Vanagard does not require a doctorate in Norse mythology, I don’t hold players to strict interpretations of the Eddas. In Vanagard, folks should feel free to draw up their own myths. This is a narrative game aimed at kids, kids WILL make up their own stories, nothing can stop it and that’s a good thing.

However, as mentioned above, there will be many kernels of the actual mythology in the game. My hope is to draw attention to the Vanir and so encourage folks to research on their own. Furthermore, my own stories will veer closer to the myth as they progress, I’d tell more but…spoilers.

Bill.jpg

Besides, others take greater liberties with Norse source material.

 

No matter my mixture of fantasy and myth, my end goal with Vanagard is to promote the Vanir. They play a significant part of the Norse mythology. Back in the day, even with the Aesir in prominence, Nord, Frey, and Freya were well-loved Deities. Vikings prayed to Nord for safe voyages across the sea. The Sweedish Ynglin dynasty is said to have been descended from Frey. Couples prayed to Freya for children and half of the glorious dead went to her. By all rights, they should be more prominent in modern interpretations of Norse myth and it’s a crying shame they are not.

Why? My guess is our need to simplify. We think in terms of gods and demons, two sides, no more. In this regard,  the Vanir are rolled into the background of the Aesir, a mere footnote in the larger struggle against the Jotun. Odin is portrayed as a just sky god. Surtr is set to remind us of an arch villain who lives in a lake of fire. It’s narrative shorthand that’s easy to grasp. I don’t think this does us any good. It’s worthwhile to push out of this limiting paradigm and see the myths as something more.

Not Odin

Not Odin

 

Not Surt

Not Surt

 

The Vanir story is incredibly important for our time. Remeber the war mentioned above? How the Vanir and the Aesir clashed with the full intent on killing each other? Want to know how this Viking story ends?

They make peace.

Both sides, foreseeing mutual annihilation, called a halt to the war and forged alliance. They exchange hostages but the Vanir hostages sent to Asgard were inducted and became high ranking members of Aesir society. The big three back in the day wasn’t Odin, Thor, and Heimdall; it was Odin, Thor and Frey. Odin learned how to gather the honored dead from Freyaand she got the first pick. Both sides found peace, united and became stronger for it.

In our modern climate of fearing the foreign this story, about uniting people of vastly different races and backgrounds, is exactly what we need.

While Vanagard doesn’t cover the Aesir-Vanir war, not yet at least, it is all about this theme. The Van-Folk aren’t conquerors, they are explorers and diplomats. Many Stories I’ve run involve finding and returning stolen things, smoothing over conflicts, and learning about different peoples. If you check out the stories I’ve written, available on both YouTube and Google Play, you’ll see what I mean.

We’re about halfway through the Kickstarter, if you’re interested why not check it out? I’m certain you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Seith and Sword – A Novel of Vengeance In Eastern Midgard

Posted in Fate of the Norns, Fiction, Norse, Publishing, Roleplaying Games, RPG with tags , , , , on July 22, 2015 by Chall

Four months ago I put this blog on hiatus while I worked on a new novel. Said novel is finished, so I now proudly present Seith and Sword. It has been very gratifying to write, especially since it has allowed me to utilize my knowledge of Norse mythology, the Sagas, the Eddas and add my own particular little twist to FoTN setting. I’d like to thank Andrew Valkauskas, who is a most accommodating publisher, he allowed this story to remain under my control with only a few, minor, caveats. I’d like to thank my significant other Jenny Doleman, who put up with long nights of me using her as a sounding board and nipping away in the evenings to write for hours on end. I’d like to thank all my friends who were very patient with my madness. I’d like to thank our backers, without their support this novel would have never been written.

Cooking awesomeness.

Do you smell what the Chall is cooking?
He’s cooking awesomeness.

What will you find in Seith and Sword? Primarily it’s written to show what kind of adventures one could have FoTN. Think of it as a whirlwind tour of eastern Midgard peppered with adventure, joy and loss. I kept the stakes desperate but small. That way I could avoid solving the major plot points of the setting. I did this on purpose, it has always aggravated me when RPG setting novels change the game landscape so drastically that it wipes out everything the player characters could have done.

Seith and Sword avoids two of the most prominent fantasy meta-plots. The crux of the story is not the retrieval or destruction of a powerful magic item. Nor is t a war story. Instead it’s a tale of a family feud, Nibelung VS Volsung, rekindled. It is a quest for vengeance but told from the perspective of those who are fleeing it. It’s a terribly dark story with little breaks of music, laughter and light, just to remind the reader why those fleeing still struggle not to succumb to their ever growing list of powerful foes.

There are no clear cut good guys or bad guys in this novel. No generic Orcs or evil magicians, just good people struggling for survival and doing terrible things. Morality in this novel is messy. What drives the Volsung is a desire for a life of freedom. What drives the Nibelung is glory, anguish, and rumor. I play a lot with rumor in this book. In fact, if you took the rumor as truth then would Seith and Sword would become a tale of good vs. evil. Which is apt, since such stark contrasts tend to break down upon under deep scrutiny.

If this type of story rocks your fancy,  I suggest checking my novel out. You can purchase it in the link above. If you’re a backer or you’ve already purchased this, thank you. Please tell me what you loved and/pr hated about it. I live for your feedback.

Seith and Sword Is Funded – I’ll Be Incognito For A Bit

Posted in Fate of the Norns, Roleplaying Games, Writing with tags , , , , on March 23, 2015 by Chall

So, good news,

Seith and Sword is fully funded.

A big thanks to my backers, my friends and family. I am very excited to write this novel for this particular game setting. Fate of the Norns is the truest rpg to the Eddas that I’ve encountered. Furthermore, as I discovered while writing the kickstarter blogs, their take on Norse Mythology is pretty much my own. I’ve got the novel all planned out and the rough draft is already a quarter of the way done. I’m so looking forward to getting this novel to my backers. They won’t be disappointed.

I’ll be very busy. While my daily word count is manageable I want to blow away my deadlines. The earlier I finish the more time I’ll have to refine. I’m putting my all into Seith and Sword, and as such, until it’s done, I’ll have less time for blogging. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, this is why.

When Sieth and Sword is complete, you will hear about it, trust me.

"The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani" by John Charles Dollman - Guerber, H. A. (Hélène Adeline) (1909). Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas.

I hope to have Seith and Sword done well before Ragnarok.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately – Fate of the Norns Novel: Seith and Sword

Posted in Fantasy, Fate of the Norns, Publishing, Roleplaying Games with tags , , , , on February 27, 2015 by Chall

So, it’s been a while, lemme explain.

Last Phantasm I had the pleasure of playing Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok. It’s a Norse Saga RPG that takes place during the twilight of the gods. It uses Elder Futhark runes in it’s resolution system. The rule book is absolutely gorgeous and a mere 5 minutes after playing I bought the hardcover and a bag of their metal runes.

Given that I’ve been working on and off on The Childe Hel, given that I’ve been stewing in constant Norse Mythology, I rolled the idea that I might be a good person to write something for Fate of the Norns sometime. Andrew Valkauskas, who’d been demoing the game, suggested I roll a submission Pendlehaven’s way.

I did, and, well… this:  

For the past moth or so I’ve been submitting synopses, pitches, character bios, the whole 9 yards. I now have a solid story that I’m very excited to write about. I just need backers.

Seith and Sword is the story of two Volsung siblings fleeing the wrath of a Nibelung hero in the last golden days of Harald Fairhair’s reign. The feud will drag in the likes of Louhi Mistress of Pohjola, Bjorn Eriksson, Gorm the Old and Vargeisa the Fire Wolf. A dark tale of vengeance, survival and family.

Right up my ally really.

So, if you like what I’ve written on this blog and would  like to read an awesome Norse saga, please back! The investment is sound; I’ve already started on the rough draft and have no plans on stopping until the novel’s done.

Since my focus will be 100% on this I’m putting my other projects on hold. This doesn’t mean they’re done, It’s just that I’ve agreed to work on Seith and Sword until it’s complete. I’m tackling an agressive timeline and can’t afford to be distracted.

Still…the payoff will be an awesome Norse Saga that’ll be complete before the end of the year.