Archive for the Vanagard Category

Vanagard Funded – Big Thank You

Posted in Roleplaying Games, RPG, Publishing, Vanagard, Norse Mythology with tags , , , , on September 22, 2017 by Chall

Actually, it was funded a¬†week ago. I haven’t gotten to posting this yet because, well, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the rules.

The amount of support we got in the last 48 hours was mind-boggling, I was blown away. Thank you so much to everyone who backed, shared, and playtested. I’m humbled and honoured.

The game’s nearly complete, I’ve put my heart into it and hope it’ll be worthy of the help I’ve received.

Once the game is out, I fully plan demo it in as many stores that’ll have me in Ottawa. I also hope to run Vanagard in Cobourg, Peterborough and Toronto.

As for the Youtube channel and podcast, I’ll keep at it. There are three stories up, I hope to get twelve. I want to make a worthy mythic cycle for this game.

So, I’ll be busy, but that’s not a bad thing at all. ūüėÄ

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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.

 

 

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¬†Freya,¬†and 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.

 

 

Coming Soon – Vanagard!

Posted in Fantasy, Publishing, Roleplaying Games, Uncategorized, Vanagard with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2017 by Chall

 

Vanagard Kickstarter

This bear, this rabbit, they share a story or two.

This is a story about beginnings. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, is young, vibrant and grows between eight worlds. The ninth, our world of Midgard, doesn’t exist yet. There is no Thor or Jormungand. Odin is a young man who just befriended the mischievous Loki. The future is bright and stretches forth with endless possibility.

 
This game is about the Van-Folk, the familiars of the goddess Freya. She is a powerful witch who holds sway over beginnings and endings. The Van-Folk are her people, born out of her dreams and will. They live like normal folk; in halls, working hard and then feasting with fun, family, and music. Freya mostly leaves them to their own lives but, when needed, she calls upon her children to be her eyes, ears, and voice.

Vanagard is a story game suitable for both family and friends. The players tell a story, drawing upon runes and cards for inspiration. Each story takes an hour or so to tell, a single session can have up to five stories. At the end of the game, the characters are tucked away, waiting for the next session of Vanagard to go on more adventures. 

 

A long time I worked as a camp counselor in Jungle Cat World in Orono. Back then, I was very much into storytelling as an art and I relished the chance to perform it for young campers. As such, I wove a little mythology involving wizards by the name of Lady Night, Lord Morning, Lady Rain, and Lord Wind. Dealing with their machinations was a society of animal people, the focus was on a rat named Renn. Over the course my first summer at Jungle Cat World, I crafted a 12 story cycle of this mythology, weaving tales of this little trickster for my camper audience. I shared with them Renn’s life; as a young rat freeing his people from the tyranny of lions, to a sneaky thief¬†who had a wonderful time winning infamy, to an old rat full of both wisdom and regret. ¬†They cycle ended well, with peace amongst the wizards, though not without sacrifice.

The campers loved listening to these stories and I loved telling them.

In Vanagard I’m trying to capture this magic again.

If I’ve done my job right Vanagard will help families and friends can craft their own mythologies within a Norse framework. Vanagard will allow them, with little to no prep, to hold an evening of storytelling that weaves consecutive tales of a close group of Van-Folk heroes. These stories can be as dark and meaningful as what you’d find in the Eddas, or as light and heartwarming as you’d find in a Miyazaki¬†film. The rules are simple but also allow for character growth. At the end of a Vanagard cycle, you’ll have a number of heroes, on whose cards are chronicled a great adventure.

If you want a taste of what kind of story I’m going for, feel free to check out my Vanagard Playlist.

The Kickstarter will be up very soon, in the next day or two at the latest. I hope I’ll have your support.

What I’ve Been Up To Recently: Vanagard

Posted in RPG, Vanagard, Writing with tags , , , , on September 18, 2016 by Chall

So I went dark for a little while but, there’s a good reason for that. After completing Seith and Sword¬†Andrew approached me about writing a sister game for Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok¬†. That’s what I’ve been working on. Here’s a rundown:

Vanagard
This is a story about beginnings. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, is young, vibrant, and grows between eight worlds. The ninth, our world of Midgard, doesn’t exist. There is no Thor or Jormungand. Odin is a young man who just befriended the mischievous Loki. The future is bright and stretches forth with endless possibility.

This story takes place in Vanagard, world of wild beauty. It is a bright land of deep forests, golden fields, and rolling oceans. Here nature is at times gentle, and at others deadly. Fruit hangs heavy on tree and vine; crops and game are ever abundant. Yet Vanagard wolves are fierce; many lions, bears, and beasts fill the woods, and dragons sleep in secret caves.

Despite nature’s hold, small pockets of civilization can be found. The Vanir rule here, wise beings of mysterious power, who live with the land rather than dominating it. Alfar and Svart Alfar, Light and Dark Elves, also reside here; immigrants from their chaotic worlds of Alfgard and Svartalheim. Also to be found are Troll wanderers and Dvergar (dwarven), merchants. The few cities in this realm are filled with lively color and diversity.

In this game, you play Van-Folk, the familiars of the Goddess Freya. Freya is the daughter of Njord, God of Oceans, and twin sister to handsome Frey, God of Harvest. She is a powerful witch who holds sway over beginnings and endings. As mistress of life magic, verwandlung, she chooses those who may have children. As mistress of death magic, seith, she also chooses where the souls of the dead rest. At times she is radiant and benevolent, moving hearts to adore her. At other times … let’s just say she can be terrifying.

 

freya_by_johannes_gehrts

Seriously don’t toy with Freya, she will mess you up.

 

The Van-Folk are her people, born out of her dreams and will. She gifts them as babes to the elder Van-Folk who raise them deep within her domain of Phantom Wood. They grow into beings who are half-people, half-beast. They live like normal folk; in halls, wearing clothes, feasting with fun, family, and music. However, at will they can assume their full animal natures; small, keen and quick. They can speak to other animals as easily as we speak to each other. They can even see and talk to the dead. Freya mostly leaves them to their own lives but, when needed, she calls upon her children to be her eyes, ears, and voice. The Van-Folk are happy to serve, for Freya is their protector, queen, and mother. Though they seem strange to the other denizens of Vanagard, the Van-Folk are given respect, for to cross them is to cross the beautiful and frightful power behind Phantom Wood.

What’s This Game About?
Vanagard is a story game suitable for both family and friends. The players tell a story, drawing upon runes and cards for inspiration. Each story takes ten minutes to half an hour to tell, a single session can have up to five stories. At the end of the game, the characters are tucked away, waiting for the next session of Vanagard to go on more adventures.

Vanagard has come about due to another game, Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok; a table top RPG of epic, Viking mayhem. Fans of FoTN wanted something they could share with their families. Vanagard touches on many of the themes of FoTN: it uses a similar mechanic, it’s set in a world of Norse mythology, and the art and feel are crafted to make it a worthy sister game.

Vanagard is about the following:
Beginnings: Unlike Ragnarok, Vanagard is focused on the beginning of the cosmos, not the end. Fate has yet to be woven. While you play there will be plenty of opportunities to explore the origins of Norse myth: How did Freya tame the boar Hildisvini? Why does Njord have such fine feet? What happened with the Vanir first met the Jotun? What happened when they first met the Aesir? On the other hand, you could make up new origins. The Van-Folk could switch things around and thus craft their own version of the Eddas. In this way, you should be able to enjoy this game whether you’re well versed in Norse mythology or not.

 

 

bear

One ill-fated Vanagard game lead to a cosmos ruled under the iron paw of Professor Bear.

Exploration: You‚Äôll never quite know where a Vanagard game will take you. When the Van-Folk strike out they‚Äôll encounter random places, people, and obstacles. They‚Äôll always be seeking something new, mapping the eight worlds as they go. Who knows, perhaps they’ll even witness the creation of our Midgard?

 

Unity: The Van-Folk, created as they are through Freya’s magic, are all family. They work together in bands because they often encounter challenges they cannot face alone. Yes, at times they compete, bicker and fight, but in the end, they’ll all pull for each other. Vanagard is light on player vs player and heavy on co-operation.

The final form of Vanagard has yet to be drafted, however, we’re close. I see it as a thin booklet game that comes with all the cards you need to play. If you need to expand, doing so will be as simple as investing index cards, and, further down the line some new Vanagard decks we build them.

While primarily a DMless story game, I plan to have a full out RPG element to Vanagard, the idea being that you can run the quick story games one night and roll out into full RPG mode when you want to cover a particularly important adventure. In play testing this transition as worked out smoothly.

Expect Vanagard to be kickstarted after Pendlehaven gets the Illuminated Edda and Lords of the Ash more or less complete; as it stands those two projects are Andrew’s number one priority.

That being said, you can avail yourself of Vanagard news and notes here on the FoTN Forums. You can also listen to some Vanagard stories on my new YouTube Channel.

So check these out if you’re interested.

I’ll be sure to update the Vanagard Forum and here as more material is released.