Trial By Fire Games

RAGNAROK

Cast of Characters

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Aesir: distinct among the Gods from the Vanir, the Aesir are associated with war, death and power. The Aesir and the Vanir fought a great war in the time before history, but are now reconciled and live together in Asgard. Odin, Thor, Heimdal and Tyr are all Aesir.

Asgard: the home of the Gods, where the Aesir and Vanir came together as one. It is the place of Valhalla and all the halls of the Gods. Asgard’s defenses will be broken by the three year Fimbulwinter, and at the time of Ragnarok the Gods will stand at its ruins and fight to their end.

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Baldur: most perfect and fair of the Gods, Baldur has no talents other than to look pretty, and his mother Frigg extracted oaths from all the nine worlds flora and fauna to bring no harm to her perfect son: she only spared the young mistletoe sapling from the enforced oaths. Thus Loki made a dart from the small tree and guided its flight from blind Hod’s hand. Now Baldur sits in Niflheim lamenting his miserable fate sitting at Hel’s side, and she eagerly awaits the chance to force him to accompany her on the day of Ragnarok so as to add insult to the injury of his loss.

Berserks of Odin: these are chosen Berserks from among the Einherjar, they form a personal bodyguard for Odin while he attends feasts in Valhalla.

Bifrost Bridge: the shimmering rainbow bridge from Midgard to Asgard. It is guarded by the eternally vigilant Heimdal who will sound his Gjallarhorn to signal the final day of Ragnarok. The Bifrost will be broken by the weight of the Rokkr coming across it into Asgard and destroyed by the eternal muspel-fire of Surtur.

Bragi: the court poet of the Gods, he sings the praises of great kings and princes granted entrance to Valhalla. Bragi alone knows the five songs of the Gods that inspire courage and strength. Bragi is a lesser God that bears a stinging resentment to Loki for insults received in the presence of the full assembly of the Gods.

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Drauga: the “corpse warriors” of Niflheim. These are warriors rejected by the Valkyries as unfit or too cowardly to warrant attention. They serve their term in Hel’s hall, awaiting their chance for revenge at Ragnarok. Their fate is night to the bright day that is the Einherjar: where the Einherjar fully rejuvenate both wounds and equipment after each day’s battle, the Drauga sit bleeding with broken swords and spear, never dying, waiting for service that never comes in the barren halls of Hel, only to sleep hungry and thirsty, waking on the next morning to fight anew.

Drauga Jarls: the “corpse jarls” are the lesser, unremembered warlords of the Drauga. They know a bit of Rune Magic which has cursed them to Niflheim, for no man of true steel would debase his masculinity with the use of magic.

Drauga Giant: the “corpse giants” are the giants of Jotunheim slain by Thor.

Drauga Prince: also known as the four “Riders of Ragnarok”, these evil princes of Midgard will ride ahead of Hel to announce her coming, each embodying the four deaths that end men’s days and curse them to Niflheim: Famine; Plague; War; and Straw Death (or, natural causes, which all Norsemen hate as a woman’s death).

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Einherjar: the best warriors of Midgard, the bravest of the brave. They will fall in the hundreds at Ragnarok. Before that terrible battle, they are blessed with days of brave combat after which they are fully healed, followed by nights of great feasting and drinking from endless spits of meat and bottomless mead horns.

Served by the Valkyries themselves, the Einherjar want for nothing.

Eldrtroll: the “Flame Trolls” are the greater, fiercer trolls of Muspelheim, and lead with a berserk fury unmatched by any but the giants.

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Fafnir: one of three brothers (Regin and Otr) caught up in the Nifling curse of Otr’s Ransom. The great treasure used to pay for the killing of Otr by Loki ends up pitting the brothers against each other. Fafnir gains the hoard and transforms himself into a great Wyrm to protect it. His brother Regin schemes to steal the hoard using the hero Sigurd as his agent, but Regin’s treachery is repaid with death at Sigurd’s hand.

Fenrir: the “Fen wolf” also known a the Fenrisulf. A son of Loki, the great wolf Fenrir so frightened the Gods that they sought to bind him with a magical ribbon made by the Niflings. In order to trick Fenrir the bravest of the Aesir, Tyr, had to volunteer to place his right hand in the wolf’s mouth. He did so and the wolf was bound, costing Tyr his hand. Fenrir has a rivalry with Odin and is fated to swallow him whole at Ragnarok.

Fen Wolves: the outcast followers of Fenrir, these are the rogue wolves of the nine worlds with a taste for human blood. They are mad dogs tainted by evil and not simply wolves of nature.

Fimbulwinter: the “Terrible Winter” that heralds the final days before Ragnarok, when the world tree’s roots have been gnawed through by Nidhogg and the nine worlds flooded by the rivers held in check by the World Tree. The Fimbulwinter is a continuous three year time of deepest cold, when the flood waters of the nine worlds, having risen to great heights now freeze, burying the worlds in vast glaciers.

Fonnkona: the “snow wives”, daughters of the frost giants, these maidens are much sought after by the Gods as wives, or simply for adulterous dalliances. Typically for their gender they have stronger magic than their male counter-parts.

Formorians: the giants of Utgard, they are great monstrous trolls that lurk in the undiscovered corners where Utgard and Midgard inevitably meet. Formorian giants live in tribal family groups with a matriarchal War Witch as their spiritual leader.

Formorian War Witch: the matriarchal leader of the Formorian tribes, she wields the Galdralag song-magic of the Svarthofdi.

Freyja: the fertility goddess, the perfect example of femininity. Freyja is sought after by both giants and niflings alike as a living treasure. Freyja shares Valhalla with Odin, being sister-mother to the Hearth Maiden Valkyries. Freyja has a personal protector in the war boar Hildsvini.

Freyr: the fertility god, the picture of natural masculinity. Freyr and his sister Freyja are from the Vanir and brought magic to the Aesir as part of the truce that aligned the Vanir and Aesir within the walls of Asgard. Freyr bears a magic sword that fights on its own to protect him, which he unwisely trades away to marry a beautiful giantess. He misses this sword at Ragnarok. Freyr has a magical boar named Gullinborsti with which he travels the nine worlds. The muspel lord Surtur has a personal rivalry with Freyr.

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Galdralag: the “chant magic” of the deep Svartalfar, or “black elves”, it is a vulgar form of magic that relies upon memorized long chanting songs rather than invoking the inherent power of Runes. This magic form may not be used to invoke Rune Lore, but does have the benefit of being so ancient in its power that its songs may not be resisted by any being, even the Gods.

Galdramadr: the “song magic men” or, rogue sorcerers, which travel the periphery of Utgard in search for opportunity to enrich themselves by serving evil warlords. They are outcasts of Midgard society as they know no oath that wild bind them against their greed or villainy.

Garm: the hound of Hel, he guards the gates of Niflheim terrifying all with his baleful howl that have the misfortune to come upon him. Garm’s terrible howl is said to have struck men dead by the sound of it and he hates and despises all life, especially the Aesir. Garm will kill Tyr on sight if given the chance.

Gnistatroll: the “tooth gnashing” trolls of Jotunheim, the berserks of their frozen troll-kin. They lead the vast clans of Hrimtrolls into battle on the day of Ragnarok.

Grendel: the “gnasher”, most famous of trolls who gained great strength at the coming of the Fimbulwinter, and whose reign of terror inspired a great poem still sung by Skalds today. His word-fame eventually found the ears of Beowulf and he now bides his time in Niflheim, waiting for revenge at Ragnarok.

Gullinborsti: “Golden bristles” the Sky Traveler can fly and carry Gods with him on his back.

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Half Ogre: the sons of Utgard, sired by men with bewitching troll hags, these enchanted half-breeds are stronger than mortals and immune to common blades. They are far worse than simple monsters because they embody the best features of both men and the dark creatures of Utgard.

Hati: meaning “Hate”, Hati’s full name is “Hati Hrodvitnisson” (“son of the fame wolf”) and this legendary wolf chases the moon across the sky every night. Performing a parallel roll to his brother Skoll, Hati will catch and devour the moon on the day of Ragnarok.

Heimdal: Watchman of the Gods, Heimdal carries the Gjallarhorn to sound the warning to the Gods at the approach of the Rokkr. It is said his senses are so keen that he can hear the grass grow, and his endurance so great he need never sleep. Most likely due to Loki’s innumerable betrayals of the Gods Heimdal’s rivalry with the trickster-god is legendary.

Hel: the daughter of Loki, cursed to half-life and barren from the day she was born. Odin bequeathed the dry cold world of Niflheim to her as a cruel joke on her defect of birth, and now she harbors a hatred for all the Aesir. When Baldur joined her halls from Loki’s dart, she gleefully refused the petitions of all the Gods to release his soul, particularly those from his aggrieved father Odin.

Hildbjorn: the “War Bear” are from a tribe of berserks that have transformed over time to take on the aspect of a great bear. They are deadly opponents that look to Odin as their patron.

Hildsvini: “War Boar” the constant companion and protector of Freyja. Some say he is her human lover Ottar transformed to be at her side for all time.

High Priests: the followers of the cults of Odin and Thor look to legendary avatars of their patron Gods for guidance, and these High Priests appear in times of need to shape the fates of their followers.

Hoenir: This lesser known God sits at Odin’s side in Valhalla, drinking and toasting. He is Odin’s boon travel companion and is also known as “Odin’s Shield Bearer”. Hoenir was partially responsible for the death of Mimir at the hands of the Vanir due to his fecklessness.

Hrimthursar: the “frost giants” also known simply as Jotuns, they are very adept at flinging large boulders long distances for sport or warfare.

Hrimtroll: the “frost trolls” of Jotunheim, these are the lowliest of the Jotun race living in the cracks and gaps of the vast frozen mountains of their homeland. They are led by their terrible cousins the Gnistatrolls (see Gnistatroll).

Hrym: the “decrepit one”, the oldest and wisest of the frost giants. He will give council and leadership to the Jotuns on the day of Ragnarok.

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Jarnvargr: the “Iron Wolves” of Fenrir’s outcast army, these are the greatest of the Fen Wolves and lead the packs of Fenrir’s wolves onto the plains of Vigrid on the day of Ragnarok.

Jormungand: the “mighty serpent” and Son of Loki, the venomous snake was hurled into the sea by Odin when only a child and the beast continued to grow until its length exceeded the seas surrounding Midgard such that it could bite its own tail. Jormungand will rise from the depths of the seas to fight at Ragnarok, breaking the ice surrounding Asgard to slither forth on its vast coils. The rivalry between Thor and Jormungand will drive them together in the final battle, the great serpent’s poison ultimately leading to Thor’s death after Jormungand himself is killed by the Thunder God’s hammer.

Jotunheim: the land of the frost giants, a vast frozen mountain wasteland.

Jotun-Jarl: lesser ‘kings’ of the frost giants, these are clan leaders among the many sub-groups of the Jotuns. They take after Skrymir in their ability to use Rune Magic.

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Legendary Heroes: the elite among the Einherjar, these stand-out champions retain their names even in Valhalla, so great are their feats of arms in life. Names like Bodvar Bjarki, Beowulf, Hrolf Kraki, Sigurd the Dragonslayer, and King Volsung. These great heroes will fall side-by-side with their Einherjar brethren when Ragnarok comes.

Legendary Skalds: the greatest of Midgard’s keepers of word-fame. They know nearly as many of the five songs of the Gods as Bragi himself. Cormac the Skald has a saga told of his legendary life.

Legendary Hunters: the lone bowmen, followers of Ullr, adventurers and heroes in their own right but fewer of their tales are known today. Only “Arrow” Od’s tale is still told.

Loki: the “trickster” and the shape shifting son of a giant, Loki is the only God whose role transforms over the length of Norse mythology from a useful ally of the Gods, to their bitterest enemy. Loki fathered Hel, Fenrir, and Jormungand (as well as mothering Sleipnir) and was finally bound by the entrails of his son Nari to await the time of Ragnarok. Loki has a personal rivalry with Heimdal.

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Magni: the “Strong”, son of Thor. Magni has a brother, Modi, who is identical in every aspect. Magni is stronger even than his father, and will take up Mjollnir to avenge his father at Ragnarok.

Managarm: the great wolf of the Iron Woods, Managarm is destined to swallow all the blood of the world on the day of Ragnarok and spew it forth to cover the heavens. Managarm is chief among wolf-kind, second only to Fenrir.

Midgard: the world of men where Odin looks to harvest great heroes for his hall in Asgard, while Thor wants to shield the honorable men from the chaos of Utgard and the worlds of the giants. The followers of this pair of Gods often clash over their conflicting objectives: either to ultimately defend Asgard in the future, or to protect Midgard in the here and now.

Midgardsorm, Midgard Serpent: see Jormungand

Mimir’s Well: the God Mimir was the wisest of all the Aesir and his council was valued above even that of Odin himself. When the Aesir and Vanir forged their first truce it was Mimir that went along with Hoenir as a hostage to live among the Vanir. Feeling cheated for the loss of Freyr and his sister Freyja as hostages to the Aesir, the Vanir killed Mimir and sent Hoenir home with his head. Odin took the head and preserved it in a spring at the base of the World Tree which became the Well of Mimir. Odin often consults the head for advice, and it is here that Odin goes on the morning of Ragnarok for one final council.

Muspel Troll: being the lesser fire demons of Muspelheim, these trolls will follow in the wake of Surtur’s great flaming sword as he spreads destruction from Midgard to the very walls of Asgard on the day of Ragnarok.

Muspelheim: the world of sparks and embers where the greatest creatures of chaos and destruction dwell. On the day of Ragnarok Surtur will storm out of Muspelheim and the fire he unleashes will burn the nine worlds to cinders. Muspelheim is a forbidding realm where even the Gods fear to tread so hot are the fires that burn there.

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Niflings: the terrible greedy smiths of legend, also known as Dwarfs or Nibelungen, they hunger only for magic or gold, although on one occasion four Nifling brothers traded sexual favors from Freyja for the Brising Necklace. All the great enchantments of the Aesir are crafted by the Niflings, from Mjollnir to the flying boar Gullinborsti.

Nidhogg: the great serpent of Niflheim (among many), Nidhogg sits gnawing at the roots of Yggdrassil the World Tree that holds the nine worlds together. One of the signs of the coming of Ragnarok is his ultimate breaking of Yggdrassil’s root system that brings the tree down, causing great rivers held in check by the World Tree to flood the nine worlds. When not gnawing at the great roots, Nidhogg and his fellow serpents take great pleasure in torturing and devouring the Drauga.

Niflheim: the cold and dry world of the de ad. It is the place were all the dead of the nine worlds go to sit and brood. Only the greatest heroes are spared the grim fate of afterlife in Niflheim. It is the place of Hel’s hall and is the underworld beneath the trunk of the World Tree whose roots jut down through Niflheim, affording Nidhogg the opportunity to nibble and gnaw upon its base.

Nine Worlds: the worlds supported by the World Tree Yggdrasil, fashioned from the bones and skin of Ymir. They are Asgard (originally simply the land of the Aesir); Vanaheim (the land of the Vanir); Alfheim (the land of the elfin kind); Midgard (the middle world of mankind); Jotunheim (the world of giants); Utgard (the world of chaos that parallels Midgard); Nidavellir (the land of the Niflings); Svartalfheim (the land of the black elves); and Niflheim (the land of the dead).

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Odin: The “frenzied one” is also known as All-father, the master of Rune magic and the patron of battle. Odin waits in Valhalla, gathering the greatest heroes of Midgard for the final battle at Ragnarok. Odin sacrificed his eye to gain the wisdom of forethought, so he knows what is to come. He bears a magic spear and rides the best of all war horses Sleipnir.

Outcasts: the faction of the Rokkr that embraces the cult of Fenrir. Many of the worst of the villains of Midgard are transformed into vicious wolves by their evil and run with the packs of their kind on the frontiers between Utgard and Midgard. They will form a great host to fight with Fenrir and his wolf-kin on the day of Ragnarok.

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Ragnarok: The time when the chaos and destruction of the Fimbulwinter reaches its climax as the very heavens shake with the war between the forces of Asgard and the host of the Rokkr.

Regin: Fafnir’s brother (see Fafnir for details).

Rokkr: the forces of “chaos” that band together to destroy the Gods at Ragnarok. They consist of the Jotunheim, Niflheim, Utgard, Muspel and Outcast factions.

Rune Stone Circle: the Rune Stones, or Saga Stones, tell the tale of the Nine Worlds in their deep secrets. Some say they are the tips of the roots of the World Tree, projecting into the worlds of men and monsters to be used as magical resources to serve either the forces of order or chaos.

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Skoll: meaning “treachery”, this legendary wolf pursues the sun across the sky every day. Bleached white by Sol’s rays, Skoll is destined to catch his prey on the day of Ragnarok, casting the world into darkness.

Skrymir: the “Braggart” is also known as Utgardloki, the great Jotun frost giant who tricked Thor using magic to avoid the thunderer’s dreaded hammer. Skrymir is the last of the truly gargantuan giants not already slain by Thor, and he leads his mighty frost giants and trolls on the day of Ragnarok.

Skuld: the youngest of the Norn, Skuld rides with the Valkyries to set the fates of men in battle. She is a terrible crone of great magic, and her presence represents balance between the nurturing role of Freyja’s Hearth Maidens and the warlike nature of Odin’s Raven Furies. The three aspects of girl, woman and crone are also seen in Celtic mythology’s Macha, Nemhain and Morrigan.

Sons of Muspell: the terrible fire giants of Muspelheim, these creatures are more demon than giant, as the spark of the muspel-flame lives in each and every one of them. They are terrible, fierce fighters and are not afraid of Thor, as their lesser frost giant cousins are.

Sons of Vali: a cult of Fenrir worshiping rogue berserks. They take their name from Loki’s son whom Odin transformed into a feral wolf in order to cause him to attack his own brother, Nari, whose entrails are then used to bind their father Loki. After this terrible betrayal Vali was unleashed on the world as a wolf, cursed with the pain of the memory of his brother’s murder.

Spaekona: great seeresses and Rune magic masters of the Midgard realm. The spaekona’s knowledge is rivaled only by the Gods and the appearance of such a powerful witch usually heralds great and terrible events, but her role is as protector and agent for the interests of Asgard.

Surtur: the “sooty one” stands on the frontier of Muspelheim, waiting for the day he may bring his flaming sword into Midgard and set fire to all mankind’s creation. He will storm over the Bifrost bridge, breaking it down as he goes, and ultimately set fire to the nine worlds before the end. Surtur has a rivalry with Freyr and will kill him on the day of Ragnarok.

Svartalfar: the “black elves” live deep underground in the region called Utgard. They are lesser Niflings with minor magic, sometimes called ‘black dwarves’ but also referred to as ‘goblins’.

Svarthofdi: the “black headed” ones, the magical elders of the Svartalfar. Legend has it that men gained the Galdramar songs from these dark spirits, which explains why all the songs only cause harm and injury to their targets.

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Thor: the “Thunderer”, the patron of oaths and personal honor, Thor wields the magical hammer Mjollnir and has a vendetta against all giant-kind. Thor despises Loki and has a personal rivalry with the midgard serpent Jormungand.

Tyr: The bravest of the Gods, he sacrificed his right hand to allow the Gods to bind Fenrir. Tyr is a master swordsman and has a personal rivalry with the hound of Hel, Garm.

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Ullr: the hunter, the patron of single combat and skiing. He is a lesser God who is nevertheless a powerful fighter in his own right.

Utgard: the land that occupies the unexplored realms of Midgard, and which exists in the distant frontiers that lead eventually to Jotunheim. Utgard is not one place, but exists where the heroes of Midgard are negligent and allow a magical evil cancer to grow and spread in the wilderness. Heroes must remain vigilant to the threat of Utgard, for it spawns trolls that if left unchecked will attract greater monsters, as well as the evil influence of rogue Galdramadr and meddling Niflings.

Utgard Trolls: the lowliest of monsters that dwell on the fringes of Midgard, these trolls sometimes gain Legendary powers and rise to become great terrors to mankind (such as Grendel), but generally they are a very dangerous nuisance that must be rooted out of the wilderness.

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Valkyries, Hearth Maidens: the Sister-daughters of Freyja, these are the guardian Valkyries who serve the Einherjar in Valhalla and know the arts of healing and magic from Freyja.

Valkyries, Raven Furies: the daughters of Odin, they embrace the battle frenzy aspect of their father, transforming when in battle into formidable raven-berserkers.

Vanir: distinguished from the Aesir among the Gods, these are Gods of fertility and magic. Freyr and Freyja are both Vanir, as is Njord their father.

Vargeissa: the “Wolf Fire” giantess is the consort to Surtur. She wields magic and her mighty Muspel Flame Spear in the service of Muspel.

Vidar: the “wide ruler” and son of Odin. He has a brother, Vali, who is identical in every aspect (not to be confused with Loki’s son Vali – see Sons of Vali). Vidar will avenge his father against Fenrir at Ragnarok, and survive the battle to re-establish the home of the new Gods.

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World Tree: also known as Yggdrasil, this vast tree supports the nine worlds on its broad branches, its trunk holding in check the vast rivers that will flood the worlds when the tree finally breaks. It is the serpent Nidhogg deep down in Niflheim that constantly gnaws at the roots of the World Tree who will inevitably sap the strength of the great tree and cause its collapse.

Wyrm: both lesser and greater wyrm spring from the same source, generally they are created in the corners of Utgard fueled by hatred and greed, transforming men and trolls alike into cursed spirits anchored by a great treasure of some kind. The infamous serpent Fafnir is a greater wyrm, as are Nidhogg and his kin in Niflheim.

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Ymir’s Bones: the first and greatest of the giants, Ymir was killed by Odin and his two brothers. His body was broken up to fashion the nine worlds, his blood made the world’s oceans. Powerful magical pyres can be found in the dark places of Utgard that contain original splinters of Ymir’s bones, and are highly prized for the treasures they contain.