Thursday, March 19, 2015

Unfocused Thoughts on Fimbulwinter

Climate Change

I've been going through kind of a rough patch recently, and this was the first gaming idea I had in a while that got my creative juices flowing, so with the encouragement of Jeremy Duncan I decided to write some stuff about it.

  • The gods died at Ragnarok.  The Sun and the Moon were both eaten by wolves and now everything is eternal winter and twilight.
  • The gods are dead, but their blood still flows.  There are those among men who are descended from the gods and they have magic that is otherwise unavailable to men.  
  • I want to use OpenQuest or some other RuneQuest/BRP variety to handle the above, and because vaguely-Germanic migration periods settings are tied to RQ in my brain.
  • The way many human communities survive in the snow and the grey is through the use of certain magics.  Those halls who have someone descended from various agricultural, hunting, or sea gods are able to ensure their communities have enough surplus to continue to live and sometimes even trade.
  • Communities that aren't able to ensure this surplus degenerate into barbarism.  They raid their neighbors and engage in cannibalism and other things best not mentioned in a blog post.
  • The old enemies - giants, dragons, trolls, draugr, etc. - still live too; however, these are only the most degenerate and cowardly examples of their races.  The rest died at Ragnarok.  Still, even these are more powerful than men.
  • The various groups of pseudo-Germanic type people will have names like the Sword People or the Dagger Men or be named after a particular god they descend from.
  • The map will probably be based off of Doggerland.
  • To the south there are the remnants of a Roman-like empire that once had its own gods.  They too died at Ragnarok.  Many of these areas are ruled now by pseudo-germans, but the empire is coming back in a new form thanks to the White God.
  • The White God is the only god that still "lives" after Ragnarok.  It is kinda-sorta based on Christianity, but the eternal life it offers is the life of undeath.  The White God is a god of snow and death and despair.  Even so, many in the Empire and even in the pseudo-German areas have begun to worship him.
  • I'm thinking the Empire will have an army called the Pale Legion which is made up entirely of dead soldiers whom the White God has resurrected.
  • PCs will generally be warriors and important-ish members of a community.  Since in OQ all PCs have magic they will be descended (distantly) from the gods.
  • I've said pseudo-Germanic through this whole post because, despite the idea obviously coming from Viking stuff, I've always been more of a fan of earlier Migration Period material culture, like Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, and Frankish stuff.
  • Quickie appendix N: Beowulf, Northlanders, Valhalla Rising, Before France and Germany, The Getica, Njal's Saga, Gesta Danorum, Ecclesiastical History of the English People 


  1. I love it. Maybe some places will bear the scars of Ragnarok, like the broken stump of Bifrost or a sea poisoned by Jormungandr's dying venom-spew.

  2. Welcome back cool guy! LOVE this idea. Alec's idea is also great. Shattered pieces of mountains, mountain sized decaying beasts... I love the idea that only the weak and cowardly monsters survived, puts the relative strength of the PC's in perspective. How about the PC's are a dream team; the strongest representatives of a loose alliance of settlements. Thus each could be descended from a different god but still questing together. Hope you post more about this.

  3. Awesome idea. I've been running a game set during Fimbulwinter myself, though before Ragnarok rather than after (link:,209518.msg213766.html#msg213766). I also have a "White God" equivalent and stuff ("The Father"), a faux-Roman Empire now-fallen, etc. Might be of interest.

  4. There's a lot of rich material here. I hope you develop it further!

  5. Love the idea, but I am most stoked at the mention of "Before France and Germany," one of my favoritest books ever. It was almost like he wrote the book as a guide to setting up a D&D campaign setting...