Norway and Greenland
Norway and Greenland represent two of the farthest extremes of the Norse peoples. Norway, one of the three major nations which once formed the Norse heartland, was the home of King Harald Fairhair, who unified the country into one nation, and Erik the Red, who first discovered Greenland. It was Norwegians that discovered Iceland, first colonized the Orkney Islands, and throughout Norse history, the Kingdom of Norway has one of the most powerful in the Norse triumverate.
Until now. Thoroughly ravaged by linnorm, trolls and jotunn, the Norwegians have fled their homeland in droves. Many have gone to Scotland and the Orkneys, still more to Denmark and Finland. Many have sought refuge underground, joining the svartalfar and others in underground tunnels. They have discovered wonders there of all sorts, discovering that more of the “dwarves” existed than were previously thought, and they provided more shelter than was expected—but that they had enemies of their own, enemies just as dangerous as those on the surface—if not more.
Meanwhile, in Greenland, the small settlements that had begun there rapidly learned that the place’s name was something of a false advertisement. Cold, inhospitable and not terribly “green”, the land is not suited for farming and while the fishing is good, the place is somewhat barren. With more refugees arriving every day, and little in the way of other inhabitants, the vast amount of land provides promises of something new and interesting and hopefully useful in the survival of the people just around the next corner. But what might be waiting at the edge of the world?
Norway At A Glance
|Population||80% Human, 15% Trollblooded (Goliaths, some Half-Orc, trace Firbolg), 2% Half-Elf, 2% Aasimar, 1% Genasi, Trace: Elf, Dwarf, Tiefling, Linnorm (Dragonborn)|
|Waystone||Runestone at Hedeby – Denmark|
|Major Threats||Trolls, Giants, Linnorm, Germanic Tribes, Fey|
While Denmark was the smallest of the Viking countries, in the hundred years since the Waystone Epoch began it has become smaller still. In the last ten years, concerted campaigns by giants and trolls took Ribe in the northwest, and from the east, a number of Linnorm were heard destroying the ringfort at Trelleborg, the only survivors escaping on their longships as the wyrms tunnelled up through the earth and devoured man and fortification alike. The original capital, Jelling, fell to a combined assault of giants and trolls five years ago.
What remains is Denmark’s largest city, Hedeby, where the Danish culture lives on, and Hollingsted, its sister town to the west. Hedeby is the link that keeps the Norse civilization together, a major transshipment point across the Jutland peninsula. This last water link between the Baltic and the Atlantic is what keeps all the Norse peoples connected: the Swedes, the Finns, the Rus, the Scots, the distant settlement in Greenland, and the forbidding coastal villages in Norway—but for how much longer?
Most adventures in the western Norse lands will have their starting point in Hedeby due to its central location in the Norse region. The port facilities and shipbuilders do not have the same equipment nor modernization of other civilizations, but what they can do with a longship is not to be underestimated.
While the Norse religion does not particularly revolve around temples, it is also the site of almost fanatical worship as the people grow more and more desperate as threats mount from all sides. Prayers can be heard day and night to all of the Norse pantheon, and the smell of smoke from burnt offerings of all sorts fills the air.
Hedeby is surrounded by a large fortified wall, which is constantly manned by the town’s veteran soldiers. The men and women of the city have all survived in the harshest conditions any Norse has ever faced, and the trials they have been put through have hardened their bodies and spirits—but not their souls. The sounds of raucous partying can be heard from the longhouses and taverns of the city, for the Vikings have never been a particularly dour people; Hedeby’s open trading ports make it one of the few places in the Norse lands where goods are at least somewhat plentiful.
Hollingsted, to the west, is connected to Hedeby by a well-guarded road which is wide enough for men—or, more often, thralls—to move the large longships that the Vikings use from the Schiel to the Trelle. This portage keeps the Vikings alive, and guarding it from raiders is the most important task that Viking warriors have. Hollingsted is not a terribly large city, but the people in it are glad to greet visiting traders and provide services to the foreign sailors who arrive there and must stay with their ships as their merchants and others travel on to Hedeby.
Greenland At A Glance
|Population||90% Human, 9% Trollblooded (Goliaths, some Half-Orc), Trace: Half-Elf, Elf, Aasimar, Dwarf, Tiefling, Linnorm|
|Waystone||Sole Ash Tree at the center of Æsirfell – Sweden|
|Major Threats||The Environment|
When the Norse first settled in Greenland, it was from Iceland, at the urging of a man exiled from that place for outlawry. The small settlement he began might not have succeeded, were it not for the flood of refugees that came when Iceland was sealed off by the gods’ magics. A hundred years later, Greenland has grown to the point where the land can barely sustain those who have arrived upon its cold fjords.
While not entirely cold and unforgiving, Greenland is nevertheless ill-prepared for the number of refugees that have made their way to its shores. Soil once sufficient enough to support a small village has eroded to the point where crops are not large enough to feed everyone. Pastures cannot feed enough livestock to provide meat for all the people. Whaling and fishing is the primary source of food and trade for the inhabitants of Æsirfell, and the fishermen must travel farther, for smaller catches, every year. The weather, as it does every year, grows colder; and the journey to Scotland or Norway—the nearest Norse settlements—can run five to seven days in good weather, a perilous and unreliable supply chain. So, at the edge of the Norse world, the folk of Greenland are constantly seeking other ways to improve their lot. Luckily, or unluckily, there is a great deal of land to explore…