Norse Character Generation
Norse Character Creation
- Universal Character Creation Rules (leaves this page)
- Norse Races
- Norse Names
- Norse Classes
- Norse Backgrounds
- Norse Equipment
- Trollblooded: Humans who have troll blood in their bloodlines. Trolls, in Scandinavia, aren’t the same as those in the Monster Manual—they’re more like ogres; and the Trollblooded appear to be tall, large, humans. Mechanically, this race encompasses the Goliath (those from Denmark and Sweden), the Firbolg (those from Scotland) and the Half-Orc (those from Rus and Finland); though cosmetically they’re all the same; they’re just descended from different sorts of trolls from different regions with some cosmetic differences.
- Dwarves: Dwarves (known as svartálfar) aren’t short people with Scottish accents in the Norselands. In fact, they appear a bit like swarthy elves. They’re not fae, though they are known specifically for their crafting skills.
- Elf: Elves are divided into two types: ljósálfar and dockálfar, with the former being the majority of elves and the latter referring to the drow. They’re incredibly rare, and the ljosalfar are viewed as quite beautiful, almost deific.
- Half-Elf: Often viewed as blessed.
- Aasimar: The aasimar are descended from those whose ancestors have mated with valkyries.
- Tiefling: Tieflings in Scandinavia are exceedingly rare, the product of a relationship between a very distant ancestor and a Jötunn, or “giant”. Tieflings must, at all costs, conceal their nature; humans who see that you are a tiefling will most often kill you on sight or imprison you just to be sure, no matter how impressive your earlier deeds have been—they’ll assume you’ve been cursed and, even if they like you, they’ll want to purge you of the curse you’ve surely been placed under. They’re also likely to assume you’re a warlock. Tiefling PCs are advised to use the Sword Coast Adventures variant rules for appearance, and choose traits such as catlike eyes, leathery skin, casting no shadow or reflection, having one limb noticeably longer than another, or something similar to these; or discuss same with the DM. Hellish Rebuke would be a bad racial ability to use; consider Devil’s Tongue or Hellfire instead. It would also be a good idea to be proficient in Deception, just in case.
- Genasi: Various genasi exist throughout Scandinavia, tied to the elements most prevalent in the regions they’re in. Water genasi are particularly valued amongst sailing crews.
- Dragonborn: Known as Linnorm amongst the Norse, they are, in essence, extremely young dragons. Used as scouts and servants of the dragons, they all worship or serve Jormungandr, the world serpent who will usher in Ragnarok, the end of the world. Their aims and goals are mysterious and they do not serve the Norse pantheon (at least, according to them). Until recently, only one has ever been seen; in the last 20 years or so, sightings have been more frequent (although vanishingly rare); and they have varied between ally, enemy and scout.
Other than those listed above, no other races from the PHB or other sources are native to the Norse lands.
Vikings tended to make a big deal out of names. They’d not only name their kids after gods and heroes of old, but most heroes had a nickname or three (or four, or five, or twelve) based on different events. Odin, for example, was referred to by over 200 names by skalds in the eddas and tales of the Norse.
While the Norse often had a first name and a patronymic (i.e. Ragnar Ragnarsson), they also made a big deal out of nicknames. For example,
historically, Ragnar Lodbrok was the father of Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Bjorn Ironside. Sigurd’s daughter married Helgi the Sharp, and they had a son named Sigurd Hart. He had a daughter who was captured by Halfdan the Black, and they had a son named Harald Fairhair. So when you come up with your name, be creative with your surname!
All classes and archetypes approved in the Universal Character Creation rules are found in the Norse Metaregion with exceptions and/or notes listed below:
- Barbarian: The Norse call these “berserkers”, and most are either Totem or Storm Herald.
- Bard: See the separate page on Skalds and the Holmgang.
- Cleric: The Norse call clerics Goði.
- Druid: Common, no special rules.
- Fighter: By far the most common class in Norse lands. A Norse-flavored custom archetype is the Runecaster, a divine variant on the Eldritch Knight with some pretty unique abilities.
- Monk: The Norse aren’t very monastic. That being said, if you must, I’ll try to think of something.
- Paladin: Most people who would be Paladins would be better off as Runecasters, Clerics, or Barbarians.
- Ranger: Common, no special rules.
- Rogue: Common, no special rules.
- Sorcerer: Sorcery, primarily a female art known as Seiðr and practiced by women known as Völva is well known amongst the Norse, and most sorcerers are female favored souls or storm sorcerers. Draconic bloodline sorcerers will will not gain wings at 14th level; if you take this option, see me and we will work something out that’s balanced.
- Wizard: Wizards are not common, but they are also not unknown.
- Warlock: The Norse loathe warlocks of any sort and hated them before there was even a word for them, historically. See:
Glavendrup runestone, early 10th century . Please don’t play one in Scandinavia; it’s not likely you will survive.
Variant Entertainer: Skald
Your character is a skald, a respected member of Norse society charged with, among other things, keeping the oral history of your people alive, entertaining the people with stories, writing sagas of the peoples’ struggles, and inspiring warriors to great deeds,
Skill: History, Performance
Tool: One type of musical instrument
Language: One of your choice
Variant Feature: Skaldic Inspiration
You gain one use of Bardic Inspiration. Your die type is a d4, and it can be used once per long rest.
By and large, the Norse preferred round shields, did NOT wear horned helmets, and tended to use spears, maces, hammers and axes over swords, which were viewed as high status symbols as they were quite valuable. Viking poleaxes were more common than greatswords, and two-handed weapons were more common for barbarians than for fighters. Shield walls were a common form of battle, and shields would protect longships from arrows when arrayed alongside the wales of the boat.
Ranged weapons varied. Bows were common, and Vikings would also throw handaxes and spears.
Armor would be mail, leather, hide and lamellar; Vikings weren’t usually full plate wearers but then again they likely didn’t have much of it and in Dark Earth it’s a lot more common.