The Norse pantheon has always been populated with gods who are very personal to the Norse people. No distant and mysterious beings these, for the most part. The Æsir (who were once two pantheons, Æsir and Vanir, until the Æsir–Vanir War united them) have frequent family conflicts; they adventure; they display many human traits. They carouse and love; they play tricks; they’re fatalistic and they practice magic and care a great deal for their people. That’s not to say they are not truly Gods. They certainly are—and they demand sacrifice from their people; they set great tasks and expect their heroes, and even their commonfolk, to devote and dedicate themselves to the pantheon. Yet they also believe in repaying that dedication with knowledge and care for the people. Odin, the father of the gods, is the patron of knowledge, poetry and runes; Thor is a protector of humanity; Freyja a goddess of love, sex, fertility and birth. They, amongst others, are a contentous but close-knit family.
Many are the sagas told of the gods, and many the sacrifices made to them. Yet the Norse also venerate their ancestors, and spirits of the land, and the family of the gods is large enough to accommodate them as well.
As mentioned in the Norse metaregion main page, the Norse pantheon was ambushed by parties unknown. They are all currently asleep, but decades of prayer by their goði have led to the gods being able to Choose heroes and impart some limited power back to mortals on Midgard, ideally to help protect the people and wake them up.
The Norse afterlife is a complex thing. Warriors are supposed to be plucked from the battlefield upon death by the valkyries, who carry them to Odin’s hall of Valhalla and Freyja’s hall of Sessrúmnir, where they fight and practice for the battle at the end of the world, Ragnarok. Yet others go to Hel’s realm—Hel, which encompasses many concepts: locations of punishment, of happiness and joy, and of a place where souls go awaiting reincarnation.
Yet the fate of the dead is uncertain, now, as valkyries have not been seen for a hundred years and more, since the gods fell asleep.
Recent Prophecies Revealed
As the gods sleep, the goði have spent generations in prayer and sacrifice. Recently, their visions have borne fruit. Only through great deeds and Dedication shall the gods awaken and take those who have died to their proper place, and those who will die in the future to the destinies that await them. It is this which the heroes must achieve, lest the world end in ashes for the Norse people.
The Norse Pantheon
This is a (non-exhaustive) list of the major Norse deities.
|Odin||NG||Wisdom, Leadership, Runecasters||Knowledge, War, Arcana|
|Thor||CG||Storms, Thunder, Strength||Tempest, War, Nature|
|Freyr||NG||Virility, Prosperity, Weather||Life, Nature|
|Freyja||NG||Love, Sex, Magic||Life, Arcana|
|Sif||CG||Earth, Fertility||Life, Nature|
|Baldr||NG||Beauty, Day||Light, Life|
|Týr||LG||Law, Glory||War, Knowledge|
|Ullr||CG||Archery, Skiing, Hunting, Hólmgang||Nature, War|
|Bragi||NG||Poetry, Skalds||Knowledge, Arcana|
|Forsetti||N||Justice, Peacemaking||Knowledge, Protection|
|Gefjon||CG||Luck, Virgins, Plowing||Life, Trickery|
|Loki||CN||Thieves, Earthquakes, Trickery||Trickery, Nature|
|Njörðr||NG||Seas and Wind||Nature, Tempest|