Following on from previous Nordsaga posts which introduced the setting (link) and describe how I’m pivoting the design back towards WFRP (link), let’s take a look at the playable races in Nordsaga.
While the Aelfar generally resemble slender, petite humans, their vulpine features set them apart. They have vividly coloured eyes, angular facial features and pointed ears. It is not unusual to find Aelfar with colourful and elaborate tattoos, which many races find further enhances their beauty. They are also exclusively carnivorous.
They originally hail from Aelfheim, a world of untamed natural beauty, and are currently settled in the forests of Inisfail (Ireland) and Bohemia (Czech Republic).
Like the Aelfar, the Dvergar are shorter than humans, but here the resemblance ends. This burrowing folk are completely hairless, with tough, segmented skin lined with seams and cracks as if it were made from stone. Despite appearances, their skin is organic, and although tougher than Human skin, blades of stone and metal can still pierce them. Their skin is also extremely photosensitive, absorbing sunlight and darkening quite quickly. As a result, the many Dvergar who have found cause to travel Midgard and join Human society have skin which ranges from charcoal grey to obsidian black. They are also unable to digest meat, making them herbivores.
They originally hail from Nidavellir, a craggy, mountainous world, and are currently settled beneath the Pyrenees (mountain range between Spain and France).
The native population on Midgard, Humans are many in number and can be found across the surface of the world. They are highly adaptable to hardship and so still dominate Midgard despite the influx and settlement of the other races centuries before.
The human lands of the Norse Empire are carved up into Kingdoms, where Kings and Queens rule under the fealty of the Emperor. Players creating human characters either choose a nationality from among the nine Imperial Kingdoms or can pick a traveller from any nationality on Earth. The nationalities of the Nine Kingdoms can be found below:
- A Norse from Nordanland (Southern Norway and Sweden)
- A Dane from Danemark (Denmark and Sweden)
- A Celt from Alban (Great Britain)
- A Saxon from Sachsen (northern Germany)
- A Frank from Frankia (western France)
- A Burgundar from Burgundy (eastern France and Switzerland)
- An Alemanni from Alemannia (southern Germany and Austria)
- A Bohemian from Bohemia (eastern Germany and Czech Republic)
- A Lombard from Lombardy (northern Italy)
The Jotnar resemble tall, stocky humans, with an average height of 7ft 6in / 2.3m (though they can be much taller). As a means of proving their mettle, many Jotnar sport body piercings and blood-red tattoos. The tattoos are made by carving harsh patterns or violent imagery into their skin and then dying the fresh scars with red inks. Each has a unique mutation, which can range from blueish skin, antlers, a tail, or goat legs [Note: players choosing a Jotnar must roll for a random starting mutation].
They originally hail from Jotunheim, a frigid and inhospitable world, and are currently settled in the northern extremes of Nordland (Norway and Sweden).
The Nissar resemble squat humans with powerful, long arms. Due to their small stature and shorter lifespans, they tend to move through life at a fast pace, needing little sleep. Unusually strong for their size, a Nissar can stand toe-to-toe with the bigger races in feats of strength.
No one knows where they originated from, although rumours of their existence in the northern parts of the Empire had been myth long before they came out of hiding during Ragnar’s conquest of the Christian lands. Emperor Sigurd has not given them any lands of their own, and as a result they can be found across the breadth of the Empire.