Fate of the Norns

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Author:  khunkwai [ Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:46 am ]
Post subject:  Missionary


First bit of feedback on the beta

I like the concept and crunch of the missionary, but thematically I don't see how it ties into the Disir concept. The white god directly oposes the belief in all things supernatural and other gods. So how does it fitvthat a Dosir kevl 3 is required, and why the heck would any viking in their right mind want such a brother in arms. Come time for a viking burial surely you'd want this guy far away so as to not upset the gods / jotun.

Doesnt worship of the white god require a seperate concept than the disir.

Or, is the white god simply a norse god (ignoring the way things panned out in the real world here) by another name that the other gods use as a temptation to stray from the path?

Or did i miss the bit where Disir are higher than the gods and pretty bloody mischievous too?



Author:  andrew [ Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Missionary

You raise great points which will result in my adding more context in LotA.

Disir are family/ancestral spirits. They look out for the family, and wish to ensure that the lineage is strong and enduring.

Now to the crux of it: modern evangelical Christianity, neo-paganism and high fantasy RPGs have all set our minds in a reality which is misaligned with historical events. The northmen were very fluid in their belief system. They worshipped many gods, and picked the ones most relevant to any given situation/challenge. They were also very well travelled and had a world view of religious practices (Vikings were in Spain at the time of the Caliphate). This would make them very pragmatic when it came to theology. From what we know, they were tolerant and accepting, and even royal families had divergent religious views (Gorm the Old paid tribute the spirits, his son Canute was an Odin follower and his brother Harlad Bluetooth was a Christian). Of course there were religious zealots as well, but they were a minority. Even the historically-challenged Vikings TV show alludes to the fact with Ragnar getting along with Christians. Now if we look at the relationship from the Christian perspective, they were also very tolerant and sympathetic during the Viking age (things change a few centuries later). Starting in the pre-Viking age, the Missionaries settled the north in peaceful coexistence with the locals. Monasteries were setup in a way that was symbiotic with the native pagans. This becomes very evident when you read the works of St. Patrick and St. Columba. Bede does a wonderful job of describing the compromises in "Ecclesiastical History of the English People". Many conversions were subtle, and allowed the practice of old traditions in addition to observing Christian sacraments. All of this points to a melting pot of beliefs- something in stark contrast to what we know today of neo-Paganism which has a passive aggressive tone towards Christianity, and evangelical Christians who get very worked up over anything fantasy/occult. And modern fantasy such as D&D doesn't help, because it reinforces the black and white lines between deity worship (you only pick 1 and all others are enemies or to be distrusted).

FOTNR introduces the more militaristic Christianity with the Crusaders. Historically they appears a century or two later, but with Ragnarok, I just had to have them in my world. Their peaceful counterparts are the missionaries. Vikings can't mingle with Crusaders, but they can definitely coexist with missionaries. Here's a little missionary story arc my players came up with: there is a disruption in Uppsala. The temples to Frey, Thor and Odin are at odds and they believe it's the result of a doppelgangr which is fermenting discord. The Fardrengir has some proof (tracking skill check) of this meddling, but knows little of this type of beast. She has contacted her Witch Hunter friend (Malleus Maleficarum) to come and help track down this trouble-maker. This may introduce some conflict within the party since the Blacksmith's forge beast is from another realm. Other than that, the party chemistry is good with a Malleus Maleficarum in the party.

I think all of this info should be added to LotA in order to set the stage for the belief systems. Great quesiton, I'm glad you asked it! ;)

Author:  khunkwai [ Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Missionary

Thanks for the feedback and thoughts. So a Disir could decide that the family or clan could benefit from a missionary and effect a soul as such to become a Christian, a time of great supernatural evil etc.

Ok got the thought process now but i think i'd tie such a choice to a story arc rather than a "i want to be a missionary" decision....though i could do the later after that choice has happened....

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