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Extended Northmen Pantheon

by Kit Navarro

The Immortals of the Northmen are known for their common interest in the realms of Ostland, Vestland and Soderfjord. Among them, Odin, Hel, Thor, Frey and Freyja, Loki, and lastly Forsetta are the seven most worshipped patrons of the Northmen. But in recent years, other Immortals have played more active roles in the roles of mortal men and their cults are rising into prominence in the Northern Reaches.

Njord, Patron of the Sea. (Protius) All seafaring cultures worship the Old Man of the Sea in one form or another, and the Northmen are no exception. This ancient yet temperamental Immortal rules over the seas and oceans, sometimes placid and generous of its bounties, often times tempestuous and dangerous. He is also the bringer of storms, and Northmen sailors offer to him to placate his wrath.

The Norns are three eldritch and fearful Immortal crones that mysteriously appear to a mortal at the time of birth and death, though Northmen myths tell of heroes and even Immortals, who seek out the Norns in the remotest mountain crags for their wisdom, their power, and their prophecies. By tradition, the Norns are known as Skuld (Khoronus), Keeper of the Unchanging History, Patroness of the Past; Urd (Ordana), Mistress of the Manifold Paths, Patroness of the Present; and Verthandi, She Who Sees the Unforeseeable, Patroness of the Future. Modern legends say that in a dark cave atop a high and rocky peak in Norwold sit the Norns (or at least their mortal avatars), where the locals known them as the Crones of Crystykk.

Odur Sun-Lord. (Ixion) Though far less exalted than Odin All-Father, the Patron of the Sun has a following in the Northern Reaches, as he does elsewhere throughout Mystara. The Sun-Lord brings warmth, light, and life to the otherwise dark and bleak existence of the Northmen, and the passage of his sun-chariot across the skies mark the time for planting, growth, and harvest.

Frigga (Valerias) may actually have been an earlier more primitive Immortal of fertility and nature of the ancient Neathar, whose worship was later subsumed by the more civilised cult of Freyja. But in recent years, Frigga has regained her popularity, in no small part due to the identification with the highly popular Thyatian Immortal Valerias. Nowadays, she is also worshipped as the Patroness of Romance, Marriage, and Womanhood, particularly by women who do not fight with the sword-but use other means to express their passions and fury. Some cultists of Frigga have scandalously suggested that she is the mate of Odin, a grave heresy in the nation of Ostland where the worship of Frigga has been outlawed!

Asgrod, Patron of Travellers and Merchants. (Asterius) Only one myth ever mentions the nimble Immortal Asgrod, who served as a messenger of Odin from Asgard. So quick in wit and feet was Asgrod that he could journey to the darkest depths of Hel unscathed. He was never truly worshipped, until recent cults imported by traders from Thyatis, Minrothad, and even far-off Darokin. Asgrod ensures safe, swift travel, and fair trades, but unlike his foreign counterpart, he wards against theft and trickery-misdeeds inspired by Loki!

Baldur, Patron of Rebirth and Renewal. (Razud) Baldur is portrayed as an eternally young, handsome man with bright green eyes, and he rewards those who are self-sufficient, self-reliant, and enduring through hardships. His worship began in the Alphatian colonists of Norwold, but was eventually introduced to the Northern Realms. His curious myth revolves around his Immortal death, which will herald the end of the world or Ragnarok. But disaster is averted as Baldur always returns, reborn and renewed! Many Northmen elders discount this myth as mere allegory: the eternal cycles of nature, the resilience of life, such as evergreen through the harsh winters (Baldur's holy symbol is the mistletoe.), while the more politically-minded interpret Ragnarok as the invasion of the Alphatians. But the godi of Baldur have demonstrated their Patron's will with miraculous powers of restoration, renewal, and even resurrection-a feat which has elicited mixed and powerful reactions. (Northmen consider returning from the dead as cowardly and even morally wrong, preferring to die courageously and enter Valhalla. Raising the dead and reincarnation are also the domains of the sinister Immortal Hel.)

Tyras, the Immortal Bard. (Tiresias) Compared to most of the grim and gloomy Immortals of the Northern Reaches, Tyras is relatively cheerful and carefree. His role is to bring song, poetry, music, and dance to the world, but he also composes epics tales of legendary deeds-or grand eulogies for heroes in Valhalla. On occasion, Tyras is known to let slip divine secrets or knowledge of the future.

Vuller (Zirchev) is the patron of hunters and archers, and also protector of wild beasts and game. He was never recognised as a full Immortal (He was merely known as the huntsman of Frey), until the influence of the Alphatians and other worshippers of Zirchev from Norwold and Thyatis. Sentient forest creatures, as well as werewolves, werebears, wereboars, and other lycanthropes, also pray to Vuller to protect them from human incursions.

Northmen Name

Common Name

Alignment

Area of Concern

Odin

Odin

LN

Sky, Wise Rule

Thor

Thor

N

Honourable Warriors, Thunder

Frey

Frey

LG

Intelligent Warfare, Heroes

Freyja

Freyja

LG

Women Warriors

Hel

Hel

NE

Death, Reincarnation, Entropy

Loki

Loki

CE

Mischief, Betrayal, Trickery

Forsetta

Forsetta

LG

Law, Justice, Rulership

Njord

Protius

N

Seas and Seafaring, Storms

Skuld

Khoronus

N

Time, the Past, Fate

Urd

Ordana

CN

Time, the Present, Destiny

Verthandi

Verthandi

LN

Time, the Future, Prophecy

Odur

Ixion

LG

Sun, Harvest

Frigga

Valerias

CN

Fertility, Marriage, Women

Asgrod

Asterius

CN

Travel, Trade

Baldur

Razud

NG

Youth, Renewal, Rebirth

Tyras

Tiresias

N

Poetry, Songs, Bards

Vuller

Zirchev

NG

Hunting, Archery, Beasts


Notes:

  1. The first seven Immortals are canon, thus not discussed further. (Forsetta is mentioned in Wrath of the Immortals with a reference to X3 Curse of Xanathon. The other Immortals were inspired by Deities & Demigods, both the 1st edition and the 3rd edition.
  2. The Norns: Verthandi has always been a mysterious Immortal from the Sphere of Time, and his name clearly comes from one of the Norns of the Norse Pantheon. By adding two more Hierarchs of Time (and a little Immortal sex change la Nyx), we have the Mystaran Norns! In CM1 Test of the Warlords features a very similar trio of mysterious and powerful hags, the Crones of Crystykk, who can easily be identified with the Norns of the Northmen.
  3. Odur/Ixion: Ixion's worship is universal throughout Mystara, and the Sun-Prince figures in cultures even when he is not the chief patron (i.e. as Horon in Nithia, Solarios in Thyatis).
  4. Frigga/Valerias: As with Ixion, Valerias must have her finger in every pie, especially with her recent rise in popularity in Thyatis and Glantri. The problem is which Norse goddess could be identified with? The wonderful thing about Valerias is that her portfolio (compared to the original entry in Dawn of the Emperors) has expanded from a patroness of love and war (like the Babylonian Ishtar or Sumerian Inanna) to a patroness of fertility and womanhood. Chaotic and ambitious, Valerias could easily take on the role as Odin's peer and equal (especially with that little Freyja in the way)!
  5. The Asgardian messenger god is named Hermod, which sounds like the Greek. Asgrod is patterned after the Thyatian Asterius.
  6. Baldur/Razud: Baldur is one of my favourite mythological deities, and I just had to find some Immortal to take on Baldur's role. Some have pointed out that resurrection is not favourably viewed by the Northmen, and I have adjusted Baldur's description based on these comments.
  7. Tyras/Tiresias: His bardic portfolio fits with the Asgardian/Northmen pantheon, and his name is derived from the Norse god Tyr.
  8. Vuller/Zirchev: The name is derived from the Asgardian god Uller, with some spelling change.