Encounter in Jotunheim

In the Norse pagan legends, cosmos is layered in many adjacent worlds. Men live in Midgard (Middangeard/Middle-earth), whereas the gods live in Asgard above mankind.

The giants live in Jotunheim (Giant-home), a dangerous untamed world beyond the wild river Ifing. Most are settled in farmsteads under the leadership of a chieftain. Some giants are great warlocks that excel in illusions. Many stories tell about interactions between gods and giants, and occasionally a shrewd giant outsmarts a god. Therefore mannish adventurers must tread carefully in Jotunheim.

In the 1990s I was commissioned to write several Swedish Norse-themed role-playing products: Ansgar (an educational RPG about the first German missionaries to pagan Sweden around AD 830) and two sourcebooks and one adventure for the Viking RPG. Both publishers initially wanted only material based on real-world Scandinavian history.

After a while Viking’s publisher also asked me, Magnus Seter, and Mats Blomqvist to write a fantasy sourcebook based on Norse legends: Saga. Among others things it included spell-chanting, rune-carving, undead, elves, dwarves, divine favor, and visits to legendary worlds. However, when we had completed our texts, the publisher went bankrupt and aborted the project. (You can read more about the Viking RPG in Swedish here — link >>>)

The picture above by Eytan Zana at DeviantArt perfectly captures the mood of the Jotunheim section of Saga: crows at the carcass of a fallen giant. (Click on the picture for a larger version.)

For those of you who know Swedish, here is Magnus Seter’s Jotunheim text on page 18 in a PDF file of issue 24 of the Sverox gaming magazine — link >>>

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