[Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

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[Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby Havard » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:01 pm

Image

Here's another idea I have been toying with.

We know that the Vikings went to the North American continent and made settlements in the area they called Vinland. I recent years we have learned even more about where these settlements were, including findings as late as 2015.

The areas that were known to the Vikings in this region appear to be:

  • Iceland: This was the first stepping stone for further Viking expeditions towards North America. the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island
  • Greenland: Vikings established two permanent colonies here. These existed from 985 to 1450–1500.
  • Helluland: "Flat rock land"Scholars speculate that this is modern day Baffin Island. Sagas describe plentiful of Polar Foxes in this area.
  • Hvítramannaland: Also known as Great Ireland. It is unknown where this mythical place might have been, but it is believed to have been close to Vinland. Some reports say the people here had white skin and white hair.
  • Vinland: Most likely this refers to Newfoundland. Settlements have been found in L'Anse aux Meadows (Straumfjörð) and Point Rosee (uncertain). Sometimes Newfoundland has also been referred to as "little Helluland". Vinland could refer to all of the American mainland. Leif Eriksson spent a winter at Cape Bauld on Newfoundland in 1001 AD.
  • Markland: This could refer to the coast of Labrador. Possibly never settled, but likely a source of timber for the Norse population in the region. Leif Eriksson reported it to have woods and sandy beaches.
  • Bjarnøy: This island is mentioned in the sagas, but has not been identified. Said to be north of Vinland.

It has been speculated that these Vikings launched expeditions further south along the coast of North America, making it into modern day USA, but AFAIK there is no hard evidence of this.

Other cultures: Erik the Red referred to some of the people he met as Skraelingr. This could refer to Inuit tribes. If the Vikings did venture further south, they could have encountered other indigenous tribes as well.

Mythic Campaigns: I do think it could be fun to include more mythological elements into a campaign like this. I could see both Dragons and Frost Giants making their homes in some of these realms. It could also be interesting to throw in Inuit or Native American mythological creatures as well.

Do any of you have ideas for a campaign revolving around the early Viking exploration/colonization of Vinland?

-Havard

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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby Big Mac » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:49 am

Havard wrote:It has been speculated that these Vikings launched expeditions further south along the coast of North America, making it into modern day USA, but AFAIK there is no hard evidence of this.


Why let the truth stand in the way of a good D&D campaign? :P

If it bothers you (or your players) you could always go for the angle of an Alternate Earth, where this is true.

Havard wrote:Other cultures: Erik the Red referred to some of the people he met as Skraelingr. This could refer to Inuit tribes. If the Vikings did venture further south, they could have encountered other indigenous tribes as well.


Maybe the Skraelingr could be Inuit tribes, but perhaps you should keep the name Skraelingr and define them from a Nordic point-of-view.

Havard wrote:Mythic Campaigns: I do think it could be fun to include more mythological elements into a campaign like this. I could see both Dragons and Frost Giants making their homes in some of these realms. It could also be interesting to throw in Inuit or Native American mythological creatures as well.


If you go for an Alternate Earth angle, perhaps Hvítramannaland could be located where the North Polar ice-cap is in the real world (or where part of the ice-cap is).

Using Native American mythology would be good. You could raid some Azcan or Maztican stuff, if you can't find enough ideas in the real world.

Perhaps you could use Nordic names (or invented Nordic names) that sould like the sort of names that Erik the Red would have given to people and monsters he encountered in Vinland.

Havard wrote:Do any of you have ideas for a campaign revolving around the early Viking exploration/colonization of Vinland?


I suggest you use the Vinland Map:
Image

Throw out the real North, Central and South America and you create an "otherness" where players are not going to bring all of their real-world baggage along.

You could even keep the weird shaped Britain and the other islands in the Atlantic. And even the strange shapes of the other continents can make for something that feels different to our world.

The main thing of creating an otherness is that you won't have the "impending doom" of other culture and religion coming into the Nordic area to subvert the Norse religion and culture.
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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby timemrick » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:47 am

(Because I just mentioned it in another thread...)

If you're considering Pathfinder (or are willing to mine it for ideas), there are a number of creatures in the Freeport Bestiary that seem to be based on various Native American tribes' mythologies. If you play a bit fast and loose with the Skraelings' origins, you could justify any or all of the following appearing in the game:
  • Cipelacq (ghostly owls that hate the living)
  • Deer Woman
  • Flying Head
  • Werewalrus
  • Ocean Wyrm (a colossal sea serpent)
  • Piesa (a winged hybrid monster that protects beings living in its territory)
  • Rainbird
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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby timemrick » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:06 pm

A friend just posted this on Facebook: The 10 Most Terrifying Native American Legends.

My own recent RPG acquisitions cover half of these creatures: flying head, uktena, and water panther in the Freeport Bestiary, and the camazotz (variant ahool) and wendigo (variant ghoul) in the Fantasy AGE Bestiary.
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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:13 pm

The PCs go to Vinland as part of a greater quest to recruit foreign gods to help in the war between the Aesir and the jotuns in Ragnarok.

Raven agrees to help but only if the PCs free Odin's ravens from the one-eyed god's thralldom.

Odin controls his ravens because he has the bones of their mother inscribed with runes. If the bones are fed to a funeral pyre they will be free.
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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby timemrick » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:11 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:The PCs go to Vinland as part of a greater quest to recruit foreign gods to help in the war between the Aesir and the jotuns in Ragnarok.

Raven agrees to help but only if the PCs free Odin's ravens from the one-eyed god's thralldom.

Odin controls his ravens because he has the bones of their mother inscribed with runes. If the bones are fed to a funeral pyre they will be free.

I love this idea! (And only partly because, when Ragnarok happened in the Buffy campaign I played in some years back, Raven was one of the PCs' allies and ended up with Loki's powers after that god's demise.)
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Re: [Vikings] Vinland: North America Campaign?

Postby Coronoides » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:59 am

There was a article in Dragon magazine for a fantasy version of Native North America for 2e. It was called ‘The People’ or something. Let me think a bit and I should be able to tell you the issue number...

Issue 205. That’s why I know it, it has a Council of Wryms article too.
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