What Makes Midgard Unique?

In this dark time, new heroes must arise to claim the crowns of Midgard, and restore the jewels to her scattered thrones...

What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:25 pm

Midgard is basically Kobold Press' setting so that they have a sandbox to work in. Question is, is it "just another fantasy setting?" Or is there something that makes the setting unique?
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:06 pm

1. It's a flat world.
2. There's a massive, expansionist empire ruled by dragons.
3. Much of the continent was devastated centuries ago by a magical war that left behind mutants, magical anomalies, and eldritch abominations. Goblinkind are one result of this.
4. A lot of it's based on Slavic and Germanic legends rather than the more typical Tolkien/English/Western Europe bias. Baba Yaga is a major presence in this setting. This world's equivalent of Western Europe is desolate and ruined, fit only for monsters (because of the magical war in point #3).
5. Most gnomes are aligned with devils (to escape the wrath of Baba Yaga!).
6. Ley lines are a prominent element.
7. Elves once ruled much of the continent, but they have mostly retreated from the world into the parallel world of the Elflands, beyond the Plane of Shadow, leaving behind elfmarked humans.
8. Ghouls (Darakhul) are a prominent race. They rule a vast subterranean empire.
9. Clockwork constructs called gearforged can be player characters.
10. Kobolds are a major PC race.
11. Most of the gods have "masks" through which they manifest very differently to different cultures. It isn't always clear which mask belongs to which god.
12. The Arabic/north African areas are more detailed than in many campaign worlds.
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:51 am

Dragonhelm wrote:Midgard is basically Kobold Press' setting so that they have a sandbox to work in. Question is, is it "just another fantasy setting?" Or is there something that makes the setting unique?

Adam Bennett explained what he likes about Midgard over on Facebook's Midgard group. It's succinct and touches on the high-level aspects of Midgard that I find enjoyable:

Adam Bennett wrote:Fey are scary, there is a Dragon Empire that mimics the Ottoman Empire while the rest of Midgard is a dark ages/Medieval Europe without being every generic medieval Europe setting. The world is flat because Norse myth. There's a country of intelligent ghouls. It's got a lot of familiar things that are turned on their head. Excellent setting 12/10, would play in in a heartbeat.
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Dragonhelm » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:07 am

I like what I hear! Thanks, everyone!

Tim Baker wrote:Adam Bennett explained what he likes about Midgard over on Facebook's Midgard group.


Do you have a link to that group?
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:30 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Dragonhelm wrote:Midgard is basically Kobold Press' setting so that they have a sandbox to work in. Question is, is it "just another fantasy setting?" Or is there something that makes the setting unique?

Adam Bennett explained what he likes about Midgard over on Facebook's Midgard group. It's succinct and touches on the high-level aspects of Midgard that I find enjoyable:

Adam Bennett wrote:Fey are scary, there is a Dragon Empire that mimics the Ottoman Empire while the rest of Midgard is a dark ages/Medieval Europe without being every generic medieval Europe setting. The world is flat because Norse myth. There's a country of intelligent ghouls. It's got a lot of familiar things that are turned on their head. Excellent setting 12/10, would play in in a heartbeat.

John Walter added to what Adam Bennett said on Facebook.

John Walter wrote:[W]hile there's other European areas, the Crossroads region which plays a central role is Eastern European in feel. The Northlands, a viking era Scandinavian region is done well — I say this as someone who [sic] PhD exams included Old Norse-Icelandic literature. And the Southlands — essentially Africa and Bedouin Arabia is also really well done, and really well developed (Baur produced some of the 2e Al-Qadim content, so that's not surprising).

Add in a healthy dash of Lovecraftian mythos, clockwork constructs including a playable clockwork race, active ley lines, and a number of magic traditions including ley line magic, clockwork magic, void (far realm) magic, to just name a few.

In my 15+ years of DMing, I've always run homebrew settings that have, at times, incorporated ideas. Over the past 8 months or so, I've been delving into Midgard, thinking how I might mix into something I was already developing, and I've decided I'm just going to use Midgard as Midgard for a while because it is that damn good. As Adam says, 12/10.
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:31 am

Dragonhelm wrote:Do you have a link to that group?

Sure thing: https://www.facebook.com/groups/4487621 ... 8879381721
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Re: What Makes Midgard Unique?

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:46 am

Dragonhelm wrote:Midgard is basically Kobold Press' setting so that they have a sandbox to work in. Question is, is it "just another fantasy setting?" Or is there something that makes the setting unique?

Another element of Midgard that I enjoy, and other haven't mentioned yet, is the pantheon. Rather than have one or more well-defined pantheons, Midgard's gods are forced to operate while wearing masks. One god may actually be two or three different gods in the world. Sects bicker and fight over the interpretation of whether a certain god is the mask of another god. Even the setting doesn't state what gods are actually masks of other gods -- it instead offers rumors or the beliefs of followers, without canonically stating that it's so.

Additionally, Midgard embraced "monstrous" races early on, and then fleshed out their society. The gearforged, ravenfolk, kobolds, minotaurs, centaurs, dust goblins, trollkin, dragonkin, and others aren't just funny-looking humans, but are given cultures of their own. And then there are the twists on the demihuman races. Gnomes have a diabolic secret. Dwarves are more similar to medieval Swiss mercenaries and raiders than they are Scottish miners and tinkerers. Elves are ancient and once ruled Midgard, but have largely retreated from the world. The shadow fey reside in a shadow realm that the races of light must cross through if they want to travel quickly (there's no long-distance teleportation in Midgard).

Enormous Lovcraftian monstrosities roam the wastes where wizards of opposing nations battled each other. The stars are powerful, celestial beings, preyed upon by gargantuan void dragons.

Factions form alliances and grudges against one another. They vie for power covertly or openly in war. Will they put aside their differences long enough to stand together against the empire of ghouls beneath the surface?

Every chapter of the campaign setting features adventure hooks. You read the book and you want to run a game where the PCs get to interact with all of these cool, dangling threads. The setting is detailed enough that you get a good sense of what's there and who's there, yet not so densely defined that you don't have the freedom to fill in locations.
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