Why Norse Mythology? Why Vikings?
A few kind folks who have expressed excitement for my new project, Raiders of the Serpent Sea have also been curious as to why I have chosen these particular thematic elements for this campaign book. I think my introduction, which will appear in the forthcoming player’s guide, is probably the best explanation.
The stories of Vikings have always lived large in our imaginations and there are as many flavors of these stories as there are storytellers. We imagine that these seafaring raiders lived as large in their world as they do in our stories; that they were boastful in the face of danger and took tremendous risks to secure their fortunes, fates, and place in history.
I have long been enamored with these people who sailed the seas of the hardy north. My initial interest perhaps stemmed from a different source than many others. It was a volcanic island that brought me to the Vikings. Surtsey surfaced in the 60s, south of Iceland in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. The idea that in our time (with the geography of the world feeling so static and unchanging to me) new masses of land might be created… that parts of the world could be formed before our eyes, was beyond fascinating. I began devouring the sagas, legends, and myths of Iceland and even wrote a few fantasy stories set in a mythical world inspired in part by what I learned. This was a long time ago!
A couple years past, I was finally able to travel to Iceland and explore it myself and though I never made it to Surtsey, I did stay on the island Heimaey. The rough, wave-tossed journey made me aware that I would be a rather pathetic Viking, but I was immediately enamored with that rugged, windy place! It was perhaps there that I first began to think about this book, specifically.
Vikings are much beloved, from the early stories and myths, to their depictions in popular comics, and even to the (somewhat) more historically accurate shows streaming across all the popular platforms. We know a lot about them but there are also gaps in our knowledge: room enough for our imaginations to fill. It is only natural that the core themes—exploration, bravery, sacrifice, and fate—become the backbone of a roleplaying fantasy campaign.
Also for fun this week (or just to be cruel) I thought I might reveal some of the world map. I’d love to get more word out about the fine publishing work that Modiphius Entertainment does (as well as promote Raiders of the Serpent Sea, of course!) so I thought I might ask all of you to give a recent tweet of theirs some more attention.
Doing so will fill in more of the world map for Grimnir.
And how dedicated was I to writing a viking themed sourcebook? Well the few of you that have met me or seen my press photos will attest that I have spent most of my life clean shaven. Now… well this is what I look like: