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Tabletop Game / Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok

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Fate Of The Norns: Ragnarok was released in 2013. It is the new version of the Fate of the Norns tabletop RPG, created by Andrew Valkauskas in 1993.

The game is set in Midgard, land of the vikings, during Ragnarök. The sun and moon have been devoured by celestial wolves, an eternal winter called Fimbulvinter has set in, and Viking families tear each other apart, while the great armies of the Aesir gods (Odin, Thor, ...) and the Jotuns (Surt, Bergelmir,...) gather for the final confrontation, where the world will most likely be bathed in fire and cease to exist. Oh, and crusaders from the south are invading, bringing the faith of a new White God to the masses, by force if necessary.


FOTN:R uses the Runic Game System: no dice are needed to play this game, but a set of viking runes, representing the player character's experience and destiny. A small subset of runes is drawn during each combat round, and the player can use them to perform various actions (each rune is bound to a specific power) and greatly change the output of said power via meta tags (e.g: double damage, multi attack, greater range, etc.).

The player character (called "Dweller") can choose between 5 character classes, each one having 3 possible specializations. A grid system is then used to choose every action and power the Dweller can perform, so that lots of customized builds are possible.

Death is not the end of a player character in FOTN:R: with the proper burying rituals and a bit of luck, a deceased PC can be raised in the Heavens to become an immortal warrior of the Gods or the Giants, gain new immortal powers, and go on more adventures if the GM (here called the Norn) wants him to. Having a character ascend in the heavens will also unlock new customization options for new characters.

Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Another Dimension: Each world of Yggdrasil is its own separate dimension: Muspellheim, Jotunheim, Alfgard, Vanagard, Asgard, Svartalfheim, Nidavellir, Niflheim and Midgard.
  • Anti-Magic: Two identical runes played too close to each other cancel their effects.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Pretty much everyone, especially members of the great dynasties. King Erik, for example, straight up murdered his father's other potential heirs.
  • Badass Family: Most of the Viking clans.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Sure, you can ask a God or Jotun to help you in your fight. But beware if your plea angers them....
  • Blinded by the Light: The Immortal's Brillance power makes the caster appear almost as brilliant as the sun, with this result for opponents. Some Immortal characters can also summon pillars of fire from the sky, with predictable results.
  • Blood Knight: Warriors who wants to go to the Heavens have to die gloriously in battle, so this trope applies a lot in the setting. Actually making it to the Heavens also means that your immortal life is dedicated to battle, every day until the final battle of Ragnarok.
  • Body Horror: The Rend Flesh spell creates "small, deformed mouths on the surface of the victim's skin. The teeth begin to devour the flesh and insides."
  • Character Level: Characters earn whole levels, not experience points. One level allows a character to select a new rune (and new powers), while two levels allow him to draw more runes during combat.
  • Civil War: Resources are becoming scarce, old family feuds reignite, and tempers are shorter and shorter, so it is no surprise that lots of civil wars broke out among formerly united viking kingdoms since the onset of Fimbulvinter.
  • Cool Boat: Naglfar, the Ship of the Apocalypse, 5 miles long and made out of the toenails of the dead, will be used in battle by the Jotuns against the Asgardian Gods.
  • Crapsack World: Midgard: The Sun and Moon have disappeared, no crops will ever grow, people kill each other for no reason, most of the landmasses are uninhabitable due to the cold, and angry monsters/gods/giants/immortal warriors are on the loose.
  • Deus ex Machina: Possible but risky, see Be Careful What You Wish For above.
  • Divine Parentage: Some of the biggest dynastic families (Yngling, Volsung) come from the union of a mortal woman and an Asgardian God.
  • Fantasy Character Classes:
    • Fighter: the Ulfhednar archetype, from classic viking warrior to berserker to giant blood-drinking werewolf.
    • Mage: the Seithkona archetype, sorceress with access to summons and spirit-based powers. Can rip your soul from your body in no time. The Galdr archetype, master of the runes, for a more elemental (ice/fire) magic, auras and explosions.
    • Rogue/Dancer: the Maiden of Ratatosk archetype, ranging from a girl of mischief who loves to insult her foes to confuse them, to a double-bladed whirlwind of death and bloodshed
    • Bard: the Skald archetype, closer to a Mage-type character, but primarily uses songs to create the same effects.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Only women can be Seithkona or Voelva, men who learn their magics are considered unmanly, with the exception of Odin because he's Odin.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Even if the setting (and Marvel) can lead one to think "Asgardian Gods = good, Frost Giants = bad," the core rulebook goes to great lengths to describe the dark side of some of the Asgardians, and how honorable some of the Giants can be.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Characters with the Troll-Blood perk have a Troll in their ancestry, granting them additional powers and a massive strength (and size) boost.
  • Holier Than Thou: Standard behaviour of the White God Crusaders: convert, or die by the sword.
  • Horny Vikings: What the game is all about. Well, that and the End of the World as We Know It.
  • House Fey: Kobolds are the more overtly mischievous variety, usually moving to mines after they're inevitably banished. Nisser can also cause trouble but are usually helpful if given the proper offerings.
  • Human Sacrifice: Doesn't shy away from the tradition of the blót, though it's noted that the druids have been burning fewer wicker men since they need to pull converts away from the White God.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Surprisingly averted. Even at higher levels, with the right build and the right use of meta tags, a warrior can dish out even more damage than a caster.
  • Kill It with Fire: Lots of spells can do this to your enemies. Fire Jotuns also tend to do that to people. To top it off, Surt will do that to the entire world.
  • Kill It with Ice: Lots of spells and auras can deal ice damage. Also, don't anger a Rime Jotun. Or a standard polar bear, for that matter: they can breathe ice.
  • Knight Templar: The Crusaders of the White God have one goal: invade Midgard, convert everyone who wants to be converted, kill the rest.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Thanks to a hefty x5 damage multiplicator, the Polar Kraken is one of the most fearsome foes in the setting.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Dvergar. Small? Check. Affinity for gold and other riches? Check. Fantastic blacksmiths? Check. Hold grudges for a very long time? Check. Turn to stone in the sun? Wait, what?
  • Prestige Class: The Fylgia, Troll-Blood, Infamy and Immortal Warrior aspects, unlocked for future characters when enough of your characters die.
  • Musical Assassin: The Skald (bard) class can devour your thoughts by singing.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Erik BloodAxe, King of Norveig.
  • New Game Plus: Sort of. If your character dies and goes to the afterlife to become an immortal warrior, you might get to play him/her again, with added superpowers.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The Ulfhednar, who can turn into a enraged, horse-sized, blood-drinking wolf pretty much from the get-go.
  • Set the World on Fire: Surt during the final battle of Ragnarök, drowning the world in fire with his sword, made of fire and brighter than the sun.
  • Signs of the End Times: Among others, the onset of Perpetual Winter, the celestial wolves eating the sun and the moon.
  • Soul Eating: There's a few monsters that can prevent one from reaching their reward in Valhalla.
    • Vargr, supernatural wolves that feed on human corpses, can also consume their souls. If they do so they can digest the souls to increase their spiritual power, or regurgitate them for other entities that also collect souls and hire them as mercenaries.
    • Wight Sovereigns seek to devour the essences of honorable warriors, often fighting Valkyries for them.
  • Standard Fantasy Races: The game is inspired by Norse Mythology; therefore, beside Humans, there are Dwarves (Dvergar), Elves, both Light and Dark (Ljos Alfar and Svart Alfar), Giants (of frost or fire), and Gods.
  • Super-Toughness: Game mechanics allow Immortal Warriors to, among other things, stand in fire without suffering any consequences.
  • Taking Over The World: The basic plan of the White God Crusaders
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The game takes place during early Ragnarök: in a couple of years, the great armies of the Gods and the Jotuns will face each other, and it's game over for everyone.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Fimbulvinter: both the Sun and the Moon have been devoured by giant wolves, stars are falling out of the sky, and no one will ever see the light of the day again.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Basically every member of the Dvergar race, particularly Brokk and his brother, is able to create wonderful artifacts and weapons, fit for immortals and Gods alike.
  • Vikings In America: Vinland is a possible campaign location.
  • Valkyries: Every god that runs an afterlife outside of Niflheim has valkyries in their service, they sometimes duel one another over the souls of the warriors they are sent to claim for their patrons. Some also possess mortals in order to experience mortal life, with disastrous consequences for the host's soul.
  • The Wild Hunt: An annual event where Odin gathers up a host of valkyries, vargr, and other hunters to gather up the restless dead trapped on Midgard. Though sometimes innocent mortals can get caught up in it.
  • World Tree: The nine worlds hang on the branches and roots of Yggdrasil, the cosmic Ash tree.