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Tabletop Game / Midgard

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It is an age of war. Civilization slowly gives way to encroaching wilderness, and once-mighty empires now lie beneath the waves. Only magic and the warmth of hope keeps lights aglow when dread things prowl, and priestly wardings are bent by demonic rage.

The omens are dire. The roads to the shadow realm are open again, and the fey have returned to claim their ancient tribute. In the north the giants prepare for Ragnarok, while the goblins in the west grow restless. In the Crossroads, the shadow of the vampire princes falls across the land. The World Serpent is stirring—and not even all-knowing Baba Yaga can say what will happen next.

Now more than ever, Midgard needs heroes to stand against the dark, driving it back with spell, steel, and cunning!

Midgard is a Dark Fantasy Tabletop RPG campaign setting created by Wolfgang Baur and published by Kobold Press for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd to 5th Edition, Pathfinder 1st Edition, 13th Age, Adventure Game Engine and Swords And Wizardry, with D&D 5th Edition being the only rules system currently supported.

Instead of a sphere, the world of Midgard is a floating disc-shaped object encircled by Veles, a serpent-god biting its own tail. Few have truly made it to the edge to see this great beast for themselves. Magical ley lines flow through the world, and those aware of their existence can tap into local sources of power to enhance their magic. Originally heavily based on Central and Eastern European folklore, the setting has since expanded into a kitchen sink including Lovecraftian horror, Arabian Nights, Vikings and Africa, among other things.

NOTE: While many supplements published by Kobold Press are technically setting-neutral, they were designed with Midgard in mind and are considered part of the same product line. For convenience purposes, tropes pertaining to them are listed on this page.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alkemancy, or magical chemistry, combines extensive knowledge of alchemy with the many ways that the six fundamental essences (brimstone, lead, quicksilver, quintessence, salt and Void salt) can be applied to arcane magic. They are a mysterious breed sometimes confused with transmuters, with whom they share a complicated rivalry.
  • Black Magic: Void magic is anathema to existence itself, making it difficult to master and dangerous even to study. Only alien creatures whose psychology and physiology defy human understanding seem capable of commanding void magic with relative ease; even beings as anomalous as aboleths respect and fear the power of void magic.
  • Black Speech: Void Speech, the language of the outer darkness, Void dragons and alien gods, is a tongue not meant for humanoid speech at all, and disquiets those who hear it.
  • Blood Magic: Blood magic is closely tied to the dark gods, blood sacrifices and malevolent casters. It is extremely difficult to root out once its adherents gain positions of power; all those who oppose them tend to die of hideous diseases or swift-acting poisons.
  • Common Tongue: Common is the most common language in the Crossroads and the Seven Cities, spoken by all characters.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: Chaos magic is a form of raw arcane power with no rules or structure, only an unthinking addiction to changing the reality with which it comes into contact. Those who learn to channel chaos magic eventually expand and aid it in its chaos; to master it, chaos demands an emotional price of extreme highs and lows. An eccentric lifestyle or even full-on madness is common among chaos mages.
  • Flat World: The world of Midgard resembles a coin surrounded by Veles, the Father of Serpents, who girds the edges of the earth. One face of the coin is the land most people know.
  • Geometric Magic:
    • An astute linguist, talented artist or clever mason can tap into the secret script of magic from ancient times and unlock the power of hieroglyphs. Each hieroglyph confers a benefit on someone who knows how to write it.
    • Rune magic requires generating glyphs, sigils, signs and runes of many kinds. The deeper understanding is that shapes bind power, and that magic can be made tangible. That tangible magic can be a stone rune, a silvery sigil, or a bloody scrawl—its power functions regardless of how it was made.
  • Immortality Inducer: Gold elixir grants eternal life by completely halting the ageing process and rendering the imbiber immune to all natural and magical diseases and poisons. The drinker can still be harmed or killed through other methods such as violence.
  • Ley Line: The land of Midgard is alive with ley lines, and some know how to harness their power for magic. The elves used ley lines to create and sustain the shadow roads, making it possible to connect a far-flung empire. When the elves retreated from the world, their roads remained, and humans and the shadow fey learned to tap into the ley lines that sustain this magic. The most powerful ley line conjunctions are warded or guarded, used as the foundation of great fortresses or thriving cities. In Midgard, you can increase the level of magical power to unheard-of levels, without destroying the reality of the setting outside those ley line conjunctions.
  • Place of Power: As power sources, ley lines empower magic both arcane and divine in most places across the face of Midgard.
  • Portal Network: Magical portals known as catslide alleys link cities where feline creatures are held in high regard. Per-Bastet holds a dozen or so, but they exist throughout Midgard. Anyone following a cat into a catslide alley is likely to be transported to another cat-friendly place, perhaps the city of Triolo, an emperor's palace in Far Cathay, or much stranger feline realms on the Plateau of Leng or among hellcats in the Eleven Hells.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Books like H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon, Robert E. Howard's Nameless Cults and Clark Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon, among others, are considered to be translations of the real world originals from the alternate Earth of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos setting. How they made their way through time and space to wind up on Midgard is the stuff of splendidly macabre speculation.
  • Sentient Stars: Midgard stars are living creatures, lesser lights to the sun god's greater light. On rare occasions, these stars come down from the heavens to visit people on the face of the world.
  • Wizarding School: Midgard has dozens of schools of magic, almost all of them among human settlements and most of them taking candidates for study on the basis of status, arcane ability, and ability to pay or to serve a long apprenticeship (10 to 12 years is typical).
  • World Tree: The first World Tree, Yggdrasil, is the seat of wisdom that connects Midgard and all other planes. Yggdrasil is ancient and perhaps sentient. The branches of Yggdrasil that enter Midgard manifest as World Trees that lead to various realms, from the Elflands to the Plane of Spears. The World Trees' roots are as large as hills, and their trunks push miles into the sky.