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Video Game / Northgard

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Northgard is a city-building and RTS game developed by Shiro Games, in which you take the on the role of a Viking clan leader, who, after years of tireless explorations, has discovered a new land filled with mystery, danger and riches: Northgard. There are currently sixteen clans to choose from:

The original six clans are featured in the original story campaign, Rig's Saga:

  • Fenrir: The Clan of the Wolf are perhaps the classic "Viking" clan. They are warriors, reavers and slayers of man and beast alike, bringing war to their neighbours and thriving off it before going for the throat.
  • Eikthyrnir: Providence and prosperity is the name of the game for the Clan of the Stag, a band of adventurers, skalds, poets and braggarts with an astonishing list of achievements. They will prove unstoppable if given enough space to grow out their antlers.
  • Heidrun: Some call the Clan of the Goat valourless homebodies, but any stony or frozen wasteland will soon become a land of mead and honey when their hands work it. They are gatherers and shepherds, practical and resourceful, and once they hit charging speed nothing can stop them.
  • Huginn and Muninn: The Clan of the Raven are a cunning and shady cabal of merchants, mercenaries and spies. They share their coin prudently and information even moreso. They sail far and wide to bring shiny things back to the nest.
  • Bjarki: The Clan of the Bear are a group of resilient survivalists and hardy winter-worshippers hailing from the furthest north. Nothing fazes the Clan of the Bear, not invaders or winters, and they are indomitable when riled.
  • Slidrugtanni: The Clan of the Boar embraces the ancient, the primitive and the different, and so attracts wildmen, druids and seers from far and wide. They are clever and spiritual, and have a knack for unearthing valuable secrets.

Ten clans are DLC.

  • Sváfnir: The Clan of the Snake works through subterfuge, progressing by undermining others.
  • Nidhogg: The Clan of the Dragon gains bonuses using slaves to fuel their dark magic.
  • Lyngbakr: The Clan of the Kraken worships the gigantic creature, fearing its brutal might, honoring its instinctual knowledge, and using its powers when he deigns bestow upon them.
  • Svardilfari: The Clan of the Horse are led by Brok and Eitria, two spirited siblings, who are also recognized by all as the best craftsman and woman of the known world.
  • Himminbrjotir: The Clan of the Ox is led by Torfin, an ancient leader who returned to help his progeny; the clan is known for its tremendous might and unrelenting devotion to its ancestors.
  • Brundr & Kaelinn: The Clan of the Lynx is led by Mielikki, a legendary huntress and beastmaster. The clan has the best hunters, and collect trophies mundane and mythical.
  • Ratataoskr: The Clan of the Squirrel are the best chefs known to man, and their kitchens can produce a feast so legendary that Yggdrasil itself respondsnote .
  • Dodsvagr: The Clan of the Rat take in the outcast and wounded of other clans, and are inspired by the shaman Eir to forsake leisure and prove themselves even at the cost of their health.
  • Neustrianote , the Kingdom of the Lion.
  • Kernev, Clan of the Stoat note .

After choosing your clan, you will have to conquer and tame Northgard, enduring harsh winters and defeating rival clans along with other enemies ranging from dire wolves to undead warriors. Players start on a map divided into tiles that the player must explore to reveal. Each tile will contain valuable resources, enemies, or unique features that can aid your clan. Players must colonize tiles to work resources and gain an edge over their rivals.

There are five ways to win the game:

  • Domination: Use your forces to eliminate the opposing armies, decolonize their land gains, and destroy their town halls.
  • Fame: Accomplish great deeds and acquire land to gain renown across all of Northgard for the prowess of your leadership. Unavailable for Sváfnir, as they do not use Fame mechanics.
  • Trade: Accumulate wealth and become influential through your trade routes to the mainland. Unavailable for Lyngbakr, as they cannot build Longship Docks.
  • Lore: Study the secrets of the land and use the knowledge you find to become closer to the gods than anyone else.
  • Map Condition: There is a random chance the game map will have a special victory option involving control of a particular territory.

After roughly a year in early access, the game was released on March 9, 2018. Besides the usual single-player skirmish and multiplayer, the game has two other modes:

  • Story: The player (eventually) play as or encounters each of the six original clans.
  • Conquest: A series of missions which has no overarching story, but completing each mission allows the player to add one bonus for subsequent missions. To add strategic depth, there are 3 choices for each bonus (except for "major" missions represented by a larger disc, where the bonus is fixed).

A Kickstarter campaign for The Board Game, Northgard: Uncharted Lands was held in 2020. The Kickstarter was successful and the board game was released in 2022.

In December 2022, a second Story campaign: Cross of Vidar was released. In addition to the campaign, a new "clan" is added: Neustria, the Kingdom of the Lion.

Tropes Featured In Game:

  • Animal Motifs: Each playable clan has an animal motif, based around an animal figure in Norse Mythology.
    • Fenrir - The Wolf: Fenrir is a monstrous wolf, the son of Loki and the one who will kill Odin at Ragnarök. This clan is the Proud Warrior Race Guy clan, aggressive and fiercely independent with a lot of military bonuses.
    • Eikthyrnir - The Stag: Eikthyrnir is a stag that stands upon Valhalla. Regal and honourable, built around earning Fame and Happiness, with considerable economic might that can convert to military power quite easily. Versatile overall.
    • Heidrun - The Goat: Heidrun is a goat that provides the Einherjar — Odin's chosen warriors — with mead from its udders. Practical and hardy clan with a very strong resource economy, but hardly the most imposing clan in wartime.
    • Huginn and Muninn - The Raven: Huginn and Muninn — whose names mean 'thought' and 'memory' — are the Ravens of Odin. Cunning and scheming clan of merchants and explorers, and great trade partners if you can abide their relentless greed for coin.
    • Bjarki - The Bear: The clan is likely named for Bödvar Bjarki, a shapeshifting hero analogous to Beowulf, who in some instances took the form of a bear. Resilient warriors able to thrive in even the harshest environments. Very strong defensive military, the tough and indomitable to Fenrir's fierce and aggressive.
    • Slidrugtanni - The Boar: This is another name for Gullinbursti, the shining, golden boar gifted to the god Freyr by the sons of Ivaldi. Primitive and boorish, but untamed, shunning material wealth for ascetic lives in touch with nature, the gods and the old ways. Rapid Lore gain and inhuman allies make them a force to be reckoned with.
    • Sváfnir - The Snake: In one poem, Odin names Sváfnir as a serpent that gnaws on the branches of the world tree Yggdrasil. Cunning and deceitful in a way that would make the Raven Clan blush, a clan with little regard for honour, using guerrilla warfare and stealing goods from other clans.
    • Nidhogg - The Dragon: Nidhogg is a massive serpent/wyrm who gnaws on the roots of Yggdrasil. Outlandlish clan with cruel traditions and bizarre beliefs, seeking to dominate others. They take thralls and engage in human sacrifice.
    • Svadilfari - The Horse: The Stallion that fathered Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. A people blessed with both hardiness and grace, ruled by a brother and sister duo, renowned for their remarkable craftsmanship.
    • Lyngbakr - The Kraken: A legendary Sea Monster of gigantic size that appears in Scandinavian folklore. This clan were Born Under the Sail and worship a terrible beast that lives below the waves. They dominate the coasts but struggle a bit when taking the fight inland.
    • Himminbrjotir - The Ox: A tremendously mighty people, their strength in battle matched only by the strength of their devotion to their ancestors. Units have excellent HP, attack and defence stats compared to other clans, but they also eat more food and are fewer in number.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • The maximum amount of people in your clan depends on the amount of houses you've built (and upgraded). Additionally, your clan stops growing if they aren't kept happy.
    • You can never have more than one Warchief (except for the Horse clan), Berserker and Bláinn (giant), respectively.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Some areas are home to Brown Bears. Unlike wolves, they are alone most of the time and they will never attack your territory, but it takes quite a few warriors to take one out.
  • The Berserker: The Warchief of the Wolf Clan is called the Berserker. It's more expensive than the other Warchiefs, but is stronger and comes with an ability to colonize zones for free after the clan earns the Thane title.
  • Born Under the Sail: Lyngbakr, as they suffer multiple penalties when colonizing, building or fighting in non-coastal tiles. A minor subversion comes with the fact that they cannot sail themselves - they're unable to build the Longship Dock (most likely out of respect for the Kraken they worship).
  • Circle of Standing Stones: You can find ancient standing stones all over Northgard. Your villagers can be assigned to study them, increasing the speed at which you gain new knowledge.
  • Combat Medic: Dodsvagr Shamans are this, along with their Warchief Eir. Unlike healers of other clans, Shamans count as military units and are subject to the military unit limit.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Dodsvagr is this as they must have at least one wounded unit. Otherwise, clan happiness will plummet.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: You're going to have to keep building houses to increase your population, find and improve food resources to keep your ever-growing clan fed, build multiple training camps to increase your warband size, and keep expanding your borders in order to have enough space for all those buildings.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Lyngbakr incurs penalties in non-coastal terrain, which is more common in most maps.
  • Cycle of Hurting: This can happen when the clan incurs various efficiency penalties due to shortage of food, being wounded, sick or unhappy at the same time, not to mention that being wounded and/or sick can lead to unhappiness in the first place.
  • Diligent Draft Animal: Invoked with the Svadilfari clan, which themes itself around horses. The Horse clan are quiet, sturdy, and graceful people ruled by a brother and sister duo, renowned for their remarkable craftsmanship and especially metalwork. They are the "technology" clan, forging tools and upgrades to make their units more effective.
  • Easy Logistics: Played with. While tiles with certain characteristics never lose them (e.g. deer never runs out, fertile lands never become infertile...), all units only heal in controlled territory, not in neutral or enemy territory. This means that as one clan displaces tiles controlled by another, said clan's "supply lines" become longer (unless the displaced tile is colonized and becomes allied territory), while the other clan's lines become shorter. Also, Iron and Stone deposits will run out.
  • Endless Game: Once a victory condition has been reached, you can still choose to let the game continue.
  • Fictional Currency: The in-game currency is named Kröwns, as a reference to crowns, the current currency of several Scandinavian countries.
  • Gender Flip: Brok and Eitria are of course based off the dwarf brothers Brokkr and Eitri of Norse Mythology, except Eitria is instead female unlike her eponym.
  • Hellgate: One of the random map-generated victory conditions is a Gate to Helheim, which the player must capture and guard for one year.
  • Hero Unit: The Warchief, who is usually recruited at the Training Camp for Kröwns and Iron, except for:
    • Sváfnir, as they receive their Warchief Signy for free. Signy also passively gains strength as the game progresses;
    • Svardilfari, as they recruit their two Warchiefs Brok and Eitria from their unique Forge building, using only Kröwns. Brok and Eitria are also the clan's only miners and smiths; the clan cannot build mines or have generic miners or smiths. If any enemy enters the tile where they're mining or forging, they'll stop the task at hand and engage. They can also build and repair buildings, with Eitria having a bonus;
    • The Rat and Lynx clans can also hire their Warchiefs without Iron. Mielikkii is weaker than the default Warchief, but can have lynxes to compensate. Eir can also only be hired if you have at least 10 wounded units. Mielikkii (and the lynxes) is recruited from the unique Archery Range, while Eir is recruited from the unique Shaman Camp.
  • Hired Guns: After reaching the title of Thane, the Clan of the Raven can hire mercenaries to attack any coastal tile except one with the Town Hall (which is open to them with the Jarl title). The mercenaries aren't particularly strong, and they will only attack and hold a single tile, but they can be used to disrupt an area that you might not have direct access to. They can also be upgraded at the Forge in several ways, including shorter cooldown and increased numbers.
  • Horny Vikings: Oh, close to everybody in the game. The warrior units have flavor text that discusses the trope, noting that Vikings did not wear horned helmets in real history.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Dragonkin are the main military units of the Dragon clan. Unlike other military units, villagers who are converted to Dragonkin remain as such until they die. Among other changes, Dragonkin have spikes growing out of their bodies, most prominently on the head and arms.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Clan of the Dragon can sacrifice citizens and thralls to gain bonus resources.
  • Mook Medic: Healers, who double up as Food gatherers when not required to heal.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: If hostile units enter one of your tiles, every friendly unit there will automatically attack them. You can order a unit to change targets, or to retreat to another tile, but you can't have a villager repair the tile's tower, or have healers hang back and heal, or have resource gatherers continue their work to avoid a shortfall. The AI can do all of these things while under attack.
    • Villagers are a precious resource that can only be produced from your town hall at a relatively slow rate. But in story mode scenarios where an enemy clan periodically attacks you, they will be able to recruit new villagers to replace losses ex nihilo.
  • Noble Savage: The Clan of the Boar shuns soulless krowns and the comforts of civilised and modern... 9th century living, to embrace communion with the natural world and the spirits.
  • Noob Bridge: The game doesn't really hint on how to recruit the Warchief. It becomes more glaring after playing Story Mode, as over there, the Warchief is always given at the start of every level for free. In other modes, this only happens to one clan.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: The Jötnar are huge, hairy men decked out in skulls and bones, but are normally peaceful. You can either choose to slay them and take their land, or you can choose to trade with them in order to increase your relations with them — though they will only accept food. If you increase your relationship with them enough, you will earn a special giant unit named Bláinn.
  • Our Wights Are Different: The draugr, the evil spirits of selfish people who cling on to the mortal world and make life difficult for their living heirs. Wights will haunt areas in groups of up to six, and sometimes attack territory as if drawn by recollections of their past lives. One draugr is generally superior to a basic, un-upgraded warrior.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Clan of the Raven.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Clan of the Wolf (offensive reavers) and the Clan of the Bear (territorial guardians).
  • Random Number God: The Yggdrasil map victory condition for Clan Heidrun's Conquest mode is this, as you need to find enough natural food sources to build (and then upgrade) 3 food silos in order to have enough food to colonise Yggdrasil.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: Unlike most other RTS games, the map of Northgard is split into many different tiles. Each tile can only hold a limited amount of buildings, and colonizing additional tiles costs food (or Kröwns, if you are playing as the Clan of the Raven). Each tile can also hold certain special properties that might make them more desirable, such as fertile land, a lake full of fish, a lush forest, ancient ruins or shipwrecks, or perhaps a wolf den or Draugar tomb that will earn the first person to conquer it a small fame bonus.
  • Savage Wolves: Dire wolves are some of the local wildlife you have to deal with. Up to six can stalk in a single area, and they will invade your territory whenever hunger takes them. Two warriors will be able to handle three wolves in most cases, but one wolf will be able to devour a villager if they can isolate one. They'll also cause alarm, wound people and hamper productivity.
  • Snow Means Death: Winter represents a time when it becomes too cold to fight or work effectively, putting invasion plans on hold and forcing people to survive on their stockpiles of food and firewood. Should either run out, disaster will strike. Blizzards are even worse - temperatures plummet further, nearly everybody's jobs become twice as hard, and freezing winds wrap around every building forcing even more firewood to be burned just to stay tolerable.
  • Tech Tree: By assigning Loremasters to study ancient standing stones, the player can earn lore in order to advance along a simple tech tree. Each playable clan also has certain tech replacements that further separate their playstyle.
  • Valkyries: Certain parts of the map — such as the Gate to Helheim, the Relic of the Gods, or Yggdrasil — are guarded by Corrupted Valkyries. They are one of the most challenging enemies in the game. Lyngbakr can train non-corrupted Valkyries at their Hörgr.
  • Variable Player Goals: There are multiple ways to win, and each clan has a choice of which one they wish to pursue, unless explicitly prohibited by the clan's nature, deactivated in the skirmish/multiplayer settings, or unavailable in the specific Conquest or Story map:
    • Domination Victory: The winner is the first clan to destroy all others.
    • Fame Victory: You must reach a certain Fame milestone, colonize a number of zones depending on the map size, and build the Altar of Kings.
    • Trade Victory: You must build a Longship Dock (or a Harbor), add a Lighthouse to it, and maintain one of the Greater Trade Routes (which drains Kröwns) until you accumulate 2000 of Commercial Influence.
    • Wisdom Victory: You must unlock the Ancestral Blessing, which becomes available after you unlock 15 Knowledges and all three Blessings of the Gods.
    • There are also various map-specific victory types, one of which is randomly determined each game:
      • You must find the World Tree Yggdrasil and colonize it.
      • You must find the Gate of Helheim, clear out the Corrupted Valkyries there and defend it for one year as more and more Valkyries crawl out.
      • You must find the Magma Flow, build a Forge and reforge the Sword of Odin.
  • Winter Warfare: Winter, besides increasing your food and firewood consumption, gives your military units a significant decrease in fighting power outside of your territory. If you haven't yet unlocked Fur Coats, you'd better postpone your conquering plans until spring comes.
    • Inverted for the Bear Clan, whose warriors enjoy increased defence (and a Healing Factor once you unlock a certain tech) in winter which makes winter the best time for them to fight.
  • Worker Unit: The standard Villagers can be assigned to construct buildings and will otherwise gather food. At any available building, they can be converted to a different type of worker, which then proceeds to gather a different resource; Miners will gather iron or stone, Woodcutters will gather wood, Merchants will earn Kröwns, Loremasters discover new lore, Brewers increase your happiness, etc. Your Villagers can also be turned into Scouts and discover new areas of the map or Warrior units that will fight for you. Converting workers and military units back to Villagers means sending them to the Town Hall or a house. Some units (like Dragonkin of Clan of the Dragon) cannot be converted back.