Old Ways of the North

The Old Ways of the North

The Old Ways are the ancient rites of Njordr, practiced by all of the shamans of the north that remain.  These Goði, or “Wise Ones”, give their abject surrender to the Old Gods, even more than ordinary Rimelanders who live in their terrifying shadow.  Any Wise One can practice the general Old Ways rituals, but many select one specific Old God to dedicate themselves to using the Total Surrender ritual.  In exchange for this ritual, the Wise One is spared from torment by that Old God in particular, and may beg assistance using the more powerful rites associated directly with that Old God, and they may still use rituals of the Old Ways.
These rites always require some kind sacrifice to the Old Gods, with greater rites requiring greater sacrifices.  For more detail on those needs, see Ritual.  Some rites may call for special sacrifices, noted in the ritual description.

Many rites require the attention of a specific Old God.  If the rite lists an Old God’s attention, it must be gained using the God’s Attention ritual for the rite to be successful.


This page is under construction.  The information below is not yet official.

The Lesser Rites of the Old Ways


The Gods’ Attention

Call the Attention of the Old God or Gods to a ritual so that it may be cast with their blessing.
 “Sveas, Aulfvaldr, Stilvskar, Jorg, Ulfrandr, Ormhildr, Ura, Vecatra! Old Gods of the North, hear my call! I call on you to watch and judge this place before me, and all who are in it!”
Ritual: The Wise One chants the name of a specific Old God that they wish to invoke or all the names of all the Gods, calling their Attention down on all those gathered.  The Wise One may offer up a sacrifice suited to the God whose Attention they are seeking.  
Each Old God prefers a different offering: 

Props: Item(s) being offered up to the God/Gods in question
Effect: Everyone present gains a Despair, and the scene is considered to have the Attention of the Old Gods for the purpose of rituals. If a suitable sacrifice is given during the scene, all those who participated in the abasement are relieved of one Despair. 


Anointing of Blood

Sacrifice one for the soul of another.
“Vecatra! Mother of all! Recognize this child of yours! See him/her and remind him/her of the womb from which they are wrought! Grant them this rebirth in blood, and take them into your bosom once more!”
Ritual: The witch asks the willing subject if they will bow before the might of the Old Gods, dedicating their life and loyalty to them. Once answered affirmatively the witch will chant the above verse and cut open an animal (typically a rabbit, fox, or other small animal) from throat to anus and spill the entrails before the subject. Read them their Doom in the entrails, then mark t-heir face with blood and runes. 
Props: Knife, stuffed animal, entrails
Effect: The subject of another faith is converted to Spiritual Faith in the Old Gods, and the entrails of the animal can be read to see the future of the subject. 



Attention of Aufvaldr

The informal rites of Aufvaldr are invoked by spitting a mouthful of strong alcohol into open flame, which is said to attract the Attention of the God, before a story of a hero or named man is told.  This allows Aufvaldr to hear the tale and add it to His collection so that it can be remembered forever, as well as of course inviting the God’s favor or lack of disfavor.

Ritual: The Wise One spits something flammable into a large fire, then tell a tale or has a Branded Man tell a tale of their success so that Aufvaldr will know him and spread his legend for other Branded Men to hear. Worthy stories told this way always count for the purposes of a Branded Man’s Declaration of Triumph.
Props: Fire, flammable substance to be spit into fire.
Effect: Calls Branded men to the subject if the subject is Branded. 


Stilvkar’s Courage

Imbue a weapon with the courage of Stilvkar.

Ritual: The witch marks a weapon with fresh blood and prays to Stilvkar to show his favor, or at least to not show his disfavor. The witch may either then use the weapon themselves or give it directly to a warrior they are interceding for. 

Props: A weapon, fake blood

Mechanic: While the blood is still wet on the blade, the wielder of the weapon is Immune to Fear. This usually lasts through one combat happening shortly after the ritual.


Casting the Word of Aufvaldr

The witch beseeches the Gods to give her guidance and forbidden knowledge of things to come.

Ritual: Cast runes from a bag onto a clean skin, fur, or pure white cloth. The runes that are face up are interpreted on their distance from each other.

Props: Runes, clean skin/fur/pure white cloth

Mechanic: Staff answers a question of the future but must speak in relation to the

distance of the runes that were cast. For example, if combat is not a reasonably method of achieving the witch’s goals then Staff should mention something along the lines of “The Rune of Stilvskar is far from the Rune of Victory.”


Feasting Rite

Part of the feast is sacrificed to the Gods to ensure their appeasement

Ritual: The priest begs that Ura not think that the bounty of the Northmen is sign that they have grown weak and forgotten the Gods, lest they be punished with weakness and sickness.  The food and cups are passed over the fire before serving, and a little of each is spilled in the flames.  In some clans, they sacrifice blood or even lives within the fire before the meal instead.

Props: Firepit

Mechanic: All those who eat the meal are granted 1 Grit Rank per offering level for the remainder of the day.


The Flame of Life 

The dead’s stories are used to bolster their spirit for their final battle

Ritual: Those who knew the dead or those who know their story come to retell all the stories of their life with the Attention of Aufvaldr.  The tales of their greatest deeds, as well as their failures and shortcomings.  Many people may speak in turn, with the goal to get the full and accurate picture of the dead and who they were as a person.  At the end of stories, the dead is burned in a great fire.

Mechanic: The dead is empowered with their own stories in their final battle against Sveas for the fate of their soul, and warmed against her terrible cold with the flames of their funeral.