Below are the folk beliefs of the people of Runeheim. Knowledge of these beliefs is limited to those with the appropriate skill at Rank 3. Accomplishing these tasks often leads to rewards and good cheer, while failing them can lead to curses and misfortune. Certain Folkwise Rituals reward Folk Achievements to Folkwise characters who complete them. Folk Achievements may be spent as XP toward the following skills, even if you do not have the requisite Attribute at Sound for Locked skills: Zeal, Grit, Survival. Archery, any Gathering skill.
Early Spring - Steinn Galdr
“Those songs I know, which nor sons of men
nor queen in a king’s court knows;
the first is Help which will bring thee help
in all woes and in sorrow and strife.”
Stonewise know that a song can make the toils of labor pass more quickly and bring the aid of those nearby when sung. On the first morning of spring the Stonewise gather and create a new song about the work the miners perform. The song must be new each spring as the malefic terrors often learn how to sing the song themselves. After creating the song, the Stonewise then spend the morning spreading the it to all other miners in their village(submitting a special Action during the first cycle of Saturday), ensuring it is known by all.
Success: When a Stonewise attends an underground trial in the coming year they may sing the song and may receive mysterious assistance. All Stonewise who helped with the creation and distribution of the song recieve a Folk Achievement.
Failure: Mining -1 bounty
Late Spring - The Early Bird
As the birds return from migration it is the perfect time to collect them for the mines before they pair up to reproduce. Stonewise wander the woods looking for young birds to tame to ensure the air in the mines are safe for breathing. Without the use of birds there is no early warning of potentially poisonous gases released in the mining process. A birdless mine is surely inviting disaster. Only one bird may be returned to the hutch at a time for the bird’s safety.
Components: Retrieve tagged birds and return to hutch outside of logistics.
Success: Risk rolls decrease for all mines in the area for the season.
Failure: Risk rolls increase for all mines in the area for the year.
Early Summer - Kobold Brawlers
Strong, clever and quick are the qualities you must have to keep the Kobolds away. Missing birds and dim torches are the benign signs that Kobolds have infested your mine but too many and more dangers are sure to follow. Miners dressing as kobolds and making a show of strength every summer makes them think twice before frequenting our mines- thinking that the mines are already occupied by more fearsome members of their race. What a kobold looks like is the subject of much debate among miners.
Stonewise summon all other miners in the sun at 11am and from there go forth and challenge other members of the town to a brawl. This usually takes place in a circle or other bounded area and participants attempt to force each other out of the circle. Any participants who don’t have at least Brawl 1, gain it for the duration of the challenge.
Success: Winning the challenge gives the winner, regardless of whether they are a miner or not, +1 grit for the event.
Failure: Refusal of the challenge gives -1 grit for the event (Non-combat PCs may designate a champion).
Late Summer - Resistant Runes
Malicious spirits of lonely deceased miners wear down the supports placed to keep mines from collapsing. It is said these spirits grow bored of each other and seek the company of new spirits. Miners paint the Thurisaz rune on stones and place them in mines in order to offer resistance against these spirits. Often angered, these spirits attempt to stop miners from placing these protective stones through violence.
Success: Mining +1 bounty
Failure: Mining -1 bounty
Early Autumn - Trolls
Caves and mines provide temporary respite for those lost or caught in blizzards. Every traveler knows to beware of not just slumbering bears but things more vicious like trolls. These dangerous creatures sometimes winter in the warmth of mines and as the seasons turn miners wish to deter these unwelcome guests. Fire has been known to turn away their kind and it is known that illuminating the entrances with fire is enough to make them seek refuge elsewhere. Many Njords have attempted to name themself troll slayer but the wise know the only safe way to remove them once they’ve claimed a mine is with an army or to await spring.
Components: Lanterns or LED Candles
Failure: Trolls inhabit mining locations during the winter.
Late Autumn - Dwarven Rectitude
Njordr is no stranger to the presence of Dwarves and though they usually do not associate closely with humankind their paths can often cross in mountain mines. Long ago the Runespeakers started a ritual to maintain the peace with Dwarves and its use is still prevalent among the clans. It is told that placing items made from your own hands as an offering is the gesture for continued coexistence. Miners leave small clay figurines, runes or other trinkets in mines known to be visited by Dwarves to ask them to leave the mine for human use.
Components: Clay or clay substitutes
Success: The mine produces a special rare node that may be mined by any Stonewise participants. Mining +1 bounty
Failure : Mining -1 Bounty
Early Winter - Day Stones
The sun sinks low and the night takes hold on the Longest Night. Stones on the peaks of nearby mountains absorb the earliest light of dawn and the last rays of dusk for the entire year infusing themselves with light. The Stonewise spend the morning surveying the local mountains and determining which one will receive the most sun that day (spending the first action cycle on a Stonewise Preparation Action.) They then travel up to the peak to retrieve the stones to ward away the cold of winter. Though the stones themselves don’t feel warm to the touch, their presence calls to mind the warmth of springs and summers past, granting protection against the biting cold of the longest night.
Components: Stones provided by staff in mod space
Success: Stones grant the Stonewise immunity to Cold calls and mechanics while held for the rest of the event. The Stonewise may give their stone to one person, granting that person the benefits. Once handed off in this way, the stone may not change possession again. Giving away their stone grants the Stonewise a Folk Achievement.
Nobody in the world understands darkness like Miners. Even at night, the stars and moon shine. In the mines though? True darkness reigns. Torches are often times too dangerous to use with any regularity, and Lanterns are expensive and prone to failure. Every miner needs to be prepared to find themself in darkness. It was Ingrid Stone-Speaker that first suggested the adoption of eyepatches into the Miners toolkit, so that one eye could preserve its nightvision when near light. Ingrid made eyepatches for everyone on her mining team, decorating them in ways befitting each person, and handed them out. The practice steadily spread throughout Njordr, and now eyepatches are a common piece of equipment for any miner, often decorated with runes of protection or good fortune.
Components: Eyepatches and paint
Reward: The recipient of an eye patch from someone Stonewise becomes Alert while they are wearing it this event.
Failure consequence: Something in the dark hunts all Stonewise until placated with a sacrifice.
Early Spring - The Awakening
Spring is the time of awakening for the natural world, and especially for plants. The trees have been asleep all winter, and now is the time for them to wake and begin growing their new bark and a sprouting their leaves. Though the actual celebration is older than anyone can remember, it was a retired Skald by the name of Yrsa the Mirthful that popularized the march itself, opening it up to the public and turning it into the spectacle it is. The Woodswise awake early on Saturday and drape themselves in colorful garments, often with bells and other such noise makers attached. They then gather near the edge of the woods at 8am. Once all are in attendance, they then march out along a path marked by the newest fallen branches. As they march, they make sure to make as much noise as possible, banging metal together, playing music or singing, or even just shouting to the trees to wake.
Components: Trail marked by staff with tags.
Success: All participants become Inspired.
Failure: Forestry risk rolls increase for the chapter.
Late Spring - Insect Prevention
The Northern Burrowing Beetle is an aggressive beetle known for digging thick, finger sized holes in trees to make their nests. Once a Queen burrows far enough in, the tree is then eaten from the inside out by her brood, killing the tree and ruining the wood. The Woodswise of Njordr know that the Queens come out of hibernation underground in late spring and begin looking for suitable nesting spots, and plan their seasons around finding and killing them as they appear. Luckily for them, the queens are quite large and easy to spot for someone trained in the ways of the Woods
Components: Collect tagged bug items and return them to logistics
Failure : Forestry -1 bounty
Early Summer - Slash and Burn
In much the same way that winters in the north are long and cold, summers can see a surprising amount of dry heat. Brush fires can be alarmingly common if not properly prevented. The Woodswise, as keepers of the forest, use this time before the true heat of summer fully arrives to clear the various fallen branches and brush from the trails to prevent such a tragedy from occurring. As an added benefit, the Woodswise usually dole out this collected brush amongst themselves, providing a stable and properly dried kindling for fires to be used later in the year.
Components: Clear brush and trail debris items from the trails (before the end of the event).
Success: Forestry +1 bounty and all participants count as having one more Comfort tag toward being Comfortable next event
Failure: Increased risk on Forestry tiles this chapter and -1 bounty
Late Summer - Gift of The Grand Tree
Every Woodswise knows of the Grand Tree. It is the patriarch and guardian of the forest, the tree through which all things pass. It is the greatest ally of the Woodswise, and they are careful to treat it with the respect it deserves. Each year, they travel to the Grand Tree and introduce themselves to it, either as new faces or old friends. Then they sit with it. They tell stories of the past year. They eat lunch, and they thank the tree for all its work protecting the forest and its denizens. Finally, when all their thanks are said, the Woodswise bow to the tree and cut their palms, wiping the blood on its bark. If done correctly, and if the forest is healthy and hale, the Grand Tree will grant a bounty to its allies.
Components: A meal to be eaten
Reward: Each Woodwise participant may harvest from the Grand Tree by taking an Injury to one arm.
Early Autumn - Binding Moss
The forest can be a difficult place to travel through even in the best of times. From wild animals, to falling branches, to surprise pitfalls, to maze-like trails, and even the occasional wandering Malefic or undead, it’s honestly a wonder that more people don’t die in the woods.
The Woodswise are the ones to thank for this. Every year in early autumn, the Woodswise trek into the woods and paint the sides of the trees with runes meant to prevent the more malicious spirits from haunting the trails. Curiously, the runes only seem to function when grown in moss.
The Woodswise search through the woods early Saturday morning and collect tagged moss items, turning them in to logistics. At noon, the moss will be returned to the players along with instructions and necessary ingredients for creating moss paint. The Woodswise create this paint and proceed to paint the rune for safe travels (RAIDHO) on the non trail facing side of trees within the forest.
Components: Collect tagged moss items, see logistics for paint
Reward: Forestry +1 bounty
Failure : A forest spirit hunts Woodswise individuals until placated with a sacrifice.
Late Autumn - Ysngrath the Forest Killer
Late Autumn is a time of descent for the woodland. The orange leaves falling from the trees, though beautiful, indicate the waning strength of the forest. It’s well known that the plants will begin to die this time of year, but it is less known exactly why.
The Woodswise know. The falling leaves, the cold breeze in the air. These are messengers. Heralds of the coming of their greatest nemesis, his name spoken only in hushed whispers lest he be called by it.
Ysngrath the Forest Killer.
Little is known about this terrible spirit. The legends say he comes from the north, and that he is the reason for the vast tree-less tundra. Some say that he takes joy in the destruction of the forests of Njordr. Some say he does it out of a duty to Sveas, his lord and mistress. Others say he has no reason, that he is simply carrying out his purpose. Whatever his motivations, all the legends agree that when he is unopposed the forests die.
Bragi Silver-Tongue was the first to successfully halt Ysngrath. Bragi understood the forests and its plants better than most, and he was the first to recognize that each forest contained within it a special tree that acted as its patriarch. He called it Stóra Tréð. The Grand Tree. He learned of the Forest Killer, and learned from the forest the ways to see him. He created ritual to strengthen the Grand Tree against the Forest Killer, and spread it throughout Njordr to all those wise in the ways of the woods, and it has been performed ubiquitously since then.
The Woodswise spend the morning preparing themselves for the confrontation (by submitting an action during the first saturday cycle.) They then gather at the seventh hour past noon and begin their preparations by painting their brow with runes of knowledge (KENAZ) over their eyes and a rune of summer (FEHU) on their forehead. They should then pick one of them to be the Chanter, this person will be responsible for continuing the chant to complete the ritual. An animal should be brought along to serve as a sacrifice for the end of the ritual. The Woodswise then trek out to the Grand Tree and begin their ritual, intoning the name of Ysngrath loudly four times, and the chanter cuts their palm and places it against the Grand Tree, taking an Injury. All but the Chanter should prepare to meet the Forest Killer. They must do anything within their means to slow Ysngrath, to keep him from touching the tree before the two minute chant is done.
The specifics of the chant are up to the Chanter. It need only last two minutes and should invoke imagery of summer, warmth, and life.
Success: Participants gain +1 grit for the event. All Woodswise participants receive a Folk Achievement.
Failure: -1 Bounty, all participants take a personal failure
Early Winter - The Longest Night
It was Hilda Astridsdottir, a unique woman wise in both the ways of the Woods and the Hearth, who first cut and prepared a Jul Log. Her village had a particularly harsh year of little sun and harsh cold even into the summer, and she knew that they’d need something more. The Jul Fire wouldn’t be enough. It burned bright, yes, and it would help keep the Night from encroaching, but they needed something that would keep them warm as well. It’s not well known how she first learned of the ritual of the Jul Log. Some say she parlayed for the information with spirits of the forest, some say it came to her in a dream, but either way the stories end the same. That year, she placed a prepared and decorated log onto the fire, and everyone in attendance felt in their very souls that the darkness had receded.
To prepare the Jul Log, Woodswise folk select six best logs from that years batch (which will require a special action submitted any time before sundown on Saturday.) The Woodswise are very particular about their firewood, and some logs are selected weeks or even months in advance if they’re particularly pleasing. Each log is marked with a different Rune selected by the Woodswise themselves and always bearing positive connotations, as the Rune selected is said to influence the events of the coming year. Each log is then assigned a number, one through six, and a die is rolled to determine which one will be chosen. The dice must pass through the hands of every Woodswise in attendance, and rolled on a surface of either wood or stone. Whichever log is selected becomes the Jul Log, and is then decorated with decorations before being rubbed with a dried Herb with the Hallucinogenic Quality.
Components: Burnable wood log, fire-safe decorations
Success: Everyone who sits nearby while the log is burned removes one despair and is immune to despair until sunrise. All Woodswise who assisted in the ritual receive a Folk Achievement.
Failure: The world grows colder. Cold mechanics last through Spring
Late Winter - The Howling Fire
The Jul Fire and by extension the Jul Log are ceremonies meant to ward against the dark and cold. They provide warmth and they provide protection, but they are solemn affairs. The Howling Fire is much less so, instead created as a means of stoking the passions and hearts of Njordr’s people. Carried out each year on the Night of Rings and Oaths, the Howling Fire has become a traditional place of gathering for the people of Njordr. Anyone may come and sit by the Flame, and it is said that bad luck plagues anyone who attempts to stop someone from attending. So strong is the tradition of gathering around the Howling Fire that occasionally the spirits of souls lost in the woods may attend.
The Woodswise begin before sunset, building a ring of stone around where the fire will be burned. The fire itself is started as the sun begins to set, typically by the oldest of the Woodswise in attendance. Once the fire has been built to a roar, the Woodswise all speak in unison the Oath of Flame, cutting their hands and dripping the blood into the flame, though the participants feel no pain and do not suffer an Injury for this.
Our Blood to the Flame!
Our Spirit to the Skies!
With Fire we Howl!
Til the Sun does Rise!
The Woodswise then yell or howl into the sky, joined by any other in attendance who wish. A Woodswise person is selected as the Watcher of Fire then, and they must stay with the fire until it has completely burned out. The Watcher is imbued with the strength and spirit of all those gathered around the fire, and it is said that their voice carries even into the afterlife.
The Howling Fire must burn for at least an hour, but otherwise may last as long as the Watcher of Fire chooses.
Components: Burnable firewood
Success: Anyone near the fire for at least five minutes may become Inspired once per event. The Watcher of the Fire may not be harmed so long as they are fulfilling their duty may Exert to lead those gathered in a Howl, calling Sacred Fear on the Malefic Howled at.
Failure : Unrest grows in Runeheim
Early Spring - The Feast of Beasts
There are tales from our great great grandparents time of barren forests consumed by hordes of deer, and of lush jungle like woods filled with ravenous wolves. These were one thought inevitable, a part of living in the gods-forsaken north. Blódhildr Beast-Speaker knew different. A woman with wisdom beyond her years, even as a girl, she knew that the forest required balance in order to flourish. She walked its game trails for years, observing the populations as they rose and fell and speaking with the beasts themselves. Too many deer or elk, and the forest died. Too many wolves or bears and the forest became dangerous. Blódhildr learned to balance the population by hand. She brought this knowledge back to her village, and the Feast of Beasts was born.
The Feast of Beasts is the time of year for the Beastwise to give back to the creatures of the land which feed and clothes them throughout the year. In perhaps the most important ritual for the hunters, the beastwise are tasked with feeding the awakening and returning animals, bolstering population and ensuring a strong generation
Each Beastwise person gains access to a special Action during the Friday night cycle called “Beastwise Census.” Performing this action will let the individual know the proper ratio of Vegetables and Meat to put out to ensure a balanced population. From there, the Beastwise should coordinate throughout the day to find proper sites for feeding the animals, between four and eight sites marked by Staff, keeping in mind that no site should contain both Vegetables and Meat, as plant-eaters and meat-eaters will not eat next to each other.
Components: Meat/ Vegetable props
Failure: The forest comes out of balance, and Hunting -1 bounty
Late Spring - Hunter’s Ring
As the spring draws to a close and the young born that season become more wary, hunters must become ever more wily in order to make their kills. Hunters know that they can bless the season’s hunt by building a sacred hunting ring in the woods together and baiting it with sacred herbs and things of the forest.
Retreating to the heart of the forest (at late afternoon, around 5pm), the hunters work with their fellows to create a simple hunter’s blind. After it has been created, they adorn it with herbs and wild onions (props, no tags required) to attract animals and disguise it as a part of the natural landscape of the forest. The more herbs and wild vegetables that are left, the more effective it is said to be to bless the hunt. Once the blind is constructed, the Hunters sit together and each tell a story of one of their most memorable hunts.
Success: Each Beastwise participant may use the blind as a stealth location even if they do not possess the skill for as long as the blind is maintained.
Early Summer - Green Thing
Competition is a regular part of life in Njordr, whether it’s an arm wrestling match or a drinking contest. The huntsmen of Njordr rarely have the luxury of such competitions, busy with their work as they usually are, so they decided to set aside a day just for such things.
The Green Thing is the unofficial name for this day of competition. Hunters save all their best boasts and brags for this day with self aggrandizing soliloquies written and practiced days in advance. The exact nature of the competitions vary from place to place, but most include some form of hunting story and trap making, capped with a final Archery competition to name the Green Jarl. Though the entire celebration is open to all, the Archery competition is reserved only for the more respected and Beastwise hunters. Nobody wants some greenhorn to be named the Jarl, after all. Once they’ve crowned the Green Jarl, they then proceed to name the winners of all previous competitions, and usually let the rest of the Green Thing in on their archery secrets, if they’re feeling generous. This event usually occurs at 6pm on Saturday.
Success: +1 bounty and those that participate gain inspired and a Bond of being impressed with the winner of the Archery competition
Late Summer - Skógerblóði the Horned
Summer in Njordr is a time of resplendent life. The trees are green and verdant, the Forest sings with birdsong and the call of elk. The land itself is warm and nurturing, and it is upon this wealth of life that Skógerblóði the Horned feasts.
Skógerblóði the Horned is a spirit of the forest and its animals, a vicious representation of the wrath of the woods given form and sentience so that it can seek vengeance upon the people who’ve slain and taken its animals all year.
The Beastwise of Njordr prepare for the hunt by scouting for the tracks of Skógerblóði in the woods, searching for animal tracks that seem large and misshapen. As many Beastwise as possible are asked to help with the hunt as Skógerblóði is a difficult thing to track and even more difficult to kill. After they’ve found the trail, the hunters wait until just before sunset. They gather the blood of a freshly slain animal in a bowl and stir it clockwise seven times with an implement made from iron, then with it they anoint their brows with the rune for Humanity (Maðr). Once anointed, the Beastwise steel their mind against the horror of the forest, and begin their trek.
Components: Submit a Special Action available only to Beastwise during the first Action Cycle called “Beast Hunt.” Anybody who wishes to attend the hunt must submit a Beast Hunt action. Players should then meet shortly before sundown on Saturday near the bridge, where the Trial will begin.
Success: Each Beastwise participant may harvest Rare materials from the slain Beast. All Beastwise who assisted in the hunt receive a Folk Achievement.
Failure: Skógerblóði escapes into the wilderness and hunts all Beastwise individuals until slain or placated with a sacrifice- killing anybody in its way.
Early Autumn - Bone Chimes
In Njordr, to waste is almost tantamount to sin itself. It is a land of scarcity, and so all parts of an animal should be used. When a beast is slain its hide is turned to clothing and armor, its meat is made into food, its fat is used for candles and lantern fuel, its organs are made into casing for sausage or food for hounds, and its ligaments are made into bowstrings and lashings. The bones of the beast, however, are only rarely used for anything. Some Clans have been known to incorporate them into jewelry but bone is overall not a good option when worked into anything else. Some even consider bones to bring misfortune, due to their natural synonymity to death and therefore Sveas herself.
In an effort to eliminate waste the Beastwise have learned how to craft bone into chimes that not only arent conduits for misfortune, but are actually capable of bringing good luck and prosperity to the places they hang. Though outsiders often regard them with distrust and no small amount of horror, these chimes represent the cleverness and tenacity of the Njord people, and many are proud to have them hanging outside their domiciles or places of work. Some even bring them along when raiding, hanging them from the masts of their ships or from the frames of their tents.
Each Beastwise makes their chimes according to their own intuition, and so there is no set way to make them. Some prefer to work the bones into pleasing shapes before assembling the chimes, while some leave the bones in their natural form and hang them in accordance with the animal they came from. It is generally held that the Beastwise themselves are drawing on their wisdom and connection with the creatures of the land when they make the chimes, and that they are valid so long as they make noise when the wind blows.
The creation of new chimes usually starts in the morning, although it generally doesn’t matter when they are started so long as all the chimes are hung by sundown.
Props: Bones (real or not) and lengths of string or rope to make chimes.
Success: Any chime hung from a cabin grants those sleeping within +1 comfort for the following year.
Failure: Hunting -1 bounty as spirits of misfortune scare away beasts
Late Autumn - Spawning Season
Fishing is a staple practice for the people of Njordr, close to the rivers and sea as they are. Late Autumn in particular sees the return of schools of salmon to the river in which they spawned. It’s a busy time for those who concern themselves with the production of Meat for the populace, seeing the production of much of the smoked and dried fish for the rest of the year.
For the Beastwise of Njordr, Spawning Season is both a time of Harvest and a time of risk, as they understand that they aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the abundance of fish. Bears are a common nuisance in Njordr. While they tend to stay near human settlements to take advantage of food waste or poorly guarded livestock, they’re fairly easy to drive off with loud noise or a display of force. During Spawning Season however, the bears grow aggressive and ornery as they gorge themselves for hibernation. The Beastwise take it upon themselves to scare bears off from the local rivers and lakes whenever they see them, following the tradition set forth by Loði the Long-Paw. Loði knew that fighting a bear in open combat was foolish and risky. Instead, he taught his hunters to intimidate them, making themselves large, making loud noises, and fire at them with ranged weapons if needed.
Bears will wander the game space periodically. Beastwise individuals can either sneak up on the bear (using skills or otherwise) and make a loud noise, or hit the bear with a ranged weapon attack to call Beast Fear on it. Salmon nodes will be placed along the water, which may be harvested by Beastwise folks. The Beastwise is considered a success if all Salmon nodes are harvested from.
Success: Hunting +1 bounty
Failure: -1 bounty and increased risk for this chapter.
Early Winter - The Longest Night
It was Idunn Hog-Nose who first prepared a meal for the Folkwise during Jul, realizing that it would be dishonorable for the hunters of Njordr to sit idly while the Hearthwise and Woodswise prevented the Night from growing each year. Ever the clever and resourceful woman, Idunn scavenged the forests for all manner of flavors and scents while the rest of the hunters tracked and slew a massive boar. That night, as the Hearthwise sat over their fire, Idunn prepared the boar, seasoned with the most delicious and rare flavor of the forest, which she and her huntsmen named “Wood Spice.”
This tradition has lasted into the modern day, with the wisest hunters scavenging the forest on the day of Jul, when Wood Spice is at its most flavorful, for the Jul Feast. Once the spice is gathered, the Woodswise then spend the evening roasting it and grinding it to a powder to bring out it’s flavor and aroma (spending an action cycle to prepare it once they’ve all been gathered.)
Components: 5 woodland seasoning items are retrieved and turned in as part of a special action called Woodland Spice Preparation. This spice does not need to be turned in by the same person, so long as at least 5 are turned in by the feast.
Success: A Feast may be prepared for any who are Folkwise, costing one meat per person. The participants of this meal must sit near the fire for at least an hour. If all Folkwise people at the event are fed, all Beastwise who assisted in the preparation of the spice additionally receive a Folk Achievement.
Failure: The people of Runeheim go hungry and are forced to fend for themselves. Raiders appear on the warfare map.
Late Winter - Mari Lwyd
In some regions, during the cold nights of the early winter, a mysterious spirit can be seen which resembles a hooded beast, usually a horse. This spirit, called Mari Lwyd, is generally not considered to be dangerous, and if encountered, goes house to house. When it is encountered, it will sing outside of the door and attempt to entry through the medium of song or rhyme. The household is expected to deny the creature entry, but also through the medium of song, and the two sides would continue their responses to one another in this manner. If the household eventually relents or is stumped and can’t respond to the rhymes or song, the spirit will enter the household and drink all of their alcohol. If the spirit relents, those who bested it gain its blessing. Some report that if the spirit isn’t engaged at all, it will drink all the alcohol in the local tavern!
Components: Mad rhyming skills
Success: Those who best the Mari Lwyd are immune to Fear for the Event.
Failure: Those who attack the spirit are cursed with Fear for the evening.
The greatest merit to a farmer is the warmth of spring. Warmth calls forth wheat from the stalk, softens the ground beneath the plough, feeds the herd in its field. With the coming of Spring, farmers need to give to the land so that they can start their seasons on time. The Hearthwise work to protect themselves against the returning influence of Winter.
For the duration of the game, all Hearthwise gain access to a special Action each Action Cycle called Frost Removal. Come sunset, the Hearthwise gather together in the forest to bring forth growth and bounty from the land. Sacrifices are made in their name and buried in the forest. Vegetables are worth little to them, but the harm their loss causes to humans seems to placate them some. Spilling the lifeblood of an animal into the soil drives them back to much greater effect, and the blood of an animal that is in some way special or greater than its peers even more so, though the qualifications for such an animal seem unknowable. There are tales from generations long past of lean times and little to sacrifice. Such tales purport that the lifeblood of a human banishes the Winter to astonishing effect, though such practices are abhorrent and not performed in modern times. Sacrifices can be made in any amount and combination.
Success: Each Hearthwise who submitted an action receives a Folkwise Achievement. Farming continues as normal
Failure: Variable based on level of Sacrifice
Late Spring - Ice Doll
The last vestige of winter clings to the trees, the rocks and the earth. It is a sharpness against our skin and in the air we breath, threatening a weak yield. The reviled ice witch, Volva Groa, is both strengthened by it and gives it strength. Over the course of the day, the Hearthwise of Njordr gather up old straw, grass, branches, and other forms of plant matter. This bundle is then brought to a tavern or some sort of public place an hour before sundown, and a doll is assembled in the likeness of the ice witch. During the assembly of the doll, the Hearthwise should invite any who enters the space to sit with them. It is customary for those assembled to regale the Hearthwise with tales from the past year, and for the Hearthwise in turn to offer either advice or their own tales in return. Once the doll has been completed, the Hearthwise sit it in the company of their community within the tavern. They bid Winter farewell, and call to the no-longer-so-distant Spring to bring fair weather and a bountiful new year. The doll is left in the tavern until roughly two hours before midnight, just before the final night of Winter is at its coldest. The doll must then be thrown into a fire, a symbolic gesture of banishing the the stagnation of winter and encouraging growth.
In the evening those who cast the doll in the fire declare their wishes for the new year and their plans and commitments before handing the doll over to the next person. The last, nearest to the fire, does the same, then casts the doll in.
Components: Natural components found nearby, bound together
Success: All characters who participate in the burning and declare their wishes for the new year gain a Bond of their choice relating to their wish.
Failure: -1 Bounty
Early Summer - Tending our Herds
Preparations are being made for driving the herds to higher pastures. These tend to include plotting the route and enlisting extra hands for pastures.
Njordr is a harsh land with very little arable land conveniently available. Farmers, particularly ranchers, have thus come up with a solution for grazing their herds, driving them to higher pasture. The practice was first introduced by Hrognir the Blind, a rancher of great repute and respect who tended the largest herd of his time. When his contemporaries ridiculed him for such a foolhardy idea, dragging their livelihood through the wilds of Njordr and away from the safety of their towns. Hrognir, ever the stubborn old man, drove his cattle up to the highlands on his own, bringing just a single farmland with him to shout directions. That Autumn, when his herd was the best fed and his land the most productive, the rest of Njordr had no choice but to acknowledge his technique as superior.
Hrognir’s Walk is a training exercise performed once a year, in preparation for the driving of herds to higher pasture. One Hearthwise is selected to be Hrognir, and is blindfolded and led to a maze. The rest of the Hearthwise must guide them through a maze.
Success: +1 Bounty
Failure : -1 Bounty
Forseeing the cold of winter looming on the horizon farmers take time to prepare mead to tide over the tavern. No tavern keeper wishes to see the rowdiness of Njord warriors when the mead barrels have gone dry. Farmers wander the forest looking to gather from bee hives for the much needed honey for fermentation.
Components: Bee honey items must be foraged
Success: Everyone has +1 comfort tag toward Comfortable for the next event.
Failure: Everyone is miserable at the start of the next game until they consume a tagged alcoholic beverage.
Every farmer knows that Autumn is the busiest part of year. Harvest Season. It’s hard work, but it’s the product of an entire years worth of growth and work, and the food produced during this time will feed the people for the rest of the year. For the Hearthwise, however, it is a tense and dangerous time. Vecatra, normally a quiet and neutral Old God, does not look kindly on so much of Her bounty being reaped at once.
The Hearthwise know that Vecratra sees all. She is the very World upon which they walk, and understand that trying to distract her or draw her attention elsewhere is futile. Instead, they choose to trick her. Before they do any gathering, they mark their hands with a rune of Deception (merkstave Ansuz) and bemoan the lack of food as they go about gathering. They don’t acknowledge any food they eat or any plant they harvest. At dusk, just before nightfall, they gather in a circle, and they speak at length about their poor harvests and about their empty bellies. Then, they sacrifice 5 vegetables, burying them underground. They insist that these are the last of their food stores, and that they will surely die if they don’t have a better harvest soon.
Success: Farming +1 bounty
Failure : Malicious spirits torment the minds of Hearthwise individuals until they are placated by a sacrifice.
As far as anyone is concerned, the Wheat Lords Festival goes back for as long as there’s been farming in Njordr. The oldest recorded Wheat Lord’s name was Vilma Long-Scythe, the names Wheat Lords before her having been lost to time. Long-Scythe, according to the legends, was the most prolific and productive farmer of her time, capable of feeding entire villages on her own, and so the tradition in modern times holds to her example.
The Wheat Lords Festival serves a dual purpose, both as a celebration and as a day of work. Starting at noon, the Festival lasts until sunset, with the expectation that people will come in and out of the celebrations. The town is decorated in the colors of Autumn, reds oranges and yellows. Games are arranged for children and adults alike, occasionally even featuring prizes. The Festival is also a time where people are recognized for their contribution throughout the year, particularly the farmers and the Wheat Lord, who is crowned at the beginning of the festival. The Hearthwise prepare a feast, a banquet of sweet breads and fresh fruit and vegetables, and offer any who choose to partake, sharing the bounty of the Harvest with the people.
The Wheat Lords Festival is also a wonderful time for the Hearthwise to pull others into their profession, and it is considered incredibly rude to decline such an invitation.
Success: Peasants who participate in the Wheat Lord’s Feast count as feasting during this meal at the cost of 2 vegetables per person attending.
Failure: Farming -1 bounty
Early Winter - Jul
On the longest night of the year, the wicked force of the Night Malefic finds its purchase on the year to come. Wise people have long known that this evil can be blunted by burning and tending to a specially prepared log fire. The logs must be selected and handled only by someone with clean hands who is considered Hearthwise and brought to a central fire pit and lit before dusk. The exception is Woodswise, who may place the Yule Log. The fire must be tended to all night until dawn (Requiring a special Fire Tending Action during the final action cycle), and not allowed to go out, with no one touching the logs except the Hearthwise.
Peasants usually make this a community event, drinking warm ciders or mulled wines by the fire, telling stories and sometimes taking turns tending it. It is said that if the fire is allowed to go out or if it is somehow tainted by outside forces like Magic or Malefic, the Night will grow stronger for the following year, and indeed, that if this ritual were ever forgotten entirely, the whole world would eventually descend into darkness as it grew more sinister with each passing Winter
Components: Burnable log
Note: Staff will take over tending the fire at 2 am so players may sleep for driving safety
Success: All Hearthwise who sat at the fire for at least an hour (Outside of the Beastwise Feasting hour) recieve a Folk Achievement.
Failure: The Night strengthens.
The Day of Rings and Oaths is a sacred time for the Njord people, a day when oaths are forged and honor is tested.While the Jarls and their theigns engage with rings of metal or stone to be worn around the arm and the youths of Njordr hand out bands of flowers, the Hearthwise create their own rings of pine and fir. Theirs is not an oath of loyalty or love. It is not even an oath made to another person. The Promise of the Evergreen instead represents the Hearthwise vow to tame nature without destroying it, to live on in the harsh land of Njordr, and to find the strength to feed and nurture the people around them. The Promise of the Evergreen brings the Hearthwise into harmony with the world around them, and fills them with the strength of Life itself.
The traditional Hearthwise celebration for the Day of Rings and Oaths is the creation of Wreaths, which represent the Promise of the Evergreen, followed by the hanging of the wreaths around town.
The Day of Rings and Oaths is an especially meaningful time of year for the honorbound Njord people. Vows or Oaths taken on this day carry immense, almost sacred, weight.
Wreaths represent new beginnings, they’re hung during the beginning of the year to represent the oath of the Hearthwise and of the people to each other that they will live to see the next year.
Success: Any Hearthwise residing in a building with a wreath on it may call Obey: Malific Be Gone on any malific creature within 10 feet of the wreath. Any Oath or Vow made while delivering a Ring or Bracelet under the watch of a Hearthwise allows both the giver and recipient to change or gain a bond with each other.