Midgard

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Midgard is a third party world created by Kobold Press. Created by Wolfgang Baur, it began as a homebrew setting which eventually grew into into its own thing, originally with a heavy influence of Germanic and Slavic fantasy tropes but growing over time to include the fantasy kitchen sink of Lovecraftian horror, Arabian Nights, and Vikings among other things. As of D&D 5th Edition it's become quite notable, with tie-in products such as Tome of Beasts considered on par with official Wizards of the Coast publications.

Setting Summary[edit]

A representation of Midgard's Material Plane.

The world is a flat disc surrounded by the dragon-god Veles biting its own tail to keep the oceans from spilling out. Magical energy known as ley lines flows through the world, and magicians aware of their existence can tap into local sources of power to enhance their spells. These ley lines proved instrumental in the founding of civilization: the Egyptian knockoffs found a bigass ley line along a river which they built their cities along, the elves used them as teleportation networks to create a world-spanning empire, and some human magocracies used them to summon and develop Lovecraftian superweapons for war...which naturally plunged their kingdoms into a nightmarish hellscape. Great going, guys.

Midgard was originally a savage place, but some buff Nordic dudes found the way to becomes gods. That bastard Loki spilled the beans to his catgirl girlfriend Bast, allowing for other people to take the divine mantle themselves. Soon things got out of control, and the gods started killing each other to suck out each other's god-juice powers. Eventually the world-serpent slapped them around and set some ground rules. Ever since the gods wore masks, taking different forms in different cultures and obscuring their true number. As a result there's much speculation on which god is a mask of another, and where one begins and the other ends. Some are open secrets (the war god Perun is known as Thor in the Northlands) but some gods are sneaky and adopt entirely different portfolios.

Overall the world has many classic fantasy tropes, but with neat twists. The major city of Zobeck is a steampunk metropolis with warforged knockoffs, true dragons are the nobility caste of a mighty empire who are invading everyone, and the last bastion of elves is now run by the half-elf and human aristocrats who outbred them. For villains you have the mythical Baba Yaga whose own dentures are an animated object which are actually smarter than her, a living primordial Margreve Forest home to all the twisted fairy tales of Grimm and Aesop's fame, and the tiefling Master of Demon Mountain who's heavily implied to be a direct or distant father figure of PC tieflings. A major sourcebook was made for the Southlands, Midgard's Africa/Arabia analogue, and the upcoming Brilliant East is its Oriental Adventures.

Crossroads[edit]

The geographic heartland, where Midgard's Germanic/Slavic influence is strongest. Is home to the steampunk city of Zobeck, the fairy tale Margreve Forest, a nation of gun-slinging dorfs, and a kingdom of man-hating amazon paladins.

Dark Kingdoms[edit]

These were once Crossroads nations, but a bunch of vampires and undead took over and now oppress the peasantry. They have trade relations with the gnome nation of Neimheim, whose king sold his people to devils in order to stay Bab Yaga's wrath. The most Dark Fantasy of the regions.

Rothenian Plains[edit]

The Eurasian Steppes. Filled with gypsies, Mongolian archers, centaurs, and a pseudo-Russian kingdom ruled by a crazy Tsar.

Dragon Empire[edit]

The Ottoman Empire, if Arabs and Turks were reptilian races. Midgard's dragons realized that sleeping around in hoards was counterproductive to wealth generation, so they combined into a larger kingdom so they can tax the tiny races and add their wealth to their hoards. Now that they got a taste of government, they now want to rule the world! The scaly races are the norm here, and humans and their ilk are low-caste civilians.

Southlands[edit]

Midgard's Africa, most known for its pseudo-Egyptian Kingdom of Nuria Natal whose animal-headed gods chill in their favorite cities. A group of Arabian traders sail the deserts in sandships, and further south are more classic African nations such as a jungle magocracy and magical Zulu warriors.

Seven Cities[edit]

Instead of fighting for loftier ideals, the people of this peninsula realized that war's just an excuse for people to plunder the losers. As a result they organized society along the lines of orderly mercenary skirmishes who gain and lose territory every season for the glory of the war god Mavros.

Wasted West[edit]

The shattered remnants of human magocracies who thought it'd be a swell idea to summon the Great Old Ones into the Material Plane. Now said eldritch gods are frozen in time from ancient rituals, looming over alien horizons. The few bastions of civilization are meager outposts or tyrannical kingdoms making hard decisions to prolong society.

Grand Duchy of Dornig[edit]

The former seat of the elven empire of Thorn. It's now mostly ruled by half-elf and human families jockeying for meager parcels of forest with a confusing array of land and inheritance laws. The Queen fell into a deep slumber, and the shadow fey are making inroads with forest colonies.

Northlands[edit]

VIKINGS! MEAD! GIANTS! This realm is as hardcore as the people it's based upon, where status is defined by martial ability and longships set sail for distant realms to raid and loot. It's home to an advancing glacier slowly consuming the land, as well as a nation of several thousand god-giants who by all rights should have conquered the region (they're CR 20+ beings) but they've fallen from grace and are depressed about the fact that Midgard is literally made of the slain corpse of their god.

Shadow Realm[edit]

The extraplanar realm beneath Midgard. It is a land of perpetual twilight, a dark mirror to the world above. The Shadow Fey are its most famous denizens, but is also home to an outpost of bearfolk warriors resisting the darkness and a lost legion of ghoul soldiers from the Dark Kingdoms.

Races[edit]

In Soviet Russia, kobold conquers you!
  • Humans: You know the drill.
  • Dragonborn: The soldiers of the Mharoti Empire. They began as ascended kobolds favored by their dragon masters, but became a race all their own. They serve as higher-ranking soldiers and administrators in peace-time.
  • Dwarves: The dwarves hailed from the Northlands and had a thing for looting and pillaging, but some of their ancestors went elsewhere to pursue other vocations. The dwarves of the Ironcrag build big guns and airships, while the ones in the Southlands built the pyramids and clockwork constructs.
  • Elves: There's less than a thousand true elves in Midgard today, making them even more of a special snowflake if that's even possible. They ruled over a great empire that fell cuz of decadence, and the few remaining live in isolated forests. The drow are all but wiped out by ghouls, meaning that the Shadow Fey serve as the "evil elf" equivalent.
  • Gearforged: Warforged, but instead of being created wholly a living soul is transferred into a metal body.
  • Kobolds: the oppressed buttmonkey of the setting and company mascot, kobolds were enslaved by dwarves and forced into ghettos in human lands. The oppression and mistreatment serves as ample opportunity for the Mharoti Empire, who both promise liberation and a higher social standing if they help their invaders while also serving as a land of freedom and opportunity for them to one day visit.
  • Minotaurs: They are honorable seafaring warriors, much like Dragonlance minotaurs. Unlike Dragonlance, they retain their more monstrous ability to avoid getting lost, and as such all of their cities are confusing mazes to stymie enemy armies.
  • Ravenfolk: A race of thieves and troublemakers who the gods love to use as seers, and often inhabit the tallest buildings and roofs in cities as "rookeries."
  • Shadow Fey: Evil elves and the most numerous kind in Midgard. They live in the Shadow Realm between Midgard's two sides and worship the goddess of night and magic.
  • Minor Races: There are other playable races in Midgard, but are often relegated to certain regions or sourcebooks than being as widespread as the above. The most notable include the bearfolk, who are as awesome as they sound, and actual garden gnomes who lull you into a false sense of security with their silly red hats before sacrificing you to Lucifer in their forest homes.

System[edit]

Originally a 90's homebrew and in magazine articles during the 3rd Edition era, Midgard's been converted to quite a few systems.

As of 2019 there's support for 3rd through 5th Edition D&D, Pathfinder 1st Edition, 13th Age, Fantasy AGE, and Swords & Wizardry. Currently, most of the products being made now are for 5th Edition, with other systems receiving scant support beyond a single conversion book and maybe a Bestiary. Fortunately for Pathfinder fans, there's a huge backlog of material you can use due to the system's ties to 3.X.

External Links[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings
Basic D&D: Mystara (Blackmoor) - Pelinore
AD&D: Birthright - Council of Wyrms - Dark Sun - Dragonlance
Forgotten Realms (Al-Qadim - The Horde - Icewind Dale - Kara-Tur - Maztica)
Greyhawk - Jakandor - Mystara (Hollow World - Red Steel - Savage Coast)
Planescape - Ravenloft (Masque of the Red Death) - Spelljammer
3rd/3.5 Edition: Blackmoor - Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms
Ghostwalk - Greyhawk (Sundered Empire) - Ravenloft
4th Edition: Blackmoor - Dark Sun - Eberron - Forgotten Realms - Nentir Vale
5th Edition: Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms - Greyhawk
Nentir Vale - Ravenloft - Ravnica - Spelljammer
Third Party: Dragonmech (3E) - Dragonstar (3E) - Golarion (3E) - Kingdoms of Kalamar (2E/3E/4E)
Midgard (3E/4E/5E) - Midnight (3E/4E) - Ptolus (3E) - Scarred Lands (3E/5E)
Spellslinger (3E) - Wilderlands of High Fantasy (Basic/3E)