Series History and Records

for Echoes of Ragnarok

Collected below you can find the historical information pertinent to each of the Echoes of Ragnarök events. Links to the quest logs as well as other plot relevant information can be found in this area. It is our intention as event holders to make sure that all players are informed of the story and can interact with the world even if they have missed any events in the past. Everything you read below you can consider information made available to your character, and you can contact us with any questions

❧ The Gilded Lion Summer Festival, June 27, 1015:

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings people of the Realms,

We of Rhiassa would like to take the time to invite you all to travel to our lands for a day of food, fun, and fighting. With long days and warm weather upon us, and especially with an annual war behind us, the time is ripe for good friends and companions alike to come together to enjoy each others' company in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.

On this day of fun and revelry we invite you to partake in all of the things we will have to offer. There will be various individual and team tournaments, both combat and non-combat; the Gilded Lion Carnival will be up and running, in case you missed it this year at the Feast of Leviathan; we may even have some gambling and other entertainment available.

For your culinary pleasure, we have planned a delicious day of food, including a light lunch and an evening barbeque featuring several different side dishes and our own twist on elevated hamburgers. And of course, a fabulous dessert - you won't want to miss it, I guarantee!

I must note that members of the militia have lately reported seeing strangely intense thunderstorms in the area lately, and have noted that the lightning seems to strike the ground much more often than one would normally expect. But the almanac indicates the weather will be lovely, so it's certainly nothing for us worry about.

So please find your way to Southland, Rhiassa and join us for a day of fun questing, tasty food, light-hearted tournaments, non-combat entertainment, socialization, and good times for all.

In service to the Realms,
Lady Dame Areni Stromgate

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

This event was the official "teaser" introduction to our Echoes of Ragnarök event series. Ostensibly pitched to the Realms as a low-key social and tournament event, we nonchalantly informed our patrons that we would be pitching our new event series here, though the details of how we would do so and what the event series would be about would be left to those who were able to show up and play.

Our format for this event was ambitious. We wanted to create an segue to the plot that would appeal to a wide variety of play styles. Combat, puzzle solving, physical challenges, and role playing. The best solution we could think of was to create a very large variety of types of mini quests and allow players to choose which ones they would have the most fun interacting with. At all times we had eight simultaneous challenges running, all along side combat tournaments to entertain those who were not currently away on a quest.

Though this was, in the end, a questing event to draw players into the new world we were creating, the event also succeeded at being low-key and social as we intended. Players were able to relax, complete challenges together, eat great food, and enjoy the day. We were happy to be able to pitch our new series in such a setting and looked forward to the fall where we would be able to start telling the story in earnest.

Map of the Worlds of Norlund
Asgardian Starscript Runes

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok: Svartalvheim, November 21, 1015:

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greeting heroes of the Realms,

First, I must say again how deeply honored my people and I were to have met you and to how humbled we are by the promise of your aid. As we told you when we last last spoke on the fields at Rhiassa near the completed Vanfrost, we have worked these past months, consulting with the remaining gods, to determine how that aid could best be levied to help repair our shattered world and bring about the holy war of Ragnarök. We now believe that we understand some of the initial steps that we all must take.

When the war with The Black Death first began, and we did not truly understand the hopelessness and futility of fighting it, many warriors, both mortal and god alike, threw themselves into battle with the same fervor with which we would fight one another. As they were swallowed whole by the darkness they were unmade. No spirit to ascend to Valhalla despite their honorable death. We had our greatest losses in those early days, but not only because the mightiest of our warriors fell first.

I speak instead of the Heilvápin. The holy weapons forged for the gods and sometimes gifted to the most worthy of the vikings. We learned later on that these weapons, properly used, gave us the ability to fight back against The Black Death, but by then, most of them had been lost. The darkness is now gone, of course, but if we are to rejoin the holy battle of Ragnarök, the Aesir that remain must again wield Heilvápin when they go to war. This is our first task.

The forging of the Heilvápin has always been the task of the dwarves of Svartalvheim. I have little doubt that they would rally to the call of reforging the weapons of the gods, yet like all of the lands connected through Yggdrasil, we no longer have the ability to travel to reach their world. What is more, we do not know to what state The Black Death destroyed their underground cities and castles, or what has become of their ageless war with the black elves. Indeed, we do not even know if any from that ancient and honorable race still live at all.

So while our goal is clear, much about how we are to achieve it remains unknown. As the first week of Frermánuõr comes to a close, my Jomsvikings and I will meet you at the entrance to the Vanfrost in Rhiassa. There we will discuss our options and formulate our plan. It is almost certain that danger and battle await us, and that our victory in this will be hard-won, but for the heroes of the Realms that conquered The Black Death, what could be beyond your courage?

Honor and strength,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

Once more into the breach, my friends! After a year's hiatus from doing our yearly questing event, Rhiassa once again returned to throwing a dungeon crawl in Hicks Arena at UCONN. Many aspects of this event were built on the same format principles that we learned through the What Lurks Beneath plot line. One major change for this year was the construction of the dungeon itself. Folkestone, years before, had created a very serviceable dungeon in the arena by simply tying up ropes from the railings and hanging plastic from them. In disassembling our "dungeon L's", we found that the cloth on them was exactly the right size to use for the same purpose. We were very happy with how easy it was to set up and manipulate.

This event boasted some very new ideas. As we wanted the players to feel like they were in an underground dwarven realm, we came up with the idea of having to engage in mining consistently throughout the day. From there the idea of pushing around a mine cart on a track was born, and the mechanic for mining (using picks to break open paper bags), using ore to power spells and items, and smithing event-specific items were derived. Our goal was to have many different ways for the players to interact with the event beyond the combat, which would all be equally valuable to their overall success.

Svartalvheim was also the second half of the two-event-per-year format that we decided to attempt for this plot line. Using the Summer Festival and the yearly questing event both to push the story forward, with the summer event having more of a 'lighter' take on the series and the questing event being more serious and combat oriented. Through this manner we hope to welcome a number of different play styles and perspectives into the series.

Dwarven Forging Guide

❧ The Gilded Lion Summer Festival II, Echoes of Ragnarok: Himmelberget, June 25, 1016

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings, heroes of the Realms.

Once again I must begin with my earnest thanks and that of my people. Because of your intervention last autumn the dwarves of Svartalvheim have once again populated their kingdom and fired their forges. They have again begun the arduous but joyful process of creating the weapons of the Gods, as is their holy task. In a world where everything has become wrong, it is a small right that we can rally around, and through it find hope.

During your travels into the land of the Dwarves, many of you noticed the odd presence of fire jotun from Muspelheim. When I first heard your report I thought it odd, and it seems the fire giants' existence in the land of earth was a portent of much darker things to come.

When the Black Death struck us, travel between the worlds through Yggdrasil became impossible. The tree's magic had been disrupted, though no one truly understood how or why. Since that time, even with the eventual retreat of the darkness, the World Tree's many passages have been gone to us. Or so we thought. Perhaps the presence of those first jotun should have been a clue.

Somehow, some way, creatures from all the worlds have begun to worm through secret ways inside Yggdrasil, and they are gathering. Who is directing their movements and to what end is uncertain, but if it is they who rallied the Black Elves to their cause then I fear we have a great enemy whose goals may be very different than our own.

Heimdall, god of the watch, is sworn to the duty of protecting the passages through the World Tree and limiting their access to only those who have blessing of the Aesir. From his home on the mountain of Himmelberget, his task has been to guard these countless paths. Greatly wounded in the battle with the Black Death, however, the warden god is able to do very little to stop the progress of our mysterious enemy. It is on his behalf that you are being asked to intercede. Together we shall locate these hidden passageways and bring to bear what's left of Heimdall's power to create wards and defenses against these foul intrusions. It might at least buy us some time.

In mid Sólmánuõur please meet me and my Jomsvikings on the fields of Rhiassa where the Vanfrost was first constructed. The great and gracious Lady Dame Areni has invited us there to begin this latest quest and has promised as well to provide us with an afternoon and an evening meal.

Summon forth your courage, great heroes. We strive for the end of times together.

Honor and Strength,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

Oddly enough, this event began with a screenshot. Alex Cannamela, who would eventually transition into the role of the event holder of this episode of our plot, happened to post to Facebook a picture of a level she was attempting in Kingdom Rush, a prominent tower defense game and one that I had spent many hours playing. I happened to comment on it on a lark, "Idea: tower defense Realms quest" then "Start chalking it up, Alex."

From there we began several iterations of design that would allow the concept of a tower defense video game to make an authentic transition into a Realms event. There were a lot of issues of timing and complexity and balance to consider and, given that it was something completely new, we didn't have much of a baseline to scaffold any of those things around. There was, suffice it to say, a lot of guessing. But we managed to distill the rules down to their essential elements, and we put out something that still felt like our patrons were playing at a Realms event, but were also working within the confines of a tower defense scenario.

This event was, for us, an experiment in thinking outside of the box to create our content. Though it is very unlikely that we will do a tower defense event in the future (the idea partially works because of its novelty), we did come to realize that the Summer Festival is a great forum to throw plot for the Echoes of Ragnarök storyline, but to do so in a very new way. We resolved to use this yearly event to test other brand new event concepts in the future.

Node Building Guide

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok II: Muspelheim, December 3, 1016

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings, heroes of the Realms,

My people and I once again thank you for your service to Norlund. Your timely intervention stemmed the flow of the invaders across the paths of Yggdrasil, preventing whatever foul plans they might have harbored. In the process, you also managed to slay the general of these forces, a mighty viking warrior known as Olaf Skullsplitter. Concerningly, Olaf revealed with his last breath that he was serving another in his actions. We do not know who or what this power that Olaf served was. We believe, however, that the best course of action is to continue to follow the trail of those who have wandered through the paths of Yggdrasil to lands where they do not belong.

While in Svartelheim, the land of the dwarves, you reported encounters with the fire jotun of Muspelheim. Your defense of the paths of Yggdrasil at Himmelberget have stemmed the flow of these giants into Svartelheim, but it is still unknown why the fire giants entered Svartelheim in the first place, or if more will attempt to do so in the future. Furthermore, given their presence among the armies passing through Yggdrasil last summer, we don't know if they are attempting to invade anywhere else.

In addition, our mystics have been unable to sense the presence of Surtr, the leader and most powerful of the fire jotun. We know that he survived the attack of The Black Death unlike many other leaders of the worlds, but there is no sign of him now. His absence has surely had dire consequences upon the land of fire and it is unknown exactly what state Muspelheim is in at this point.

If Ragnarok is to proceed as foretold, Muspelheim must be restored to its rightful state and Surtr must take place in the battle. It is the fires of Muspelheim that will destroy the world of the old, making way for the world to come. Without the flames of Muspelheim, Norlund will remain as it is, a dying land denied death, and the world born from its ashes denied existence altogether.

As such, investigating what has happened in Muspelheim is crucial to restoring balance to all of Norlund. I ask that you meet with us in mid Ylir to discuss a how we should proceed into Muspelheim and to launch our excursion. Treading into Muspelheim is not to be done lightly; it is a dangerous land of flame and destruction and few can walk there with impunity. However, my people have highest confidence in the heroes of the Realms, our saviours thrice over.

Honor and Strength,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

Our Echoes of Ragnarok plotline was now in full effect with the fourth event in the series and we had been finding it to be a very entertaining story to tell. With a rich history of Nordic legend to pull from, it was fun to brainstorm ways of adapting those myths to suit our own style and mechanics. Throwing an event based around fire was something that we had done before in the What Lurks Beneath story, and we were excited to try it again with a new twist.

Something that had become clear to us from our last dungeon crawl is how, even just through regular combat encounters, you have the opportunity to engage many play styles and interests. One of the ways we tried to address that this year was through the pillars, a moving zone defined by lasers that required players to be mindful of where they could be in the dungeon and engaged them by making them constantly manage where it was located. Even more successful than the pillars, however, was the charm crafting system we implemented which required players to constantly be gathering components and doing rituals to put them together to get boons for their characters.

Again we returned to our familiar format of combat rooms alternating with puzzle/challenge rooms, and responding to feedback that the challenge rooms were by far preferred, we tried to include a greater number of those than in the past. Also, for the first time ever we served dinner during one of our dungeon crawls and although it was the simple fare of chili and macaroni and cheese, it seemed like it was much appreciated and we'll make sure to include it in upcoming events with similar formats.

Flame Enchantment Circle
Charm Crafting Recipies

❧ The Gilded Lion Summer Festival III: Echoes of Ragnarok: Jotunheim, June 17, 1017

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings, heroes of the Realms,

Again I must speak for all of the people of Norlund when I thank you for the selfless aid that you have given us in repairing our shattered world. Now that Surtr has been restored to his obsidian throne in Muspelheim, word has reached us that he has begun marshaling and rebuilding his armies that they can join the battle of Ragnarok as is foretold as our enemies. It is a great comfort to know we will someday meet them in glorious combat on the fields of the Vigrid.

Yet rest is something we can ill afford, as it is clear our mysterious enemies trying to prevent our aims are again making progress on their own plans. Our soothsayers have learned of strange activity taking place in Jotunheim. It is a land of giants, of course, and also beasts that enjoy that same physical stature. It seems that, in order to bolster their forces, our enemies are collecting together giant vicious beasts from both Jotunheim and the surrounding worlds and keeping them penned in various locations around that realm.

The best course for us would be to hamstring this effort of collecting beasts before it can be completed. I'm asking you to make a surgical assault upon Jotunheim, seek out the most dangerous and powerful of these beasts, and strike them down before they can be marshaled against us through whatever plans our enemies are concocting.

On the earliest part of Solmanudur please meet me where we first opened the Vanfrost in Rhiassa. Once again Lady Dame Areni has graciously offered to provide a staging ground for our assault and Squire Taliea will create for us a fantastic meal for after our duty is done. I will learn what I can before that time to better arm you with information for your quest.

Honor and Strength,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

The previous year at the Gilded Lion Summer Festival we thought about doing something really outside the box when we threw an event based on playing a tower defense video game. With that experiment, we felt that we had set a precedent. That our summer festival would always advance the Echoes of Ragnarok storyline, but also that it would be different and focus on fun new mechanics and be 'light' in tone compared to the fall dungeon crawl.

This year the inspiration for the event was the Monster Hunter series of games. We loved the idea of ripping pieces off the NPCs that the players killed and with them crafting weapons and armor and other accessories for battle. It was a devilishly simple idea to implement, it took little in the way of expensive props to do and created a task that was very engaging.

The greater challenge of this event was how to make the giants of Jotunheim actually giant. When we stumbled upon our answer we knew it would be the defining feature of the event, inflatable suits that would be worn not only by the NPCs to make them larger than life, but by the PCs as well as they clashed with them in gargantuan battles.

Jotun Arms Crafting Guide

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok III: Helheim, November 4, 1017

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greeting Heroes of the Realms,

There is so much you have already righted in our broken world that it pains me to keep relying on you all, but rely on you we must for our own strength is still so depleted from the time of the Black Death. Once more our soothsayers have found cause for action as we have pieced together a way to further our ultimate goal of Ragnarok.

The domain of Hel is certainly not an attractive one. It is the destination of the dishonored dead, man and monster alike, and it is a place that we dread beyond all else. Yet, even these damned souls have a role to play in the Final Battle. We have found out that Hel herself is under siege from none other than her own legion of generals. These traitors have marshaled together many of the dishonored souls into an army to topple her from her domain. For her own part, Hel has assembled an army of her minions but despite their relative might compared to these traitorous dead men and monsters, everything we hear is that they are losing ground.

We aren't certain in which way you might best aid Hel to wrestle back control of her lands, but certainly it's more than simple martial strength on the battlefields. If there is some unknown strength that the enemy generals have access to then your efforts might best be directed towards seeking it out and stopping it. As usual, I will meet you at the Vanfrost in Rhiassa and from there direct you on your journey.

One word of warning to you, and hopefully this is a needless worry. Helheim is such a place that those who travel there might never come back. Though the goddess of the damned may need your help, I do not expect she will willingly release any who voluntarily tread into her domain. There are legends of great heroes of the past who have escaped her clutches, however, and from what I have seen of your past feats I feel your might and wisdom will see you safely home again as well.

Honor and Strength
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

Now three years into telling our Ragnarok story, it was time to start introducing some of the concepts that would take us to the climax of the plot. When all of us look back at the final encounter at this event I think we’re very satisfied at the reveal of what is sure to be on every player’s mind until they return to Norlund to learn more.

There were a couple of departures from how we normally put together our dungeon crawls during this installment. To increase the difficulty of the terrain we added a liberal number of “hell pits” around the floor and created status effects for being blind, mute, and deaf. All of which were conferred from falling into one of the pits. That allowed us to increase the difficulty of slogging through the dungeon without also necessarily making combat too challenging or too deadly.

Again this year we tried to increase the number of rooms that involved puzzles and challenges as opposed to straight out combat. We’d also learned that resource management and crafting systems add lots of extra things to do at our dungeon crawls so we redoubled our efforts to create an engaging system of gathering honor or bones with which to build fetishes. We used 3D printing for the first time to create the props for the latter.

One thing we did not expect to see was the player versus player arguments and rifts that were beginning to develop within the questing party, even within nations, over how to ultimately resolve the face that the PCs were working towards making Ragnarok happen. We look forward to seeing how players react and how those rifts might change as more of the story is revealed.

Fetish Construction Guide

❧ The Gilded Lion Summer Festival IV: Echoes of Ragnarok: Midgard, June 23, 1018

❦ Event Announcement ❦

To the mighty warriors who triumphed over the Black Death,

Slowly, over the course of the last few years, it seems we have become aware of each other's existence. I would like to take this opportunity, therefore, to introduce myself formally and to be clear to you about my intentions and my place in the world.

My name is Thorafin, Jarl of the Western Peninsula of Midgard. It is my aim to prevent Ragnarok.

From what I understand, you're aware of the story of our worlds. You know that the invasion of the Black Death coincided with the onset of the sacred final battle. You know that the battle ceased as the ichor spilled over the land and the denizens of all the planes of Norlund turned their attention from the end of the world to fight this enemy that would erase our very existence. Of course we lost much to that invasion, and there is much rebuilding to do, but thanks to all of you we survived and something of our civilization remains intact.

Ragnarok, as you know, was meant to be the sacred ending and rebirth of our world. Some of my detractors claim that I am shunning the workings of fate by standing in opposition of it. Those words injure me. I am a faithful man and I lived my life believing in the plans of the gods. But the gods, themselves, fell to the Black Death. The Allfather is erased from existence. The Vigrid is a decimated wasteland. The prophecies refer to men and monsters and places that no longer exist. I am not shunning fate. Fate gave up on us long ago.

My goal is this. To take what's left of these broken lands and build an existence in which we can still thrive. Everything we once knew about our role in the world is now wrong, so we must forge our own way forward rather than dwell on a past that we can't change. The surviving men and women of Midgard and even those from the other worlds have made their way to my lands, urged on by the hope of piecing their lives back together, pledging their strength to my cause. The work that I do here is kind and it is just.

I know that I stand in opposition to many, including you. Rather than continue to clash with the great heroes who defeated the Black Death, instead I seek an accord with you all. This summer, in the midst of Solmanudur, my people and I have planned a festival to revel in what we have accomplished since we began our mission of rebuilding. I would like to invite you all to journey over the Vanfrost that you built and join with us not in battle but in celebration. Compete in games and break bread with my subjects and allow me the privilege of doing honor to the great heroes that saved the world. It is my sincere hope that we can seek a common understanding with each other.

In hope of a better world,
Jarl Thorafin

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

When we originally composed the Ragnarok storyline we created what we thought was an interesting subversion of a basic story concept, that in order to save a world from destruction the heroes would have to destroy it themselves. Yet, as a greater number of diverse players joined the plotline, we quickly found that not everyone was so thrilled with the idea of such wanton annihilation. Some players began to deeply question the motives of the characters they had met and the accuracy of the knowledge they were given.

We composed the Summer Festival, therefore, as a way for them to meet more of the people of Norlund and learn more, verifiable information about the state of the world and what was necessary for them to save it. We decided to let the players meet the enemy of the Jomsvikings, the person who was manipulating others behind the scenes to build his own kingdom and a position of power in the dying Midgard.

The event took the form of a festival where the players could engage in traditional viking games of different kinds with members of the Jarl’s camp. We created a diverse range of sports-like games, board games, and lawn games all based off current or ancient games from the Scandinavian region. As the players talked to the different vikings and learned their stories they were able to start piecing together the fact that the world really was doomed and that Ragnarok really would be a path to salvation. Interestingly enough, however, this made everyone even further resolved to find another option. One which would not destroy the world but save everyone nonetheless.

In the wake of this event our staff had a deep discussion about what was important in running a plot and telling an engaging story and we decided that it was our duty to create a narrative that our patrons really wanted to be a part of. We took some big steps back and started to do some rewriting that would give our player base this new option that they were searching for.

The Secret Message

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok Legends, July 13, 1018

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Heroes of the Realms,

I am forced to call upon your aid once more. This time, however, I fear that what we face is not only a threat to restoring Ragnarok, but a threat to the immediate fate of Norlund itself. I have just learned that Gunnar Bjornson, a former ally of mine, is plotting to raid Sigurd's tomb.

Sigurd was one of our great heroes of old, so much so that he's entered into legend. He is remembered for many valorous deeds and brave exploits. Chief among them is the slaying of the terrible dragon Fafnir. To say his legacy is of great importance to my people is a vast understatement. It angers me to see one of my former allies planning to defile the resting place of one of our most celebrated ancestors.

However, Gunnar's lack of respect for the dead is not my only concern here. Sigurd's tomb is not just a final resting place for the hero. A ring of great power and evil he took from the slain Fafnir is also entombed there, part of his burial riches. Sigurd himself, mighty as he was, fell to the dark magic of this ring by the end of his life. He would not release it, even in passing.

For generations, Sigurd's tomb has remained sealed; this had been sufficient to protect us from the evil that lies within. With Gunnar's forces closing in on Fafnir's ring, however, we fear it is only a matter of time before the tomb is opened and Fafnir's ring used by my once-friend for nefarious purposes. We are left with but one option: the tomb must be opened, and Fafnir's ring destroyed. I am saddened that this is the only recourse I can imagine, and pray that the gods and ancestors will forgive us for this unsavory task.

The tomb can only be opened one day of the year when the stars are aligned as on the day it was originally sealed. We ask that you join us the night before, in order to fully prepare for entering Sigurd's tomb.

Honor and Strength,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

The purpose of throwing this event was manifold. In one sense we wanted to throw a quick follow up to the Summer Festival. The players had decided on a new purpose and we wanted them to be able to act on it as quickly as they could so they could help realize the next phase of the plot. Beyond that, with so many newer members of the event staff having become squires, we wanted to give those individuals a chance to orchestrate an event to gain experience in all the aspects of plot holding. Especially monster building, as a giant dragon at the end of the night quest was one of the hallmarks of the weekend.

The event was a traditional quest in format. Players moved from location to location around the site solving puzzles and fighting enemies in order to reassemble the sword of Sigurd. The nightquest allowed them to make a choice about how they would like the plot to proceed. They could use the sword to empower Loki’s ring, granting them great power which would aid them in beginning Ragnarok, or they could use the ring to purify the sword, isolating the last remaining essence of Odin and giving them their fist clues on how they might be able to restore Norlund without destroying it. As we suspected they would, they players purified the sword, thereby formally beginning the retelling of this story on their terms.

The Rise and Fall of Sigurd

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok IV: Mane, December 8, 1018

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings Heroes of the Realms,

As I told you this past Summer, where you lead, I and my people are willing to follow. It is hard for me to believe that this doomed world can be saved, but the wisdom and the might that you have demonstrated to us these past years is more than enough for us to put our faith in. So as you chart the course ahead my Jomsvikings and I will be your servants and your allies.

In the aftermath of Sigurd's Tomb being opened and the remaining essence of the All Father being refined in his blade, you spoke to me of the desire to reach Asgard and learn for yourselves what the state of that place, and the gods, might be. Try as we might, however, we still cannot divine a way that makes travel through Yggdrissal possible so that you might reach the world of the Aesir through normal means. Fortunately we did find another method that might yield the same results, though certainly not immediate ones.

There was once another route that could be used to access Asgard, The Path of Sol and Mane. In days past this was the remnant of the trail that the Moon and Sun would use to trace their path across the sky, and since they, if only briefly, touched their chariots on the firmament of Midgard, that path might be able to be used once again for you to reach your destination.

When Raganarok begun, however, as was foretold, Sol and Mane both became afixed in the sky and have yet to move in these intervening years. Yet if they were to once again resume their travels through the heavens we believe the route they blaze would become traversable to all of you, and a way to Asgard could be revealed.

Our immediate goal, therefore, must be to reach first the Moon and once there determine what must be done to inspire its movement. I cannot begin to imagine what might be found there or even why it is the onset of Ragnarok caused Mane and Sol to stop in the first place, but I remain confident that these are puzzles you can solve. As for reaching the Moon in the first place, there at least I can offer some aid.

Legend tells that the High Elves of Alvheim once had longboats that could traverse the skies, held aloft by magics or methods that us mortals lack. We were able to arrange, however, a meeting between you and elders of the Elven clans that could be inspired to lend you their power. Making best use of that opportunity is in your hands.

I will meet you all at the footing of the Vanfrost late this autumn. As always, I pray for your success.

Strength and honor,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

How this event was originally imagined was a far cry from the event it ended up being, which indeed was a great blessing. Orginally when we sat down to design this event, we had in our heads the traditional type of dungeon crawl we always throw, room oafter room of fighting through grunt NPCs, an occasional puzzle challenge or boss encouter to make things more interesting. But something happened as we talked over ideas. The concept of "getting" to the moon became a larger concept than "being" on the moon. As soon as we thought of the idea of an airship, we knew that it had to be the focus of the event, and that we would do a boat event the way no one else ever has.

This was, by far, our most ambitious and outsde-the-box quest event to date. The great majority of it featured encouters that happened on the ship itself, combined with puzzles and challenges of different kinds that were all used to navigate and operate the vessel. We turned the party of adventurers into a crew, tasking them with differnt parts of the boats' operation, forcing them to work together in unprescendented ways to by successful. It was a thrill to plan and even more so to watch unfold before us. We will remember this event as a standout in a series of already successful quests.

Airships of Alvheim

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok V: Asgard, October 26, 1019

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings, heroes of the Realms,

I would like to impress upon you as best I can what our lives have been like since the Black Death attacked us. Even after the last ichor-coated enemy disappeared from Midgard, our struggles had only just begun. The very essence of life had been squeezed out of this world, not so much by the losing war that we fought against our common enemy but by the fact that Ragnarok, which was supposed to give us life anew, was halted in its place. Children have not been born since those days, of man or offspring of livestock. While crops still grow, each year the land becomes less potent, the plants more withered, the food less nourishing. All of these things are harbingers of a truth we found inescapable, that Norland would soon meet its irreversible end.

When my Jomsvikings and I first learned of your existence through the work of our soothsayers, hope blossomed for the first time in this fading land. We realized that although our lives would inevitably end in the process, your might and your magic could rekindle the fires of Ragnarok. Norlund would not cease to exist but be reborn from its own destruction as foretold in legends. We rejoiced. Our lives would not be meaningless, the battles we fought, not inconsequential. Our world would survive.

This news was not as universally lauded as I had hoped, however. It is in the throws of despair that evil takes root and certainly that was the case here. In Midgard and in the other realms of Norlund there were those who thrived in the chaos left by the war with the Black Death. They had no desire to allow Ragnarok to befall us, they chose their own meager existence over the continued life of the very worlds which they call home. We thought that there was no option except to war against those who would find purchase in these end times. Certainly you acted as our first blades in that war and delivered mighty blows to these nihilistic enemies.

But in the years you traveled to our lands, as you spoke to others, even our enemies, as you learned from what you saw and what you achieved, your own experiences and knowledge began to eclipse our own. While we believed the only resource for us was to find destruction through Ragnarok or slowly allow our worlds to fade away, you showed us that there was another way. You pledged yourselves to the cause of saving these lands without their destruction, that our lives might continue, that we might find purpose anew.

And then you showed us that these were, in fact, not just honeyed words. You did the unthinkable. Through the path of Mane you forged your own way to Asgard, the land of the gods. Soon you will set foot there and learn from the most powerful beings that have ever existed in Norlund what you must do to achieve your goals and make our lives worth living once again. What lies beyond those gates where our deities once lived is a mystery. We've had scant opportunities to commune with those gods that even still exist after so many were claimed in the war. But certainly if there are any answers for us all, thats where they lie.

In mid-Gormanuour you will again set foot in our lands. You will use the transportation we have built for you that you might travel to Mane and from there to the footstep of Asgard. I cannot imagine what more we can do to aid you except to wish you well and pray for your success. What you will learn and what you will do beyond those gates will set the fate of all of those that live in all of the realms of Norlund. It is a heavy duty that you undertake on our behalves but certainly there is no one so worthy as you to bear it.

That you can stand shoulder to shoulder with our gods and through doing so forge the fate of our world says everything.

Strength and honor,
Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

As we approached the twilight of the Ragnarok series there were several problems we felt that we had to solve in order to do it justice. First and foremost, we needed to inspire a sense of scale, that the actions the heroes were taking would have an immediate and profound effect on not just what was immediately in front of their eyes but on all the worlds of Norlund. Second, we needed to make sure each individual felt personally invested in the success of the quest-line. Third, we gave ourselves the personal goal of making the time between room set-up as interesting and engaging as possible.

We were very proud of how we addressed these issues to help make the best event possible. Most of us have enjoyed the game Heroscape for many years and we believed that we could make real a war across all the lower worlds if we actually brought them into the room staging area using a version of Heroscape’s rules which we shamelessly called Norlundscape. Likewise, we devised other activities that were important parts of the event that could only be done in the staging area as well, but still very much relied on materials and information gathered during the encounter rooms.

All in all we feel we succeeded in our goals of having the different parts of the event knit together in a cohesive, epic, experience that made every player feel like they had an important role in telling the story of Norlund. In the wake of this event we were more excited than ever to bring this story to conclusion.

Ulric's Missive with Asirrune
Norlundscape Rules
Norlundscape Maps
Urd's Poem

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok VI: The Quiet Year, October 23, 1021

❦ Event Announcement ❦

It has been many, many months since the adventurers of the Realms walked across the Vanfrost and set right the wrongs of Norlund. At their first and last meeting, the new Asir and Vanir spoke to those heroes and told them there was one final task that remains for them on the day that they return.

This is not that day.

In the not so distant future perhaps you will hear from Ulric of the Jomsvikings once more as he beckons you forth to his domain. But he has not called you yet.

This is not a day about fixing anything that has happened in Norlund.

This is a day about learning what has happened while you've been away.

This is a day where you will weave the stories that have defined the rebirth of Norlund after the heroes of the Realms delivered it from Ragnarok and fates worse than that.

After almost a decade of destruction and fear and the resolution to go down in darkness, Norlund has been left with this.

One quiet year.

And you all must be the tellers of the tales therein.

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

Our original thought was to conclude the Echoes of Ragnarok plot line one year after we threw the Asgard event. Of course that plan, like almost every Realms plan, was seriously disrupted by the pandemic and the fact that no events could be run for over a year. In 2021 when it became possible to throw Realms events again we, of course, wanted to get back to the Echoes storyline, but the idea of a large combat-focused conclusion event seemed infeasible given the time and situation.

Instead, we took a note from one of our favorite Actual Play podcasts, The Adventure Zone. They ran a short chapter playing a world building game called The Quiet Year by Avery Alder. In this game, every player sitting around an editable map, works together to tell the story of a community trying to survive after an apocalyptic event, resolving cards that give story prompts along the way. We knew immediately after being exposed to this game that it would be perfect for telling the stories of what has happened in Norlund since the world was effectively remade by the heroes and the advent of new gods.

This event was a lot of fun to watch unfold. We made custom cards and game components specific to the world of Norlund and we had our players sit around blackboards made into maps, each small group responsible for charting the course of a community of vikings trying to settle and start anew in a reborn but untamed Midgard. The stories told were full of thought and imagination and humor and as marshals running the games it was extremely gratifying to watch these worlds come to life in the spirit that we intended.

Echoes of Ragnarok became a plot line that was very much about the agency of the players, seeing as they were able to alter our original intended ending of the story. What better way to represent that than this event that was all about writing that story together.

❧ Echoes of Ragnarok: The Conclusion: Yggdrasil, April 13, 1024

❦ Event Announcement ❦

Greetings, Heroes of the Realms, I was pleased to see you again at the festivities you held at the north border of Rhiassa, The Gilded Lion and Silver Branch Summer Festival. I was pleased as well for you to have met my trusty Saurian Steed, Buttercup. In the years since you saved Norlund from total destruction the benevolent stewardship provided by Tychasaurus has allowed Midgard to prosper, and travel across its wide, fertile plains is mostly accomplished on smaller two-legged species of dinosaurs like Buttercup.

As I mentioned to you when we spoke, while Norlund was ultimately saved through your intervention, right now Yggdrasil, which connects together all of the lands of Norlund, is growing amuck. With Midgard and the other worlds made anew, the ancient tree no longer understands how to interconnect them all and as such, is tearing the lands apart with its gargantuan roots and branches as it tries.

Earlier this year I sent you all instructions on how to obtain your own Saurians Steeds for this quest. Hopefully that is something you were able to do. Their tenacity and their speed will be necessary for your success.

We have communed with the new Aesir and Vanir that have blessed our worlds and we understand what must be done to finally put all of Norlund at ease. You must travel the breadth of Norlund and through different gates enter into the roots of Yggdrasill itself. Once there you must direct its growth so that it can understand how to connect to all the worlds that you remade and stop its inadvertent destruction of our lands.

It pains me to ask anything more of all of you, now that you have given us so much. In the true sense of the word, we owe you everything. But it will all be for naught without this final step. So I beseech you with unending faith in your resourcefulness, your might, and your goodwill.

Strength and Honor,
Baron Ulric of the Jomsvikings

❦ Wrap Up and Records ❦

It took us a little longer than expected to conclude this event series. Of course the pandemic was a large part of that, pushing the entirety of our plans several years down the road, but on top of that we really felt like we needed a little extra time to wrap up this series in a way that befit the years of storytelling that went with it; not only on the behalf of our plot team but to do justice to what our players invested in both energy and emotion for the people and worlds of Norlund.

The Echoes of Ragnarok plotline began in the summer of 2015 with the first ever Gilded Lion Summer Festival. After Rhiassa’s success with the What Lurks Beneath series, we wanted to push ourselves to tell a story that felt a little more dire and told the tales of people who were grappling with a fate that was beyond their ability to comprehend or affect. Coming up with that initial idea, of using Bedlam’s invasion of the multiverse as the launching point, felt so epic to us, and we looked forward to how our players would grapple with the tough decisions necessary to be a hero when the end times were nigh.

After a couple of events this concept had in fullness been communicated to our players through the story and characters. We expected what would come next were years of tough decisions and dealing with loss. Urlic was supposed to have succumbed to darkness long ago, for example. But we did not get what we expected. We got a unified player base that looked at our plot team and said… “No, that’s not how this is going to go down. We’re going to save everyone.”

Honestly, it was fantastic. People give the adventurers of the Realms a lot of grief about treading the line between valor and villainy. About being apathetic about the consequences of their choices. About not caring what happens to the nameless denizens that must exist in our fantasy world. But we really saw no sign of any of that. We saw people who looked and acted like true heroes. Who had the audacity to look fate (our plot team) in the eyes and tell us that they had the temerity to save our entire universe of NPCs that we had already decided we were going to doom to oblivion.

How awesome is that?

And so we did what I think any good EH team would do. We put “no but” on the shelf and prepared for several years of “yes and”. We sent the PC’s to the depths of Hel and had them stamp out the remaining ghosts of what Bedlam left behind. We had them board an airship and fly to the moon to wind up the cosmic machinery that made the universe revolve. And we had them fight their own kind of battle of Ragnarok, a war across multiple worlds where the heroes forged allies out of primordial clay and then in the aftermath gave form and name to a new race of gods that would put the world back together. We told the story that the players wanted to tell. A story of rebirth and recreation and triumph.

And also of dinosaurs.

Because it’s the Realms. And as much as we can tell epic stories and as much as we can decide with our actions the line between good and evil on a weekly basis, sometimes we just have to remember that we should have fun and love what we are doing and have a great time together.

So in the end, we were honored to throw an event series that inspired all of those things and are endlessly thankful to the players who came along for the ride. To those who were with us when we started in 2015 and stuck with us through all 12 events in the series, and to those who showed up to Norlund at the final event just to ride dinosaurs. All of you were a vital part to the story that we were so very grateful to be able to tell.

And so concludes the Echoes of Ragnarok.

As Ulric would say,
Strength and Honor.

A Guide to Theropod Capture and Domestication
Norlund Safari Learning Cards
A Handbook Concerning The Acquisition and Uses of Spider Milk
Additional Found Holy Emblem Prayers
How to Cook for Arachnids