Y is for Ysgard

This article is part of a series for both the April 2020 RPG Blog Carnival and the 2020 Blogging A to Z Challenge.

Ysgard

The Heroic Domains of Ysgard is the Great Wheel plane straddling the alignments of chaotic good and chaotic neutral. Like the Greek influence on Arborea, much of this plane is heavily dominated by the gods of the Norse pantheon.

The three layers of Ysgard consisted of tremendous rivers of earth and stone that formed cosmic arches through the void, like very tightly packed asteroid belts. Millions of kilometers wide, each river was made up of gigantic chunks of matter that bumped and ground against each other at a glacial but noticeable pace, raising up mountains and opening vast chasms. These “earthbergs” all shared the same gravity field and most were inhabitable on the top side while the underside of the rivers burned with a radiant fire that provided a ruddy light to the rivers below. Earthquakes and landslides were a commonly occurring danger in Gladsheim as the landscape slowly buckled and broke under the influence of chaos.

Multiple rough-hewn landings of the Infinite Staircase connected to each of Gladsheim’s three layers: Ysgard, Muspelheim and Nidavellir.

The first layer was also the name of the confederation of godly domains known as Asgard, home of the Norse pantheon. Each realm was the size of a Prime plane empire and they were drawn together by the proximity of Yggdrasil, the World Ash. Just like Mount Olympus, Yggdrasil was a multiplanar conduit. In addition to Yggdrasil, the Norse gods controlled and carefully guarded a portal directly to the Prime plane where they were the strongest, called the Bifrost or the rainbow bridge. Other known realms adjacent to Asgard were Vanaheim (home of the vanir), Alfheim (fairyland, known for its chaotic elven spirits), and Jotenheim (home of the giants).

The second layer has its earthbergs reversed (or alternatively, gravity was reversed) so the flaming side was up and the earthen side down. Surtur and the fire giants made their home here and guarded the barriers that lead to Asgard and its neighboring realms.

The third and last layer has rivers of earth in such close proximity that the entire sky was filled with fire, making it appear to travelers that they were in underground caverns and passages with a river of fire for a ceiling.

“And now, until we meet again, may our blessings be showered upon you!”

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For your campaign

Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in existence, capable of leveling mountains. In Marvel Comics, it is typically depicted as a large, square-headed gray sledgehammer with a short, round handle wrapped in brown leather, culminating in a looped lanyard. As one of the most formidable weapons known to man or god, Mjolnir is described in the Marvel universe as impacting with sufficient force to level mountains, with only adamantium and vibranium proving impervious. It has been used to create vortices and forcefields, emit mystical blasts of energy and even control electromagnetism. Whirling it round can create winds powerful enough to lift extremely heavy objects.

The hammer has additional properties relating to movement: it can return to Thor’s hand when commanded to do so, and he is able to control its trajectory. If Thor sets it aside, it takes a fixed position, from which it cannot be moved except by a ‘worthy’ individual. There are also other several rarely used abilities, but we’ll leave them out of the scope of this article.

New magic item: Mjolnir

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Weapon (warhammer), legendary (requires attunement by a lawful good character)

You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with Mjolnir. It has the thrown property with a normal range of 30 feet and a long range of 90 feet. When you hit with a ranged attack using Mjolnir, it deals an extra 1d8 thunder damage. Immediately after the attack, it flies back to your hand. Proficiency with a warhammer allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with Mjolnir.

While you are attuned and holding it, your Strength score increases by 4 and can exceed 20, but not 30. When you roll a 20 on an attack roll made with this weapon, it deals an extra 2d8 thunder damage to the target.

While attuned to it, you can use one action to cast thunderwave, lightning boltearthquake (with a range of 30 ft.) and fly (self only).

Mjolnir can also be used as an immovable rod.

 


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