Welcome to Haeorth!
Like, totally a place that has stuff.
Primordials and Gods
In the time before time there was a vast infinite chaos [Tartarus/Ginnungagap/Tehom], out of this chaos came the primordial beings.
Chronos (Time) and Ananke (Fate) and Ymir (Matter) and Auðumbla (just a cow) were there. From Ymir’s self-fertile body came monstrous and beautiful humanoids of great elemental power, the (True) Jotnar. The Asgardian gods trace their lineage back to Auðumbla licking some frozen salt in Ginnungagap to create/reveal Búri. Búri bred with a jotunn to bear Odin, Vili, and Ve, who killed Ymir and fashioned its flesh into the earth (Gaia) and heavens (Uranus). Gaia and Uranus bore the Titans and lots of monsters and stuff, you know how it goes. The titans were cousins to the Jotnar, having raw elemental power and immortality. Kronus, the lastborn titan, together with his sister Rhea bore the first Olympian gods. You probably know their story, but eventually there was a war between the gods and the primordial titans. The Asgardians and Olympians joined forces to drive the more powerful primordials back into the watery chaos of Tartarus, sealing them away until the end of time (hopefully). Many jotnar fled to Muspelheimr and Niflheimer and Midgard before their larger brethren were sealed away. Also a lot of monsters hid on Midgard in the dark places of Gaia’s junk. There were lots of other gods doing other things, but who cares about them?
Eventually some of the gods made some people…
The People of Haeorth.
There are lots of them, but mostly we’re concerned with two groups. The Hellenes and the Norroenir.
The Hellenes are a large group of culturally-linked various races that speak a similar language, worship the same large pantheon of Olympian gods, and live in the area around the Peloponisian peninsula. They reside within disparate city-states that occassionally fall into economic or military conflict, but otherwise share a common history and worldview.
Graikoi (Athenian, Thebans, Spartan, etc)
The largest racial group on the peninsula are the olive-skinned people known as the Graikoi. They tend to clump into city-states that then call each other names.
Kentauroi (Macedonians, Cypriot)
There are two groups of Kentauroi, the Macedonians from the northern edge of civilization and the bull-horned Cypriots on the island of Cyprus. They have horse for legs.
Satyr are wanderers throughout the city-states. They usually serve as day laborers and entertainers; rarely holding down long term jobs, serving in the military, or getting into politics. They leave behind many illegitimate half-satyr children throughout the area. Some rare satyr are female, and a few are reverse satyr which is hilarious.
Nymph protect the wild places of the world, typically from birth to death never wandering far from their natural abodes. Very few places in most cities are wild enough to draw the attention of a nymph, but some larger parks and game reserves sometimes serve as a home. Some special nymphs are drawn to protect larger areas of nature, including all of the peninsula, or even the entire world. Their natural mates are the satyr, though they can also breed with humans. There are rare male nymphs. There are many types of nymphs, but they typically break into 4 categories: Oreads of the mountains and earth; Aurai of the breeze and air; Naiads/Nereids of the water (fresh or salt); and the dryads of the trees.
Amazons are the female descendents of a pairing between Ares and Harmonia, nymph of the Akmonian wood; and later they dominated a hostile tribe of Jotnar that violated peace treaties, taking the men as mates. They still have traces of divine and primordial blood to this day and have a custom of yearly travels to neighboring lands to find mates, which means that most Amazons are born under the sign of Ares (Scorpio, late October/early November). They almost always take their male children back to the fathers, which leads to the villages near Myrinia having a good number of physically powerful men, though they lack the Amazonian upbringing. Due to their history and blood they have come to almost universally love war and combat, but they are also skilled at tactics, politics, and some forms of natural magic.
Priest (Cleric or Oracle or Arcane caster)
The priests usually serve a single god, but some serve the entire pantheon. Clerics (the game class) with their armor and weapons training are typically servants of gods with military connections (Ares, Athena), while Oracles serve the other gods as more direct channels to the gods. Some of the gods and goddesses (especially Hecate) do not have clerics or oracles, they call sorcerers and wizards as their priesthood.
Separated into opposing schools of philosophers, individual “Teachers of Wisdom” provide secret knowledge to their initiates. Isolated, secretive, and clannish; this otherwise mirrors the wizard class. They like to talk about philosophy, knowledge, and mathematics as if they matter.
Hailing from the cold north, the Norroenir are an invasionary force of loosely confederated tribes under the banner of King Rollo, first of his name. Rumors persist of a unknown evil force pushing his people south.
Pale-skinned and fair-haired people from the north, they are a proud group of warrior, hunters, and pillagers. They usually value freedom and self-reliance.
Sometimes jotnar like to bang humans, or vice verse. The resultant offspring are half-jotunn. Some are hideous, like the firbolg, but it’s equally common for them to be unnaturally beautiful. They have primordial blood that makes them resistant to the elements. They’re divided into Hrímþursar [Frost], Múspellsmegir [Flame], Midgamegir [Hill/Mountain] (maybe others). There are only a couple of tribes that are comprised wholly of half-jotunn, typically they show up mixed in with groups of northmen.
Ljósálfar – Light Elf
Hailing from Aflheimer, the Ljosalfar, or Light Elves, are described as “fairer than the sun to look upon”. They’re all about light and air. Natural spellcasters and pretty good in a fight.
Dökkálfar – Dark Elf
From the realm of Svaretalfheimr, the Dokkalfar were originally the maggots that chewed on the corpse of Ymir, but they were later granted sentience (either by the gods themselves, or simply by way of consuming primordial flesh). They have great understanding of all manner of crafts, including the ability to craft wondrously powerful magical items and rune knowledge. When the Asgardians need something magical they often seek out Dökkálfar smiths. They have black hair and are stereo-typically covered in soot from working at forges, but they are usually as fair skinned as their light elf cousins.
Ladies that get magical feather cloaks that turn them into swans (or other things, but usually swans). Steal their token and you can control them (jerk). They tend to associate more with Light Elves than Northmen (who keep trying to steal their cloaks). They’re usually pacifists, but that depends on how safe they are.
“Touched” by Odinn and/or Freyja, the Siedr are seers and shamans of the Norroenir. They usually wear animal furs and carry a staff that is remarkably phallic and are known for sex magic (but that could just be rumors). Seidr are usually female, but men aren’t uncommon (they’re referred to as siedmenn/siedman). Siedr are simultaneously feared, respected, and reviled for their powers. They serve as both priest and prophet.
The campaign starts roughly 4 months after the Vanishing and 12 years after the last great war where Rollo conquered and occupied Thessaloniki before being held to a stalemate at the border of the Delian League’s territory in the field at the foot of Olympus. The Norroenir began their invasion roughly 8 years before that.
Since the Vanishing, many Norroenir refugees (mostly women and children) are seeking asylum in the city-states, seeking shelter from the wandering monsters and bandits; but their troops still hold several forts throughout the region.
Up until this summer, the gods were everpresent throughout the region. Both peoples tell stories of their gods interacting with people. Many people claim to have met (and bred with) the gods. Zeus could be seen at festival days enjoying sacrifices; Dionysus has been known to crash parties (leading to many fatalities and cannibalistic rampages fueled by madness and wine); Ares and his sons battled Thors sons at the last battle of the great war, causing hundreds of deaths among the mortal forces from friendly fire and collateral damage. Many of the heroes, kings, and villains in the area can likely claim some amount of divine blood. Additionally, the gods were known to grant favors to their devotees, as well as to horribly curse those who disrespected them. Then three days after the midsummer solstice, the stars and planets disappeared from the sky and the sun itself became muted as if behind lacy, gently-wafting curtains. The night sky is now lit by waving green and purple lights.
The Battle of Thessaly
The last battle of the war, this killed most of the fighting-age men that joined the battle; mostly due to Ares, Phobos, and Deimos battling Thor’s sons, Magni and Modi, on the battlefied near mortals. Both sides eventually fled the field. Since then there has been an uneasy peace, since neither side has the motivation nor numbers to stage a war.
This has caused a massive issue with male population back in the home areas. Most men in the area are over 60 or under 20, with those in between suffering from war fatigue or being branded as cowards for not fighting. Women are mostly in charge of everything at this point and men are in high demand. The Satyr are deep in it.
Roughly 22 years ago, Young King Rollo sent emmissaries to many of the city-states, requesting land to re-settle on and promising to keep to themselves. Due to differences in communication styles, some of those emmissaries didn’t make it home (from Sparta), and the rest were politely told to go f themselves. Two years later Rollo mounted a successful invasion into the northern part of the region. Over the next 8 years he took over much of the northern area, including parts of Macedonia and all of Thessaloniki, along with a few islands. The surviving Macedonian Kentauroi were either conscripted as suzeraines (they now serve Rollo) or they fled south to Thebes, Corinth, and Athens.