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Fate of the Norns

Fate of the Norns

Monday 18 May 2020
In May 2020 we presented the all-new Fate of the Norns Bundle, featuring the 2013 20th Anniversary Edition of the rune-based Viking-apocalypse FRPG from Pendelhaven, Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok. The sun and moon have disappeared, devoured by the wolves Skoll and Hati. Fimbulwinter envelops the worlds of the cosmic tree Yggdrasil. Aesir and giants prepare for war. Mankind has descended into anarchy. In this Age of the Sword, new heroes arise who command the power to shape the outcome of Ragnarok.

Like the Norse sagas that inspired it, Fate of the Norns has a long history. Originally distributed in the ’90s as a free demo .PDF, the game went through three editions (1993, 2002, 2005-6) without ever seeing print. Only with the August 2012 Fate of the Norns Kickstarter campaign did the rules make it onto paper — and how.

The lavish full-color 20th Anniversary Edition (2013) updates the game’s inventive and well-tested Runic Game System (RGS), which replaces dice with “mystic rune stones” based on the Elder Futhark. Your customized Essence bag contains the runes bound to your character’s powers and abilities — red runes (physical traits), blue (mental), and green (spiritual) — and this bag also doubles as your character’s life force (hit points). When the character, or “dweller,” takes damage, you remove runes from your bag. You lose access to the powers bound to those runes, so damage feels very real. When your dweller dies, the Valkyries may carry off the character to Valhalla or Glassisvellir. The more dwellers you get into the heavens, the more new features in the game are unlocked for your next dweller. Your “Disir” (afterlife) level carries with you — you, the player — through your later Fate of the Norns adventures.

Pendelhaven expanded the Norns line through successive Kickstarters for Denizens of the North (March 2014), Seith and Sword (Feb 2015), and Lords of the Ash (Sept 2015). This all-new Fate of the Norns Bundle presented much of the Fate of the Norns line, including all the rulebooks, adventures, and even fiction, for a bargain price.

There were four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $65) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the beautiful full-color 369-page Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok core rulebook and the full-length introductory adventure Fafnir’s Treasure (which includes a print-and-play set of mystic runes), plus an unusual combination of fiction and scenario: Seith and Sword, a Ragnarok novel by Chris Challice, and its companion Seith and Sword adventure that defines the story’s elements in game terms. (As a convenience, we also included the free Archetypes Compendium.)

Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $100, including the two massive rules expansions and lorebooks Denizens of the North (about Midgard, realm of humanity) and Lords of the Ash (the realms of gods and giants); the adventure Dead Man’s Blade; and another novel-and-adventure pair, Horn of the Kraken (the novel by Stephen B. Pearl) and Horn of the Kraken (the companion scenario).

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to this offer’s pandemic-related charity, Direct Relief. During the Covid-19 epidemic Direct Relief delivered protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, with emergency deliveries leaving daily to medical facilities across the US and to regional response agencies across the world.