Altar of the Damned
Original Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Concept
Each hero in this story, from all of the world, have received a dream. This dream has driven them to seek out a ‘lost princess.’ Little do they know, this princess from 1100 Iceland, is actually being possessed by the spirit of Fenrir. The great wolf and son of Loki who’s release is prophesied to be the start of Ragnarök: a battle between the gods. The Little Ice Age is actually the harsh winter of Fimbulvetr which in Norse mythology is the immediate prelude to the events of Ragnarök, the end of the world.
Will these heroes together be able to put a halt to this threat of ending all life on this rock they call home?
Original Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Concept
The villain charading as a damsel in distress
Almost 500 years prior, this Icelandic child thought it might be fun to meddle with a circle of rocks piled up in the forest. Little did she know, it was a portal for the Norns, or the three beings who represent the past, present and future. By interacting with these stones, she created a rift in time, waking up the spirits of Norse gods to reawaken in Midgard - aka: Earth.
She was sought after immediately by the spirit of Fenrir, one of Loki’s sons, who was bound by the god Tyr and prophesied in Ragnarök to cause the start of the war. After being tricked by Tyr, he is dripping with vengeance and seeks out the gods behind his binding.
Not long after, the Norns sent their representation of the present to check on the situation, aka: reality. Which in this story she calls herself: Veritas Til Staðar.
The Norn of Reality
Veritas Til Staðar is sent to check on this princess, sensing a disturbance with their portal. Veritas is a constant. She lives forever and monitors Midgard while the gods rest until Ragnarok. Due to living with a mortal’s brain capacity, her memory fails her and only can be reminded of her mission by the other two Norns.
The other translation for her name is ‘reality’ or ‘truth.’ And if reality rests, what do we have left? She is forced to take the long way around, by means of time.
Veritas checks on the princess, appearing as a simple servant. The princess grows fond of her and Veritas also develops feelings for her.
The princess slowly becomes corrupted by Fenrir’s spirit, but he is careful.
The Norns attempt to warn Veritas, but they can only send their messages through dreams as they spent to much power making Veritas immortal. These dreams’ content can only be related to the past or future to send signs since present is currently occupied and unaware of her full potential. She is only in place to monitor, not interact.
She received the warning in her dream too late as the princess is abducted and taken away by Fenrir’s minions.
Veritas continues on searching for the princess, but eventually she forgets what she is searching for. This character now is wrapped up in the church in Germany and has been swayed to believe the God they speak of must be what drives her. In reality, it is the Norse gods she is meant to listen to.
She now poses as a man in order to retain a sense of authority in this era. She begins her journey once again when Fenrir sends misleading dreams to people of power who have connection to the spirits of these gods who he seeks the blood of and the power to release him under the guise of a lost princess which ‘Frederik’ aka Ana, aka reality; has now forgotten.
The Norns typically exist not to remove free-will, but to remind those of the desires and options they gave in front of them. They travel through the past and future to keep the world’s history intact. At the end of this campaign arc, they will assist in the final battle after locating this group in time, since past and future is relative yo the tome they’re currently residing in, and offer to the group to assist them in traveling through time to correct events and keep the world on track.
Stonehenge and other forms like it are the portals in which they can travel through.
Thomas "Roziah" Noglfar (PC)
Freed Slave, Blood Hunter, and Spirit of Tyr
Represents the spirit of tyr. He was apparently the god concerned with the formalities of war—especially treaties—and also, appropriately, of justice.
According to the Prose version of Ragnarök, Týr is destined to kill and be killed by Garmr, the guard dog of the realm of Hel.
However, in the two poetic versions of Ragnarök, he goes unmentioned; unless one believes that he is the "Mighty One". In the Lokasenna he is taunted with cuckoldry by Loki.
Roziah is originally from Barbados, he was taken by settlers to England and traded for a box of soap. The owner found that Roziah is gifted in magic and a technique of monster hunting called "blood hunting." The owner begins to train Roziah and indoctrinates him to an order of hunters in London.
They come to discover this order led by the king, yes kills creatures of the dark, but also is using the order to eliminate members of Parliament.
Roziah is pinned for the murder of one John Pym who in history died under mysterious circumstances.
With this sense of justice, Tyr's spirit found him as the perfect vessel. Roziah has had a scar on his right wrist for as long as he can remember. This represents Tyr tricking Fenrir into allowing him to bind the wolf with a silk rope by letting him hold his right hand in his mouth. Roziah also comes to notice a bracelet around his wrist. Upon further investigation, he will find this is a piece of the same silk rope that bound Fenrir and has magical properties of binding creatures. As well as one of the keys to keep him bound.
Roziah's last name, as often slaves were, is from the ship he was sent to England on: The Naglfar. This also is the name of the ship they will later be traveling on as it was the ship which Loki captained and brought many of his allies into Ragnarok with.
Alaric Edwards (PC)
The Spirit of Odin and Galileo
Alistar is on the run from the church after delving a little too deep into science. He was raised as a devout Catholic as his parents were absent in his growing up years. The nuns and bishops did not treat him well by far, but this was all he knew growing up in Cologne.
His support for Galileo's work was unbecoming as was his spending time with forward thinkers of their time. Galileo represented the spirit of Odin previously, and that was passed on to Alaric when he died. Galileo also left him a magic item called an "Obfuscated Journal." This item make the text invisible to those who aren't allowed by the user to read. It also has the ability to copy texts into it to allow for quick research when potentially on the run.
Alaric has the drive of learning as well as a drive to seek out this princess. If anyone is willing to take the Norn's offer to travel with them through time, it will be him. Alaric would certainly be a fan favorite for his curiosity and gumption.
He will certainly find a friend in any scientist, definitely John Aubrey, as well as those fleeing the church since he has seen both sides of it.
Much like Odin, Alaric will be drawn to the well of Mímir and will have to make the decision if he will sacrifice something of himself for the wisdom it may provide. Alaric’s vision was of drinking from a goblet in the church. But the dream didn’t want him to. This was Fenrir's tainting of the dream as to redirect him from drinking from the well in the future. But since this dream pertained to the future, the Norns were able to edit the vision a bit to encourage this act.
After drinking from the well Alaric will have advantage on checks pertaining to Norse mythology and a single use of foresight.
Locations and Encounters
Original Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Concept
Zachariah "Kotori" Smith (PC)
Son of Pocahontas and The Sprit of Iðunn
Zachariah was born as a result of settlers invading Pocahontas' village prior to Thomas Rolfe taking her away to England. He never was able to spend time with his mother as she was quite the envoy and diplomat for her time. After dying under slightly mysterious circumstances, he was never able to meet her properly. Zachariah was raised by his violent father in Virginia then later on murdered him in cold blood to avenge his mother's innocence.
Zachariah returned to the Powhatan tribe and again was an outsider since his father was a white settler. But his mentor, Tomokomo, took him in and taught him the ways of the druids, helping him to hone his skills in wildshaping into various animals in order to provide and commune with nature to its fullest.
Zachariah is called to visit his mother's grave in England alongside the greater mission of saving this lost princess.
Here he will be visited by his mother and warn him of the dark road he his headed down as well as remind him of the apple she was able to send him in with the final spark of power left in her.
Iðunn is classically known to have created the golden apples which gave gods their youth. This apple was decayed when he received it by the touch of Fenrir, but over time is power will be revealed as it reverses the decay to aid them in their journey. It is also one of the three keys to bind the princess.
“Wet” Willie Jenkins (PC)
Son of Francis Drake and The Spirit of Njǫrd
Willie has been a pirate for over 50 years being taken in by the pirate "Mad Dog." He has been warned by the crazy rambling of Mad Dog of the hugner of the sea. He assumed this was talks of a mad man, but Willie comes to the same understanding that the sea takes its toll.
His father is actually Francis Drake who contained and communed with the god Njǫrd. In Norse mythology, he is the god of the wind and of the sea and its riches. His aid was invoked in seafaring and in hunting, and he was considered the god of “wealth-bestowal,” or prosperity.
Mad Dog reveals to Willie that the medallion he holds is that of the Drake family. Francis Drake was buried at sea and was rumored to have buried a treasure with him. No historians to this day have found that treasure.
In this story, it is because his spirit roams the waters still. Once the players travel through the deep sea from Amsterdam to Iceland, they will encounter that same spirit which will be passed on to Willie.
Willie's sister is also on the hunt for this myth of a coffin. What Willie's sister thought was treasure, it is actually the wealth of the sea and the creatures within. The creatures had a lot to teach him and told him how to circumvent the see. Willie now has the ocean and Njǫrd with him.
His sister is also a traitor, only seeking her own gain and is one of the crew who maroons Willie on an island in the Caribbean where Francoise and Zachariah find him. Unfortunately for Willie and Mad Dog, they thought they would die on this island, and Willie mercifully killed him with the last bullet he had just the day before Willie is saved. He presumes he actually died that day as he nearly drowns in 5cm of water before he was saved.
Capitaine François Lafitte (PC)
French Pirate and Possessed by the Spirit of Loki
François has been a pirate for the majority of his life, maintaining a faithful crew who will follow wherever he leads. One day he discovers a utopia of an island in the Caribbean which they name Nice Petite.
Little does he know this island is possessed by the power of Loki as the cave he was restrained in at the end of the prose Edda is located in this very land. Though Loki's power is severely limited, his wife stays with him to catch the venom of a serpent that was left to torture him for the rest of his immortal days. François would often recall a native woman returning to the fire to burn the venom away as well as small earthquakes that would erupt every time she came around. This is because when Loki was locked away and she was not with him to catch the venom, his rage at the pain would shake the Earth.
François has made a home here though and is unfettered by the potentially cursed lands as Loki's power fogs their vision of reality.
One day he has a vision of the place for what it truly is. The Norns are attempting to reveal is to him, and leave a snake to carrying with him on his dagger representing the serpent that tortures Loki. This poison damage also inflicts a variety of insanities on the target.
François will be tempted throughout the journey to sway the others to go on wild goose chases and unnecessary raucous exploits not only to mislead the group, but also because Loki seeks chaotic entertainment.
François is also the spirit of Baldr, a god in Norse mythology associated with light, wisdom, and courage, although he is never specifically defined as the god of any of these. He is best known for his dramatic death, which heralds the coming of Ragnarök, the end of the age of the Norse gods and the rebirth of the world. The blind god Höd, deceived by the Loki, killed Balder by hurling mistletoe at him, the only thing that could hurt him.
Non Player Characters
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Knight in the Order of Saint Michael - was a Dutch historian, poet and playwright who lived during the Dutch Golden Age in literature. Loki found this individual an easy target situated in a fun location being Amsterdam, which was quite well off during the Thirty Years War. He will be posing as Hooft who is a descendant of the long lost princess and provide funds for the group as well as tracking.
A familiar face to quite a few of the players. All for bad reason. In Norse mythology, Rán is a goddess and a personification of the sea who is currently aiding Guillame in ending Loki's possession of others. Under the guise of John Cotta, who was notably character who created many of the tests for witches, he seeks out Loki's possessed souls. In fact these test are only to eliminate players in Loki's game. But he holds the reputation that he is a witch hunter to get along.
An English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He studied Stonehenge quite religiously and found that it may be a portal to the past and future. He is currently being shrouded by Loki's power, but the Norns continue to keep their hold as he spent so much time with Stonehenge which is their portal. He also is holding the spirit of Óðr. Which is Old Norse for the "Divine Madness, frantic, furious, vehement, eager", and also "song, poetry."
The mother of Isaac Newton. She is currently the sexton at Austin Friars, receiving the many adventurers who seek this "lost princess." She carries the spirit of Hermóðr, who is a figure in Norse mythology, a son of the god Odin and brother of Baldr. He is often considered the messenger of the gods. Hermóðr often rode Sleipnir, Odin's horse.
Close to the time of her death, Elizabeth's coronation ring had grown into her flesh. This was due to the fact that she never had it removed during the 45 years of her reign. Her doctors insisted that the ring had to be removed, and within a week Elizabeth died. It was a ring of regeneration.
Inigo Jones, an architect who was a coworker of John Aubrey's studying Stonehenge. They didn't get along well as Inigo was in full support of the king and John was not. Even still, his love and respect for John holds him back from speaking ill of him. Today he is here with his skills of masque to assist in the show. He is currently inhabited by the spirit of Freyja. He would have the symptoms of crying red and gold tears much like she did when Odr was gone.
She was on her way to France to sell off some jewels to raise funds for her husband, King Charles I, when Fenrir's wolves attacked her carriage. Unbeknonst to her, she holds the Three Brothers jewel which King Charles (holding the spirit of Sleipnir inside him), didn't mean to let her take with her.
Hel is a female being in Norse mythology who is said to preside over an underworld realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. She is seen typically siding with Loki in Ragnarök, but she might be swayed. Fenrir has hired her to hunt down the group and the Three Brother's jewel.
In Norse mythology, Garmr or Garm is a wolf or dog associated with both Hel and Ragnarök, and described as a blood-stained guardian of Hel's gate. He is destined to kill Tyr and Tyr him.
A scientist who has ended up with the "Hand of God" in his office. Alaric had a vision of his adding machine prior to meeting him.
Pocahontas, born Amonute, known as Matoaka among friends. She carries the spirit of Iðunn. She is the closest to her god among the vessels and her people respected Iðunn's work and cared for the land she created. The name Iðunn has been variously explained as meaning "ever young", "rejuvenator", or "the rejuvenating one" as she creates the apples of youth given to the gods for immortality.
He was a prominent courtier and art collector under Charles I. He is murdered right on the ballroom floor after being poisoned by his wife Alithea. Suspicions arise among the guests. One being Inigo Jones, an architect who was a coworker of John Aubrey's studying Stonehenge (they also had many disagreements), seen arguing with the Earl.
The wife of Thomas Howard. She wishes to kill him during the masquerade for his artifacts and paintings to pay off her debt and be rid of his abuse.
Gironima Spana was an Italian poisoner and astrologer. She was the central figure in the infamous Spana Prosecution against a net of poison merchant women in Rome, who distributed the famous poison Aqua Tofana to clients who wished to be rid of their abusive husbands.
Giulia Tofana, creator of Aqua Tofana, a poison and the leader of a poisoning ring in Rome who specialized in assisting wives in abusive relationships to kill their husbands.
Served as the Lutheran Bishop of the see of Skálholt in Iceland. His main influence has been on modern knowledge of Old Norse literature. He is here to deliver Hooft/Loki a copy of ancient Norse texts.
An English 'thinker.' He performs at Hooft's masquerade in what is called a 'masque.' several royals would even perform in such event including King Charles I. He is also a very strong supporter of the king. "He that fears you present will hate you absent." — Thomas Fuller,
Ezhno is from the Croatan tribe in the New World. His mother died in child birth and this was her first child. His father blamed him for his mother's death, naming him Ezhno (He Walks Alone), as she was only 16 and sent him away straight into the grasp of new settlers who took him away to be shown off as the bonny little indian boy. He escaped during a party when the old women were too intoxicated to take note of his disappearance.
He is a servant of Ægir in Norse mythology, and Loki's first verbal opponent in the poem Lokasenna. He is posing as a servant at Hooft's home. He loves the gossip.
The chef on the ship the party will sail to island as well as the chef of the Æsir and einherjar in Norse mythology. Every day in Valhalla, he slaughters the beast Sæhrímnir and cooks it in Eldhrímnir, his cauldron. At night, Sæhrímnir is restored to life to be eaten again the next day.
Locations and Encounters
Original Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Concept
A Dutch church for immigrants
Players meet Hannah Ayscough, Isaac Newton’s mother and the church sexton. This is the first location the players all arrive at. They are driven here from all of the world by the dream they received and slowly realize by interacting with eachother they are all here for the same purpose.
They were each given a line in their dream to a bit of a to-do list-esque riddle. They put together the correct order upon recalling these dreams:
To release the princess you will need three keys.
To assist you: find the hand of god
Held by the mad scientist,
The Crown Jewels of the Virgin Queen
Bestowed to you by an exiled queen
And let the three brothers lead the way.
Hannah will assist in answering questions of the players and relay that they are not the first to have these dreams and arrive here. She will encourage them to meet John Aubrey, and antiquarian who works at Cambridge.
Here the party meets John Aubrey. And antiquarian and historian who studies Stonehenge. They will begin their research into the genealogy of this princess in order to get new leads to find her.
John happens to take out an “adding machine,” mentioning his theories of Stonehenge as a portal and the fact he had strange feeling of dejavú when he studied them recalling visions of the past, present and future. Upon questioning this adding machine he tells about his scientist friend Blaise (Blaise Pascal), who also works with them. If they bring up the hand of god held by the mad scientist, Pascal remembers he’s had it in his office for years and give it to them.
While discovering other elements of their own backstories, they may research those. For example, Willie’s medallion that his father Francis Drake left for him will lead to questions on Norse Mythology. Here the may research. Upon considering who may have more information, Roziah, the blood hunter may recall a witch Hunter who may be aware of those practicing pagan rituals. This man’s name is John Cotta. They can visit his office at Trinity College next to Cambridge as well. Though the magic users in the group will have to lay low or sneak in to his office since he is blatantly hunting them.
Observing the museum in Cambridge, they may view several paintings including one of Queen Elizabeth I, who wears the Three Brothers crown jewel. A successful check and they may be able to put the pieces together.
The Exiled Queen
On the road to or from Cambridge, based on the roll of a die, they will run into several wolves, werewolves and wolf spiders attacking a carriage. This is in fact the exact exiled Queen they are looking for. Henrietta is currently on her way to France to raise funds for King Charles I. One of the items she is selling is the ‘Three Brothers’ crown jewel.
The wolves were in fact sent by Fenrir to attain this key before the party, but also to check on their progress since the villains can be updated by their minions.
Any questioning of the werewolf will end with them discovering the corruption within him. If anyone tries the spell remove curse (curing lycanthropy) the man will begin to recall memories of his past in that Fenrir turned him into a werewolf and he ended up killing his family in the process.
He will take his spear and fall on it once he realizes this and seeing the corruption continuing to spread through his body. This sacrifice reenacting Odin falling on his own spear turning this spear magical. Runes will engrave themselves in the style of Gungnir, Odin’s spear.
This is one of the main portals the Norns (spirits of the past, present and future) used to travel from Asgard to Midgard (Earth) as well as through time. There are several of these located in Europe, as history states, similar to Stonehenge in England.
The princess disrupted one of the in the 12th century bringing eyes to her by the gods and Norns.
Upon inspection, each character will receive an ominous hint to the final battle as well as deep into the future or past depending on a d1000 roll and choose back or forward. If they have a specific event they are looking for, they may roll a d100 to see how close they are able to hone this vision.
The Norns' Offer
The Norns assist in ending the fight, either killing Fenrir permanently and in turn killing Þora or they put a halt, a temporary pause on Ragnarök and safely bind Fenrir and free Þora. Then, their question will be posed to the group: would they like to travel with the Norns to remind citizens of their desires in life and keep history on track?
This will be how the campaign ends and leaving it up to the players to decide if their characters take up this offer, or remain in 1646 and complete their own personal journeys. Frederik/Anna is the only one without this option as she must remain in time to monitor.
Upon meeting the mysterious descendant of the lost princess, P.C. Hooft (Loki in disguise), he offers to tell them the land that his ancestors owned in Iceland with the agreement that they will attend his "dinner" which ends up being a masquerade ball.
During this gala, dark hints of magic linger and they are faced with a stranger who is entertaining at the party. This is Thomas Fuller, a philosopher with will perform in the masque on fear.
Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, is also in attendance who was a prominent courtier and art collector under Charles I. He is murder right on the ballroom floor after being poisoned by his with Alithea. Suspicions arise among the guests. One being Inigo Jones, an architect who was a coworker of John Aubrey's studying Stonehenge (they also had many disagreements), seen arguing with the Earl.
But Alithea actually poisoned him by purchasing Aqua Tofana from Giulia Tofana, the leader of a poisoning ring in Rome who specialized in assisting wives in abusive relationships to kill their husbands.
(There is no evidence that the Earl died in this way in history, only that he died on October 4, 1646 aside from the fact that Alithea had much debt and left nothing in her will.)
The Tofana Ring will also be a form of entertainment to guests telling their fortunes, while also drugging them into induced hallucinations based on their fears.
This is all mostly for Loki's fun and imparting chaos on Midgard as well as to see how this groups stands up to the others he has definitely met, but does not mention.
The party sails to Iceland in order to locate the lost princess' burial site. Roziah may recognize that this is the very ship he sailed to England on while being transported as a slave. Though he was named after the ship "Naglfar," they are calling it by the English translation: The Nail Farer. This is the classic ship from the story of Ragnarök.
They are attacked here by several sea creatures including sirens and giant octupi who are actually trying to slow down Hel who rode in to Ragnarök on the Naglfar. These creatures work for Njörðr, aka Francis Drake, aka Willie's father.
Though Willie thought he was buried at sea, he actually became one with the sea and all that lives in it. The treasure of the lost resting place of Francis Drake is the sea. At the end of this battle, Francis' body makes his way up to sea level to pass on Njörðr's spirit to Willie.
Yggdrasil & The Well of Mímir
Yggdrasil tells the party that she is dying and the women who used to come water her had to leave. The one (reality/present/Anna), stayed as long as she could, but one day forgot why she was there.
Yggdrasil asks that they find The Well of Mímir to help save her.
On their way there, Níðhöggr: the dragon who gnaws on the roots of Yggdrasil, will try to stop them.
Once they make it to the well, Alaric will recognize it from his vision and the drawings and know he is the only one who can drink from the well and in turn take some for Yggdrasil.
This is because Alaric embodies the spirit of Odin, who to drink from the well sacrificed his eye for the wisdom. Again, Mímir will ask for a sacrifice which is up to Alaric what this might entail. Once he takes this offer, he will have fully received the benefits of Odin's spirit and will acquire Truesight as well as advantage on Insight checks.
If they make it back to Yggdrasil, she will thank them by giving one of her branches to them for protection. This operates as a Bell Branch magic item. Roziah would make good use of this with his Blood Hunter abilities.
The Final Confrontation
The grand reveal occurs when they find the princess outside of the crypt in chains and rope. She will 'recognize' Anna and ask her to come to her and free her. This they discover is the only way to free Fenrir, by the touch of a misled reality.
Combat ensues when the wooden statues of the gods have their wooden exterior fall away. Loki/Fenrir may have cursed these to look far more terrifying as though she is actually being attacked by them.
They may notice these figures feel very familiar to them since they have part of the gods' spirits inside them.
Fenrir will final remove the mask of the damsel in distress and tell of his thousands of years being held here. He may play into the idea that the gods were afraid of something they had no evidence of. Only a prophesy. They feared what they didn't know. And in turn Tyr tricked him into letting himself be bound.
It is up to the party to decide who they side with.
Fenrir: A Misunderstood Beast? or A Malevolent Villain?
The gods: who have implanted their very souls non-consensually into their bodies? or protecting the many realms?