The Four Perilous Journeys Kickstarter for SJG’s The Fantasy Trip was my best campaign ever. It was also the first one where I made a mass-offer of not-books that was widely accepted. I’d done shields and swords before, but only a few at a time and only to the USA. This was my first “stuff” shipment.

Well, Chris Rice (not Christopher R. Rice, who co-wrote two of the perilous journeys) in the UK got his stuff, and posted images. The UK is in the best situation to get things quickly. I drop copies to Kixto in the UK for my international shipping, as Royal Mail is really inexpensive to the Rest of World.

In any case, he’s one of the first to get the stuff, and he got it all.

I think they turned out well. Ironically, he saw the final counter sheets and the card deck before I did.

Shipping of All Rewards Complete

This past weekend, the very last item – a shield and sword for a backer who requested a purposeful delay in shipping in order to be home when it arrived – was mailed out.

As far as I know, this means 100% of all promised rewards for this campaign have been sent out.

Thanks for coming with me on this journey.

Up Now, Up Next

As most of you know, we launched and funded four more Nordlond books from Sept 10 through Oct 12. This funded in the first week, suffered through horrid doldrums until campaign close, and then we got a bit of a spike at the end.

I made a lot of progress in moving through the Backerkit tedium to get the pre-order store open for the books in the Nordlond Sagas campaign. That’s always painful, as it’s excruciatingly manual. International shipping also goes nowhere but up these days. It’s only a pass-through, but it’s still unwelcome.

I anticipate having the store open on Oct 27, so if you missed the campaign, you can get the books you want then. I’m going to try and arrange it so there’s no differentiation between pre-order backers and Kickstarter backers in terms of pricing and shipping. That’s not always easy.

In the future, I’m giving a very hard think to what kind, and how much, Dungeon Fantasy RPG content to offer. The strongest feedback thus far has been “great stuff, but so much of it…can’t digest!” That’s fair! But it’s also not something I can run a self-sustaining business off of.

So I’ll be doing a few things.

Nordlond Bestiary. You guys probably know I got pre-approval for the Nordlondr Ovinabokin, or “The Nordlond Enemies Book.” This is what we’ve all been poking for for a long time: an explicit conversion of a giant list of monsters to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. The original draft of “The Book of Foes,” from my DnD5e-based “Dragon Heresy” RPG spanned 130,000 words, including stat blocks, and had 200-250 creatures. My aim in 2020 is to bring the full draft over into the Dungeon Fantasy RPG space, only skipping creatures that are already in the Monsters boxed set, unless new “fluff text” is required. Obviously, you can skip the fluff – which is all based on the Nordlond setting –  and just use the stats in any fantasy game, and frankly, in a Monster Hunters or similar critter-filled campaign world as well. This will not be a cheap book to produce, but I’m going to go all out on it. I hope you join me.

A Few Small Projects. I may release some focused products. Perhaps a Trevinur (Druids) book. Maybe a 5-room dungeon or two. But other than the big dog above (the Bestiary), my production of Dungeon Fantasy RPG material on Kickstarter will be more constrained.

Finish my TFT Commits. I have standing permission to bring three new TFT GM’d adventures, and up to two solos, to life from the same authors that brought you the “Four” Perilous Journeys that resulted in five new TFT books, NPC/Monster Cards, and some die-cut counters. This will be the first project launched after Nordlond Sagas completes.

New Approach to Crowdfunding. As a small business with no real post-crowdfunding income stream, my ability to source new works is really constrained more by the crowdfunding platform than by my ability to produce material. The usual “crowdfund, wait for funds to settle, post-funding phase” cycle is two full months long. Policy (and not a bad policy at that) is to not allow a new project to launch until the old ones are done. That limits campaigns to three or four a year. So I’m going to try something new with funding individual projects on a “first past the post” basis using my website and a crowdfunding app. I’ll try it with a small project first, and if it works out OK, see what that looks like. I do know the current model is unsatisfactory to both me and to those who have spoken up and given feedback, so I want to try something new.

New Product Lines. There are a few projects that I want to bring to life. One is an entirely new RPG. The other is a quiet discussion with another writer whose work I’d love to see print but a lot has to happen before that. More on this later; they’re second half of 2020 at best. I also might look into “same world, different setting” and bring a few new-feeling cultures/locations to the world on which Nordlond is set. Something that feels like Japan/Korea/China (the land of Inthriki), as well as Macedonian Greece or Republican Rome (Morevel). Perhaps that will refresh things!

Dragon Heresy Conversions. Likewise, once the Nordlond Sagas are done, I will probably pull apart Hall of Judgment, Nordvorn, Dragons of Rosgarth, and Forest’s End and publish one setting book and one compiled adventure book/path, all for Dragon Heresy. This will allow playing pretty much as-is with 5e as well. I’ll release these as PDF only and crowdfund a print run. That should keep costs down. I’ll also list all of the PDFs on DriveThru and see what happens there.

Parting Shot

In any case: this brings The Citadel at Nordvorn to a formal close. Thanks, and I hope to see you around on other Gaming Ballistic projects in the future!

To run Gaming Ballistic as a growing business that is self-sustaining, I need to be able to turn more product, more quickly, and have it sell pretty well. Not exactly a unique business plan, right? But to do that, I probably need 2-3x the number of customers on any one project, and to turn 2-3x more releases. I’d hoped that after hitting 600 folks on both Nordvorn and Four Perilous Journeys, I could continue to grow that pool. The last project, though, showed clear signs of product fatigue. That’s a big concern, obviously, but hopefully some of the items outlined above will shake things up. If so, onward! If not . . . I’ll have to throttle back and look more towards a small number of releases each year, maybe only one or two. That will keep Gaming Ballistic the company around, but really just as an occasional player.

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter closed. It funded and hit just shy of $25,000, but achieved a lower backer count than Hall of Judgment.
  • Nonetheless, it was close enough to the offset print stretch goal – maybe $100-200 or so between the print costs for POD vs printing it in Latvia – that I decided to declare the goal achieved anyway.
  • The next step is Backerkit, and getting some idea of shipping sorted out. Since this is “all books,” I will work shipping out and get Backerkit open as soon as possible.
  • Four Perilous Journeys should start shipping this week to international backers. Still working through some shipping customs details on getting the books to the USA, and as soon as that form is filled out, they’ll be ready to go. Expect a month to get to TN, then another 1-3 weeks, and then all stuff will be in hand.

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Sept 27 to Oct 17, 2019”

Nordlond Sagas: Last Day!

A big day today, I hope.

We’re in the last half-day of the Nordlond Sagas campaign. Gaming Ballistic’s efforts were mentioned in both the Frog God Games newsletter, as well as an update to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG main Kickstarter page. Hopefully it’ll help push us to the stretch goals. We’re maybe 75 backers short of an offset print run, and perhaps $6,325 from the “more content” stretch goal. That’s only about 125 people, so the difference between the two is not large. We also have sufficient “following but not yet pledged” mass to easily hit both goals and more. So time will tell.

These books – two adventures and two character supplements, including what is basically clerical domains, but for GURPS/Dungeon Fantasy RPG in the “Hand of Asgard” supplement – are going to be very,  very fun. I won’t lie: I’m particularly enthusiastic about Hand of Asgard. Clocking in at only 16 pages, Kevin Smyth has managed to get a lot of flavor in the book, and I’m having a lot of fun with layout.

TFT Advance Copies arrive

I also got copies of the final product for the TFT Kickstarter I ran earlier this year. They’re really pretty and I think the backers will be pleased. I know I am. I’ll be getting the international fulfillment started this weekend, and I know that the remaining print quantity, probably 850-900 copies each, will be on the water soon (a bit of paperwork to do).

Well, here we go! The last 24 hours of a Kickstarter campaign are always the most exciting (ulcer inducing? You pick). Nordlond Sagas will very clearly partake in that trend.

I’ve been getting a lot of manuscript updates from the authors, who are all working to make my life easier in many ways. Revising text, checking formatting, and playtesting in the background.

With that, though, it’s well past time for another glimpse of something. In this case, another page from Hand of Asgard.

This is totally not Hela, Norse goddess of death. Nope. If it were, she’d look like Cate Blanchett, clearly.

Even though this is Norse-flavored, Kevin has done a fantastic job in capturing these as archetypes, so that with a bit of care, they could be worked in as “domain” flavored clerics in any game.

Until tomorrow, then . . . come check out the Nordlond Sagas. Four new books for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG!

Four weeks ago, the Nordlond Sagas campaign launched. It had the strongest start of any of my eight Kickstarters to date, and funded in the first week. That means all the books under development (see below) are being produced.

There are a lot of folks following the campaign right now, which is awesome. In fact, there are over 500 of them. Combine those following but not yet pledged (420) with those who actually pledged (347) and the stage is set for the Nordlond Sagas to be my best campaign ever with over 750 backers. Both in terms of numbers and dollars if we got everyone!

The Nordlond Setting: Under Development

Here’s the quick-and-dirty of the four books under development. Check the main campaign page for some images and further details.

The Dragons of Rosgarth is  a quest adventure. The PCs have to do something that the jarls and their huskarls don’t have the wherewithal to do themselves (likely due to the issues over at Nordvorn). It details Jarngarðr, the “Iron Garden,” likely the most industrialized town in Nordlond. This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 64 pages.

Forest’s End takes place on a fairly in a relatively new settlement, detailed in the book, called Skogurenda: Forest’s End. The village described can serve as a useful adventuring location. It also contains at least three dungeons to delve, finally putting the dungeon in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG part of the setting! This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 80 pages.

Norðlondr Fólk provides several new racial templates, and expands on a few existing ones, to bring more setting-appropriate racial options to the setting. Half-elves, dwarves (dvergr), and proper elves get tweaked, a few new races are introduced, and a whole variety of half-breeds and hybrids get introduced with Norse-friendly flavor. Animal-inspired races such as crosses between humans and bears, wolves, ravens, and boars, plus various mixes of Aesir, Demon, Dragon, and Alfar blood with the ever frisky human population. This book is included with the basic campaign pledge. 16 pages.

Hand of Asgard is a character expansion book. It presents template modifications for each of the 12 gods detailed in Hall of Judgment and Nordvorn for Clerics, and about two dozen Holy Might powers flavored for them. These are available for Holy Warriors as well.  This book was added mid-campaign and is available as an add-on. Increase your pledge by $13 to get it in both Print and PDF. 16 pages.

The Nordlond Setting: Already Published

The Nordlond setting was established in two prior funding campaigns, and three books already exist. If you missed both of those, the Allar Sögurnar (all the electrons) and Allar Bækurnar (all the books) pledge levels let you catch up in one fell swoop, if that is your desire.

 

Hall of Judgment introduced Nordlond. It features a quest adventure, and includes several sample locations for other butt-kicking (Logiheimli and the nordalfar warrens), plus the titular hall. It contains the grappling concepts expanded in Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, enhanced survival rules, a bestiary of over 30 creatures, and pre-generated characters letting you get right into the game. Hall of Judgment established the use of the excellent Caverntown model of what to talk about in a city location. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 128 pages.

The Citadel at Norðvörn is like Caverntown, but more so. It details one city, two important towns, and several sample villages (plus a village generator). A relationship map covering four competing factions to forms a web, allowing the GM to instantly improv reactions to the PCs actions. Each faction has goals and relationships described in the book. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 128 pages.

Fantastic Dungeon Grappling tweaks and expands the concepts in Hall of Judgment, which themselves greatly refined the rules from GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling to enhance speed of play. It hits the actions needed to round out “these are the kinds of things you want do to with a grapple.” It also provides examples of new grappling magic spells, and a page of examples on how to adjudicate new grapple-centric moves that players or monsters might be clever enough to come up with. This book is available as a post-campaign add-on. 8 pages.

Schedule

As noted: the campaign ends this Saturday, October 12, at 10:30 pm Central Time. After that, here’s how I hope it goes down:

  • Oct 12: Kickstarter Campaign Ends
  • Halloween Week: Backerkit phase opens for surveys, shipping, and pre-orders
  • Mid-November: Backerkit “closes” and cards are charged[1]
  • End November: PDF review phase[2]
  • Mid-December: PDF feedback due
  • Before Xmas: PDFs sent out and final files sent to printer
  • End January: Printing
  • End February: Moving books through the world
  • End March: Arrival in-hand

[1] Backerkit won’t really CLOSE until the final printer files go out, so I know how many orders to place, and whether we get the offset print run at 300 physical copies ordered.

[2]The PDF review phase will see about 10% of the backers get preliminary files, probably without full art. These are chosen based on a combination of how much was pledged (total pledge amount, not pledge level) plus a random factor, so that the highest pledge levels get priority, but lower pledge levels are not locked out. This phase is IMPORTANT, and everyone who provides useful feedback receives credit in the book.

Support the Nordlond Sagas!

There’s a lot of great material in this campaign, and if you enjoyed the prior elements in the setting, you’ll like the new ones as well. Jump on board, and help make this Kickstarter – my eighth – the best yet. Stretch goals make the two adventure books even longer . . . and I know the authors have the material to cover them!

Glynn Seal does great work. He’s been my go-to cartographer for my last several books, and never gives me reason to doubt he will be The Guy for the next several.

Gushing aside, he did this image for my currently-in-Kickstarter “Nordlond Sagas” project. I love it.

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter funded, but is having one of the worst cases of the doldrums I’ve yet experienced. About $100 per day for the last 16 days. Fortunately, there are well over 400 folks following but not yet pledged, so there’s a lot of opportunity to hit the $29K stretch goal, and that’s between 145-150 pledges, so there’s still a good shot at that goal. The authors’ manuscripts are starting to come in in more-final form, and those extra pages are going to be needed!
  • The swords and shields from Nordvorn were completed and shipped, save for one where the backer asked me to wait since he won’t be in town. No problem there.
  • The card decks for Four Perilous Journeys have all arrived at the distributors. The die-cut counters shipped out to the UK last night, should arrive in a week or so. The printing of 4PJ was schedule to complete today, but with time differences to Latvia by the time I am at a computer, they’re gone for the evening. And it’s a weekend. I suspect we’ll be ready to parse up the shipment and get it going on Monday.

News for SJG

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Sept 13 to Oct 4, 2019”

user avatar

As I write this, the campaign has been active for exactly three weeks, and we have 12 days to go.

Daily Illuminator!

Today the Norðlond Sagas was featured on Steve Jackson Games’ Daily Illuminator. If you get a moment, re-sharing or commenting on the post – especially in venues off the forums – will help bring some needed attention and (hopefully) velocity to the campaign.

Map of Norðlond

Things have not been idle since I last posted an update. Glynn Seal has completed the map of Norðlond that is available as an add-on, and it unifies the various adventure locations geographically. The team had a good time naming the various larger towns and cities. I’m looking forward to using this particular map in books and as a stand-alone.

With that in mind, I’ve done a bit of digging on the map options, and wanted to pass this information on.

The heavy, 14-point map, UV-laminated for limited use with dry-erase markers is basically printed on business card stock. I’m going to ship these directly from my house, so that I can pack them in a rigid mailer and two plies of double-wall cardboard to keep it safe. Shipping in the USA is likely to be about $10 (it can’t go by media mail, and the packaging to keep it safe is expensive); rest-of-world is likely quite a bit more.

For those who want portability, for the same price of $15 I can offer a 100# paper map, 16×20″, which can be rolled up in a tube mailer. This is just a glossy poster format, no lamination or coating. There’s no price difference there, just paper stock. As always, shipping is a pass-through, I have no control over it, etc.

For international customers, the 12×18″ maps available through DriveThruRPG will be your best bet to have a larger map but still have shipping be affordable.

Editing

I have started in to editing pieces of Rosgarth, and to a lesser extent Forest’s End and Hand of Asgard. The work is coming in a chapter at a time, and I’m going over it and making adjustments to keep the world coherent, as well as acting as editor and keeping in mind flow, art, and all the things that go into making a set of books. This part of the “publisher” job is time consuming but also a great deal of fun, helping folks achieve their vision.

Funding

Right now, we’re hovering at around $20,000 and we’ve been, well, pretty flat – the last 11 days have been tough. Roughly $600 in cancelled pledges, and some of that is related to Kickstarter itself. I hope that these folks come back to us during the Backerkit phase, which avoids that interaction.

The good news is there are nearly 400 folks who are following the campaign but not yet pledged: that means that between actual and “latent” interest, there’s as much as $43K out there. We certainly won’t pull a Pokemon and catch it all, but there’s more than enough to surpass the $29K stretch goal, and all non-shipping funds collected in both Kickstarter and Backerkit will count towards that goal. I want more pages in the book(s) as much as y’all do. The authors, of course, will want more room for more material in their books! (Plus, they get paid more as the backer count increases; my version of profit sharing. Their per-word rate goes up with backer count).

So while things have been quiet for the last week or so, there’s still nearly two full weeks in the campaign, we’ve long since funded, and there’s lots of potential to hit the big goals for offset print as well as longer books.

Gaming Ballistic on the Web

In case you’re looking for me, you can always find me here:

Just for Fun: Yrth?

Earlier today, someone pinged me on Discord and noted that they just bought Hall of Judgment, and while they really loved it, their current campaign is on Yrth, and so how would Nordlond fit?

My first suggestion was to plunk the continent on which Norðlond can be found elsewhere, simply not on the continent of Ytarria. The explicit “the Gods of the setting are real, walk the earth, and the creation ‘myth’ isn’t a myth at all” would have to be altered to fit the setting. I talk about variations on the cosmology of the setting in a blog post: Monotheism and Competing Divinities in Norðlond.

The other possibility is, well, those Nomad Lands are pretty far north. What is more, Ytarria is very big. I found this map online, which is the publicly available Ytarria map plus the continental USA and Alaska, added by Eric B Smith.

For those of you that know me, I’ve been living in Minnesota since about 2000. Norðlond is very deliberately sized to my home state, maybe a bit bigger, and the location of major cities in the setting might kinda sorta happen to correspond to county seats in Minnesota. But if Nordlond is roughly 90-100K square miles (it is), that means it can fit into the Nomad Lands about four times over. If your campaign isn’t already much involved there, you could probably drop Nordlond and a good part of the Dragongrounds into the Nomad Lands without even blinking.

Make of that what you will!

Over on the forums, a poster asked a question that probably seeks to tie the Norðlond setting in with real-world history. He has very specific goal in mind for his musings.

I’m not going to address that.

But the question of “hey, I want to introduce competing religions into this setting” is a close cousin to “I already have existing religions in my setting, but this part of the map over here would make a very handy viking-inspired realm.”

So here are three thoughts I have on the matter, which blend the two.

Delusion

Let’s get this one out of the way. I’m going to quote from a not-subtly-worded reminder in Hall of Judgment (p. 5):

The religion of Norðlond is one of worship and veneration for the pantheon (really an extended family) headed by The Allfather and his wife The Queen of the World. It is a truly polytheistic practice, and the worship of any one particular god indicates that one has an affinity with that deity’s realm or area of influence, or the deity’s demeanor and attitude towards life and conflict. It does not indicate a disavowal of the power or existence of the other gods. It is not considered polite (or wise) to speak ill of another’s affiliation. Doing so can result in a challenge to judicial combat as a matter of honor; extreme cases might invite the gods themselves to intervene.

Those that share a common affinity to a particular god gather together to form a Braeðralag, or Brotherhood, to share in the Guðrun: “God’s secret lore,” communicated by the gods to their followers through the clerics.

The worship of the Norðlond gods is a personal and immanent connection. The gods are real, occasionally walk the world, and converse with their followers and their clerics. To be an atheist in Norðlond is to be deluded, blind to the reality of the world. The brotherhoods exist to provide connection between those with a common interest in advancing the cause of the gods with which they feel an affinity.

I’ve highlighted a few things of particular relevance here.

Here’s another one, an excerpt from the upcoming Hand of Asgard (by Kevin Smyth), which I quote selectively to emphasize the point about how the Norðlondr behave in the face of such beings that physically walk the earth.

The divinities of Norðlond are a true pantheon; worship of one does not deny the existence of the others, and doing so is more than simply rude – it’s delusional. These mighty beings walk the Realm of Midgard and interact with the peoples and creatures there. As such, a cleric who serves several Aesir, or all of them collectively, is plausible. As such, the interpretation of some common disadvantages in the Adventurers’ templates needs clarification within the Norðlond setting.

Intolerance (All Other Religions) is rare, but still crops up from time to time; someone who worships the God of Law might have it in their head that all of the other gods have transgressed, or a devotee of the Trickster might feel the other Aesir have treated his patron unfairly. These sorts of fanatics tend to get the side-eye even from other members of their own order: if a priest of the Thunder God is badmouthing other Aesir, the Thunder God himself might just decide to get offended on his brethren’s behalf and smite the impious fool!

So that’s the thing. If the Allfather and the Aesir really did create the Nine Realms – and in the Norðlond/Etera setting (for those playing Dragon Heresy), they did – then any competing religions are going to have to deal with the fact that if they deny the existence of Skaði or Donnar (The Snow Queen and The God of Thunder), said gods might just show up and smack ’em down.

But what about clerics of other religions? Well, the simple answer is there aren’t any. 

This runs into worldbuilding and portability problems, and is rather less interesting in a polyglot fantasy world where  you might want to have fully functional cultures that serve as foils and counterpoints to each other (“oh, Vikings vs. Samurai, eh?” “Well . . . yeah.”). Even so: make no mistake: when the creation “myth” of a world is neither myth nor legend, but ‘yeah, this is how it actually happened, and the Creator(s) sit right over there, go have a chat’ then the concept of “religious skeptic” is likely not going to fly.

Manifestation

There’s an easy way around this. Or if not ‘easy,’ then at least plausible. It’s actually more direct in the Norðlond version of the setting, because rather than be given actual names – Woden, Donnar, Skaði, Heimdallr – the gods are presented as archetypes. The Allfather, The God of Storms, The Snow Queen, and The Lord of Warding. While “hey, Woden, over here!” isn’t quite as portable, “The Allfather” rather is. In many of the religions humanity practices, there’s an overarching chief deity who varies between supreme and first among equals. Zeus. Odin. Amun-Ra. Po. This is most explicit, I think, in Hinduism, where the supreme being is Brahman, who appears in different guises depending on what they’re doing at the time.

That basic Hindu concept of manifestation, which gains even more traction combined with “and the gods manifestations reflect the beliefs and the needs of the humans who attempt to give words to the divine concepts” allows a set of basic truths (there are Realms, in which there are holy or divine beings, who created the world(s) for Reasons) to be fairly universal, but reflected in many different ways.

This allows for different cultures and geographies to each have their own “pantheon” or even a monotheistic religion (“the One God,” “the God who is Many and One,” “The White God,” etc) while maintaining a consistent creation myth for the world or universe.

In truth, in order to eventually expand into other regions of the world in which Norðlond sits, as a world-builder, I am nearly forced to take this path.

One other possibility here is that the gods themselves are real, but given form by the Will of their worshipers. This provides for all sorts of mayhem, as if (say) the Goddess of Death gets a whole lot of followers, she will eventually be supremely powerful. This starts to look like actively proselytizing competing belief systems, which of course isn’t anything our modern world has in great supply (*cough sarcasm cough*). If you want to check out a source where some of that is referenced while still feeling the viking love: read Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword.

If you want to go all “There’s a War in Heaven,” this is probably the most self-consistent route to take. A strongly monotheistic belief could eventually “force” all of the disparate facets of a One-as-Many being into simply the One Being. If folks are worshiping only the Allfather, eventually not only will the Allfather subsume the other gods, he’ll sort of stop being the Allfather. Talk about being self-conflicted.

Invasion

One last possibility, which also has some truth in the Norðlond setting. The Nine Realms were created by the Asgardians to protect that creation from . . . something ELSE. In the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, these are the Elder Things. In Dungeons and Dragons, the Aberrations. They are outside creation, and if there’s a plan for the Nine Realms, they disagree with it. A lot.

Frequently, these beings are portrayed as Cthulhoid tentacled horrors, showing the origins of the type in Lovecraft. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, since it’s used to varying degrees of awesome in media from Monster Hunters, International to Hellboy to some versions of Aquaman. It’s a fact that “Squid Cults” are part of the canon in Norðlond, inherited from the parent Dungeon Fantasy RPG, which has Elder Things as one of the more interesting things to fight.

But what if the “squid” was a powerful entity from beyond the universe that wasn’t a tentacled horror. What if that being simply disagreed with the Asgardian purpose for the Nine Realms? Then, the new “squid cult” might be the “cult of the white god” and the magic and power flowing through the believers would be quite real. Or not: A new monotheistic religion where followers were granted Magic Resistance and could create No Mana Zones and were really enamored of technology instead of channeling divine power, as the new being put their stamp on the world in a very non-Asgardian way.

Parting Shot

As noted, the cosmology of Norðlond, and because it’ s a growing setting from a company that wants to do not just vikings, the broader world that it’s in, will take more than a few notes from the first two (Delusion and Manifestation) in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG version of the setting at least, and then the first paragraph from Invasion, as the guiding canon for worldbuilding. Since the Etera/Dragon Heresy version has Morevel (based on Macedonian Greece) and Inthriki (with history influenced by Kamakura-era Japan), I need something to allow proper development of those areas in ways that aren’t just silly.

But while the particular request of the original poster isn’t something that I’m going to explore, the underlying question of “how do I introduce a competing or parallel religious belief system or culture,” and the neighboring “but my campaign world already has gods and a cosmology, how can I fit Norðlond into it?” are valid questions. And not to put too fine a point on it, not only do they impact the game world, they impact my game company: A portable setting is more salable then a “you play my way or not at all!” version of such.

So: that’s three ways of looking at it. I’m sure there are more!

I’ll also note that, for example, dropping Nordlond into Cidri, where the cosmology is very much not the Gods are Real, but rather the Mnoren are top dogs and physics is their plaything, would require some different kinds of gyrations, since none of the Norðlond assumptions are really true!