For most of the past year, we've been posting Jörðgarð maps of the week here. These maps all come from the Jörðgarð campaign setting PDF books that we've been working on for the past 10 years. For those unfamiliar with us, our work is free, open gaming, open source material. The maps all are produced with Fractal Mapper 8 and can be downloaded in the native FM8 .fmp format, so that they can be modified to the user's heart's content.
This year, we'll be releasing several Jörðgarð books. The first of them, Urð's Heimskringla, was released today. The book, an Open Source Reference Document version and all of the FM8 maps from the book now are available for free download.
We aren't going to make any big announcements until after the GM's Guide and the Players Guide are released later this year. Until then, we'll post only on forums and mailing lists where we've announced the maps of the week. But now on to Urð's Heimskringla:
First a word of warning …
Commercial publishers can't afford to do this, but being a non-profit operation, we can. This first book from the Jörðgarð campaign setting will not be of interest to all gamers or even all game masters. We hope that our subsequent Jörðgarð products will find an echo in many segments of the tabletop role-playing gaming community. This first volume, however, is something of a specialty book.
We members of the Vintyri™ Project Group set out 10 years ago to develop a new campaign setting that incorporated elements of several of the world's great mythologies and that made it possible for game masters to add those that we left out. That isn't any great trick in and of itself. However, we soon discovered that it's a difficult task if one wishes to create an RPG campaign setting that accommodates Odin and the other Æsir deities of the Icelandic Eddas together with Väinämöinen, Lemminkäinen and Ilmarinen from the Finnish Kalevala.
That was only a beginning. We wanted them to be rooted in the same world with King Arthur, Merlin and Co., and we wanted them, in turn, to coexist with the Irish Túatha Dé Danaan, and we wanted the Sidhe to co-exist with the Slavic spirit worshippers. That wasn't the end of our desires. We also wanted this campaign setting to have space available where game masters can add their versions of any of the many other real world mythologies that we left out as well as new mythologies of their own invention. Above and beyond that, we wanted it all to make sense. That's part of the reason why it's taken us 10 years to release our first product.
In Bavaria, where the Jörðgarð campaign setting is being published, we call this kind of thing an egg-laying wooly milk pig (eierlegende Wollmilchsau). Fortunately, we think we've succeeded … more or less. Fortunately, most of the people who tested this product and other products that still are standing in line waiting to be released say they agree. We hope you do too.
To create this rather complex RPG setting, we discovered years ago (eight years ago, to be exact) that we needed what one might call a base document … a history that tells whence everything in the campaign setting came and why things in the campaign setting are as they are. Urð's Heimskringla is that base document. It's available to you now. But for many game masters who are interested in the Jörðgarð setting, it also is the least important book we'll release. Let's take a closer look at that thought.
What – if anything – can you do with this book?
As you might expect, there are many answers to that question, depending upon the kind of RPG campaign you run and/or prefer. Regardless of the answer that fits you and your campaign, this isn't the kind of book you're likely to use often during you gaming sessions. Think of it as a reference book with information that you might be able to use to bring color and depth into your campaign.
Some game masters absolutely hate official histories of campaign settings. If you belong in this category, the answer might be that you can't do anything at all with this book. Skip it. But please take a look at our forthcoming releases when they become available. They're the books that will have the meat-and-potatoes gaming material.
If official histories don't get your feathers up, we think you might be able to make use of the Heimskringla first and foremost when you're developing your own campaign material for the Jörð, as our world is called. The book gives you a look at the official legends and lore that you can use to build your own themes. And, of course, the Heimskringla will give you a good idea of the nature and flavor of the Jörð, as it will unfold in future Jörðgarð publications.
There also are those game masters who simply love fictional gaming world histories. If you're in that category, you can start reading! We hope you enjoy it!
Why is there an Open Source Reference Document?
We'll be releasing Open Source Reference Documents to accompany every Jörðgarð PDF book release. These reference documents should be useful both to game masters who are preparing material for their campaigns and to publishers who want to use our material in their publications, in the spirit of the Open Game License.
For more information and/or to download, go to: