It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!
After the events of 2023, many GMs and players are looking for alternatives to the world’s first roleplaying game. You might already be familiar with the 5E-compatible products offered by Kobold Press, like the three Tomes of Beasts and the city-builder book, Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns. (Or the new Campaign Builder: Castles & Crowns now on Kickstarter!)
But did you know that Kobold Press has its own vibrant, diverse campaign setting, ready to be filled with heroic—dare I say valiant—tales and adventures? This series focuses on adventure locales in the Midgard Worldbook and potential overlap with campaign settings you might already be using.
Past articles focused on the Free City of Zobeck and the Crossroads region that forms the heart of Midgard. But there’s so much more to Midgard!
Political Intrigue in Dornig
These lands were first settled by the elves before their Great Retreat from Midgard nearly 500 years ago. Not all elves fled to the fey realms, though. The Last Elf of the Arbonesse, the Beloved Imperatrix Regia Moonthorn Kalthania-Reln vann Dornig stayed to rule Dornig.
The Imperatrix chose to spend the twilight of her life at the head of the Great Procession. Instead a set capital, her court moved between three different cities every three years.
Four years ago, the Imperatrix fell into a magical slumber. No cure has been found. Without a designated heir, the Great Procession ground to a halt in Reywald. Now, the power structure in the Duchy is unclear. The scions of the three Great Houses jostle for position in the event that the Imperatrix expires. Two true elves at court further complicate matters—including a possible granddaughter of the Imperatrix, Kalvora Moonsong.
Further to the east, Dornig lays claim to Courlandia and the Wild Ozku Hills. Such a claim seems tenuous at best, as the land is ruled by the Red Queen Zennalastra, an ancient flame dragon. Residents of Courlandia view the Red Queen as a benevolent tyrant. Her rule is far preferred to the vampires and diabolic gnomes to the south. The Red Queen has never visited Dornig proper, although her dragonkin emissaries are ever-present at the Great Procession.
- If you play in Greyhawk, you may find the political intrigue in Dornig similar to that of the Great Kingdom of Ahlissa.
- If you play in Eberron, you may find similarities on a smaller scale to the political intrigue between the Five Nations before, during, and after the Last War.
Seasonal War in the Septime Cities
Heading south from Dornig, we come to the boot-shaped peninsula of the Seven Cities (also called the Septime Cities). Here, numerous city-states have bickered and brawled for centuries. Such clashes are often over disputed land, although they may also concern avenging insults or soliciting the blessings of Mavros, god of war. Regardless of reason, each city-state’s regular soldiers, militias, and hired free companies muster after the winter snow melts, and fight throughout the end of the Season of War.
Occasionally, an outside threats convinces the Septime Cities to forget their skirmishes long enough to band under a banner of common interests, but these are short-lived.
- If you play in Eberron, the traditions and rules governing warfare between the Septime Cities and the free companies they hire are much like the dragonmarked House Deneith.
- If you play in Greyhawk, Perrenland is renowned for its pike-wielding militias, who often hire themselves out as mercenaries to surrounding nations.
Epic Tales in the Dragoncoils
A common theme among major nations is a lurking or imminent draconic threat.
East of the Seven Cities are the lands of the Mharoti, the Dragon Empire. This foreboding land is ruled by ancient dragons, who chose not to slumber on treasure hoards but to use their riches to conquer. Legions of scalyfolk, such as fellow wyverns, drakes, dragonborn, and kobolds, swear allegiance to eight dragons who rule the province.
Mharoti society is highly stratified. One’s standing is often limited to immutable properties like one’s heritage. Non-dragons, known as jambuka, are at the lowest level, with the scalyfolk granted increasing prominence up to the point of nobility.
Recognizing that nine dragons could never agree on rulership, their authority has been delegated to the Dread Sultan Ozmir al-Straghul. Viewed as a usurper by some for the manner in which he seized power from the former dread sultan, Ozmir uses the power of the purse to enforce social contract. (When that fails, the poisoned tip of an assassin’s blade ensures the silence of dissenters.)
Each dread sultan’s mandate to rule is based upon their ability to conquer new lands and drain them of resources. Ozmir’s legions have suffered losses at land and at sea. Soon, the Dread Sultan must achieve a great victory, lest he find his position usurped by another with the cunning to conquer.
Knowing this, the rest of Midgard plans for the next invasion of the Mharoti horde into their lands.
- If you play in Dragonlance around the War of the Lance, you might notice ample parallels between the draconian armies of Takhisis and the Mharoti.
- Did you know that Kobold-in-Chief himself, Mr. Wolgang Baur, wrote the Tyranny of Dragons adventures that kicked off 5E? Myself, I’ve adapted Hoard of the Dragon Queen as a Mharoti invasion of the Crossroads, and the blog has articles about the Rise of Tiamat.
- In Eberron, dragons tend to take a backseat due to their attentiveness to the Draconic Prophecy. If you’re looking to move to Midgard, perhaps one or more of the eight rulers of Mharoti leverage some draconic prophecy to determine when to take an active role in invading the rest of Midgard.
Next time, we’ll step off the beaten path and look at some especially dangerous locales in Midgard.
Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press.
Does a new setting feel like a big lift? Check out our intro article, Unpacking the Midgard Worldbook!