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Moving to Midgard: Off the Beaten Path

Moving to Midgard: Off the Beaten Path

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 in the roleplaying world in 2023, many GMs and players are looking for alternatives to the world’s first roleplaying game.

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 overlap with campaign settings you might already be using—your players will never know you stole it from Migard!

Past articles focused on the Free City of Zobeck, the Crossroads, and the major nations that form the heart of the setting. But there’s still so much more!

The Surviving Magocracy of Allain

Four centuries ago, the lands west of the Arbonesse Forest were ruled by nine separate magocracies. Each was formed from the remains of the elven empire of Caelmarath. The arcane rulers warped ley lines and employed void magic in skirmishes over the empire’s remains.

Skirmishes eventually led to open war, and eventually each magocracy summoned dread walkers, alien monstrosities that corrupted the land. They were eventually stopped using potent chronomacy, but by then, most of the land had become the chaotic wasteland known as the Wasted West.

Only the Magocracy of Allain survived. Most of its knowledge of the magical arts are housed in its capital city, Bemmea. This circular city of towers sits on a narrow peninsula, and visitors without talent or a defined arcane purpose are strongly discouraged.

The city is best known for its Academies Arcana, schools where serious pupils of the arcane arts hone their magecraft before they depart to serve Midgard’s courts or delve dark dungeons. Many schools have libraries of tomes saved from the ruins of Caelmarath and ancient Ankeshel. Should one need to learn something arcane, the mages of Bemmea are an excellent first stop.

  • In Dragonlance, the Towers of High Sorcery serve a similar function as Bemmean libraries. Many Academies Arcana may impose trials upon their students that are similar to the Test of High Sorcery taken by Raistlin Majere and other Krynn mages.
  • In Eberron, the University of Wynarn in Aundair and Morgrave University in Sharn are similar arcane institutions of magical study.
  • The Strixhaven setting could easily be dropped into Bemmea as a council-run Academy Arcane.
  • You might use the Feather Tower, the floating Bemmean temple-library, as the main location for the adventures in Candlekeep Mysteries.

In addition, to create your own Academy Arcana in Bemmea, check out the Deeper Magic series on this blog from earlier this year.

The Despot of the Red Ruby Sea

The lands of the Ruby Despotate border those of Perunalia. The Despotate folk (known as the Rubeshi) are malevolent, despised by their neighbors. The threat lies not in their armies, but their fleet of magical ships bound to their captains—and their ruthless despot, the Glittering King Veltrin the Younger.

The magical Rubeshi slaving ships threaten not only their immediate neighbors but all nations along the Middle and Ruby Seas. These nightmare ships are magically empowered to terrorize their foes on land and sea, ensuring that Veltrin has a multitude of slaves to sell.

The most powerful of these vessels is Veltrin’s own, the Golden Bird. At the prow is a horrific demon named Yarochort, bound by rusty chains and (allegedly) the fell magic of the Master of Demon Mountain. At sea, Veltrin releases the demon with a single word, letting Yarochort release aggression on the Glittering King’s foes.

Woe unto those who consider invading the Ruby Despotate. By making numerous foul sacrifices to the White Goddess, Veltrin infuses his thralls with strength capable of repelling even draconic hordes. This “Ritual of Ravening” raises a mighty army that last but a month or two — long enough to repel invaders, but too short to conquer.

  • In Greyhawk, the lands of the Empire of Iuz are highly analogous to the Despotate—even if Old Wicked Iuz has much larger holdings.
  • While the Border Kingdoms in Faerun lack a singular ruler, the region’s rising and falling nobles may have similar goals and fears as the Despotate’s captains.
  • The Out of the Abyss hardback adventure module can be adapted for PCs to begin enslaved by the Despotate, and they must escape.

The Forest Cities of Niemheim

Gnomes live in the rarely visited towns and villages within the Wormwood Forest. Those foolish enough to visit rarely return.

Two hundred years ago, the gnomes of Niemheim were simple forest dwellers, allied with the Krakovar people. When their prince betrayed an oath of service to Baba Yaga, she began hunting the gnomes from her poultry-legged hut.

A devil lord of the Eleven Hells approached the gnome king with a promise to protect his people while in the Wormwood. In exchange, the gnomes needed to provide the devil with a regular supply of blood sacrifices and souls. This offer was reluctantly accepted in the face of certain extinction.

Now, the gnomes hide from Baba Yaga behind the hellish boughs of the Wormwood Forest, providing enough sacrifices to their fiendish protectors while working on an “Offering Bowl” to appease the witch.

If the forest doesn’t kill you, the gnomes will.

The gnomes of the Wormwood answer a question many settings fail to explain: “Why do gnomes matter?” Frequently, gnomes are almost interchangeable with halflings and don’t stand apart enough to warrant their inclusion. Not so in Midgard. some other gnome distinctions across settings:

  • In Dragonlance, the tinker gnomes provide technology and steampunk to an otherwise standard fantasy setting.
  • In Eberron, the dragonmarked House Sivis controls the communication through the setting.

What’s Next?

Next time, we’ll look at the wonder and danger found in Midgard at the literal edge of the world.

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!

About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

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