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Moving to Midgard: The Edge of the World

Moving to Midgard: The Edge of the World

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 Midgard!

Past articles focused on the Free City of Zobeck, the Crossroads, and the major nations that form the heart of the setting. Now we look to the edges of Midgard.

Frostbitten Adventures in the Northlands

North of Krakovar, Dornig and Courlandia lie the narrow seas called the Nieder Straits. Five finger shaped peninsulas that extend into the waters. The fairer folk call this country the Northlands.

A practical, independent people carve a living out of these beautiful shores. Frost and fire giants are the most notable residents, and their trollkin children are prevalent in these wintry lands. Human clans subsist during the warmer seasons, and bearfolk sell smoked fish and mead throughout the region. Rowdy reaver dwarves drink and carouse before setting forth in long boats to go viking in the softer lands to the south. Fey are ubiquitous here.

Northlanders value honor and reputation in combat, community, and business dealings. Breaches of honor demand justice, often settled in a ritual duel known as a holmganga. What holmgangas can’t fix are settled by feuds and outlawry.

Reaver dwarf settlements dot the coastline. Most notable is the city Stannasgard. Once renowned for its shipbuilding, the city struggles to rebuild after a mighty red dragon burned its docks. The isle of Skaldholm is a sanctuary for reaver bards and scholars. Tanserhall claims itself the birthplace of dwarves on Midgard, and their residents are pious and reclusive. Few dwarves see the Most Hallowed Hall; non-dwarves in Tanserhall work the mines until they escape or perish.

To the east, the bearfolk call the rolling hills and coastal plains of Björnrike home. Protected by hives of ferocious bees, the ursine tribes are ruled by Mesikämmen, the Bear King, from his court in Bjoernheim. A peninsula to the west, two elfmarked queens rule Huldramose, a remnant of an elven domain. Huldramose nurtures a sapling of the World Tree, a secret from the rest of Midgard.

The Northlands are full of foul creatures; many rule their own fiefdoms amid the wastes. The magical mountainous land of Jotunheim is filled with giants, ruled by jotun lords who plot to ascend once more as rightful rulers of Midgard. The Vargrike is a land ruled by the lupine—werewolves, worgs, and winter wolves. The mightiest is Wargaz the Cruel, high den mother of the wolf folk. The Vargrike is also home to the Trylleri humans and fey who have unlocked the secret of reversing lycanthropy’s curse.

Finally, in the harshest wilds of the Bleak Expanse live the worshippers, subjects, and thralls of Boreas, the North Wind. Towers hewn from blue ice dot the landscape, with white dragons and remorhazes prowling the tundra between them. One friendly face walks  the Bleak Expanse—Auvindri Against-the-Wind, a fire giant wizard is the sole bulwark against the fury of the North Wind.

  • In the Forgotten Realms, the Spine of the World Mountains and Icewind Dale are similar adventuring locales to the Northlands. GMs could easily place the Rime of the Frost Maiden adventure here by swapping Auril the Frost Maiden for Boreas the North Wind.
  • In Greyhawk, the frigid peaks of the Corusk Mountains are an excellent analog for the Northlands. The Suloise tribes living in the lands of the Ice, Snow, and Frost Barbarians are similar analogs for the reaver dwarves.
  • The schemes by the lords of Jotunheim may help add more plot, flavor and gravitas to the Storm King’s Thunder adventure.

Wasteland Tales in the Lost Magocracies

Mages ran amok summoning dread walkers to fight the Great Mage Wars. The survivors finally used chronomancy to restrain the dread walkers they unleashed. What’s left is a polluted, ruined dust bowl full of cultists, goblins, ghosts, and alien monstrosities. Adventurers who brave these wastes can find secrets lost by the foolish mages.

At the eastern edge of the Wasted West are the Goblin Wastes. The pollution of the Great Mage Wars drew the goblins out from the dark places of Midgard. Now, tribes populate the wasteland between Roatgard Forest and Verrayne, with many worshiping dread walkers as deities.

The Western Wilderness stretches from the outskirts of Allain to the shores of the Middle Sea. Ley lines within are warped. Magic is wild. Cultists and warped beings offer foul praise and fouler sacrifices to dread walkers, and lakes have only crimson and magenta waters.

To the southwest, the Haunted Land of the Giants within the Pytonne Mountains. The magocracies used foul enchantments to enslave the mighty giants of Andarre and Cassilon. These giants were foot soldiers for the mages, and they died in droves on the battlefield to ley-fueled spells. Precious few giants live there anymore, though many of the deceased returned as ghosts.

  • In Eberron, the Mournland was created from the corpse of Cyre, one of the Five Nations. The wild magic, living spells, and warped creatures should swap easily.
  • In Greyhawk, the Dry Steppes and the Sea of Dust were created by the Twin Cataclysms that ended the wars between the Old Baklunish and Suloise Empires.
  • In Forgoten Realms, the Goblin Marches between Cormyr and the Great Desert when Anauroch once was sub in easily.
  • Even if you’re not looking to move to Midgard, the adventures in Tales from the Wastes slot right in to these other settings!

The Swashbuckling High Seas around Barsella

Along the western edge of the Western Wastes is Barsella, the city at the edge of the world. Formerly a magocracy, Barsella has since transformed into a free city ruled by seafaring families. The city is a port of call for adventurers, launching ships north to Bemmea or east to the Wasted West and the Seven Cities. Yet more ships launch west to ports unknown. Those who return become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

  • In Faerun, the Moonshae Isles lie west of the fabled Sword Coast. While no island hosts a city the size of Barsella, the isles serve as a splendid jumping off point for adventure in the rest of the realms—just like Barsella.
  • In Greyhawk, the city of Westkeep in the Hold of the Sea Princes is a splendid analog for Barsella. This city happens to be located near the village of Saltmarsh, home base for the Ghosts of Saltmarsh (an adventure designed by Wolfgang Baur and regular Kobold Press writers Steve Winter and Jon Sawatsky—authors of Scarlet Citadel and Prepared! respectively).

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

3 thoughts on “Moving to Midgard: The Edge of the World”

  1. Thank you Ben for another great blog. Please keep the lore coming! Would love to see something maybe east in the Rothenian plains!

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