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 own campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration for your game, each Midgard Monday!
On Kobold Press’s social media last week, someone asked:
I recently purchased the Midgard Worldbook. Is anyone else having trouble getting started with the setting? The sheer volume of content feels like a lot!
I understood the poster’s perspective! Coming in at a hefty 460 pages, the Midgard Worldbook is packed with lore, locales, and adventure hooks.
When I started a Midgard campaign, I got overwhelmed with crafting content that fit the setting. Then when I began freelancing for Kobold Press, I needed to be on my game so my pitches matched established lore.
So I developed a process to take full advantage of all the book has to offer. Here are my secrets to approaching Midgard for the first time.
Step 1: Divide and Conquer
Midgard is a massive setting. Dozens of countries and hundreds of cities and adventure locales dot the map. If you break it down though, Midgard is ten mini-settings bordering each other.
Skim (don’t read) the first chapter, “History and Overview.” It provides critical information about the setting’s conceit, such as seven secrets of Midgard, ley lines, and gods and their masks. It also provides introductory information about the different regions of Midgard. Don’t try to absorb it all. Glancing through the words is fine.
Next, read the introduction to chapters 2–11. These introductions are short and sweet. Use them like a personality quiz. Tag yourself as a region.
- Are you interested in the struggle between brave peasants and their vampiric conquerors? Bone up on the aftermath of the recent invasion of Krakovar in Chapter 3.
- Are you excited by vast northern nations populated by dwarven vikings, trollkin raiders, and stoic bearfolk? Point your prow to Chapter 10, the Northlands.
- Are your players terrified by the prospect of fighting goblins in a chaos-infected badlands populated by great old ones frozen in time? Strike out into the Chapter 8, the Wasted West.
You can even rank the regions by your level of interest, giving you a roadmap to read through the Midgard Worldbook.
My players like to fight dragons of all sizes—from kobolds to drakes to ancient red wyrms. I’m going to look more closely at the Dragon Empire (Chapter 5).
Step 2: Deep Dive the Region
With a region of interest in mind, look closer at the lore and history. Because I don’t want to write in my physical copy, I print out the chapter from the PDF so I can highlight sentences and make notes in the margins. These can be cool story threads to explore further, new monsters I think would work well in this region, or ideas for characters I want to make.
Unlike certain realms better left forgotten, Midgard is painted with a broad brush. While some cities and regions have more detail than others (the Free City of Zobeck is thoroughly detailed), there’s plenty of room to write your own lore for your campaign.
Ultimately, the rubber hits the road when it’s time to run an adventure. For this, Kobold Press provides two great supports.
First, Kobold Press has a plethora of adventures available for purchase. You can search the new adventure tool by country and region to find any existing adventure for you to run or expand upon. (You can also search by character level and book source if those are more helpful.)
Second, the Midgard Worldbook contains a multitude of adventure hooks. Every few pages you can find a sidebar with enough inspiration to gin up an adventure or an arc. With a little inspiration, you can construct a whole campaign around a hook.
My players have no interest in being loyal citizens of the Dragon Empire. Instead, I want to introduce them to the draconocracy by having them pursue the thieves of a blood moon orb (a fabled magical item from Vault of Magic) that’s in the horde of a sand dragon wyrmling (see Tome of Beasts 3). As GM, this allows me to introduce the region to the players while providing an easy out if they don’t like its tone.
Step 3: Analyze the Overlap
Earlier, I said Midgard was a collection of mini-settings. However, they are all connected. Often, you need to review nearby regions. Examples include:
- Despite being separated by one of Midgard’s ancient murder forests, Krakovar’s queen in exile holds court in the Grand Duchy of Dornig.
- One of the Seven Cities, the Green Duchy of Verrayne borders the Wasted West and devotes many resources to repel incursions from its foes there.
- Due to their proximity, Perunalia and the Ruby Despotate are constantly at odds, raiding each other for resources.
Because my first boss fight will be with a sand dragon, I’m placing my first adventure locale near the Sarkland Desert. I need to brush up on Siwal, the City of Gardens, found in the Southlands (Chapter 6).
Rule 0: Remember to Have Fun
It’s easy to overlook an important fact: as a GM, you are also a player. You also need to have fun. Don’t stress about not memorizing the whole Midgard Worldbook. For your home campaign, you don’t have to know everything, and you can make things up on the fly. In this context, Midgard is as much your world as Wolfgang Baur’s—change it however you like to maximize your fun.
Midgard is waiting for you to stomp in and make it your own! Discover the wider world of Midgard today in the Midgard Worldbook!