Other Games Adventure in the Northlands

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
From October I will be running a fortnightly series of RPGs on Roll20 (or some such). Mondays, 19:45 to 22:15. I am starting with the classic Northlands Saga - Heroic Fantasy RPG (Black Hackish). I have close to a full band of heroes, but am putting this out to see if there is some interest.

Others to come include: Impulse Drive, Coriolis, Forbidden Lands, and a demo of Ironsworn in a gap or two.

The Northlands Saga


The Northlands are a realm of rugged frontiers on the very edge of the arctic wilderness where the men of the North contend against the horrors of the icy wastes with little and than sinew, iron, and their own mind’s worth. Here is a realm of gameplay for a classic Viking saga or adventures in the gritty north envisioned by Leiber or Howard. It is a land of epic sagas, savage creatures, and heroes of mythic proportions, and it is yours to play in.

You are in the household of one of the great Jarl’s of the Northlands: Jarl Olaf Henrikson. He is a man of power and honor, respected among his peers, carrying a reputation as a fierce warrior and wise leader, and ruler of the largest and wealthiest settlement in all the Northlands. Even a man of such stature, however, can find himself at the mercy of his wyrd and be truly desperate enough to try to cheat even fate if it be in his power.

The hall of the great Jarl is one of the most magnificent in the north. He is Jarl of Halfstead, greatest city of the Northlands. As members in service to his household or visitors who have wintered there but have no immediate plans for pursuing their wyrd, this is a place of both hope and fear. Hope that he assigns you a glorious task that allows you to prove your mettle, but tinged with fear of his wrath should you fail. Your jarl is a good man, strong and battle-tested, with many famed heroic deeds to his name. Most importantly, he is a ring-giver, one who is generous to those in his service who prove themselves deserving.

Jarl Olaf Henrikson is one of the most powerful men in the North. He is not a member of one of the great families such as the Gats or the Hrolfs, nor is he a resident of Storstrøm Vale where dwells the true old blood of the Northlander peoples. But he is nevertheless jarl of the most populace and cosmopolitan settlement in the Northlands and, as such, commands a great deal of respect and power. He is not even the ruler of Hordaland wherein his city of Halfstead lies, but even the køenig of Hordaland (the closest Northlands equivalent to a king) respects and listens to the words that Jarl Olaf speaks in the mead hall or at the Thing.

It is well know that Olaf Henrikson began his career as a sellsword in the Southlands, where he gained his reputation as a leader of men and as a generous ring-giver. He also amassed his fortune with plunder from his days of fighting for foreign lords before attaining command of his own ships and reaving against the settlements of those same lords. Upon returning to the North at the head of his own fleet of sixteen ships, he landed at Halfstead, at that time a stockaded port town known more for its surly jarl and acerbic residents than anything else, and put the place to the torch. Those residents who did not yield or flee were put to the sword, and a new banner raised over Halfstead — the boar and rings of Olaf Henrikson. That Køenig Ragi Steinson raised no hand against the newcomer brought forth more than a few suspicions as to whether or not the crafty ruler had not paid Olaf to raze Halfstead in the first place.

Regardless of any real or imagined collusion, the result was a port rebuilt by Henrikson into a large and prosperous settlement open to trade from abroad and a powerful jarl loyal to the køenig and with a fleet of ships at his command that only grew as his reputation spread.

Today, twenty years later, Jarl Olaf is a settled man raising a family, and Halfstead is a booming Northlands port largely left to its own devices. The local Thing makes most of the decision for the town, though Jarl Olaf does keep a hall within the city from where he holds court and feast twice a month in which to hear complaints and settle legal cases and give rings to the worthy. This also allows him to claim his sizable share of the duties collected from the many visiting merchant ships. The fleet of longships Jarl Olaf maintains is down to four, and these are more prone to patrolling the waters off the peninsula for raiders than going a-viking on their own. But many rightfully expect that should the need arise, the jarl could raise the call and gather a fleet of loyal ships twice as large as what he had before.

A self-made man, Jarl Olaf is enjoying his quiet semi-retirement despite even the recent turmoil for the crown of Hordaland. He remains loyal to Leif Ragison, the young køenig, but holds Halfstead carefully neutral in the current political machinations to keep the port open and prosperous. In his mind, a healthy Halfstead is good for all of Hordaland and the North, regardless of who rules the country. As such, he and his family spend most of their time at his personal hall of Silvermeade, which is situated on the coast halfway between Halfstead and Galvë.
Great stuff, though I am not much of a Roll20 player, despite working in I.T for a living. Maybe that is even why I like the old school in person meetups at the table due to too much time with computers at work. Ha ha ha!