Asgardian Pantheon Campaign Setting

Here's the deal - I'm working on a complete Campaign setting somewhat based around Norse Mythology. I'm mapping out a fictional cosmos and creating a history for the cosmos, going back 10,000 years to the creation of Midgard, and 1,000 years to the creation of the Human race. Religion plays a very large part in normal life. Many traditions of the various Races (this section will be updated as new Races are released for playtesting).

I'll provide a description of what I've been working on so far - feel free to read it if you like. Most of my work thus far has been establishing the Cosmos, and creating Cleric options for the Norse pantheon. I've got a rough draft of the map for Midgard done, but I've still got a lot of work to do on it, as well as mapping out the other 8 worlds in the cosmos, and creating a cosmological map of all of the worlds. All of this is still very much a work in progress. Considering it's being developed for an edition of D&D that is still in beta, don't expect a finished product until sometime after the new edition launches.

If anyone's seriously interested in contributing, feel free to contact me on these forums.

WOTC, if by some miracle this thread is seen and you decide to use any of my ideas, all I ask is a little credit

TL:DR - Spoiler contains a lot of details I've come up with so far for a campaing setting inspired by Norse mythology. Sharing it with the community to see what you guys think.

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There are 9 worlds in the known cosmos.
Asgard - Home of the Aesir, the Warrior Gods.
Vanaheim - Home of the Vanir, the peaceful Gods.
Helheim - Home of Hel and domain of the dead who die without honor. Land of Night.
Alfheim - Home of the Elves, Goblins, and the Fey.
Svartalfheim - Home of Dwarves and those who live in the ground.
Muspellheim - Land of Fire.
Niflheim - Land of Ice.
Jotunheim - Land of the Giants
Midgard - The Middle Realm, connected to all of the 9 realms.

Not all of the worlds are directly connected.
Asgard - Connected to Midgard, Vanaheim, Muspellheim, and Helheim.
Vanaheim - Connected to Midgard, Asgard, Vanaheim, and Helheim.
Helheim - Connected to Midgard, Asgard, Niflheim, and Vanaheim.
Alfheim - Connected to Midgard.
Svartalfheim - Connected to Midgard.
Muspellheim - Connected to Midgard, Vanaheim and Asgard
Niflheim - Connected to Midgard, Helheim, and Jotunheim
Jotunheim - Connected to Midgard.
Midgard - Connected to all worlds.

The Ether is the space around worlds. It does not act as an entrance to worlds, however - the only world open to entry from the Ether is Midgard. The Ether is described as the World-Tree Yggdrasil, who's parts are connected as parts of the tree. Yggdrasil has roots in Asgard, Jotunheim, and Helheim. Svartalfheim is just underneath the roots. Alfheim and Vanaheim are in the branches. Muspellheim and Niflheim are near the middle, on either side of Midgard.

Transport from one world to another is done by moving through pathways through the Ether. It is impossible to enter these pathways from the Ether. Since Midgard is the only world that may be freely entered from the Ether, Midgard is the only world where Teleportation spells work.

Humans and Halflings were born from the efforts of all of the gods, and given the world of Midgard. Other races have been present in their homeworlds since the creation of the world tree by Ymir, who enslaved all of creation until he was slain by Odin. From the remains of Ymir, the Aesir and Vanir created the world of Midgard. Since it was made from the creator of Yggdrasil, Midgard was connected to every other world, acting as a centerpoint for all of the cosmos. All races say praise to the Vanir and Aesir for freeing them from Ymir's tyranny, even the savage races.

Each of the worlds is host to a variety of entities, malignant, benevolent, and benign.
The "Outsider" creature type applies to creatures who do not call Midgard home since it's creation (Many creatures were given the opportunity to migrate to Midgard upon it's creation - those who did not are considered "outsiders" when they are present in midgard).
Abberations are things that spawned from the death of Ymir and can be found in every world. Monstrosities are creatures that were created by Ymir, and were once the things he used to enforce his rule.
Beasts are creatures that were native to various Worlds before Midgard, and came over on it's creation (they exist in multiple Worlds but are not classified as outsiders).
Undead are spawned with unholy energy from Helheim.
Demons and Devils were once soldiers and leaders in the armies of Ymir. They don't call any one plane their home.
Dragons were native to every World, but migrated to Midgard upon it's creation.
Dinosaurs do not exist outside of Alfheim.
Fey creatures come from Alfheim.
Elementals come from varius Elemental plains. Water is associated with Niflheim, Fire with Muspellheim, Earth with Svartalfheim, and Air with Vanaheim.
Oozes are native to all worlds.
Goblinoids, Orcs, Troglodytes and Gnolls were native to Alfheim and Svartalfheim before the creation of Midgard.
Dwarves, Gnomes, and Dark Elves were native to Svartalfheim before the creation of Midgard.
Elves were native to Alfheim before the creation of Midgard.
Halflings and Humans were created with Midgard.
Trolls and Hags were natives of Helheim that migrated to Midgard.
Harpies were once Valkyries in service to Odin, but were cast out of Asgard and made hideous by Odin as punishment for misleading the souls of those who die in Battle.
Fiendish and Celestial creatures can be found in all of the worlds. It simply reflects the nature of the creatures themselves.
Kobolds and Lizardfolk are the slaves of Dragons, and came with their masters to Midgard.
Naga and Yuan-Ti are servants of Loki. 
Phanatons and Rakasta were native to Alfheim, but migrated to Midgard.

That about covers it for now, when I get closer to completion information like this will be organized into PDF's. I'll be doing one dedicated to Cosmology with detailed descriptions of each world and it's native denizens, including maps of the worlds. Another will be a Bestiary of creatures unique to this setting. One will be dedicated to Midgard entirely, detailing the various areas and the major city-states. I'll aslo do one concerning the Pantheon, including rules for clerics that worship the various deities.
Shouldn't Vanaheim be connected to Alfheim, given that Freyr is the King of the Elves?
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Nice catch. I was planning on straying a bit here from mythological accuracy and making Frey's domain Alfheim. Then again, might not - it's still very much a work in progress.
Nice catch. I was planning on straying a bit here from mythological accuracy and making Frey's domain Alfheim. Then again, might not - it's still very much a work in progress.


Uh huh. Also, I'm pretty sure that you got the cosmology regarding Ymir wrong, as well; the world was fashioned from his corpse, so it's impossible for him to have ruled over it as a tyrant.
Come visit Dark Side of the Moon, the new home to the Nasuverse fandom!
I am not sure if I clarified it here, but Midgard was created when Ymir was killed. It's the newest of the worlds. There are varying accounts on the creation of Midgard, but a majority of them state that Midgard was created from the flesh of Ymir, and that the other realms existed before the death of Ymir.

Also, you're correcting Mythological references assuming that I am planning to stick 100% to Norse mythology, which would be near impossible since a lot of Norse mythology is scholarly assumption and there are many different opinions (for example, it's theorized that for a very long time, Tyr was the all-father, not Odin, and some people believe that the Germanic peoples never thought of Hel as a goddess, more of a personification of a place). I'm creating a concrete world based off of ideas and themes presented in what's known about Norse mythology, so I am taking a few creative liberties in an effort to create a multiverse that people can understand more easily.

As far as accuracy on the realms themselves - Some attest that Helheim was simply called Hel, and it was a part of niflheim. Again, the point isn't 100% accuracy here, that would be incredibly difficult to achieve considering how many different accounts of Norse mythology that there are - to this day, people are arguing over some VERY major details.
You have to not stick at 100%, because nobody knows what norse culture or mythology truely was. Specialists still struggle to know how women wore some of their more common vestments.

Christians have butchered the mythology and memory of this culture.
Of the things we know, there was no anthropomorphism concerning the Norse gods, like in greek or classical D&D pantheons, and elves were lesser divinities. So just with these two parameters, you can't turn Norse mythology into D&D without changing everything.
And it wasn't religion, it was shamanism, so there weren't any cult of gods. Vickings were even proud to claim that they submitted to no god.

Your vision can't be less accurate than another, as nobody can really say if the Norse cosmology was static. After all, mythologies are very dynamic as they are not written by an authority and the same myth has often more than one version, most being lost by not having been written.

Even if I personally do not agree at all with the religious vision, you shouldn't care too much about references, as most of them are flawed and D&D gods portfolio system cannot translate any real mythology complexity.
Just, for the love of god, make sure Thor is a ginger. Marvel has changed the look of Thor in popular culture. I'm so tired of people thinking he's blonde
My two copper.
Just, for the love of god, make sure Thor is a ginger. Marvel has changed the look of Thor in popular culture. I'm so tired of people thinking he's blonde




Make sure Ginger-Thor has his metal gloves too.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

This is really cool, kudos!  Norse mythology lends itself very well to D&D, both with regards to the gods themselves and the different realms.

I really like your take on how the different monsters fit into the cosmology and world, especially the story for harpies and aberrants.  The explanation for teleport spells is also really cool, and something that could come as a shock to those traveling to other realms without doing research first.

And Jenks is right: as much as I love Marvel's version of Thor, I have always pictured him with fiery red hair.  Side note: my favorite myth is the one where Loki disguises Thor as a lady to get his hammer back from a giant.  It is the classic trope of "Homely male puts on dress and suddenly becomes irresistable to otherwise intelligent men", still popular today.
What if anybody would rather anything like videogame "Age of Mythology", "God of War" or the rpg "Scion"?

I would like alternative pantheons from real world like the Oman pantheon (the Scarlett Brotherhood, my last AD&D book) or Mesopotamian mythos from Dragon Magazone 329.




 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Stuff like this excites me very much!  Keep up the great stuff and I hope to see it turn out wonderful!  I love Norse mythology (as a whole and what it has influenced), so naturally I'm interested.  

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I'm pleasantly surprised, I half expected a majority of the posts here to be "No, that's dumb, already been done, etc etc" but it seems as if at least a few people are interested in seeing it completed. After I make a bit more progress on it I'll work on getting a website for it up and running and I'll publish the details under a Creative Commons license.
First off, I love this idea, and im running a campaign based off modified Norse mythology starting tomorrow. One thing that you might like to consider explaining, though, is magic. Where is it sourced from, what is it, and so on. I think that magic, being farly common in most campaigns, should be linked to the setting.
But maybe I'm just weird... 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

 My Psion for Next

Updated 31/4/14

 

This will sound very contrived and self-serving, but I spent a lot of time designing this class - so it Psionics is your thing, please give it a quick read and your two cents.

Cheers.

Kobold Quartertly has a setting like this for pathfinder and 4e called Midgard u may want to look at. It is pretty neat.
Just, for the love of god, make sure Thor is a ginger. Marvel has changed the look of Thor in popular culture. I'm so tired of people thinking he's blonde




Make sure Ginger-Thor has his metal gloves too.




And his belt.

Oh, and a beard, Thor has a big, red, beard!
As noted earlier, Norse spirituality isnt a “religion”. It is shamanism.

The Vikings emerge into history from the remote extremes of the North. Until then, these Scandinavians have little contact with the more organized cultures elsewhere in Europe. The spiritual sensibilities of the Norse peoples seem to still be prehistoric animism.

For the most part, the Scandinavians lack the polytheism of the more hierarchical, bureaucratic, cultures. They lack temples and priests. Sacred celebrations take place in homes, inviting neighbors to share a sacred meal. The main spiritual leaders appear to be the female shamans, the Vǫlva (plural Vǫlur). To understand what is going on, it helps to look at other animistic cultures, such as the neighboring Sami (who the Vikings called Finnar) who are still somewhat animistic today, also the Aborigines of Australia, and the Animists of Africa.

The main difference between animism and polytheism is: animistic spirituality is more horizontal and egalitarian, while polytheism is more vertical and hierarchical. Note the differences between their respective “sacrifices”. The animists personify the various phenomena of reality as neighboring spirits, who the animists invite to share a sacred meal. Animists are like “good neighbors”. By contrast, the polytheists personify the phenomena as a township government - with a monarchy and a courtly bureaucracy of officials who specialize in different tasks. The polytheists are less-so sharing a meal with a friend, and more-so paying taxes to a tyrant. Polytheists are like “obedient servants”.

Animists dont “worship”. Polytheists do.

That said. The spiritual worldviews in Scandinavia appear complex. South from Scandinavia, the Non-Norse Germanic peoples have maintained contact with the Roman Empire for centuries. The Angles and Saxons (from Denmark and Germany) probably adopted polytheistic sensibilities from the imperial influence of Rome. So in these cultures, the Anglo-Saxon “Ese” (cognate of Norse Æsir) probably are more like “gods” in the polytheistic sense.

Even in Scandinavia, certain township monarchies seem to develop corresponding polytheistic worldviews - particularly at Uppsala in Sweden. Here, the introduction of human sacrifices by a certain king within recent memory, evidences a clear departure from the egalitarian sensibilities of animism.

Adam of Bremen mentions a “temple” in Uppsala (Latin: in hoc templo). However, archeology fails to confirm the presence of a temple here, and archeologists suspect Adam of distorting his account according to his ideological agenda to Christianize Scandinavia. Possibly, this “temple” is simply the royal hall, which is the kings own home. So even in Uppsala, any polytheistic institutions remain nascent. The kings themselves perform the sacred customs as part of a family tradition. Animistic customs remain prominant, despite coexisting with specific polytheistic innovations.

Interestingly, Adam explains Þórr (Latin Thor) is the chief “god” in the local culture of Uppsala (construed as the Roman polytheistic concept: Latin deus). Freyr (Latin Fricco) and Óðinn (Latin Wodan) are at each side of Þórr. This claim rings true. Probably, Þórr is the most prominant nature spirit in Norse culture, while Freyr and Óðinn gain prominance as part of the sacred customs of specific royal clans. Rural communities remain vigorously animistic, remote from polytheistic incursions. Moreover, Adam describes Óðinn has a “war” god, specifically as the spirit who inspires the violence of war: “carries on war and imparts to humans strength against their enemies”. Indeed, the name Óðinn literally means “the fury” (óðr -inn). Óðinn is specifically the spirit of inspiration. As such, he associates with altered states of consciousness, both the rage of the Berserkar and the muse-like poetic inspiration of the Skáld. As such, the Skáld poets specifically invoke him for poetic inspiration, thus the Norse texts deriving from them overrepresent the importance of Óðinn. According to Adam, Þórr is specifically an “air” god. Strictly a spirit of good weather - and in this way, he helps farmers and fishers alike. Þórr isnt a war god. He protects the clan of Humanity from bad weather, by sending lightning bolts to kill the Jotnar who cause the bad weather. But he doesnt kill humans for the sake of Human wars. Óðinn does. Even later during Christianization, the Scandinavians who converted to Imperial Christianity didnt fear Þórr as a “god”, rather they simply feared the absence of good weather, more in the mindset of animistic relationships with nature spirits. Finally, Freyr is responsible for “peace and pleasure”, the good life. Adam also says a libation is offered to Freyr at a wedding.

Scandinavian spirituality is a network of overlapping animistic traditions. Each locale keeps its own unique heritage, with its own unique configuration of prominent nature spirits and popular local customs.
 
In Uppsala, this Yngling Dynasty traces their royal ancestry back to the nature spirit, Yngvi (from Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz, also called *Ingwi, of uncertain meaning). This Yngvi is more commonly known by the name, Freyr, literally meaning “lord”. This new name possibly evidences a shift toward polytheism, with the “lord” connoting an aristocracy, but it may retain the sense of a lord or lady of a large household of a powerful clan. In other words, this spirit is the head of a household who is enjoying the good life. The etymology of Freyr is complex, but the title “lord” probably derives from phrase “the lord of the friends of Yngvi”. Namely, Yngvi himself is the “lord of the friends of Yngvi”. Compare the Norse term Yngvinr (Yng- vinr), meaning “friend of Yngvi”, the term Ing-unar-freyr, deriving from “lord of the friends of Yngvi”, as well as the Old English term from the Beowulf poem, Fréa Ing-uina, meaning exactly “lord of the friends of Ingui”. The element Ing- is a short form of Ingui when occuring as an element in compound words. In other words, Yngvi is the ancestral guardian spirit of a particular tribal group, and in this sense its “lord” who enjoys the good life. From this tribe, other tribes and dynastic clans descend. Apparently, this Swedish Yngling Dynasty ultimately comes from Denmark, from the Ingwine Dynasty that emerges there centuries earlier. “Ing- wine” means “friends of Ingui”. In the 000s, (“zero hundreds”, the first century CE), the Roman writers Tacitus and Plinius mention them in Latin as “Ingvaeones”. This royal family spreads from Denmark to conquer neighboring regions, forming tribes, and founding monarchies elsewhere.

Similarly, in Norway, there are township monarchies whose dynasties claim descent from the Ynglings of Uppsala, thus from Yngvi Freyr, who the Norse count among the Vanir spirits. But there are also monarchies in Scandinavia whose dynasties claim different descent: from Óðinn among the Æsir spirits, from Alfr among Alfar spirits (Elves), and from Logi from the Risar among the Jǫtnar (Giants).

These “clans” of “nature spirits” (véttir) emerge within the aboriginal Norse animistic traditions:
• Vanir (“peace” spirits: sex and wealth, influence of beauty and status, also of delusion via seiðr magic)
• Æsir (originally, lifeforce spirits, associating world order)
• Alfar (sky spirits)
• Jǫtnar (both Risar mountain spirits who are beautiful and Þursar frost spirits who are possibly grotesque)
• Dvergar (land spirits)

The exact relationship between Æsir and Alfar remains obscure, and likewise between Jǫtnar and Dvergar. The Æsir-Alfar are pro-human and domestic: spirits of world-order. The Jǫtnar-Dvergar are anti-human and wild: spirits of chaos. Members of the Vanir, such as Njorðr and Yngvi, are ancient and known among other Germanic cultures, but the concept of the Vanir as a separate group seems a relatively recent development, unique to Norse culture. The clans of spirits dont imply a polytheistic hierarchy. Within animism, they are simply groupings of salient cosmic phenomena. Humanity, who is likewise one clan among these clans, must simply cope with all of them.

The Æsir are also known by the name “Guðir”. This is a cognate of the English term, “gods”, but in the Norse context, Guðir seems to more literally mean, “invoked ones”, in the sense of certain nature spirits who are helpful to world order, whose cooperation Humanity customarily invokes. Less so “gods” in the sense of supreme beings. The term “guð” probably means “invocatives”, spirits who are invoked - or alternatively means “libatives”, spirits who receive a libation, such as sacred pouring of ale, mead, or wine, to share the drink. In either case, it derives from a Proto-Indo-European verb, *gʰuto-, of similar meaning, either to invoke or to libate. While the Norse culture perceives a contrast between order versus chaos, these all remain egalitarian nature spirits, each with their respective personalities.

The name Æsir derives from the Proto-Indo-European word, *hénsus, meaning “engendering”, from the verb *hens-, meaning “to engender”, produce, and reproduce. Hence the association with the world order that is antithetical to chaos. Compare the Sanskrit term “lifeforce” (Ásu) in Hinduism. Probably, this concept of lifeforce, associates with the tradition about the spirit called Bórr, meaning “birther”, from who the Æsir themselves descend. The Æsir are spirits who are traditionally helpful to Humanity and who promote the continuity of life.

Certain members of the Vanir, are also counted among the Æsir, in the sense, they too are customarily “invoked”. These Vanir come to be understood as a part of an exchange of hostages to guarantee a peace treaty between the Vanir and the Æsir, and thereby they become members of the Æsir.

The clans are: Vanir, Æsir, Alfar, Jǫtnar, Dvergar, and Humanity (Menn), plus any of these that die then become members of a separate clan in the underworld Hel. While each clan seems distinct enough, an individual can belong to more than one clan: by means of intermarriage, parentage from different clans, adoption by a clan as a hostage, adoption as a sibling by the custom of “blood brother” (exchanging blood by cutting palms and shaking hands), or so on. In other words, clan indentity is identical to the Norse kinship system. For example, Loki belongs to several clans. As he personifies fire, he is commonly understood to be one of the wild Jǫtnar, traditionally hostile to Humanity. But he is also called an Alfr, possibly because his wife has parentage from the Alfar, judging by the related tradition concerning a human king called Logi. This association with the Alfar connotes the domestication of fire into the world order. Loki is also called an Æsir, because he became a blood brother of Óðinn, who found Loki useful in the inspired scheme of things. As one of the Æsir, Norse cultures probably “invoke” Loki, at least as part of the spiritualization of the fire of the hearth in the center of a Norse home, despite his wild trickster qualities. If he is identical with Logi, then Loki is also a member of the clan of Humanity, with at least one Norwegian dynasty claiming descent from him. All of this is part of indiginous Norse animism. The clan of Humans is in an egalitarian relationship with fellow clans.

The emergence of polytheism can be detected within the function of each “sacrifice” (blót), which usually refers to a traditional sacred meal, but unfortunately remains historically obscure. The annual human sacrifices at Uppsala are clearly an offering to a hierarchical superior, whose “clan” sotospeak is esteemed as more important than the clan of Humanity. However, human sacrifices to Yngvi-Freyr seem unusual, remembered as an innovation by a specific king, and unknown outside of Uppsala. Elsewhere sacrifices to Freyr typically involve a horse or a boar, and seem part of an animistic meal held in honor of Freyr. The Vǫlur who honor Freyja, the sister of Freyr, are explicitly animistic shamans. Óðinn also associates with human sacrifices. But dedicating a wartime enemy who would be killed anyway isnt necessarily the same thing as “sacrificing” to a god. Caution is necessary when reconstructing the purpose of the killing, whether to a spirit of inspiration or to a supreme deity, and each locale needs to be considered separately. Óðinn does associate with royal institutions, so plausibly at least some killings are concepted polytheistically.

In sum, Norse spiritualty is complex. Essentially, Norse cultures are animistists with remote communities who transmit local customs. However, polytheistic sensibilities seem to emerge, at least partially, in specific locales where monarchies emerge, at least in Uppsala Sweden. Because Norse texts derive from the poetic tradition of the Skald, and the Skald often accompany the royal courts, the texts themselves can possibly convey polytheistic traditions that simply dont exist in rural communities. (Also the Skald texts exaggerate the prominence of the animistic spirit of inspiration, Óðinn.) Finally, it is Christians - mainly one man, Snorri Sturluson - who preserve the Skald traditions in writing. The ideology of Imperial Christianity crystalizes as the antithesis of the advanced polytheistic cultures of the Mideast, Greece, and Rome. These cultures very much have “gods”, and therefore, Christian traditions tend to interpret the animistic spirits of the Norse as “gods”, even when the Norse themselves dont.
Everything about the poster above me sums up why it's impossible to be 100% accurate to norse mythology if you're trying to organize it into game rules that players can easily understand. Very informative post though  
I like what you've done. As the others have said you can't be spot on to norse mythology and please everyone.

> Elementals come from varius Elemental plains. Water is associated with Niflheim, Fire with Muspellheim, Earth with Svartalfheim, and Air with Vanaheim.
- Does this mean there are good, neutral and evil elementals/genies acting as agents between the realms? covert or overt war?

> Niflheim - Connected to Midgard, Helheim, and Jotunheim.
- Does this mean there are Giant necromancers with undead minions? or even Giant sized undead?

> Dinosaurs do not exist outside of Alfheim.
- I think they would fit into swamp regions of Muspelheim or forest regions of Jotunheim fine. Giants have to eat something after all.

> Fiendish and Celestial creatures can be found in all of the worlds. It simply reflects the nature of the creatures themselves.
- i'd leave both out, still LOTS of beasties with various goals and methods without these chaps.

You could use runes/elder futhark instead of cards, do a custom version of Deck of Many Things.

I'd recommend using alot of coastal locations to help the style.

Nordic poems - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetic_Edda
English-Norse dictionary - www.yorku.ca/inpar/language/English-Old_...
Scandanavian Names - www.behindthename.com/names/usage/scandi...

Norse Stuff :
Novels : American Gods (Neil Gaiman), Lankhmar by Fritz Lieber has alot of norse themes.
Computer Games : Sacred and Loki.
Movies : Pathfinder and 13th Warrior.

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.



en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goði

A goði or gothi (plural goðar) is the Old Norse term for a priest and chieftain. Gyðja signifies a priestess.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiðr


Seiðr (which is sometimes anglicized as seidhrseidhseidrseithr, or seith) is an Old Norse term for a type of sorcery which was practiced in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age.


Seiðr's practitioners were of both genders, although females are more widely attested, with such sorceresses being variously known as vǫlurseiðkonurand vísendakona. There were also accounts of male practitioners, known as seiðmenn, but in practicing magic they brought a social taboo, known asergi, onto themselves, and were sometimes persecuted as a result. In many cases these magical practitioners would have had assistants to aid them in their rituals.


"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Kobold Quartertly has a setting like this for pathfinder and 4e called Midgard u may want to look at. It is pretty neat.


Aye, Midgard is a really cool cross between Norse style and a cool Russian style backdrop. 
My two copper.
@BlakeRyan - I like the idea of Dinosaurs in Jotunheim instead of Alfheim, honestly - giants belong with giant creatures. Thanks for that!

As far as "coastal" areas - A majority of trade on the continent of Midgard occurs via either river or sea routes. The largest Human city, Odinsveld, is actually located on a very, very large lake. Travel by ship is the most common form, with overland routes being used much less frequently due to the presence of things such as nomadic Orc tribes and the like.

Guys, please keep throwing ideas at me, this setting won't be fully fleshed out for another few months but I could definitely use some more creative input  


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goði

A goði or gothi (plural goðar) is the Old Norse term for a priest and chieftain. Gyðja signifies a priestess.

The term goði doesnt refer to a polytheistic “priest”, per se.

Notice, in the Norse context, the title means someone who is both “chieftain” and “priest”. In other words, this is just a normal chieftain. There are no priests.

The title goði is unique to Iceland, so has little to do with any broader Norse customs. When the first clan chieftains settled Iceland, they found it uninhabited, and built a community center there. This is the Hof. The chieftains founded the community center as a solemn sacred act (possibly under the influence of Celtic Christian churches), and consecrated this community building as sacred. Hence the sense of the sacred Hof being a “temple” sotospeak. But normally, the word Hof simply refers to the royal hall of a kings own home. The Iceland settlers lacked a king, but built a town-hall, the Hof, as the location of the town-hall meetings of the local government, the Þingi. As the enactements of government law and the adjudications of trials are sacred events, the chieftains who preside over the Þingi took on the title of goði. Thus the title goði (hof-goði) became synonymous with the title “chieftain” (hofðingi). Eventually, new goðar founded new communities elsewhere, and a national parliment emerged, called the Alþingi, which assempled all the local town-meetings together, each year.

It specifically refers to the chieftain who convenes the Icelandic parliment, the Alþingi.

The term guð, literally means an “invoked” spirit. But the term goði that derives from it means “invoker”, the one who invokes these spirits - specifically to solemnly convene a town-meeting or national parliment.

The use of this term, goði, as political title confirms the aboriginal Norse heritage has no priests.



The feminine term gyðja corresponds to a hypothetical masculine gyði, which differs from the meaning of goði. The gyði or gyðja refers moreso to the spirit invoked, than the invoker. In other words, the animistic nature spirit (véttr). It is a rare word occuring only once in an archeological runic inscription. As feminine, it seems a synonym of the wellknown Norse concept of the “dís”, which is moreorless a synonym of the valkyrja. More precisely, the term “valkyrja” (chooser of the slain) is a poetic kenning for a “dís”.

So again, there are no “priests” or “priestesses”, per se.


 
The closest Norse culture comes to a formally dedicated spiritual leader, is the shaman, who is female: the Vǫlva. She engages prophecy (spá) and mind-magic (seiðr), as well as sensing and interacting with the nature spirits generally. She travels from town to town in a sacred wagon, and meets the spiritual needs of those families who invite her into their homes for a sacred meal.