I’ve just finished the audiobook of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. It’s excellent. I know the stories already, but his method of telling is a joy.

There are three tiny elements of his telling  which struck me as novel plot hooks for Ars Magica.

The Chains of Fenrir

When Fenrir, the great wolf who will consume the Sun and Moon, is first bound, he bursts his chains.  They are made of a mixture of meteoric iron, terrestrial iron, and dark faerie magic. Pieces of these chains are embedded in the sides of mountains throughout the Earth.

Meteoric iron may have some immunity to Hermetic magic.  Even if it does not, a giant chunk of shattered chain might have Terram, Rego or Perdo vis. Those making chains as magic items might prefer these fetters: but those making items to escape imprisonment may also find it mythically resonant. Are wolves, or werewolves, drawn to the fetters which Fenrir broke? Do they allow transformations out of season? Are they sacred to the shapeshifters whom
Bjornaer betrayed?

The Weapons of Thor

The gods judge a competition to see which of the gifts of the dwarves is greatest, and Thor is offered Mjolnir. One of his hammer’s powers is that it flies back to his hand when bidden. Gaiman notes this is highly desired by Thor, because he has a tendency to lose his temper, throw his weapons, and then lose them. So: Thor’s left the weapons of the gods lying around.

Can the players find one of Thor’s discards?

Can they make magic items which allow a person to be strong enough to wield it?

Is there any advantage in having more than one of these items? 

Do the people who have these weapons seek each other out to do battle?

Can the battles wake the creatures of Norse myth?

Is finding one of these items a Mystery initiation? The religious symbol of Thor’s followers is, after all, his hammer.

Do the giants have these weapons, and what are they planning to do with them?

Sif’s hair : gold elemental

After Loki destroys Sif’s hair, Thor threatens to torture him daily unless he fixes everything. Sif is given hair made of living gold that never stops growing. Living, pure metal is an elemental. If it never stops growing, then it must, these many centuries later, be huge. If someone seeks the Norse gods, and disturbs the place where Sif sleeps, might her hair flow out into the world, and kill unbelievers?

Magic Might: 35 (Terram)

Characteristics: Cun 0, Per +-2, Pre 0, Com -2, Str +15, Sta +7, Dex +15, Qik +7

Size: +8

Confidence: 2 (6 points)

Up to 7 whips, each : Init +7, Attack +23*, Defense +23*, Damage +15
* Includes +1 for specialisation

Soak: +7

Wound Penalties: –1 (1–13), –3 (14–26), –5 (27–40), Incapacitated (41–53), Dead (54+)
Elementals are not living, thus they cannot suffer wounds. However, they can be damaged by separating some of their substance from their animating force. In practice, this works the same as inflicting wounds on a living creature, but each wound also reduces the elemental’s Might. Calculate wound ranges based on Size as usual. When a wound is inflicted, matter is separated from the elemental’s body, and it loses points from its Might Pool as well as applying a Wound Penalty.

Light Wound: one tenth of Magic Might
Medium Wound: one fifth of Magic Might
Heavy Wound: two fifths of Magic Might
Incapacitating Wound: four fifths of Magic Might
Lethal Wound: all of Magic Might.

Abilities: Brawl 6 (whip).

Body of Earth, 0 points, constant, Terram:
The elemental’s body is composed entirely of gold. Its ropy tentacles can move at walking pace.  Cutting and weapons can harm the creature, but bludgeoning and piercing weapons have little effect on its body, which ius essentially made of fine, flexible wires.
Tangle, 0 points, Init +7, Terram: the elemental whips and tangles opponents with its ropy appendages, requiring a normal melee attack. If the elemental is at least equal in Size to its opponent, a successful Tangle attack can pin them to the ground. The elemental adds its (Might/5) to its Grapple Strength to prevent victims escaping (ArM5, page 174).

Vis: 7 pawns, Terram

Thor’s hammer
Photo credit: mararie via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

One thought on “Three plot hooks inspired by Norse Mythology

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