Game Day: Ragnarok Revisited

My “Lunchtime After Ragnarok” campaign has resumed after a too-long hiatus. We had to hit pause for a variety of reasons ranging from too-busy work schedules to the birth of a baby, but as summer wound down we down we finally got back to the table. As before we’re playing over lunch in Kenneth Hite’s The Day After Ragnarok campaign setting using the Savage Worlds rules. We usually get in 1-2 games a week, each lasting 45-60 minutes.

When last we saw our band of mercenaries they’d just killed the King of the Snakes, a massive 50′ snake that was worshipped by a village of religious zealots who’d somehow turned snake-handling into snake-worshipping. The fight saw one of their number, Bob Lee, killed by a cultist.

With the snake dead and the cult scattered, the surviving mercs Kjell Ulrikstaal and James Lee Wilson headed to the Gulf Coast with their dead companion, Bob Lee strapped to the back of their jeep. At the coast, Kjell — who had been proclaimed a “godborn” by attacking zombies a few days earlier — decided to try out his divine powers. He and his surviving friend James Lee Wilson created a rudimentary wooden boat, put Lee’s body on it, and pushed it out into the Gulf, lighting it on fire as they did so. Kjell evoked the Old Gods as he did so, asking that Lee be returned to life.

He got what he asked for. Or something close to it.

Back from the Dead

A low black ship appeared off the coast, backlit by the rising moon. As the boat drifted closer they discovered its hull wasn’t made of the expected steel; instead it seemed to be made of hundreds of thousands of finger nails. Several dead men walked out of the ocean led by a zombie in a Nazi uniform. The Nazi — who introduces himself as Fritz Winter — explains he is a servant of the great god Loki and that he will return Lee to the land of the living if Kjell embraces his destiny and join the offspring of Loki in bringing about Ragnarok.

Kjell looked to James, shrugged, and agreed. One of the dead men walked out of the surf. Disturbingly the man had no hair — no facial hair, no eyebrows, and not a single hair on his head. Similarly he had no finger nails. Worst yet, they recognized him … it was Bob Lee, not dead … but not quite alive either.

Since then things have taken an interesting turn. The mercs have learned of three mystic Norse weapons associated with Ragnarok – the sword Skymir, the axe Drolefinaer, and the spear Nidhoggbrak. Their new mission is to find these weapons and hopefully somehow use them to help bring about the stalled armageddon.

The crew’s first lead was for Drolefinaer, an axe whose legends associate it with trolls (whether its commanding or slaying the beasts is unknown). They learned that the axe had once been held in the armory of a French royal family, and it found its way to Louisiana prior to the Serpentfall. Further investigation revealed that monstrous humanoids had been raiding the Grand Isle off the Louisiana coast, destroying churches, pulverizing their bells, and carrying off victims.

They returned to New Galveston, hooked up with their old friend Jake Finnigan, and arranged transportation to Grand Isle in exchange for taking a job slaying an infestation of lampreymen on an oil rig (the self-same oil rig they’d rescued drillers from in our first adventure over a year ago). At Grand Isle they learned of the humanoid attacks and determined that the things sounded very much like trolls. They constructed their own metallic bell and headed out into the nearby bayou to hunt the creatures with the aid of a Cajun hunter named Andre de Breton

They rung the bell, successfully luring the trolls into the open and slaying them. They were disappointed to learn that the trolls did not have the axe with them, and decided to follow their backtrail. They did so, but soon found themselves lost in the mists. They were able to discover the trolls’ lair, which contained a few dead villagers carried off from Grand Isle as well as a handful of archaic gold and silver coins.

The mercenaries tried to find their way out of the mists only to venture deeper into the swamp. They eventually left it, emerging into a wooded area unlike any they’d encountered on the Gulf Coast. In fact, it reminded Kjell strongly of home. Before he could reflect on that though, the group were attacked by sword-wielding bandits, the leader of whom was wearing a troll skull as a helmet…

New Worlds, New Enemies

So … what’s going on here?

The heroes have accidentally ventured into a demiplane of sorts called Skalamyrr. It’s basically an echo of medieval Scandinavia, complete with dragons, trolls, and undead skeletons, and the current resting place of Drolefinaer. I got the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion two summers ago, and I was itching to use it. Besides, there was something about fighting dragons with machine guns that really appealed to me.

I’m having a lot of fun pulling in obscure bits of Scandinavian lore (like the idea that trolls hate church bells); I think it helps play up the weirdness of the setting, and just how changed the world is after Serpentfall.

The current arc will likely wind down in a few months (we play over lunch so it’ll take us a while). After that, the players had mentioned they’d love to pull a train job of some kind, so I’ll see what they can find further inland from the coast. Things have taken on a more mystic edge recently, but it seems to be working well for the group (they too seem to look forward to getting into a gunfight with a dragon…

My hope is that our return from Skalamyrr will coincide with the resumption of Ragnarok content being published by Atomic Overmind. Back in August they updated the status of future products, including Figure Flats and the Memphis sourcebook as well as the resumption of the Serpent Scales supplements. So far nothing’s materialized, which isn’t surprising — it’s a small shop, and Ken Hite’s a busy man — but it’d be fantastic to be able to take the crew up to Memphis.

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