Dev Diary 18 - World: Midgard
Summer is here and that means vacation time! Parts of our team are leaving the worlds of Runemaster to search for sun and warmth in the Swedish summer. Some have already found it, while others are awaiting their turn. To keep you in suspense over the summer, we will post dev diaries every other week up until August 25th and then we’ll return to our usual weekly schedule.
Now, enough about the beautiful weather that is trying to lure us out of our development caves. This dev diary will talk about one of Runemaster’s six worlds: Midgard. The Races of Midgard
Each of the worlds in Runemaster is shared by two races, and in Midgard you will find the Trolls and the Humans. They share the world grudgingly, and are not fond of each other. Though the Humans and Trolls share a common language, their cultures and traditions - including their beliefs and ruling systems - differ greatly.
The hardships of Midgard have made the Humans grow hardy and strong. They till and hunt for food, toil to build shelter and aspire to simply make the world a little bit better for their offspring. They are the dominant race of Midgard, beloved by the gods.
The Trolls move freely from place to place, between Midgard and Alfheim, bringing only the most necessary things with them. They are a traditionally nomadic race and build no permanent shelter. Though they have cattle and other herd animals, they do not farm or grow crops. This wandering lifestyle naturally puts them at odds with their human neighbors who mark borders, build walls and improve the land.
The Creation of the Worlds
Before any world existed, there was only the gaping abyss of Ginnungagap, a place of silence and darkness that lay between Muspelheim, the region of fire, and Nifelheim, the region of ice. Frost and fire from the two regions met in the middle and created the being Ymir, whose sweat turned into Giants. He nursed from the cow Audhumbla, who licked the salt from the ground and uncovered Buri, grandfather of Odin.
When Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve were old enough, they killed Ymir and constructed the worlds from the remains of his body. Ymir’s blood became the oceans, his skin and muscles the soil, his hair the vegetation, his brain the clouds and his skull the sky. When they were done, the gods took Asgard as their realm and had Midgard made from the great giant Ymir's eyebrows as a defense against the Giants that had taken residence in Jotunheim.
A great ocean surrounds Midgard and underneath its surface lies the great Jormungandr, the World Serpent, whose body encircles Midgard. It is said that Odin threw the serpent into the ocean when Loki presented his three monstrous children, including Jormungandr to the gods.
The world tree Yggdrasil unifies the nine worlds, with one root stretching down to Asgard, the realm of the Aesir; one to Jotunheim, realm of Giants; and the third to Nifelheim. Midgard lies in the middle, between Asgard and Jotunheim.
Midgard was a very empty place, little more than a buffer zone, but the gods decided to create the first two humans from two tree trunks so they could fill it. The first humans were named Ask and Embla and given Midgard as their realm. The origin of the Trolls is more obscure. Most Trolls are convinced that they are related to the Giants, which is something the Giants deny and do not wish to talk about.
The Climate and Creatures of Midgard
Of all the worlds, Midgard resembles Scandinavia the most, with its thick pine forests, marshes, mountains and fields. Though being a bit harsh in climate, it pales in comparison to the other worlds. Midgard is a very fertile world, and only Alfheim and Asgard are more prosperous. Crops grow in abundance, although the soil might be salted with rocks and roots. It is a struggle to keep crops and animals, but few, if any, humans risk starvation. The forests and plains are plentiful with berries, nuts and edible roots, the rivers teem with salmon and other fish. Hunters can live off their trade, as they have few competitors over the elks, rabbits and deer that live in Midgard. Only wolves and bears threaten their livelihood.
Midgard is home to your typical range of wildlife, from boars and wolves to stags and goats. Larger creatures of legends like dragons, wyrms and giant spiders are not an uncommon sight in Midgard, although they are more elusive than the ordinary animals.
In Runemaster, you can choose to start in Midgard with either of the two local races. Humans are allied to Thor and will seek to maintain the balance in this world, a balance that has served them well since the blessing of the Aesir have helped them flourish for centuries. Trolls, on the other hand, are loyal to Loki, and, like him, seek to upend the status quo that see them pushed to the margins of Midgard. Your choice - and you will always be able to choose - is whether to fight Loki and stop him from bringing about Ragnarök, or go against Thor and stability, to help birth a new world for all