In 2011, Kobold Press set out on an epic quest to bring the world of Midgard to life, a world which originates from Dungeons & Dragons designer Wolfgang Bauer’s campaign. In 2016, Kobold Press returned to Midgard to bring it to 5th Edition, expanding the world with richer lore.
With many adventures and expansions backed through Kickstarter, it’s clear that the following for this deep, intriguing, and dark world is very strong. In a space that’s still dominated by big names like Dungeons & Dragons, many players have found that the Midgard Campaign Setting delivers something very different but in a format that is not only easy to get to grips with but also incredibly detailed and well-made.
The dark world of the Midgard Campaign Setting
Using your cunning, weaponry, and spells, the heroes of these adventures are tasked with fighting against the unruly darkness rising in all directions of this realm. Giants prepare for the end of the realm, vampire princes look to expand their dominion, goblins grow increasingly restless, and the World Serpent has begun to stir, creating a world of uncertainty and danger where only the light of hope and magic can shine in the darkness.
Rather than its setting being within the British Isles or France, as many fantasy role-playing games do, Midgard draws its inspiration from Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia, and areas of the Mediterranean through myths and folklore. The Midgard Campaign Setting immerses players in its setting, utilising folklore, mythology, and historical events to inspire the fantasy world. But it also takes you far beyond that of what our world has already scribed, introducing complete novelties and new intrigues to forge the Midgard landscape. The RPG is defined, however, by how far it delves into the darkness of the mythology and folklore from which it draws.
Midgard explores the lesser-seen side of serfdom, its crippling effects on serfs, and then further exhibits its horrors by making the landlords vampires that are true to Eastern European lore. These vampires aren’t your run of the mill sometimes scary, sometimes erotic beings that have been brought into modern pop-culture: this game shows the true extent to the terrors of having vampire overlords, which includes elements of implicit sexual violence. Slavery is also commonplace, but no less awful, in Midgard, as is the use of blood sacrifices, demonic worship, and dark rituals.
You can explore the Northlands where the giants are going to war to trigger the beginning of the end. To the west, goblins have been forced out of their ruins and scurry like a feral a plague onto the pilgrims of the Seven Cities while corrupt cultists make the wastelands their home. Elsewhere, the Glittering King’s demonic ships battle with the Dragon Empire for the Ruby Sea, a war of backstabbing, deceit, and skullduggery for succession is brewing among the elves, and the god Nethus has returned to raid the seas of Midgard. While the Dragon Empire begins to divide, vampire princes set out to conquer more land, bringing terror on the provinces which they seek to make their own.
Despite the many dark forces at work in the world, nothing is black and white, and there isn’t a clear-cut notion of good versus evil, which adds an extra layer of realism to the choices and quests in the high-fantasy setting.
The Midgard Campaign Setting is massive, finely tuned, and presents a unique and dark world that is as immersive as it is thought-provoking. Everything is so well designed that you can’t help but want to explore the whole realm and be the hero in the many struggles taking place across Midgard.