100 Oddities for a Viking Encounter - Rolling One Up!

Clint Staples

Given that a lot of the Skirmisher Crew is working on the Ragnarok RPG at the moment, it is no surprise we have Vikings on the brain! So the release of 100 Oddities for a Viking Encounter, should come as no surprise! I just downloaded it and took another look through this book, which I had a hand in creating. I was again struck by all the COOL stuff in there (much of it not even created by ME!). So I decided to roll up an encounter according to the book and see what I got.

Here is my process:

I rolled randomly once on each table. That's right, there are multiple tables in this one. Not only do you get 100 Oddities, you also get 20 places, and 30 People/ Monsters.

SO: I roll 1d100, then 1d20, then 1d30. Yes, there are d30.

D100: Items: 32 - A strange stone that weighs almost nothing, has the appearance of volcanic glass, is almost completely transparent, and changes color when it is disturbed. Optionally, the characters
will witness it plummet from the sky and strike the earth! Legend Check: This is a paving stone from the Bifrost Bridge, knocked loose during a battle before the gates of Asgard. Its magical properties may be incalculable.

D20: Place: 12 - A lone dead tree crowns a barren hilltop, its branches drooping and leafless. On closer examination, the tree appears more and more humanoid in shape, its trunk bowed, shoulders slumped and "head" downcast. The action of the wind in its branches brings upon the
viewer the overwhelming feeling that the tree is moving of its own accord.

D30: People/ Monster: 06 - A raven that croaks from a nearby perch. Further investigation will reveal that one of its eyes is milky white.

 

Here is what I came up with as a description, tying the three elements together and written to be read aloud to a group of Heroes of the Ragnarok (for instance):

A lone dead tree, strangely suggestive of a giant humanoid form, crowns a barren hilltop. Its trunk sags, ts mantle of branches hangs dead and all but leafless, blowing and rattling in the the fitful wind like clattering bones. Yet the "head" of this tree is craned as if to gaze upon a large shard of black volcanic glass that rises from the loam like a headstone. The shard radiates black light and magic: raw and powerful, that washes over the tree, causing a transformation. The tree straightens, flexing branches once more filled with eldritch energy. Its head turns from the stone, to you, to the outline of a raven circling overhead. Its eyes gleaming green, the tree-man raises an "arm", allowing the raven to stoop and settle amid leaves that spring from previously barren twig-tips. Inclining its great head, it seems to listen to the low crukking of the bird - which locks you within the gaze of its scarred, white eye.

 

What can we do with this:

Well, just as with individual Oddities, we are presented with a number of questions:

  • What is the stone? Did it revive a dead "tree-man", or create one? Is the stone still magic?  Can it be used by mortals (like the heroes)?
  • What of the tree-man: Is it hostile? A potential ally? If it is as ancient as it appears, will it answer our questions about what we have just witnessed, or more generally? What will a newly revived, or brand new, treeman, filled with eldritch energy, do? And will it claim the shard?
  • What of the raven? Ravens are the creatures of Odin, AND Odi is one-eyed,AND a shapeshifter. Is this bird Odin? or one of his messengers? Did it do more than observe the rivivification (if that is what it was)? What did it say to the treeman? And what did the treeman say in response - as both gazed at the heroes?

But wait: there is more:

As presented, the stone is part of Bifrost Bridge. Is there a rainbow in the sky? Can giant figures be seen rampaging across it, hurling themselves at the mist-shrouded gates of Asgard? And can the heroes be of any help in the defense of Asgard (or perhaps the attack on it, if that is how your party of misanthropic murder-hobos rolls).

Closer to the earth: What will do the heroes do if the treeman hoists the magical stone on its shoulder and strides away with fell purpose, leaving them to wonder what the stone and the treeman might do? What will the heroes do if the raven addresses them, imparting some kernel of the answer to one or more of the questions posed above, or one of those voiced by the players? What if the raven croaks that the stones energy for revivication is waning,a nd they only have a short time to bring the body of their recently departed friend into range of its power? And, what payment will the raven, or Odin's familiar, or Odin himself, require for this information or the use of the stone's power?

As another option: Maybe the raven and the treeman depart, together or separately, leaving the glowing shard imbedded in the turf of the hillcrest. Can the heroes figure out what it is and what they can do with it? Do they learn that it is from Bifrost, and decide to return it? If SO, How? Or perhaps it is merely the first of many such stonefalls shaken loose under giant feet, and they are soon dodging to save their skins.

Anyway, that is what I rolled and came up with. Anybody else what to contribute some more? Maybe we can put together a book of Viking Oddity Events!