This article explains the details of Hökaland as a roleplaying campaign setting as well as details pertaining to roleplaying.
A great introdction to roleplaing (and DnD 5e in particular) can be found here.
I would be flattered if anyone would like to run a campaign in Hökaland (with or without me as player) and I will try to create material enabling this for other GMs, but at the moment I'm assuming you are reading this because you are going to play with me as GM in this setting or just curious as to how roleplaying in this setting or with me as GM is done.
If you accidentally came across this page, maybe check out what roleplaying actually is first.
Please also see the introduction article as an iontroduction to the world itself.
|CoS 2||2022-11-26||Curse of Strahd||Zeta||DnD 5e||Starting up|
|CoS 1||2022-09-06||Curse of Strahd||Epsilon||DnD 5e||Ongoing (10+ sessions)|
|Hökaland IPO||2015-01||Hökaland sandbox & lots||Gamma||DnD 5e||Inactive-ish >2018 (66 sessions)|
|Hökaland Escape||2022-03-29||Hunted/survival hexploration||Delta||Pathfinder 2e||Finished 2022-08-12 (5? sessions)|
|Hökaland PF2||2021-03-14||One murder investigation; to test PF2||Delta||Pathfinder 2e||Finished 2022-03-29 (14 sessions)|
|Hökaland England||2015||Intrigue/adventure||Alpha||Pathfinder||Inactive, died (1 session)|
|Hökaland Uppsala||2014||N/A||Beta||N/A||Inactive, died before session 1|
|Capitoleum one-off||2014||Detective work||Alpha + Ben||DnD 3.5||Finished (1 session)|
|Coin & Blood||2013||Mercenary management & mass warfare||Alpha||DnD 3.5||Inactive, died (2 sessions)|
- Zeta - Masen, Tobias, Staffan, Darío
- Epsilon - Engh, Julle, Staffan, Jaroslav, Jonas
- Delta - Engh, Julle, Staffan
- Gamma - Engh, Gabriel, Julle, Lars-Åke, Masen, Staffan (ex: Heather, Petteri)
- Beta - Cancelled - Uppsala BORK-associated players
- Alpha - Dan, Dushyant, Gordy, Joe, Phil
At present I use Pathfinder 2nd Edition as the roleplaying system for new campaigns in Hökaland. In the past I have used (/use) DnD 3.5 and PF1. I have used a lot of house rules to make it fit the setting as I haven't had the energy to learn a more "gritty" system, but for now, I have discontinued the use of most house rules or I am in the process of discontinuing them.
This is a shorter roleplayer-version of the introduction.
The world is set in a Euro-Medieval-esque world sharing many traits with times in our own past. What may differ in this world compared to some fantasy worlds is that life isn't necessarily nice and certainly not fair for most people. In truth, this is actually something the world shares more with our own past rather than many fantasy worlds. One of the biggest differences between Hökaland and our world is that, though rare, magic does exist as does gods. The impact of magic and gods isn't vastly different from that of Medieval times: i.e., it doesn't have much of an impact and it's hard to know the difference between someone who is a real mystic from someone who pretends to be (or thinks they are). Sure, some clerical staff CAN cure people but people don't really understand the difference since they all suffer from strong cognitive biases and there is no way, system or culture of figuring out thinsg empirically.
The playable world of Hökaland is in a relatively small area called the Midrealms, where a large portion of the inhabitants live. It's best suited because it's the most densely populated and has a lively political and intricate life with a lot of armed conflict, much of which is meddled by someone in Capitoleum, the gigantic trading city (former imperial seat). This does not mean that characters need to originate from the Midrealms, but adventuring will probably take place there.
The names comes from that the word "Kingdom" and "Realm" is used interchangably in this culture, so all the realms in the "mid" are part of the greater area, the "Midrealms". Rarely the term "the Midrealm" is used; it's mostly used to describve the groupings.
On the map, the realms are as follows:
- Green = Northrealms
- Turquise = Elven lands (Lofty Peaks)
- Blue = Midrealms (note: retcons from 2021 means the western part of Midrealms is actually a separate are from Midrealms)
- Orange = Southrealms
Each greater area (like "Midrealm") contains a several Kingdoms, each lead by a particular Royal noble house, which in turn is supported by an even larger number of Duke houses in charge of counties which in turn is in charge of a large number of other Lordly houses in charge of provinces (both Royal and Duke houses usually have a local province as well as "home counties" or "home provinces".). It is a time where there are no large empires, but a lot of small conflicts and interdependencies. Many different factors has led to this situation and a number of interests like it this way, but it is not a stable political situation and there is a LOT of small scale skirmishes.
One of the main reasons this stays fairly stable is the vast riches of Capitoleum, which is lead by five of the most powerful houses, and while these houses and every one else vies for power over Capitoleum, Capitoleum itself stretches to gain power elsewhere. At the same time, it's in no other house's interest for another house to grow a lot stronger, especially the five controlling Capitoleum, so large scale conquest is beaten down hard with mutual effort and in-strife is incentivised by the situation itself.
These realms employ a form of bastard feudalism, which the Family Register keeps track of. One of the notable differences between European medieval times and the Catholic Church's similar position to the Register is that commoners can create peerage for themselves and become nobles through their own actions (usually through war, but though it has happened many times, very few can do it in reality).
Read more about the main factions.
Magic is feared by most, used by a few and employed by a very small population. This is a lore-issue more than a roleplaying character issue; YOUR character has no limits but in the world itself, it is very rare. The awesome gift of magic is also a curse and only Sickle certified magicians are allowed to use it. If you are certified, it can also limit your freedom quite drastically.
Note: You will have to employ a certain suspension of disbelief in regards to magic and how Pathfinder handles it. Magic IS rare and there are NO healing potions or wands anywhere, yet for the purposes of game balance you character can buy them like if it was a Wand & Potion Supermarket on most street corners and high level magic is still fairly rare to come by as long as you have a decent standing with the Sickle or some mystical magic item craftsman on some magical mountain top.
In the past I have tried to use house rules to make DnD/PF more compatible with the world (things like masterwork) but after 2021 I have simply dropped it and ask players to employ stronger suspension of disbelief instead.
Read more about magic users.
The religion of the lands is a polytheistic religion where the absolutely most dominant god is Rahn, the god of men. This follows from a complicated creation myth and famous prophets. Religiosity has gone up and down since then, and people are currently more religious than they have been in hundreds of years and the Church of Rahn enjoys a monopoly of the interpretation of the ancient texts (and its followers are slowly radicalising).
The church see magic users as a demonic corruption and preaches about its horrors, but since the mage guild has positioned itself so well, they can't push for making magic usage illegal. There is also a rumour that the church receives large subsidies for their activities by the guild to keep them from being too harsh on them...
In a practical sense, the gods DO exist, but very few people have actual connection to them. The church is run by dogma and organisation similar to the medieval Catholic church. People believe in gods and feel their prescence, just like in our world, it's just that a small select few ACTUALLY feel the literal prescence of gods. Being irreligious has consequences, but so would being a Cleric have, since you would be in ACTUAL contact with the gods and probably wouldn't agree with how the church operates.
Read more about the Gods of the world and about religion
The game is pretty open as to what character you would like to play, but just like in the real world, choices comes with consequences. Playing a half-orc may be fun in combat, but every other aspect of play will be very hard. Just consider how a particular character would be treated in early medieval Europe, and you have an idea of how character interaction would work. Even if you are not a half-orc, having red eyes that burn from within would probably also end your life pretty quickly.
This is a brief list of races as characters. Read more on each individual article. Also see races for specific rule details. This just says how the people are in general: Your character can be like everyone else or different.
- Silent types, work hard, fight fiercely, drink a lot in small parties. Humble, careful to boast or threaten. Always follows up threats or promises.
- Northern houses fight less frequently and a lot harder. Cooperate more. Well functioning legal systems.
- The northen realms are in some ways more stable than southern.
- Seen as backwards by Midrealm and Southrealm characters.
- Basically all "tribal" ("barbarian") characters come from some of the large uninhabited areas of the Northrealms.
- Greater variation between houses, but think well of themselves.
- Generally religious. Big drinking culture. A lot of strife and conflict. Some suffer from "Capitoleum thinking" (not being practical).
- Has very strict views on rape and abusing women. Generally ok legal systems. Varying degrees of administration.
- High temperaments. Very religious. Complex view of women (double standards). Less armed conflicts than Midrealm.
- Though loud, people are heartily friendly. Known for skills in romance and bedchamber (not always so...).
- Women known for being honourable (no sex before marriage) but wild in bed. Famous (and very illegal) brothels.
- Open-minded and less racist/xenophobic than others (but very religious).
- Extremely rare. Generally only socialise with nobles in academic pursuits or fine wine. Seen as "just cold" or snobby by many humans, but also seen with awe.
- Taller and "frailer" than humans. Dexterous and nimble.
- Live "for ever". Can sleep through a century, meditates through a winter.
- Unknown to humans, some elves tire of their lives and leave to pretend to be humans and spend their days in the roughest of taverns, hiding their heritage.
- Very rare. Seen as a just shorter, stockier humans (not midgets). These abnormal physical characteristics will generally not be noticed majorly.
- Dwarves are a form of nomadic people, ish, and never talk about their background or home. If pressed they usually pretend to just be humans, but very much dislike doing that.
- They like Northrealmers the most, doesn't mind Southrealmers, but doesn't like the climate. They like pub brawls and roughhousing.
- Dwarven craftsmen usually employ excellent workmanship and high prices. Dwarven magic is exceedingly hard to detect through arcane/divine means.
- Mixed reactions from people. Some get freaked out by adults of half size, some think they are midgets.
- Transient, travel a lot, some dislike that also. Reputation of stealing. Sometimes travels with Traveller merchants and tinkering craftsmen.
- Has centres in a few human cities with halfling-sized buildings. Welcoming, if you can sit with bent neck for long periods of time.
- There are no gnomes in this setting. Closest thing to it would be some fey kind.
- Many variants like tiefling or aasimar are welcome if it fits. Please check with GM. In all, only things that are thematically impassible are not OK.
It's important to know that most of the material in this wiki would not be known to individual character. See more about the Knowledge skill.
If you haven't created a roleplaying character before, I recommend using some guide, like this one:
(googled it, but it looks good)
Expectations vary between the players and the GM. The GM is the "god of gods", but only with the mandate of the players. For all extents and purposes, the GM works for the players (quite literally in some cases) and that's fair enough. I am generally very understanding about all sorts of situations or preferences and I have a number of things I expect of myself and that I presume players expect of a GM, but this is ulitmately judged by what people think of the sessions and if they deem them fun enough to attend to.
It has not been a major issue, but I wanted to write about what I feel are some reasonable things we all as group members should be able to expect from one another. In short it comes down to these things:
Read more here.