D&D 5E 2ThreadsMeet - What Norse-ish deities would you add to 5e... if copyright wasn't a thing?

Raduin711

Adventurer
I always thought the character of Hod/Hodur was interesting.

So in the story he is tricked by Loki to throw a dart of mistletoe (sometimes it is a spear or an arrow) at his brother Baldur, who happened to be invincible to everything but mistletoe.

It is also noted that Hodur is blind, and has sometimes been attributes opposite Baldur's; if Baldur is Summer, Hodur is Winter. Baldur is handsome, Hodur is ugly. BUT he isn't evil. In the story, the AEsir were making a game of throwing objects at Baldur to watch them fail to hurt him.

Yet, after all is said and done, and Baldur is dead, Hodur is punished for killing his brother by his brother Vali who was born for that express purpose.

So one thing about this story that kind of interests me is:

1. Why did Hodur throw the dart?
2. Was Hodur Guilty?
3. What was the lesson/values being taught?

Putting yourself in Hodur's shoes... I don't know for sure what the viking's attitudes were exactly toward the blind, but I don't imagine they were given the same level of respect as people today. Meanwhile, your brother is quite possibly the world's most popular person... resentment? is that possible? Imagine if your mother went around the universe and asked everything in the world not to hurt your brother, but nothing for you? But if everyone loved Baldur, that must have included Hodur as well. Naturally, being brothers and all.

And then afterwards all the gods are gathered around making a game of throwing things at Baldur and putting that invulnerability to the test. But Hodur, being blind, cannot participate. And then Loki shows up and says, "Here! Let me help you!" and you do. It must be nice to feel included... So is that it? Is this a story about peer pressure? "Would you throw stones at your brother just because everyone else was" has the same ring to it as "If everyone jumped off a cliff..."

And nobody could tell who had done it. Except for the timing, even Hodur himself might not be aware it was his dart that did it. But then Odin has a child with a giant named Rindir named Vali who was born for the express purpose of avenging Baldur. And so Vali kills Hodur, being only a day old.

So I think it's pretty clear the vikings thought Hodur was guilty of something- and the fact that it was Vali who decided who was guilty meant that the verdict was... like some cosmic form of justice, or maybe it was just lacking in sentiment, or bias? Or maybe Hodur's death was supposed to be an example of a miscarriage of justice, and Hodur was just another dead body laid at the feet of Loki, who orchestrated the whole thing.

So if we elevate him to godhood, what could we say he was the god of? Outsiders? Those unjustly punished? There are a number of ways you could spin Hodur that would make him an interesting addition to the pantheon.
 

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Raduin711

Adventurer
They are gods. Just as much as the Greek gods, and Egyptian gods are gods.
I haven't heard of the Norse Deities referred to as nature beings, but one way they do differ from the Greek deities is that they aren't actually the Gods "OF" anything. You might associate Thor with thunder and lightning, sure, but he isn't the God of Thunder and Lightning the same way that Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love. He's just Thor.

But for D&D we can pretend that they have portfolios like the Greek Gods.
 

Bitbrain

Glory to Ka!
Heh, I still have no idea what is going on with Vidar − Víðarr.

His name probably derives from Proto-Norse, *widugaizaz, and literally means the "wide spear":
*wida "wide" (víð) + *gaizaz, *gaiRaR, "spear" (geirr), where *widugaiRaR can result in víðgeirr but as a single name contracted to víð’arr.

Meanwhile, he is known for "silence" and persistence. Possibly relates to "wide" open space.

He has a single heavy foot, that can transfix the cosmic threat by Fenrir. And is the only one that can kill the wolf, Fenrir, thus save the world. In the sense of killing farm animals, the wolf often personifies wildness and destructiveness against order.

The concept of a nominal single "spear" probably relates to the narrative concept of a single "foot".

Viðarr is the offspring of Óðinn and Gríðr. Presumably, he embodies a concept relating to these two aspects of nature.

Mainly, Óðinn is not any particular skyey feature, but represents the orderly way that celestial and atmospheric cycle thru the seasons. In other words, he is a manifestation of the astronomical calendar. He is inherently invisible and only discerned indirectly from the behavior of the skyey phenomena that can be seen. Thus, Óðinn comes to be understood as the one who inspires the behavior of other nature beings. In this sense, he is a kind of muse, inspiring everything from magical trances to popular songs to cunning military strategies. The name "óð -inn", literally "the fury", relates to his aspect as a muse. In the sense of a muse, his persona semiotically functions as a "jarl", a kind of elected local president, a mayor that is the executive in chief of an army, who thusly leads his extended family the Æsir.

Some scholars identify Víðarr with empty space itself. Which associates with the astronomy and meteorology of Óðinn. Others identify him with the mystical center while meditating in trances. Which associates the inspiring muse aspect of Óðinn. Ive read one scholar suggest Víðarr is the aspect of a silent tree, such as in the vast forests of Sweden, where one might meditate to commune with the nature beings. Which emphasizes the single foot being the tree trunk of a quiet mighty tree.

Personally, I cant help but associate Víðarr with the "cosmic axis", the north pole that the stars revolve around. In other words, he is the planetary axis around which planet Earth rotates. This concept combines the idea that he manifests as a "spear", with a single foot, that transfixes "wide" cosmos. This aspect of nature is inherently invisible, "silent", but discernible indirectly from the skyey phenomena revolving around it. Likewise, this concept is the "offspring" of the astronomical aspect of Óðinn.

Víðarr is also the offspring of Gríðr. Unfortunately, the aspect that manifests her remains unclear. The etymology of her name is uncertain. Scholars typically mention the possibility that her name gríðr means gríð: "impulsiveness" or enthusiasm, relating to greed, violence, vehemence, eagerness. If so, this might relate to the "persistence" of Víðarr, to keep on going, avenging the futurely death of Óðinn and surviving the cataclysms of Ragnarǫk unscathed.

The world keeps on turning.

I’ve always felt like Vidar was for the Ragnaroc story what Enlil/Marduk was for the Babylonians. And Atlas was for the Greeks.

To grossly oversimplify:

You’ve got Ki who represents the Earth (beneath), Anu who represents the Sky (above), and Enlil/Marduk who represents the Wind (between).

Atlas, who holds up the sky.

And Vidar, who holds open Fenris’ mouth (which, in the versions I’ve read, is supposed to stretch from the dome of the sky to the depths of the earth, enabling the wolf to potentially devour existence itself) long enough for him to kill the monster by breaking its jaw.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I haven't heard of the Norse Deities referred to as nature beings, but one way they do differ from the Greek deities is that they aren't actually the Gods "OF" anything. You might associate Thor with thunder and lightning, sure, but he isn't the God of Thunder and Lightning the same way that Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love. He's just Thor.

But for D&D we can pretend that they have portfolios like the Greek Gods.
The Norse term vættr literally means "being" but specifies a "nature being".

Everyone − æsir, jǫtnar, vanir, alfar, dvergar, as well as humans and corpses are referred to as different families of nature beings. All are aspects of nature. Similar to the way a human is a physical phenomenon, namely a body, but also is a mind, the other aspects of nature are likewise a physical phenomenon and a mind.

The Norse have an animistic worldview, as do the Sámi and Finlanders.
 

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