The Asgardian Religion
The people of Asgard have, historically, worshiped a group of powerful beings as gods. Under the leadership of Odin the Allfather, these individuals, like many polytheistic deities, tended to represent aspects of the human condition. In the case of the Asgardian gods and goddesses, however, there was often significant overlap. In truth, these figures were simply High Blooded Cornelians whose power was augmented by the strength of the Great Rune through the use of Mantles that aligned to their accepted portfolios. As time passed, these mantles were sometimes traded or modified to properly reflect the deity’s new status.
The Mantles of Divinity
The Mantles provided by the Great Rune are simply augmentations of the bearer’s natural powers. Each Mantle grant abilities aligned to the appropriate god or goddess’ portfolio, and the strength of the abilities granted depend upon a number of factors, including:
- Accepted Role in the Pantheon: Some gods and goddesses were assumed to be more or less powerful.
- Number of Worshipers: Gods and goddesses with greater numbers of worshipers often demonstrated greater levels of augmentation.
- Environmental Conditions: Mantles being exercised within environments that support the role demonstrated greater strength.
- Distance from Asgard: The Mantles are powered by the Great Rune of Asgard, and the further the bearers travel from the center of the realm, the weaker the Mantles become.
A number of figures have been known to bear these Mantles, including:
- Aesir – One of the two tribes of gods within the Asgardian pantheon. The Aesir were known to be the more warlike and aggressive.
- Vanir – One of the two tribes of gods within the Asgardian pantheon. The Vanir were known to be more artistic, and many represented the forces of nature.
- Vaettir – Vaettir are animistic spirits of Asgard, many tied to specific locations or conditions. Many of the strongest of these beings grew to sufficient status to be granted Mantles representing their role (i.e., the Winter’s Queen, the Hunter, Surtr, etc.).
- Valkyrie – Known as the Choosers of the Slain, the Valkyrie are lesser deity figures who have limited magical abilities pursuant to their roles.
Priests and priestesses of the gods are known as Goði. These religious figures once focused upon individual deities, but, over the last three centuries, their orders have consolidated, resulting in a single family of priests and priestesses. These individuals represent all of the Aesir and Vanir as needed. They are spread throughout the land although their order is centered in the town of Gislaved in the Horn lands.
Spirits of the Dead
All souls or spirits of all creatures that die within the Asgardian realm go to the Great Rune upon their passing.
Souls of the greatest warriors who die in battle (and are chosen by the Valkyrie) are reborn as Einherjar, the undead warriors who are doomed to fight during the final battle of Ragnarok.
A trio of Jotun women, the Norns are simultaneously godlike and not. These beings represent the concept of Fate within Asgard, and they know the fate of all beings.
The nine great Wyrms of Asgard wield immense powers in support of their roles as the embodiments of Chaos. Any of these creatures is easily the match to the greatest of the Aesir and Vanir.