The Power of the Norse Realms:

The Great Rune or Asgardian Pattern

  • The Asgardian Pattern is the fabric that binds the nine worlds together and empowers them.  It stretches throughout those lands, and, unlike many other worlds across Creation, its power is not constrained to only those descended from the royal families of Chaos.  All of the rulers of the Nine Worlds have access to it in one form or another and many powerful creatures (such as the dragons and some trolls) draw upon it as well.
  • The Asgardian Pattern is the source of magical strength in the form of the seidr sorceries and the Runes of Power.  Without an understanding of these powers, framed within the paths defined by the Asgardian Sign, any who attempt to perform magical Workings find their efforts weak and ineffectual.
  • The Great Rune of Asgard is the personification of the Yggdrassil concept.  It is omni-present throughout the worlds and has reflections within each.  The primary races of each world are tied to this power and draw influence and abilities from it, much the same as members of the Family.  As local Shadow creatures, however, these abilities tend to be heavily restricted to those Shadows where the Asgardian Pattern holds sway.  That said, particularly strong individuals may be able to surpass that limitation.  As Asgard grows in strength, the likelihood of this happening grows.
  • Characters and NPCs used to flaunting their abilities over more common inhabitants of Shadow should take note that the denizens of these lands are very capable of meeting them on even footing, if not defeating them outright.


 The concept of Balance exists in Asgard as a real thing.  The very nature of the Nine Worlds actively resists efforts to subdue the native peoples and forcing the Worlds into some overly civilized existence.  In the beginning, Oberon created the Worlds to be rough lands, living in and through conflict, and constantly in a cycle of birth/death/rebirth.  Those who seek to change this will find Asgard itself rising up to deal with them.  In Asgard, everyone exists at the whim and in the service of the Great Rune.  Those who forget that do so at their very great peril.


The Source of Magic

Magic in Asgard springs from the Pattern.  Mages attempting to tap into this power within Asgard are made successful at the whim of the Great Rune, and, in keeping with its efforts to support the Balance, this access may or may not be granted.  In general, however, the greater one’s relationship with Asgard’s Pattern, the stronger the ability to channel its power.  Those without such a relationship (i.e. having walked the Asgardian Pattern) will find their magical abilities seriously weakened.  Power words will be little more than fireworks, and even the most powerful mages will find their spells able to be countered by those significantly weaker than them.

The Runes of Odin

If the Pattern is the battery that powers Asgardian magic, the Runes of Odin are the instructions for its use.  Even the greatest users of magic must understand and accept this.  Those without an ability to work the runic magics of the Nine Worlds will face an insurmountable wall that will never be climbed.  For all but the most magical of creatures, the runes are the language of power.




Algiz: (Z or -R: Elk, protection.) Protection, a shield. The protective urge to shelter oneself or others. Defense, warding off of evil, shield, guardian. Connection with the gods, awakening, higher life. It can be used to channel energies appropriately. Follow your instincts. Keep hold of success or maintain a position won or earned.

Algiz Reversed or Merkstave: Hidden danger, consumption by divine forces, loss of divine link. Taboo, warning, turning away, that which repels.



Ansuz: (A: The As, ancestral god, i.e. Odin.) A revealing message or insight, communication. Signals, inspiration, enthusiasm, speech, true vision, power of words and naming. Blessings, the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth, wisdom.

Ansuz Reversed or Merkstave: Misunderstanding, delusion, manipulation by others, boredom. Vanity and grandiloquence. (Odin is a mighty, but duplicitous god. He always has his own agenda.)



Berkano: (B: Berchta, the birch-goddess.) Birth, general fertility, both mental and physical and personal growth, liberation. Regenerative power and light of spring, renewal, promise of new beginnings, new growth. Arousal of desire. A love affair or new birth. The prospering of an enterprise or venture.

Berkano Reversed or Merkstave: Family problems and or domestic troubles. Anxiety about someone close to you. Carelessness, abandon, loss of control. Blurring of consciousness, deceit, sterility, stagnation.



Dagaz: (D: Day or dawn.) Breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet.

Dagaz Merkstave (Dagaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): A completion, ending, limit, coming full circle. Blindness, hopelessness.



Ehwaz: (E: Horse, two horses.) Transportation. May represent a horse, car, plane, boat or other vehicle. Movement and change for the better. Gradual development and steady progress are indicated. Harmony, teamwork, trust, loyalty. An ideal marriage or partnership. Confirmation beyond doubt the meanings of the runes around it.

Ehwaz Reversed or Merkstave: This is not really a negative rune. A change is perhaps craved. Feeling restless or confined in a situation. Reckless haste, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal.



Eihwaz: (EI: Yew tree.) Strength, reliability, dependability, trustworthiness. Enlightenment, endurance. Defense, protection. The driving force to acquire, providing motivation and a sense of purpose. Indicates that you have set your sights on a reasonable target and can achieve your goals. An honest man who can be relied upon.

Eihwaz Reversed or Merkstave: Confusion, destruction, dissatisfaction, weakness.



Fehu (F: Domestic cattle, wealth.) Possessions won or earned, earned income, luck. Abundance, financial strength in the present or near future. Sign of hope and plenty, success and happiness. Social success. Energy, foresight, fertility, creation/destruction (becoming).

Fehu Reversed or Merkstave: Loss of personal property, esteem, or something that you put in effort to keep. It indicates some sort of failure. Greed, burnout, atrophy, discord. Cowardice, stupidity, dullness, poverty, slavery, bondage.



Gebo: (G: Gift.) Gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and of generosity, indicating balance. All matters in relation to exchanges, including contracts, personal relationships and partnerships.

Gebo Merkstave (Gebo cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Greed, loneliness, dependence, over-sacrifice. Obligation, toll, privation, bribery.



Hagalaz: (H: Hail.) Wrath of nature, destructive, uncontrolled forces, especially the weather, or within the unconscious. Tempering, testing, trial. Controlled crisis, leading to completion, inner harmony.

Hagalaz Merkstave (Hagalaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Natural disaster, catastrophe. Stagnation, loss of power. Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.



Ingwaz: (NG: Ing, the earth god.) Male fertility, gestation, internal growth. Common virtues, common sense, simple strengths, family love, caring, human warmth, the home. Rest stage, a time of relief, of no anxiety. A time when all loose strings are tied and you are free to move in a new direction. Listen to yourself.

Ingwaz Merkstave (Ingwaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Impotence, movement without change. Production, toil, labor, work.



Isa: (I: Ice.) A challenge or frustration. Psychological blocks to thought or activity, including grievances. Standstill, or a time to turn inward and wait for what is to come, or to seek clarity. This rune reinforces runes around it.

Isa Merkstave (Isa cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Ego-mania, dullness, blindness, dissipation. Treachery, illusion, deceit, betrayal, guile, stealth, ambush, plots.


Jera: (J or Y: A year, a good harvest.) The results of earlier efforts are realized. A time of peace and happiness, fruitful season. It can break through stagnancy. Hopes and expectations of peace and prosperity. The promise of success earned. Life cycle, cyclical pattern of the universe. Everything changes, in its own time.

Jera Merkstave (Jera cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Sudden setback, reversals. A major change, repetition, bad timing, poverty, conflict.



Kenaz: (K: Beacon or torch.) Vision, revelation, knowledge, creativity, inspiration, technical ability. Vital fire of life, harnessed power, fire of transformation and regeneration. Power to create your own reality, the power of light. Open to new strength, energy, and power now. Passion, sexual love.

Kenaz Reversed or Merkstave: Disease, breakup, instability, lack of creativity. Nakedness, exposure, loss of illusion and false hope.



Laguz: (L: Water, or a leek.) Flow, water, sea, a fertility source, the healing power of renewal. Life energy and organic growth. Imagination and psychic matters. Dreams, fantasies, mysteries, the unknown, the hidden, the deep, the underworld. Success in travel or acquisition, but with the possibility of loss.

Laguz Reversed or Merkstave: An indication of a period of confusion in your life. You may be making wrong decisions and poor judgements. Lack of creativity and feelings of being in a rut. Fear, circular motion, avoidance, withering. Madness, obsession, despair, perversity, sickness, suicide.



Mannaz: (M: Man, mankind.) The Self; the individual or the human race. Your attitude toward others and their attitudes towards you. Friends and enemies, social order. Intelligence, forethought, create, skill, ability. Divine structure, intelligence, awareness. Expect to receive some sort of aid or cooperation now.

Mannaz Reversed or Merkstave: Depression, mortality, blindness, self-delusion. Cunning, slyness, manipulation, craftiness, calculation. Expect no help now.



Nauthiz: (N: Need.) Delays, restriction. Resistance leading to strength, innovation, need-fire (self-reliance). Distress, confusion, conflict, and the power of will to overcome them. Endurance, survival, determination. A time to exercise patience. Recognition of one’s fate. Major self-initiated change. Face your fears.

Nauthiz Reversed or Merkstave: Constraint of freedom, distress, toil, drudgery, laxity. Necessity, extremity, want, deprivation, starvation, need, poverty, emotional hunger.



Othala: (O: Ancestral property.) Inherited property or possessions, a house, a home. What is truly important to one. Group order, group prosperity. Land of birth, spiritual heritage, experience and fundamental values. Aid in spiritual and physical journeys. Source of safety, increase and abundance.

Othala Reversed or Merkstave: Lack of customary order, totalitarianism, slavery, poverty, homelessness. Bad karma, prejudice, clannishness, provincialism. What a man is bound to.


Perthro: (P: Lot cup, vagina.) Uncertain meaning, a secret matter, a mystery, hidden things and occult abilities. Initiation, knowledge of one’s destiny, knowledge of future matters, determining the future or your path. Pertaining to things feminine, feminine mysteries including female fertility, and vagina. Good lot, fellowship and joy. Evolutionary change.

Perthro Reversed or Merkstave: Addiction, stagnation, loneliness, malaise.



Raidho: (R: Wagon or chariot.) Travel, both in physical terms and those of lifestyle direction. A journey, vacation, relocation, evolution, change of place or setting. Seeing a larger perspective. Seeing the right move for you to make and deciding upon it. Personal rhythm, world rhythm, dance of life.

Raidho Reversed or Merkstave: Crisis, rigidity, stasis, injustice, irrationality. Disruption, dislocation, demotion, delusion, possibly a death.



Sowilo: (S: The sun.) Success, goals achieved, honor. The life-force, health. A time when power will be available to you for positive changes in your life, victory, health, and success. Contact between the higher self and the unconscious. Wholeness, power, elemental force, sword of flame, cleansing fire.

Sowilo Merkstave (Sowilo cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): False goals, bad counsel, false success, gullibility, loss of goals. Destruction, retribution, justice, casting down of vanity. Wrath of god.


Thurisaz: (TH: Thorn or a Giant.) Reactive force, directed force of destruction and defense, conflict. Instinctual will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst. A tendency toward change. Catharsis, purging, cleansing fire. Male sexuality, fertilization. (Thorr, the Thunder god, was of Giant stock.)

Thurisaz Reversed or Merkstave: Danger, defenselessness, compulsion, betrayal, dullness. Evil, malice, hatred, torment, spite, lies. A bad man or woman. Rape?



Tiwaz: (T: Tyr, the sky god.) Honor, justice, leadership and authority. Analysis, rationality. Knowing where one’s true strengths lie. Willingness to self-sacrifice. Victory and success in any competition or in legal matters.

Tiwaz Reversed or Merkstave: One’s energy and creative flow are blocked. Mental paralysis, over-analysis, over-sacrifice, injustice, imbalance. Strife, war, conflict, failure in competition. Dwindling passion, difficulties in communication, and possibly separation.



Uruz: (U: Auroch, a wild ox.) Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better). Sexual desire, masculine potency. The shaping of power and pattern, formulation of the self.

Uruz Reversed or Merkstave: Weakness, obsession, misdirected force, domination by others. Sickness, inconsistency, ignorance. Lust, brutality, rashness, callousness, violence.



Wunjo: (W or V: Joy.) Joy, comfort, pleasure. Fellowship, harmony, prosperity. Ecstasy, glory, spiritual reward, but also the possibility of going “over the top”. If restrained, the meaning is general success and recognition of worth.

Wunjo Reversed or Merkstave: Stultification, sorrow, strife, alienation. Delirium, intoxication, possession by higher forces, impractical enthusiasm. Raging frenzy, berzerker.



Almost any significant efforts to work magics in Asgard require some form of sacrifice.  Odin had to surrender his eye to learn wisdom.  He wounded himself with his own spear and hung himself from a tree to suffer for 9 days to learn the power of runes.  Tyr had to sacrifice his hand in order for the gods to bind Fenrir.  The Pattern is a jealous thing and demands its due if others seek to wield its strength.


Divination is a large part of daily life for the peoples of Asgard, but it is, in most cases, more panacea than reality.  True divination magic exist and can be used, but the Norns guard their realms tightly.  Without a tie to the topic, significant knowledge about the issues, or some way of tempting the Fates to feel kindly disposed to the mage, the results are likely to be confusing, mangled, only partially worthwhile, or just plain wrong.


Items created within Asgard will be tied to some form of power.  In most cases, it will be the Pattern, but in some cases, it has been found to be the underlying chaos that seeks to bring an end to everything (embodied by creatures such as Nidhogg and the Fire Giants), natural forces, racial influences, or even the abilities of creatures such as the Norns.  Regardless, the items created there will have some form of LOCAL power and the use of runes are heavily involved.
Items brought from outside of Asgard are subject to unknown changes.  They may function normally or even exceed expected results.  Similarly, they may fail abysmally.  Like all magics, they, too, must bow to the Great Rune.

The Seiðrhol

Learning from his experiences in Amber with the renamed “Prince Magnus College of Wizardry and Sorcery,” Magnus created a new academy of learning within the Asgardian sphere.  Much the same as its predecessor, the school focuses on the well-rounded graduate rather than purist specialists of magic and sorcery.  That said, it is the premier facility for learning Runic Magics in known Creation, and those students who wish to specialize in such magics are offered the opportunity, pending evaluation.

Led by the Seiðkonur Helle the school has multiple facilities spread throughout the Realms to allow the students opportunities to study abroad and specialize their knowledge according to the various curricula.  Primary locations include Hrafnborg and the satellite center for advanced runic studies in Asgard where Magnus acts as a part-time instructor.


Technology is, for the most part, stuck at the same levels seen in the 14th century of Earth for the Nine World.  Advanced technology will simply not function.  Similarly, gunpowder does not function.  As one moves further away from Asgard, these restrictions seem to fade, eventually reaching modern capabilities at the border Shadow that holds the gateway city of Hrafnborg.

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