Muspelheim, a Place of Fire and Flame
Deep in the Earth’s belly, fire smolders and sometimes explodes at Midgard’s surface. Here, in Muspelheim, in this secret place dating back to the beginning of the world, fire giants await for their leader and king, Surt the Black’s call. It will announce the onset of Ragnarok and the final clash against the Aesir and the Vanir. Then they will ravage Midgard with their blazing fury and the sons of Muspell will fight the gods on the plain of Vigrid once the Rainbow Bridge has collapsed under their weight. The world the inhabitants of Scandia know will come to an end.
In the meantime, the jotnar keep an eye on their burning territories and attack all intruders. It is utterly impossible to talk or negotiate with them. Their hatred of Midgard and its gods is such that combat is the only possible outcome. Merely crossing Muspelheim is a true challenge and many brave souls have died trying. Their charred bodies and skeletons can sometimes be found to prove it. Blackened and barren volcanic expanses stretch out, covered in lava flows belching sulphurous fumes and poisons.
The Eldjotnar, Fire Snakes (dragons), and other less powerful creatures.
King Surt the Black and Queen Sinmara
The Jotunheim Palace
The great palace of Surt and his queen, this fortress is made of the blackest of basalt and obsidian.
Temperature is typically around 50°C but can easily reach 90°C and even more unbearable temperatures (for humans) when getting closer to volcanoes. Be wary of approaching either magma flows or cooling lava. It is, at least, a dry heat, which makes it somewhat more bearable.
- Lava Flows
Magma’s temperature is about 1000°C. Lava flow can be very slow (speed differs with viscosity and can be as high as tens of miles per hour) and it is very often very easy to escape. However its gas emanations are very dangerous to breathe.
- Pyroclastic Flows
Pyroclastic flows are avalanches mixing burning gas (sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and so on), incandescent lava and solidified materials (lava and pumice stone). They are shaped like grey clouds as hot as 600°C and can propagate very quickly, leaving very little time for flight as they slide down slopes at several hundred kilometers per hour.
- Volcanic Ash
Abrasive and light, ash is generally found in abundance and is a true danger for characters inhaling it. Ash blocks respiratory tracts and can be deadly when inhaled in great quantity.
- Explosions and Earthquakes
The earth shakes under the giants’ feet, but also when the magma moves below the continental crust. These quakes are impossible to predict.
- The Eldjotnar, Sons of Muspell
The fire giants or sons of Muspell are the inhabitants of this hostile environment, and have been since the dawn of the world. They are sworn enemies to the Asgard gods, and they will defeat them at Ragnarok. In the absence of gods, they will not hesitate to attack the player characters without any warning or, if something intrigues them, they will bring them in front of Surt or his queen, the Ash Giantess, which is not much better.
In less than ten seconds, they can shift from a soot- covered muscular giant to a pillar of fire. Despite their huge height (between 4 and 6 meters tall) and their impressive muscle structure, they are more dangerous because of their ability to spit flames and throw fireballs, and because of their skin that burns at more than 70°C. Anyone touching it gets second degree burns.
They wear few clothes, and those they do wear seem to be cut from leather as thick and scaly as dragon skin, as no other fabric could sustain the heat. Easy to anger and arrogant, it is unlikely a fire giant will speak with careless travelers trying to be social.
- Fire Snakes
These creatures are dragons that the Northmen call snakes, because they do not distinguish between them. These fire snakes have clawed paws and short wings that enable them to fly. They are covered with robust red scales. They can breathe fire but can also set themselves entirely ablaze and burn anyone that comes too close. They obey the fire giants, as well as Surt and his queen.