First off, this is a primarily Dungeons & Dragons oriented blog for all of you people that may have dropped in on the blog hop because of the April A-Z Challenge, so I just want to get that out there right off the bat. Second, for my more regular readers, I am going to concentrate on Norse themes for the A-Z challenge because I just kicked off my new Norse themed D&D Campaign- "Vikings of Dvergrholm"; so all the letters are going to be themed around stuff that my players characters would know or scholarly Norse stuff where you can find more information.
So A is for Adam of Bremen, who, sometime between 1066 and 1085, wrote the "History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen", it is an important reference work. The first three volumes deal with history, the fourth with geography; of these the first and the fourth are perhaps the most interesting from a Norse scholarship point of view, as the first references the works of earlier historians and tells the tale of early Christian missions to the north, including many references to their native religion. The fourth mentions the Vinland colony. As to Adam himself, he is believed to have been from somewhere in southern Germany, perhaps Meissen in Saxony, but little else is known about him.
A is also for Aesir, the Heathen Gods of the Norsemen. Well, some of them anyway, they have two tribes of Gods, the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir dwell in Asgard and in ages past fought a war against the Vanir, but they made peace in time and exchanged hostages. I imagine I'll be covering each of the Aesir as I get to their individual letters in the alphabet, so I won't go into too much detail describing them as a group, but they tend to be the Gods associated with Law, Civilization, War and the higher cultural things. Odin is their king.
A is also for Aegir, who is technically a Jotunn, but is considered to be a friend of the Aesir and a God of the sea, or the sea itself personified, especially in kennings. He is a famous host to the Gods, who brewed fine beer and had a hall that shone fire-bright with gold. He had a wife and nine daughters.
A is for Angrboda, the Jotunn woman that was the mother of Loki's three monster children; Fenrir, the Wolf of the Fens, Jormungandr, The Midgard Serpent, and Hel, the ruler of Hel.
A is for Asgard, which literally means "Place (or enclosure) or the Aesir". Thor comics or the movie may have led people to believe that it's not all that big a place and is, more or less, just another name for Valhalla; it is not. Asgard is a huge place, an entire world unto itself, and contains the halls of many Gods and Goddesses. Most of these halls many of you will have never heard of, for instance, how many of you knew that Thor lived at a place called Bilskirnir? Or that Freyja had a place called Folkvang? Or that Odin had a place called Valaskjalf and didn't spend all of his time at Valhalla? Or that the Gods had a meeting hall called Gladsheim and the Goddesses had one called Vingolf? There's a whole geography to the place with rivers, plains and mountains too.
I'd go further, but we played today and if I run any longer I'll miss my posting window before midnight. See you all tomorrow with the letter B and a play report from the first session!