By now, you should have a pretty good picture of society and the general lay of the land in Lions of the North. In short, you got a number of small states, most centered around the coasts and the islands in the Baltic sea, with a few smaller states and cities elsewhere. The coasts are civilized, but when you move farther from the coast, the less civilized the land becomes, the wilder the forests, the darker the landscape. The inland regions are a frontier region, where settlers build small farmsteads and the states have little to no influence, regardless what the maps might say.
It’s a home for the strange, the unnatural and the scary parts of the setting. While the beastmen of the ruins might be scary, they’re pretty much a known quality. People know how to deal with that issue: avoid going near ruins, avoid going into the ruins and if you must go into the ruins avoid going in at night. And preferably, bring a number of troops with you.
The frontier is a different matter. Here, people build their homesteads back how it was done in history: the average farm consists of a number of building built in a circle or square, with walls or fences running between buildings. They don’t go out into the forests at night, in fact, most people don’t want to go out at night at all. The settlers know something lurks in the woods.
Fact is, sometimes they’re actually right about it. The land is haunted. It’s not uncommon for a woodcutter to disappear even during daylight hours. Everyone on the frontier knows this. Different names for these phenomena are used, like draugr (a form of ghost), gengångare (another form of ghost), skogsrå (a forest spirit) and näcken (a spirit of lakes and streams). Sometimes the people are right and sometimes they’re wrong.
However, for whatever reason, these phenomena in general don’t make appearances in the civilized lands, where the fields and forests are tamed. So, for the city dwellers and the upper classes of society, these things are just myths and legends. In 2312, which is the canonical starting point of the game, only one government official in Peimar cares even one bit about these things, and only because it worries him. That government official is Birger Elofs, the leader of the Secret Chamber. The polymaths think that the stories they hear are just old myths recycled. And they’re not exactly wrong, either.
What this means for someone who wants to run this game is simple. You can decide for yourself if you want to include the unnatural or not. The governments don’t care about trolls and magic anyway. The unnatural doesn’t affect that part of the game at all. When you buy the game it’s yours, run it how you like. However, if you like the unnatural and the mythical as an element, we might just have something for you.
The next post will present a haunted location and the inhabitants of it.