In creating a Norse/Celtic myth-inspired setting for Barbarians of Lemuria, my aim is to move away from some of the default assumptions of the pulpy world of Lemuria… that was based upon Lin Carter’s world of the distant-future. Gone are are tropes of scantly clad damsels in distress, half-naked and muscle-bound barbarian heroes, lands populated with exotic and alien species, nefarious sorcerers who call upon dark powers from beyond the pale, and mad inventors who create technological wonders (and horrors).
Instead, I want Fjarrstrand to be have a grittier, more medieval, and more grounded feeling… while keeping elements from both Norse and Celtic myth. Magic is still rare, and feared, but is seen as a gift from the fallen gods. In this world, both magicians and priests use magic, while seers are able to untangled the strands of Fate in order to see into the future, and artificers craft and enchant items. Basically, my goal is to create a world that borrows from Beowulf, the Norse Sagas, The Mabinogion, Arthurian legends, and Tolkien… but with the action and brutality of a Joe Abercrombie novel.
With Ragnarok and the death of the gods, the world-tree, Yggdrasil, itself perished. With its collapse, the nine worlds were wracked with cataclysmic earthquakes, volcanoes, and hellish storms as the realms became intertwined. Midgard, as the primary battleground between the giants and gods, was rendered uninhabitable. Driven by desperation, sailors tried to brave ocean voyages westward… seeking new lands beyond the storm-tossed and turbulent ocean. Of those who set out, only a handful of Viking crews that set out from the British Isles and Iceland found the new land that came to be called The Distant Shore or Fjarrstrand. Two of those crews returned to the ruins of Midgard in order to lead their people to the shelter of this new paradise.
Humans are relatively new to theses lands, having first sailed here from dying Midgard nearly 500 years ago. As a new homeland to humanity, Fjarrstrand is a largely unexplored realm. Humans live in small swaths of coastal and frontier lands that they have carved out for themselves, while always seeking to expand their holdings.
Fjarrstrand’s ocean is strewn with numerous islands and rocky outcropping, and is home to various horrors that prey on the ocean’s bounty and on those who ply its waters. In the ocean’s northeastern expanses, particularly in the area surrounding The Mistgate, thick fog blankets the water’s surface. To the north and northwest, great mountain ranges and frozen wastelands teem with jotuns and other horrors. The primeval forests of western Fjarrstrand are home to its native people, the alfar (elves) and other creatures of faerie who view these newcomers as unwelcome guests.