Concept: Raising Ragnarok

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Game Concepts

One idea I had several years ago was to make a Norse-themed RPG with a bit of a twist.

You may be familiar with the concept of Ragnarok. It is essentially the Norse version of Armageddon. The events  of Ragnarok are fated and everything that will happen during the time is said to be known. Some of these events include:


  • The Sun will not rise and the Earth will be bathed in darkness.
  • Fimblewinter, the harshest  Winter we’ve ever known, will fall upon the Earth and make life difficult for everyone.
  • The dead will rise from their graves.
  • Demons will sail in on a ship of bones, called Naglfar, and begin tormenting people.
  • The Aesir gods (Odin, Thor, Freya, etc.) will face off against their enemies including frost giants, Loki, the Midgard Serpent, Fenrir, and others. It is known who will live, who will die, and who will be maimed in the process.
  • The frost giant Surtr will destroy the world with his fiery blade. Everything will burn.
  • Only one man and one woman survive. They repopulate the Earth and it is a paradise.

Brutal. A lot of bad things happen, but in the end the world becomes a paradise so it’s all worth it.

Unless Loki somehow convinces the opposing gods to not participate. If he can convince Surtr not to destroy everything, then it will be endless Winter and torment for everyone and the world will never be reborn.

That’s the premise behind Raising Ragnarok.

The Goal

In Raising Ragnarok, the players must find Surtr and convince him to destroy the world… for the good of mankind.

It won’t be easy. They’ll need to battle undead, demons, and a harsh environment. They’ll need to gather information about Surtr’s whereabouts and, if necessary, be willing to head into the depths of Niflheim to find him. Even then, it’s not enough to just pick a fight and kill him. They need to get him to do his job. They need him to burn everything.

Including themselves. What a heroic way to end a campaign. A very fitting end for Vikings.

Various Iterations

This concept has been floating around for over five years now. Originally, I had the idea to make an entire game, complete with its own system, based on the concept.

It would work well as a system with multiple player types. Valkyrie, dwarves, elves, Aesir warriors, Vanir spellcasters, etc. It might work as an OSR-style game where each race also represents a class archetype.

In 2015, I had an opportunity to whip this up as a Campaign Quickstart in Magpie Games’ “Fate Codex” magazine. I was going to just outline the story, provide some adventure hooks and character concepts, and let GMs do the rest. Then, ironically, my own house burned down and I had to cancel those plans. As of the date of this post, the game has yet to arise from the ashes. Obviously though, the idea is still there.

Most recently, I considered writing this up in the style of Fire Starters: 10 Adventure Seeds to Spark Your Cyberpunk Campaign. I could outline some of the NPCs, the history of the events so far, and then provide 10 or so adventures which lead up to the finale. I’m definitely contemplating this as an option.

One roadblock I initially faced with turning this into a game of its own is that, like Ragnarok, there is a defined outcome for the setting. Players must find Surtr and destroy the world. Once that mission is accomplished, it’s game over because there’s literally nothing left of the characters.

This means the setting may actually work best as a sort of plot-point adventure. If it were written like the Fire Starters book, I could provide 10 adventure ideas and allow the GM and players to pick their game system of choice. Unlike with the original Fire Starters, the adventures in Raising Ragnarok would have a common thread and a definite end goal.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of this idea? If this were a Fire Starters-like sourcebook, would you be interested in it?

How do you feel about the concept of bringing on the end of the world, for the good of mankind?

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