Ygg Players Guide

It has come to my attention that, with players now preparing to play-by-post an adventure in the World of Ygg, stuff I have been working on to post in the Dungeon of Game-Mastery with soon be superspoilerific and strictly verboten.  Because of that, I am creating a player-safe version here.  Enjoy, players and those wanting to avoid spoilers!

I will continue developing the Ygg setting in conversation with the latest draft of S&W's Core Rules.


I.  Realms in Ygg's Tree
A.  Lords of the Canopy (The Upper Realms)
B.  Ygg
C.  Elfhame
D.  The Aztlanic Ocean  -- Updated 1 June 2011
E.   The Giants  -- Updated 1 June 2011


Realms in Ygg's Tree 

Lords of the Canopy: Excerpts from The Saga of the Nine Lands

The Nine Realms were bound together in the Cosmic Tree. In its canopy were the realms of the Mighty Ones: the Bound-Lords, the Free-Lords, and the Elf-Lords. Only the oldest of them know who bound them and the creatures of the young realms thither and why. The Father of Bound-Lords, discovered the runes in the branches and hence the power and the magic of the runes: their power to record speech, their magic to intone spells based on symbol-power. He used the runes to write the First Laws, to which his children bound themselves, saying, “We have discipline; we have honor. Let all bear witness to our nobility.” They then took the First Laws forth to the other Mighty Ones. The Elf-Lords said, “These Laws are good, and we will respect them as principles of wisdom, but we will not be utterly, always, and everywhere bound by them, for lo, there is one Lawgiver, even the one who planted the Tree and bound us to it. We will not be further bound than is meet. To us all, this seems good and right.” And the Bound-Lords were wroth, and they went forth in fury to the Free-Lords. “These are the First Laws,” spake they proudly. “Bind yourselves to us under them.” “Nay,” answered the Free-Lords. “We are our only Laws; we are the Laws unto ourselves and will bind ourselves to nothing more than our own selves. We agree not even among ourselves, except on this!” And the Bound-Lords smote the Free-Lords for this saying, and henceforth hath there ever been war amongst the twain. Ever do the Elf-Lords seek to remain above the warfare as much as they may, albeit do they play the one off the other, ever seeking balance and the mean between the ossification of Law and the chaos of Freedom.

The Terror of the Dead God: Excerpts from Ygg's Saga
Now the name of the All-Father of the Bound is now lost, and since its lost, has he been called Ygg, that is, Terror – for great was the terror that fell upon all the day that the god died. Great always has been his knowledge. But his greatest striving for knowledge was also his last. In his lust for more knowledge, he was tricked into hanging himself from the Cosmic Tree, a sacrifice of himself to himself to gain even greater heights of knowledge, even that knowledge which was forbidden him. Yet Ygg died, and those who bind themselves to the Bound-Lords must first hang a man in sacrifice when they swear to the Laws. Though Ygg is dead, yet his body lingers in ruin. Nothing can grant him repose; nothing can revive him. The sacrifices only grant him a dreaming consciousness as he hangs eternally and keep him from being dragged into Death's dark vale. For this reason, many call the Cosmic Tree the Tree of Ygg. Yet it was not always called thus.

Now before his death, Ygg was the first skald. He was also the first to use poetry to drive himself into the battle rage. Those who follow his way most closely likewise are warriors who go mad with battle fury. It is they who done the bear-skin, even as Ygg slew the Great Bear and made himself a mantle.

Balancing their ways between the demands of Law and the calls of Liberty, the elves draw on their most deeply held beliefs, preserved in the lore of the ancient holy language.

Elven Theology
Iluvatar (Eru)                        Male Aspect        Female Aspect        Symbol

Aina Neldië (Trinity)                  n/a                           n/a                  Triangle, Narsil (Sun-Moon)
  • Seer/Watcher                     *                                *                      All-Seeing Eye;
  • Creator/Destroyer    Great Serpent     Anima Mundi      Ouroboros;
  • Comforter                            *                              *


Elven society is organized in a caste system:

Caste (Descending)                                              Totem Animal
  1. The Priestly Class (Cleric-Magic Users)     Owl
  2. The Noble Class (Fighter-Magic Users)     Serpent
  3. The Commoners (Thief-Magic Users)        Fox
  4. The Disenchanted (None Magic-Users)     Deer
Elves, the height of faedom, are the pinnacle of a process unique to the fae: reincarnation.
Castes 1-3 together are the Twice Born, those who have lived more than one life.  Caste 4 contain the Once-Born.  Castes 1-2 are also call the High Born, in contrast to castes 3-4.

The Aztlanic Ocean
The Kalokanikai (kah-LOH-kah-nee-KEH, plural), living in their cities states, believe that the western sea, far from the safer ship lanes of their Middle Sea are infested with mermen.  Some say that they were changed into mermen as punishment for not honoring the Old Man of the Seas, that they might be forced to serve him under the waves.  However, they remain fierce haters of humanity, which is hard to understand in light of this saying.  Some say they have a great underwater city, others that they guard the runs of the human cities that they destroyed on islands and sunken islands in the western sea.  The men and women of the North harbor more ambivalent attitudes about mermen, but there is no agreement on whether the are a weal or a woe -- only that they are a mystery.

The Giants
It is a common piece of wisdom that the homes of four of the giant races can be located by compass: frost giants in the NW, cloud giants in the NE, fire giants in the SE, and stone giants in the SW.  Hill giants seem to live in the foothills, and opinions are divided as to whether the storm giants live in the storms clouds or at the bottom of the seas.  The Kalokanikai believe the storm giants are friends of the titans; the Northmen say that they are servants of Thunnar.  The great ring of mountains around the middle world gird it, and the giants of the mountains guard them.  Some say they do so to keep humans in their place; some say they do so to keep the gods out of Midworld.

Click to download your copy of the latest version!

Created by Arkhein
Created by Stuart Robertson