Suggested Source Material

     While the scope and mood of your Valherjar game is entirely up to you and your group, we have assembled a small list of resources and reference materials that may help you capture the feel you're looking for. They are separated into two categories, Inspiration & Ambiance and Historical Reference, to help you gain the most from what they offer.

Inspiration & Ambiance
     New players especially might be looking for some inspiration to help quantify and create experiences and moods for their Valherjar campaigns, so we've assembled a list of movies, books and CDs to help draw you in to some of the potential concepts your games may address.

     300 by Frank Miller (Dark Horse Comics): The ultimate story of sacrifice and defiance of destiny, 300 is based on the true story of 300 Spartan soldiers in 480 BC who, with almost no resources or support, held off an army of Persians many times their number so that Greece could rally its defenses.

     Anita Blake; Vampire Hunter; a series by Laurell K. Hamilton (various publishers): Based around a woman who is a freelance necromancer by night and a state-sanctioned vampire hunter by day, the Anita Blake series is a wonderful view of a mortal trying to deal with her supernatural abilities and enemies.

     Blackhawk Down (Columbia/Tri Star Home Video): One of the most realistic movies ever made in terms of military tactics and relative violence, Blackhawk Down will both help set an authentic tone to your in-game combat and give you ideas for the horror of a small group of combatants facing many times their number.

     Midnight Syndicate CDs and soundtracks: Often used as ambiance for haunted houses and other mood specific events, the Midnight Syndicate combines music, audio samples and voice work to create the perfect background soundtrack for your game.

     Saving Private Ryan (Dreamworks): The quintessential "small band on a mission" movie, not only is Saving Private Ryan incredibly realistic and gritty, but it conveys numerous social and emotional aspects of a soldier's life that previous movies have missed. But even more importantly, from a gaming perspective, is the way the small squad is perpetually resentful of their mission and are detoured from their goal by a number of uncontrollable factors. This is powerfully inspirational for a number of potential roleplaying hooks.

     Song of Ice and Fire; a series by George R.R. Martin (Bantam Books): One of the deepest and most brilliant fantasy series ever written. These books offer political intrigue and conflict with enough hooks and inspiration to fill thousands of hours of gaming.

     Sonja Blue; a series by Nancy Collins (White Wolf): The story of a vampire assassin/vigilante on the prowl, the series is full of ideas for playing a super-powered character in the world of mortals.

     The Crow (Dimension Home Video): A dark revenge fantasy dealing with a dead hero returning to the mortal coil, The Crow includes some wonderful inspiration for dealing with the loss of a character's mortality and their desire to return to their former life, as well as some original ideas as to how a person will adapt to new super powers.

     Underworld (Columbia/Tri Star Home Video): A gothic tale of a war between vampires and werewolves, Underworld deals heavily with the concept of clandestine battles being fought in the modern world.

Historical Reference
     For those looking for a more historical angle, or an understanding of the resources that helped inspire us, some historical references may prove invaluable. Obviously this is just a taste of the volumes you could draw from, but it should be enough to get you started.

     The Havamal: Supposedly the words of Odin himself past down to mortal man, the Havamal is a series of proverbs that help define a "proper" life. Drawn from the Elder/Poetic Eddas, numerous translations can be found in bookstores or online.

     The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Runes by Sirona Knight (Sterling Publishing): One of the most detailed and in-depth guides to runes we've encountered, it includes definitions and historical insight, numerous divination layouts, ceremonial practices and much, much more.

     The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Random House): Though there is no shortage of books on Norse mythology, this is one of our favorites. Retold in a simple and easily understandable style and including an accessible glossary and index, it's a good choice if you want more detailed information.

     The Warrior and Men at Arms series of books (Osprey Books): Invaluable for players wishing to create historically accurate characters, both of these phenomenal series of inexpensive books deal with the weapons, armor, strategies and mentalities of the soldiers they portray.

 

 

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