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Spite of the Jotunn: Lodge of Muspell

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  • Spite of the Jotunn: Lodge of Muspell

    A while back, someone asked me about my take on the Lodge of Muspell that featured in the Wolf and the Raven Dark Era. At the time DE1 was being written, the Lodge rules hadn't yet been finalized, so the write-up in that Era needs a bit of adjustment to make it fit the new paradigm - plus I wanted to pitch an idea here for a version that works in the modern day too. Here y'go!

    The Lodge of Muspell
    Eldthursar, Cinder-Throats, Vessels

    The Eldthursar are glowering, looming horrors—Uratha of immense size and strength, their thews grown thick beyond even the inheritance of Wolf’s strength. Yet despite their stature, the adherents of this Pure Lodge keep to the fringes in the modern day; they lurk where the ash and fumes mix in the flickering forge-light of foundries, move through the shadows of the ranks of pounding machinery that make up a factory’s steel guts, and ruin their own flesh with brands and trials of pain in the concrete labyrinths that lie beneath the cities. Although respected for their battle prowess and craftsmanship, the Cinder-Throats pursue their prey with spiteful pleasure; the adherents of the Lodge hunt those who draw solace and strength from their faith, seeking to tear down the divine and the sacred in order to prepare the way for their totem’s emergence.

    The Eldthursar originate from among the reavers and warriors of Scandinavia’s distant past, though most Cinder-Throats scoff at modern fascination with Vikings and the like. The Lodge formed among Fire-Touched devotees of Surtr, a powerful entity that sought not only to bring about the return of Taga Dan by tearing away the Gauntlet and leading its monstrous companions into the world of Flesh as mighty Claimed, but also sought to destroy any spirits of faith that might seek to protect their human congregations from its wrath. Adherents still follow a twisted ideology relating to the old notion of Ragnarok—where Surtr will lead the giants to battle against the gods—and see all human religion as offering power to the spirits of faith who are destined to oppose Surtr’s rise.

    Most Eldthursar are Fire-Touched, although there’s a tension in such; the Fire-Touched devotees of Surtr stand apart from their Tribal fellows, because Surtr is jealous of all faith that is not directed towards him. Few Ivory Claws are counted among the ranks, but a moderate number of Predator Kings have heard Surtr’s call; they find the Lodge’s dedication to the breaking of human faith compelling, and benefit from the Cinder-Throats’ talents in crafting their own wargear. Some few Pure Ghost Wolves also join the Lodge, so totally dedicated to Surtr’s ideal that they refuse to offer allegiance to any Firstborn over that of the Lodge totem. Adherents mark themselves with angular, livid brands, and subject their flesh to torturous mortification. Surtr’s bond floods his devotees with his Essence, until their meat bloats and swells and their bones thicken.

    Totem: Surtr

    Surtr is a monstrous old thing, an immensely powerful spirit of fire and faith. He considers all human faith to be repulsive and abhorrent but for that which is given to him; he remembers the ancient days when his brothers and sisters of fire and ice could stride the land in the bodies of vessels given willingly to them in rightful sacrifice, and longs for those times to return. The churches of man must be toppled and the idols to the gods cast down; all spirits of faith are his enemies, and must be chained to his will or destroyed.

    The totem has fallen far from his past glories; though still massive, the giant’s burning skin often cools into cracking stone and ash, his skin marred by lesions of cold char. He spends most of his time slumped upon a throne of muttering iron and bronze in his Shadow domain, glowering with eyes of slowly dimming embers. He still has great wounds from his battles with the Forsaken at the height of his power, when the efforts of the Eldthursar brought him to the verge of incarnation in the Flesh in a grand battle to establish a beachhead through the Gauntlet. When he speaks, mouths open around his throat to echo his utterances, puffing soot into the air. The spirit brooks no disobedience or question from his spirit and Uratha servants.

    Surtr cannot simply enter the Flesh under his own power. The monstrous old horror is of such power that he needs a vessel – and that, indeed, is the true purpose of the Lodge. For Surtr to begin Ragnarok and stride the world as a titan of flame, he must incarnate into an Uratha and form a unique Claimed entity, but not just any werewolf can serve. The Cinder-Throats compete to be the chosen vessel of their god; through sustaining his Essence, testing their flesh, and strengthening themselves in the crucible of the forge and the battlefield, each Eldthursar hopes to one day be worthy of communing with Surtr and becoming the gateway for the final assault and the downfall of all faiths.

    Bonds

    Blessing: Eldthursar swell and bloat in size to become huge and muscular even by Uratha standards, gaining +1 Size in all forms.

    Aspiration: To break or destroy something you love.

    Ban: Eldthursar must brand or burn themselves for at least a single point of lethal damage at least once per day.

    Sacred Hunt

    The Lodge’s Sacred Hunt empowers your character against those who have found solace in faith. While taking actions to pursue or bring down prey who has, within the past week, gained Willpower from any sort of positive religious interaction (such as via a Vice or Virtue) or who has gained other direct forms of benefit from worship (including supernatural effects), your character regenerates an additional point of damage each turn, and may spend 1 Essence to increase their Size by a further +1 for the duration of a scene.

    Secrets of the Cinder-Throats

    • By cutting off one of their own hands and using it in the process of forging or constructing a weapon – burning the flesh, anointing metal with blood, placing splinters of bone within the haft, etc – an Eldthursar can forge a spiritual bond with the object so created. As long as the adherent deals a single point of damage to themselves via brands or burning each day (in addition to that offered to the totem), the bond is sustained between werewolf and weapon; this offers a +1 bonus to the weapon’s damage.

    • Perhaps due to the Lodge’s purpose, the Eldthursar deal extensively with Claimed of all kinds. Solitary Eldthursar who cannot tolerate other Pure instead accompany themselves with packs of Claimed, and in some areas the Cinder-Throats work as intermediaries between the Anshega packs and powerful local Claimed. Sometimes, adherents aid spirits in Claiming priests or the faithful in order to twist, suborn, or profane the worship of a religion’s practice in their hunting ground. Notably, the corpse of an Eldthursar is always treated as resonant for any spirit. •

    Raven spirits hate the Eldthursar, and the feeling is mutual. However, the Lodge is bound by ancient pact to make offerings to the feathered spirits each year at the autumn solstice; this offering must be gold or silver taken from someone whom the Eldthursar has caused grief to, and must be melted and poured out again. By tradition, the shape the metal falls into as it hardens holds portents of the future. Failing to honour this pact denies the Eldthursar the Lodge bonds as surely as angering the totem would.

    • Eldthursar offer worship to Surtr by burned sacrifice; any living creature is of worth, but particularly human victims, and even moreso those who are priests or ministers of a false god. Some Eldthursar, ensconced in foundries, dip screaming victims into molten metal; the resulting wretched corpses of charred flesh, bone, and metal are kept in dark vaults. The Cinder-Throats believe that, when Surtr enters the Flesh once more, all these twisted remains will serve as vessels to Claim for the army of loyal spirits of fire and ice that will accompany the totem.

    • Rank within the Lodge is indicated by the rings and torcs a Muspell devotee wears. Steel indicates the least of the Eldthursar—though even they are rare and feared by other Pure—while silver denotes greater status, granted to those who oversee half a dozen or more other Cinder-Throats across a region. The eldest and most powerful wear golden jewelry. Earning the right to a metal demands gruelling tribulations and tests, usually involving fire, ice, and endurance. An Eldthursar who pledges loyalty to another Pure not of the Lodge—a rare event indeed, usually only given if the adherent feels they owe a life-debt or the like—represents their respect and allegiance by melting down their jewellry and giving it as a gift to the subject. Until such a time as that allegiance is discharged, they may not wear any such jewelry, nor may they command any obedience from other members of the Lodge. Surtr accepts that such bonds outside the Lodge can sometimes be necessary—but such split loyalties come at a price for the adherent.

    Tools

    Adherents of the Lodge of Muspell have access to the Lodge Armory merit.

    Brand of Spite (Wolf Rite •)

    Better than the faithful slain are the ones whose faith is left broken for all to see.

    Symbols: Fire, hate, broken bonds, desecration

    Action: Extended (5 successes; each roll represents 1 turn)

    Duration: 1 month

    This rite is performed on a victim whom the werewolf must brand, cut, or otherwise mark during its performance. For the rite’s duration, the character can no longer regain Willpower (through Vice, Virtue, Blood, Bone, etc) through any act of worship or positive interaction with a religious community, or through any other expression of any faith they possess. For the purpose of social manoeuvrers, the impression of any priests or representatives of a religion are worsened by two steps towards them, and failures on social rolls against such characters are automatically turned into dramatic failures.


    - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

    ​Like my work? Feel like helping me stay supplied with tea? Check out my Patreon

  • #2
    Definitely one of my faves!


    Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

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    • #3
      I like them a lot, but is there an explanation for how/why the middle-ranking Eldthursar wear silver? I can see it being possible, and it fits their attitude of surviving trials and tribulations, but it's a mighty impressive thing for only those in the middle of the organisation to wear (whereas it feels like it could be more appropriate for the lowest rank, as part of the trials they must endure to prove themselves, or the highest rank, as they strive to be worthy of Surtr) and it feels a little glossed over.

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      • #4
        Great addition to Vikings Werewolf. Now I need to imagine how Eldthursar would go to Byzantium... I feel they would be very 'interested' in Christian lead life there - and especially burning their priests.


        My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
        LGBT+ in CoD games

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        • #5
          Interesting write up! I am assuming from context that this Totem spirit is officially a rank 6+ spirit and hence the need for a vessel?

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          • #6
            Please elaborate how these guys interact with the Fall of Fenris? Is Surtr linked to this plotline? How and when was he wrecked in indicated grand battle?

            Inquiring minds want to know!

            --Khanwulf

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