We spent a lot of time working on the culture of Nordmar because we didn’t want to depict them like a group of miners and Orc-hunters in thick armour, but as an own, individual group of people.
An important element of that is their religion, that is nearly not existent in the original game. The only thing the player learns is that the fire-clan follows Innos, but he is left in the dark about the other two. We know that Nordmar has an ancestral cult, but nearly nothing about it. To add some depth to Nordmar’s religion and culture we introduced the office of the Gydja that will be held by two women: Aveya in the wolf- and Liv in the hammer-clan. (We didn’t give the fire-clan a Gydja two distinguish it’s religion from the other two.) Here’s what a few of the clan-members have to say about them:
Dela is a new NPC and Rune’s wife. She tells the player the following:
H: Who is this Gydja?
– She is the seeing woman of our clan. Our connection to the ancestors.
– She is the oldest person in the clan.
– Even Bogir is younger than she.
– She is very wise and can see the future. The men tell many stories about her magic skills.
H: What kind of skills?
– The warriors are afraid of her magic, because they can’t fight it with their swords and axes.
– They say she can transform people into animals. And herself too, while she’s at it.
– But nobody really knows what she is capable of, and she knows better than to tell anyone.
H: And you women aren’t afraid of her?
– We know she would never use her powers for anything bad.
– She might be a bit mysterious, but she is always helpful. And there isn’t a woman in the clan who’s child she hasn’t delivered.
Henja is the wife of Gunnar and can also tell us something about the Gydja:
H: So the Gydja always has to be a woman?
– It is said that only those who give life can cross the border to the lands beyond.
– But she pays a great price for her powers.
– The men are afraid of her and tell wild stories.
– They say she is able to turn into a wild beast. Nonsense!
H: Then why don’t you explain it to them?
– Because Aveya doesn’t want us to. I suppose she is quite content about the warriors treating her with respect.
We also wanted to give a man the chance to tell the hero something about her. Helvar is one of Grim’s previously nameless bodyguards:
H: Who is this wise woman?
– Her name is Aveya. She is our connection to our ancestors. She knows much about the old legends and many other things.
H: What do you mean?
– She is a Gydja, a seeing woman. That alone would be reason enough not to trust her. But she does know things she just CANNOT know.
H: What is a “Gydja”?
– As I told you, a seeing woman. She learns Gor’s will from the flight of the birds and the whisper of the wind.
– Furthermore, she can call upon our ancestors and quiet their anger.
– I don’t know how you guys from the big plains think about that, but we aren’t comfortable with women possessing that kind if power.
H: Then why don’t you just give the job to a man?
– Because it is tradition as well as good custom to have a woman in the office of the Gydja, and there is no greater trespass than to act against either one.
– Anyway, the Gydja of the hammer-clan is different from Aveya. Aveya is ancient, and many say she has a deeper understanding of the world than anyone else.
– She likes to talk in riddles and is quite pleased if we others don’t understand her.
– If the stories told about her are true, she can awaken the dead and change her form as she pleases.
– So whatever you do, be polite. Even better, just stay away from her completely.
– If you aren’t careful, she might bewitch you!
Despite Helvars warning, most players will surely talk to the Gydja before long. We want to show you a small piece of the dialogue with her.
H: Who are you?
– I am many things and have many names. The people of the clan call me wise woman or Aveya. I am their Gydja.
– But they don’t know me. They fear my power because they can’t understand that what they don’t want to see.
H: They fear you?
– They always fear what they can’t comprehend.
– And those who only speak with their axes have an especially hard time trying to understand the wonders of the mountains.
– They fear me because I talk to those that fell silent ages ago.
– They fear me because I tame that which can not be tamed.
– And they fear me because I know more about their fate than they do themselves.
Of course, these are just some short excerpts from the dialogues. What else Aveya or Liv, her colleague from the hammer-clan, have to tell and what their roles will be (important ones, if you play the Nordmar-quests) will be revealed in the game.