Magic of the North

A bit ago I made a spell/item list based on Sumerian mes. It seemed well received. Or at least my two readers and the horde of Russian spam bots that come here didn't complain. One even requested that I make one based on the Havamal.

As that sort of deal has been my focus the last seven years in Legends, I took to it eagerly. What follows is a spell list based on a paraphrased version of Benjamin Thorpe's translation of the Runatal section of the Havamal. Really the only thing I took out was a list of names. I've also tried to keep it system neutral, but occasionally I had to dip into specifics. Shouldn't be too hard to venture into another system of your choosing.

Edit: This site can't deal with a table format to save its, or mine, life. The source material will be in italics below, followed by related fluff and mechanics in bold immediately after. Let's hope it handles font coloring better.

Edit 2: Nope.

I know that I hung,
on a wind-rocked tree,
nine whole nights,
with a spear wounded,
and to Odin offered,
myself to myself;
on that tree,
of which no one knows
from what root it springs.

Bread no one gave me,
nor a horn of drink,
downward I peered,
to runes applied myself,
wailing learnt them,
then fell down thence.

Then I began to bear fruit,
and to know many things,
to grow and well thrive:
word by word
I sought out words,
fact by fact
I sought out facts.

The only method to learn the charms is a rather dangerous one. To reach the proper mental state in which the charms can be learned, one must be on the verge of death. 

Hunger crazed, throat burning; the Seeker gains a vision of the void between worlds as they teeter on the brink of life and death. 

Should their mind be open, and their will strong even now, knowledge of the charms will forever be burned in their mind. 

Runes thou wilt find,
and explained characters,
very large characters,
very potent characters,
which the great speaker depicted,
and the high powers formed,
and the powers’ prince graved:

The charms are not single runes, rather certain combinations of runes strung together, and given power through voice and will. “Rune songs” are not an inaccurate description. Accurate, some would say. 

Knowest thou how to grave them?
knowest thou how to expound them?
knowest thou how to depict them?
knowest thou how to prove them?
knowest thou how to pray?
knowest thou how to offer?
knowest thou how to send?
knowest thou how to consume?

‘Tis better not to pray
than too much offer;
a gift ever looks to a return.
‘Tis better not to send
than too much consume.
So Thund graved
before the origin of men,
where he ascended,
to whence he afterwards came.

Those that sing the charms should know their lore, as knowledge is important to the caster, and a measure of their strength. Intelligence or similar attribute is used in casting. 

Though take heed. Casting too much, too often, has its own dangers, and can lead to harm.

Those songs I know
which the king’s wife knows not
nor son of man.
Help the first is called,
for that will help thee
against strifes and cares.

Provides help in passing a skill check. 

For the second I know,
what the sons of men require,
who will as leeches live.

Sung over a wounded patient this charm causes their injuries heal as though a significant time has passed. 

For the third I know,
if I have great need
to restrain my foes,
the weapons’ edge I deaden:
of my adversaries
nor arms nor wiles harm aught.

When sung in battle, this charm dulls the edges and weakens the wood of any weapon that the singer’s voice touches. The charm reduces the weapon’s dice value by one category (d8 becomes d6, d6 becomes d4, d4 becomes cleaved) 

For the forth I know,
if men place
bonds on my limbs,
I so sing
that I can walk;
the fetter starts from my feet,
and the manacle from my hands.

Should the singer be tied up, this charm unties the knots. Should they be chained, the chains slide off as if too big. 

For the fifth I know,
I see a shot from a hostile hand,
a shaft flying amid the host,
so swift it cannot fly
that I cannot arrest it,
if only I get sight of it.

Sung at the beginning of a fight, the charm allows the singer to attempt to snatch arrows or other missile weapons out of the air for the duration of the fight. This being impossible otherwise, of course. 

For the sixth I know,
if one wounds me
with a green tree’s roots;
also if a man
declares hatred to me,
harm shall consume them sooner than me.

A song of counterspelling. The number of dice used to to empower this song counteracts the dice of the other spell. "Green tree's roots" is poetic wording for "spells." Not fluff, actual thing. 

For the seventh I know,
if a lofty house I see
blaze o’er its inmates,
so furiously it shall not burn
that I cannot save it.
That song I can sing.

This song diminishes all flames within the area of effect by dice applied. 1 die = camp fire; 3 dice = house fire; 5 dice = forest fire. Adjust as seems appropriate.  

For the eighth I know,
what to all is
useful to learn:
where hatred grows
among the sons of men –
that I can quickly assuage.

While this charm is sung, the singer knows who seeks to do them harm, and their location.

For the ninth I know,
if I stand in need
my bark on the water to save,
I can the wind
on the waves allay,
and the sea lull.

When sung on a boat, this song calms the seas, driving away any storm. On land the sea calming obviously doesn’t work, but it could probably clear the skies of any storm. 

For the tenth I know,
if I see troll-wives
sporting in air,
I can so operate
that they will forsake
their own forms,
and their own minds.

When in the presence of spirits, be they nature or dead, this song pains their ears, driving them off. Similar to the "turn undead" ability in that one series of popular pen and page games. 

For the eleventh I know,
if I have to lead
my ancient friends to battle,
under their shields I sing,
and with power they go
safe to the fight,
safe from the fight;
safe on every side they go.

The song dons mystical armor upon the singer and his allies (worth about a leather's measure; or based on the dice used), for the length of one battle. 

For the twelfth I know,
if on a tree I see
a corpse swinging from a halter,
I can so grave
and in runes depict,
that the man shall walk,
and with me converse.

A two parter. First the runes are carved upon the forehead of a corpse, then the rune song is sung. The corpse then gains the ability to speak as it had in life; prone to the same temperament and truthiness. 

For the thirteenth I know,
if on a young man
I sprinkle water,
he shall not fall,
though he into battle come:
that man shall not sink before swords.

Target of the singer gains immunity to iron until the end of the next combat.

For the fourteenth I know,
if in the society of men
I have to enumerate the gods,
Æsir and Alfar,
I know the distinctions of all.
This few unskilled can do.

Should the singer seek knowledge, they have but to sing this rune charm. As the words echo in distance, a vision comes upon the singer in relation to his inquiry. 

For the fifteenth I know
what the dwarf Thiodreyrir sang
before Delling’s doors.
Strength he sang to the Æsir,
and to the Alfar prosperity,
wisdom to Hroptatýr.

Bestows aid in passing an attribute test. Strength, wisdom, whatever you're using. 

For the sixteenth I know,
if a modest maiden’s favour and affection
I desire to possess,
the soul I change
of the white-armed damsel,
and wholly turn her mind.

The listener to this song becomes enchanted with the singer. “Charmed”, some would say. “In love”, others would describe it.

For the seventeenth I know,
that that young maiden will
reluctantly avoid me.
These songs, Loddfafnir!
thou wilt long have lacked;
yet it may be good if thou understandest them,
profitable if thou learnest them.

Where the 16th bestowed love, the 17th reverses this, bestowing loathing upon the listener.

For the eighteenth I know
that which I never teach
to maid or wife of man,
(all is better
what one only knows.
This is the closing of the songs)
save her alone
who clasps me in her arms,
or is my sister.

A song of oath making. Any oath sworn to and agreed upon in this song may not be broken, least doom fall upon the breaker. "Clasps me in her arms" and "my sister" refers to a woman he trusts. Don't get weird with it. Or do, I ain't the cops. 

Now are sung the
High-one’s songs,
in the High-one’s hall,
to the sons of men all-useful,
but useless to the Jötun’s sons.

Hail to him who has sung them!
Hail to him who knows them!
May he profit who has learnt them!
Hail to hose who have listened to them!


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