"Blonde-haired savages have driven the remaining Hyborian tribes out of the snow countries, except the ancient kingdom of Hyperborea, which resists their onslaught. Their country is called Nordheim, and they are divided into the red-haired Vanir of Vanaheim, and the yellow-haired Æsir of Asgard.” – The Hyborian Age


The Fierce Warriors of Asgard

Asgard- Home of the Aesir[]

Asgard is the nation of the Aesir, situated east of Vanaheim and the Blue Mountains, west of Hyperborea and the putative River of Death Ice, and north of Cimmeria and the Eiglophian Mountains.

Asgard and Vanaheim together comprised the region known as Nordheim, which was probably analogous to the mysterious Thule of pre-Cataclysmic times. The high mountain regions are permanently frozen, with the glaciers growing as the climate cools. In the southern lowlands, taiga forest cover much of the terrain. North of here lay the tundra, a soggy plain underlain by permafrost. The country is characterized by its harsh and brutal landscape, with long, cold winters. Such is the landscape that farming is virtually non-existent and animal husbandry is the only means of producing food.

Hwc asgard

Blond reavers of the icy north, the mailed warriors of the Aesir are held in check only by their equally ferocious kin the Vanir to the west, the grim Cimmerians southward, and by arcane Hyperborea to the east. Loosely organized, the clans await their forging to a cause, or a great captain of men, to spur them over the ice towards bright and bloody conquest!

Æsir History[]

After the Cataclysm destroyed the civilizations of the world, humanity began again its fight for dominance. Among these, a primitive people, the Hybori, only slightly more evolved than the Neanderthal, traveled north and fought the snow-apes. They drove these monsters north of the arctic circle to perish, and they occupied the cold northern lands as conquerors. These snow-apes, over the next several thousand years, managed to evolve into gigantic blond arctic savages. A thousand years later, a wanderer to the North returned to the Hyborians with the news that the Northern icy wastes were inhabited by ape-like men, descended from the beasts driven out of the more habitable land by the Hyborians' ancestors. To exterminate these creatures, a small band of warriors followed him beyond the arctic circle which none returned. A thousand years later, they finally pushed the Hyborians south and established Nordheim. These barbarians were split into two major groups being easiest to distinguish by disproportionate amounts of redheads(Vanir) and blondes(Aesir). The yellow-haired Æsir settled in the inland portion of Nordheim and called it Asgard.

Aesir in the Hyborian Age[]

Asgard, a far-northern mountainous nation which is permanently glaciated, is home to the blond-haired, blue-eyed Aesir (Æsir), a virile and rough hewn race of hunters or axe-wielding warriors who fight by day and carouse by night. A shade less bloodthirsty than their neighbors, the Vanir, they nonetheless glory in warfare, wearing their famous horned helmets and swinging long hafted battle-axes.

Asgard is in the unfortunate position of being stuck between three mighty foes: Cimmeria, Vanaheim, and Hyperborea. They have a grudging mutual respect with the Cimmerians, so far as they won't attack each other often. However, some Cimmerians have joined the Æsir on war parties, and it’s likely some Æsir have done the same. Hyperborea will likely make rapid slave raids, and Vanaheim will try to wipe their old enemies from existence. Even the Ice is proving an enemy: in the later years of the Hyborian Age, the Arctic Ice could start to travel south, triggering a massive exodus of the Northmen, which will undoubtedly devastate the southern kingdoms.

Each tribe of Asgard is ruled by a "king", whose headquarters is a timber-roofed Great Hall. The Aesir live in tribal units with its own chieftain, or "king", who presides in timber-roofed Great Halls. The typical appearance of these men is that of a golden-haired, blue-eyed, bearded barbarian, with chain hauberks, bearded axes, and wooden shields.

Æsir Religion[]



All Aesir worship Ymir, the Frost Giant, Lord of Storm and War, who lives (according to legend), in Valhalla, his castle far in northern Vanaheim. The Nordheimir believe in an afterlife and the afterlife often mirrors how one lives life and meets one’s doom. For the common folk, the afterlife is dull and dreary, a life spent gathering and serving the warriors. According to Nordheimr shamans, the souls of valiant warriors who fall in battle go to Valhalla to feast and fight forever. This belief makes Nordheimr warriors terribly fierce in battle, and they often fight with no regard for their own safety. Valhalla is a realm of long halls, snowy glaciers, and eternal fighting. Ymir represents the Earth to the Nordheimr, and both the Vanir and the Æsir sprang from Ymir. Battle for the Nordheimr is not only the basis of their economy and social life, it's also the basis of their religious life, for Ymir is worshiped by doing battle all day, then eating, drinking, and singing all night. Indeed, even those activities have religious merit, for ale is the drink of bold Ymir and, as such, it's sacred or consumed in large quantities. There's a belief among the Nordheimr that it's possible to come into direct contact with Ymir if one drank themselves unconscious. Thus, inebriation is a religious obligation as well as a social activity.

It's likely that there are regional gods as well, considering the Æsir and their life-style. They have no unified government to enforce anything. Any local gods are subordinate to Ymir, in any case.

Among the Æsir, who are each fiercely independent, even religion is viewed as a personal matter. They have no time, or interest, in priests to interpret Ymir for them. Each man is his own intermediary to Ymir. The Æsir keep no temples to Ymir, but they acknowledge many sacred outdoor sites, such as mountains, islands, fields, rocks, and groves. Three times per year, the Æsir hold ceremonies to placate Ymir, asking for victory in war and raiding, making sacrifices of animals and humans, feasting on steaming food, hot from the fires, drinking their ale in fantastic quantities, or singing lustful songs celebrating their wars and heroes. These ceremonies, occurring in the spring, mid-summer, and autumn, last for days and are brutal affairs for such is their life.

Life was meant to be embraced with savage enthusiasm and death is to be met in the same manner. The Nordheimr believe in an afterlife, and the afterlife often mirrored how one lived life and met one’s dooms. For the common folk, the afterlife will be dull and dreary, a life spent gathering and serving the warriors. For valiant warriors, however, the afterlife would be filled with fighting and feasting in the snowy plains and halls of Valhalla.

The Aesir have also been known to invoke the name "Audhambla's Dugs", a cow owned by Ymir and made of ice as well, whose udders give rivers of milk. Audhambla is, herself, nourished by licking salty, rime-covered stones. The Aesir also invoke the god Buri in expletives, who in Norse mythology gave rise to the other gods. Audhambla licked the stones into the shape of a man; this was Buri. Buri, in the Norse religion, was the first god, who sired Bor, the grandfather of Odin.

Æsir Relationship with other Countries[]

The Nordheimir in general are welcoming to peaceful strangers, though they constantly raid foreign lands and can be vicious when abroad on one of their forays.

The Æsir are the blood enemies of the Vanir, the red-haired barbarians of Vanaheim. Eons of feuding ensure that there will never be an easy peace between these two peoples. The Aesir fear the Hyperboreans, knowing what dark arts they practice in their land and that of those who venture there, few return. Being in close proximity to Hyperborea has made them slightly more civilized than their barbarian neighbours, although they continue to sustain a hunting and foraging culture as opposed to agricultural.

The Aesir also have an animosity for Cimmerians, believing their presence in Asgard is for spying purposes or declaring war. This is mostly caused by border disputes with the Cimmerians. As said by Conan I, it's usually the Cimmerians who win these battles. However, there seems to have been a rough alliance between Asgard and Cimmeria, since the young Conan spent time with the Aesir raiding both Vanaheim and Hyperborea. The Aesir have a somewhat rough alliance with the Cimmerian people to the south, who regard each other with equal respect when travelling through each others lands. They share a common foe with both Nordheim to the west and Hyperborea to the East, and the two regularly form raiding parties in order to vent mutual destruction on there enemies. Such raids are usually met in turn with raids from both the countries, and as such the borders are never guarded. It has been theorized by the scholars of Nemedia that should the Aesir, with or without the Cimmerians, join together under a single King, then they would be as big a threat to civilization as they know it than the Hybori were to the Archeans.

Even though the two races of Nordheim are closely related, the Æsir and the Vanir despise each other for reasons that are never completely explicated. Unlike the feud between the Cimmerians and Picts, it's never explored in detail: it could be a cycle of revenge whose origin has been lost to time, or something more sinister than that. The only real hint as to the feud were these lines said by a Vanir warrior: "Blood feud lies 'twixt these Aesir dogs and true Vanirmen". Perhaps the Vanir consider themselves the true race of Nordheim. The truth of the hatred is never to be revealed.


Battlefield where Aesir reavers fought Hyrkanian warriors

The times when Aesir villages are most vulnerable are when the men are on the harvest hunt. At this time, the only people left in the villages are the old, young, and women. Nemedia, unconquerable by Hyborians, reeled between the riders of the east and the swordsmen of the west, when a tribe of Aesir, wandering down from their snowy lands, came into the kingdom, and were engaged as mercenaries; they proved such able warriors that they not only beat off the Hyrkanians, but halted the eastward advance of the Picts.

Nemedia is increasingly more dominated by the Æsir mercenaries. They relished battle, but only to loot and pillage, not as means of expanding their borders. The Aesir who settled in Nemedia soon adopted many of the ways of their civilized allies, modified powerfully, however, by their own warlike and alien culture. Later on, Nemedia will become a Nordic kingdom, ruled by the descendants of the Æsir mercenaries.

Æsir Society[]

The Æsir are fierce warriors, proud and honorable. With white hot enthusiasm, they pursue life anf face death fearlessly with a song on their lips. They are giant men who valued honor, loyalty and reputation above all things. Even the women are strong, running households while the men war with each other across the icy plains and mountains. Their land is harsh, and they are hardened by generations of living in near-arctic conditions or almost constant warfare with the Vanir, Cimmerians, Hyperboreans, and Picts.

War is frequent and low scale, consisting of cattle raids, holmgangs, and duels. Because of its frequency, warfare is a defining aspect of Æsir society, including their religion. Their favored weapons are the spear and the axe. Broadswords are also commonly seen.

Weapons are so important in the life of an Æsir they are almost always highly ornamented, etched with exotic designs or runic characters. The Æsir tend to prefer dragons or birds of prey in their complex ornamentation. In addition, they also etch stylized nature designs into their armor, clothing, and tools as well. The Æsir often wear leather helmets reinforced with pieces of metal, including a piece of iron or steel over the nose. These helms are often decorated, in addition to mere design-work, with horns to symbolize fierce power. Mail shirts and large shields are standard. The common shields seen among the Æsir are made of wood and covered in leather hide or bearskin. A round metal hump is placed in the center of the outer face of the shield to protect the hand holding the shield.

Ferocity and courage are not the only measure of manhood among the Æsir. They expect no quarter, and neither do they want mercy. If wounded, they will rather die and be sent to Ymir a man than to be left suffering or to be taken prisoner. Self-esteem is also valued, and a portion of self-esteem revolves around appearance. Using combs made from antlers, the Æsir groom themselves daily, braiding their hair, mustaches, and beards. Many carry small tools to clean their fingernails and ears with then.

The Æsir bathe at least once a week and use saunas for health. In addition to grooming, self-esteem includes a measure of status. Status among the Æsir is achieved through combat prowess or wealth. The display of wealth gives an Æsir status. Their clothes and armor have coins sewn onto them. Coins are also hung on chains and worn as jewelry, displayed with arrogant pride. Jewelry is equally prized by Æsir men as by the women. Precious metals are often melted down and recast as wearable items, such as bracelets or armlets.

The Æsir use precious metals, usually silver, in trade. They pay for goods with coin or an appropriate weight in silver, cut off from their jewelry. The Æsir rarely carry purses or sacks of coin because of the noise. It's easier and quieter to recast the coins as a bracelet, and then just slice off pieces of it as needed. The Æsir also engage in barter for trade goods. Of course, their preferred manner of gaining necessaries is to raid a rival for them.


Aesir Raiding

At the close of each winter, the Aesir begin their yearly raids, riding south on horseback to pillage townships of their cattle, wealth, and women. Men who surrender to Aesir warriors are usually spared. Those who resist are slain in a gruesome fashion. Aesir rarely burn a village they plunder, preferring to leave their targets fairly intact to allow the survivors to rebuild and provide another lucrative target in the future. Aesir love to travel, and because of that are the most well known of the northmen.

Though the Nordheimir women don't usually fight alongside the men in war, they are charged with the responsibility of managing and defending their longhouses while the warriors are away. Many a female Nordheimer has won renown by beating off a horde of raiders with a spear or battle-axe, while protecting her home and children. Another job of some women with special connections to Ymir is wizardry. These witches can be easily identified since they usually wear the skin of some powerful animal, such as the wolf. These witches can summon ancient monsters of Nordheim's legends, such as the Skrae.

The frigid northlands are not suited for agriculture, and the Æsir never practice farming. The Æsir don't herd animals either. They hunt for their livelihood as befits a warrior race. Their wasteland realm isn't as barren of life as a first glance might suppose. The frozen mountains and icy plains support bears, mammoths, moose, reindeer, and similar beasts of the wild. Wild fruits and berries supplemented their diet. During their more peaceable moments, the Aesir support themselves by hunting abundant musk ox, mammoth, bear, reindeer, moose, fox, and the like. Hunting is also widely embraced and one of the chief exports of the nation is Mammoth Ivory. Hunting the giant mammoths is both a blessing and a curse. Such a prize cannot easily be left alone. Yet to track one invites death under its massive frame. When they are caught and killed, the meat will usually feed a large tribe through the winter and the hunters will become renowned for years to come. They doubtless augmented their meat diet by gathering lingon-berries and other wild fruits in season.

The Æsir feast in a loud, boisterous fashion and often engage in ‘friendly’ brawls when drunk.

Dependent upon wildlife, their villages, built using whatever materials are close at hand or can be readily raided, are usually near known animal trails and water. Their villages consist of individual huts. To conserve warmth, there is a smithy, a tanner's hut, and a longhouse. The Aesir for the most part live in huts covered in animal hide. These huts are usually built around a single long hall which serves as the home for the current King and his trusted retainers. It acts as the nerve center for the entire village, and will occasionally be surrounded by a make shift log wall in order to reinforce its position. In the center of these villages stood the largest and longest of the many buildings. This great hall was the home of the king.


Njord- Aesir King

Asgard is not a unified kingdom serving one supreme king. Essentially the Æsir are a village-based people who are bound by a common culture and descent. The Aesir (as the people of Asgard are known) are comprised of many separate clans and tribes. The Æsir have many kings, for each village is like a kingdom unto itself. A king, to the Æsir, is any local warrior who could maintain a following, using both income and honor to hold onto that following. This King rules them as an equal in peace time, and when not at war the Aesir Kings are known to be both friendly and fair. However in war time they have to be the strongest and the fittest in the clan for the king always led his warriors into battle, which meant that most Æsir kings died young, but with barbaric honor and pride. It has been known for kings to step down of his own will if he believes himself incapable of leading the best of his clan. When such kings do not step down, the clan rallies around a new man. Such times are tumultuous and troublesome, and only blood can settle such quarrels. It is however, rare for this to happen. A king hangs the heads of his most hated opponents from his lodge pole. There can be a high chief of the Aesir, and the one who holds this position is supreme lord of all the Aesir tribes.

In battle, Aesir prefer the spear backed up by a broadsword or battleaxe. Additionally, they rely upon their chain-mailed shirts, horned helmets, and wooden shields to protect them from the weapons of their enemies. Many Aesir learn to use the throwing axe and javelins, but it is rare to find an Aesir warrior with a bow, a weapon they find cowardly. What better way to kill a man than face to face rather than just killing him from afar. What glory is there to be found?

Only by dying in battle, with blade in hand and courage in the heart, can an Aesir find his way to Valhalla, the after-life paradise sought by all Norsemen. If an Aesir dies without his weapons, he can still reach Valhalla by having his body set ablaze in a funeral pyre. This is so the smoke rises to the heavens, becoming a stairway for the souls of the departed to reach the Halls of Forever.

Funeral pyre

Aesir Funeral Pyre

The Aesir live by conquest. When two Aesir fight, the winner takes his choice of the loser’s women, children, and animals. Aesir men will have only one wife at a time. Anyone caught in adultery is stripped of his belongings, and forced to cross the snow plains naked. In this way they freeze to death and never gains his chance to reside in the Halls of Valhalla.

Nordheimir names tend to be Scandinavian and Germanic. It is likely that many of the Norse gods share names with the Nordheimir.

Æsir Warrior Classes[]


Aesir warriors hunt for their quarry.

Fyrd (light infantry)- Every man in Nordic society is expected to own weapons and bear them against invaders. They are not particularly well trained nor well equipped, but very well motivated to battle, and they can use their trusty household hand-axes and spears to good effect so long as they are not committed to the hardest fighting.

Hirdmen (heavy infantry)- Hirdmen are the sworn companions of mighty Nordic chieftains – great fighters loyal to the death to the nobleman they serve. They are stalwart warriors in either attack or defense, but excel in the dense and almost unbreakable shield-wall. Like the Huscarls, these men are handpicked veterans given the best that their lord’s generosity can provide.

Huscarls- The Huscarls are the elite forces of the great Nordic kings. Veteran warriors, hand picked, given the very best equipment and fed from the lord’s table. They swear the mead-bargain with their lord, giving loyalty to the death in return for mead, wealth and land. It is considered the greatest disgrace to live if your lord dies, and such men will be condemned to live as exiles. As a result, these units have exceptional morale, and will fight to the death rather than retreat unless their lord orders it.

Berserkers- Dedicated to Ymir, the Frost-Giant of Nordic mythology, these men are an elite among the Nordic warriors, set aside for war. They are also known as bear-shirts. They wield axes and hurl themselves against the enemy line in reckless fury. They are best used to shatter enemy defensive lines before the war-bands pour in behind them, for they can rarely be held back long enough for any sustained defense.

Social Hierachy[]

King: A king is a chieftain who has consolidated more than one tribe or clan under his rule.

Chieftain: The chieftain has the responsibility of enforcing the laws of Nordheimir society. A chieftain is expected to be generous in all things and to protect the honor of their clan against outsiders. The chieftain must be a good leader, a powerful warrior, excellent speaker, and an inspiration to his men. He is required to attend every Thing or Althing lest he lose his position.

Jarl: The Jarls are the upper class, the wealthiest of Nordheimir. Jarls are the closest thing the Nordheimir have to a nobility: the chiefs and sons of chiefs who commit their tribe's forces to their local King's army. They are the most well-equipped of the Nordheimir, and act similarly to a general's bodyguard. They wear heavy scale mail, the heaviest armor available to the barbarians, but through conquest or alliance can gain access to other armor.

Hirdmadr: The Hirdmadr are those who have sworn allegiance to the king or chieftain and fight by his side.

Leiding: A leiding is a man who rents or leases his land to another in return for payment in food. A leiding is usually a wealthy land-owner or farmer and his tenant can be anyone from a former slave to a chieftain. He's a free man with all the rights and duties of such in Nordheimir society.

Hauldr: A hauldr is a true free man with full rights and duties in Nordheimir society. The hauldr owns his own land and has a hereditary right to that land; his family has owned the land for at least six generations. Most people in Nordheimir society belong to this class of people.

Løysing: A løysing is a slave who has been set free by his owner because of hard work or exceptional service. He is usually still dependent upon and owes duties to his former owner. The children of løysing parents are free. Members of this class often participate in raids and military excursions in order to supplement their wealth. The only right they lack is a hereditary right to land.

Thrall: Thralls are slaves; thralls are not protected by the law but are treated as property. Killing a slave is not murder, so the killer need only replace the slave if it was owned by someone else. Children born of slaves are the property of their mothers’ owners. Slaves work hard and the only thing they are allowed to own are knives. Slaves are captured during raids into Pictland, Asgard, Nordheim, Cimmeria, the Border Kingdom and Hyperborea. Other Nordheimir might become slaves if they find themselves unable to pay the mulct (fine) imposed by the Althing or Thing or unable to provide for themselves and/or their families

Other roles:

Skald: A skald is a Nordheimir poet who retains the oral history, culture, and traditions of a clan.

Lawspeaker: Usually a skald, a lawspeaker is a Nordheimir who has memorized the laws of the Thing or Althing. He recites the laws at the outset of these gatherings to ensure the laws are remembered and obeyed by all present.

Godi/Godar: Nordheimer shamans, known as godar in Asgard, tend to be more political than religious, taking an advisory or leaderlike role as well as ensuring the proper ceremonies are conducted for any given event.

Völvas: A völva is a Nordheimir sorceress who practices seid, the Nordheimir version of Shamanism. Seid is considered unmanly in Nordheimir tradition because it's a manipulative practice, so almost all are female. Elderly völvas are seen as representatives of the spirits of death.

Asgard's Last Breath[]

Asgard was one of the few nations never subdued during the wars of the latter Hyborian Age. The creeping glaciers ultimately forced its people out.

Part of the great migration known as the Nordic Drift, wandering Aesir tribes blotted out Hyperborea and drove fellow Asgardian tribes before them until they came across Hykarnia. The Aesir assailed these lands so savagely that the Hykarnian riders fled eastward onto the steppes along the Vilayet Sea. In the west, the hordes of Aesir and Vanir, pressured by the advancing ice sheets, pushed into Cimmeria, dislodging the race as a whole.

Aesir Raid

Aesir pushing into foreign territory

But the onslaught didn't stop there. Hordes of Æsir and Vanir swarmed into the Cimmerian lands, and the Pictish empire reeled beneath their strokes. Nemedia was overthrown, and the half-civilized Nordics fled before their wilder kinsmen, leaving the cities of Nemedia ruined and deserted. These fleeing Aesir, who had adopted the name of the older kingdom, and to whom the term Nemedian henceforth refers, came into the ancient land of Koth, expelled both Picts and Hyrkanians, and aided the people of Shem to throw off the Hyrkanian yoke. All over the western world, the Picts and Hyrkanians were staggering before this younger, fiercer people. A band of Æsir drove the eastern riders from Brythunia and settled there themselves, adopting the name for themselves. The Nordics, who had conquered Hyperborea, assailed their eastern enemies so savagely that the dark-skinned descendants of the Lemurians retreated into the steppes, pushed irresistibly back toward the Vilayet. A band of Aesir drove the eastern riders from Brythunia and settled there, adopting the name for themselves.

In the end, the western world was dominated by Nordic barbarians. There was no such thing as a consolidated Nordic empire. The tribes had its own chief or king, and they fought savagely among themselves.

What their destiny might have been will never be known, because another terrific convulsion of the earth, carving out the lands as they are known today, hurled all into chaos again. Great strips of the western coast sank; Vanaheim and western Asgard — uninhabited and glacier-haunted wastes for a hundred years — vanished beneath the waves.

The buckling of the land thrust up great mountain ranges in the central part of the northern continent. Whole Nordic tribes were blotted out, and the rest retreated eastward. The territory about the slowly drying inland sea wasn't affected, and there, on the western shores, the Nordic tribes began a pastoral existence, living in more or less peace with the Cimmerians, and gradually mixing with them. In the west the remnants of the Picts, reduced by the cataclysm once more to the status of stone-age savages, began, with the incredible virility of their race, once more to possess the land, until, at a later age, they were overthrown by the westward drift of the Cimmerians and Nordics. After the end of the Ice Age, the Baltic Sea was formed, cutting the heights of Asgard into the Scandinavian countries now known as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Their descendants came into these countries as Aryans. But there were variations among these primitive Aryans, some of which are still recognized today, others which have long been forgotten. The blond Achaians, Gauls, and Britons, for instance, are descendants of pure-blooded Æsir. The Nemedians of Irish legend were the Nemedian Æsir. The Danes were descendants of pure-blooded Vanir. The Goths — ancestors of the other Scandinavian and Germanic tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons — were descendants of a mixed race whose elements contained Vanir, Aesir, and Cimmerian strains. From pure-blooded Shemites, or Shemites mixed with Hyborian blood, were descended the Arabs, Israelites, and other straighter-featured Semites.

The greatest legacy of the Æsir is that they mixed with Cimmerians to becomes the first indo-europeans.

Overview of Æsir and their Land[]

  • Population: about 500,000
  • Capital: Wolfraven
  • Ruler: Wulfhere
  • Major cities: There are an estimated 1,900 villages and 27 towns in Asgard. The Æsir do not build cities.
  • Resources: Game (musk ox, mammoth, bear, reindeer, moose, fox), mammoth ivory
  • Imports: Steel weapons
  • Allies: Cimmeria
  • Enemies: Hyperborea, Vanaheim
  • Tech level: Dark ages
  • Religion: Ymir