We recently released the definitive guide to Candlekeep in 5th Edition D&D, Elminster’s Candlekeep Companion. Featuring design and consultation by creator of the Forgotten Realms, Ed Greenwood, this supplement is packed with lore, new player options, and the first-ever map of the library fortress!
If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology. I love the most recent God of War game, Neil Gaiman’s masterful reimaginings of the classic myths, and am looking forward to playing the Fate of the Norns RPG when I get some free time—it uses runes instead of dice! I ran a homebrew Norse-themed campaign that lasted about two years in which Loki was the overarching villain. My players still maintain the occasional suspicion that one of my good-hearted NPCs is just another illusion of the trickster god. In fact, my old domain name and twitter handle was actually Norse DM. I changed this over time as 1) I’m actually Middle Eastern, and 2) I’ve written far more about devils than I ever did vikings.
When I got my start on the DMs Guild, my first subclass was the Oath of the Aesir paladin. I released it in June of 2019. My original hope was to do a trio of subclasses, including a cosmic monk tied to Yggdrasil, the World Tree, but my attention was called to other pursuits. Recently, I was going through my old files and found a Norse-mythology-inspired sorcerer subclass that I made months ago.
I’ve been fortunate enough over the past year to stay busy in a constant stream of TTRPG work. so take this free subclass as a thank you. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Sorcerous Origin: Thread of the Norns
Magic has been woven into your lineage by the Norns, a coven of prophetic hags residing beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Maybe a Norn chose you to avert or bring about an apocalyptic event. Perhaps one of your ancestors drank from Urðarbrunnr, the well beneath the World Tree. Regardless of the origin, Norn magic empowers you to manipulate fate itself.
In Norse mythology, the three named Norns— Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld—control the fate of all beings, including the gods. These ancient hags spin threads of destiny within their halls, weaving the past, present, and future into existence as if it were a great tapestry. Interestingly, the Poetic Edda mentions the existence of many lesser Norns. Some acolytes claim that a Norn is present at every birth, entwining the child’s life with fortune or failure. Thus, any hag that focuses her time on prophecy or fate may be deemed a Norn.
Norn Sorcerer Quirks
At your option, you can pick from or roll on the Norn Quirks table to create an interesting personality trait for your character.
|1||I am in possession of a cryptic prophecy from which I constantly extrapolate meaning.|
|2||I knit excessively and often create garments for people I meet throughout my adventures.|
|3||When my companions or I attempt a difficult feat, I attempt to read the threads of fate, commenting on the likelihood of success or failure.|
|4||I have a trinket which I stroke when reciting strange omens.|
|5||Some say I resemble an old crone when I laugh.|
|6||I believe I’ve foreseen my own death. Until that time comes, I’ll live every day to its fullest.|
Norns of the Realms
While the Forgotten Realms contain more outward references to Norse mythology, such as Thrym and Surtr in the giant pantheon, allusions to the Norns are more subtle. Volo’s Guide to Monsters offers three thematic alternatives to hag coven spells, one of which is linked to prophecy and includes fate-altering spells like bane and bless. A trio of stone giants resides in the underground library of Gravenhollow in Out of the Abyss. Ulthar, Urmas, and Ustova are Keepers of the Past, Present, and Future, respectively. If you know what to look for, you’ll find evidence of the Norns woven into other tales.
Nails of the Norns
Beginning at 1st level, your connection with destiny gives you a tactical edge in combat. Whenever you roll initiative, you may add or subtract your Charisma modifier from your result.
The thread of the Norns connects you to fate-altering magic. You gain one of two spells at the listed sorcerer level in the Norn Spells table, representing the two sides of fate. These spells don’t count against the number of sorcerer spells you know, but you cannot replace them later.
|Sorcerer Level||Spell Choice|
|1st||bane or bless|
|3rd||augury or ray of enfeeblement|
|5th||crusader’s mantle or speak with dead|
|7th||death ward or blight|
|9th||contact other plane or dream|
Entwine the Fates
Starting at 6th level, you can create a tapestry from raw magic that lets you shape the future.
As an action, you weave a glowing tapestry onto the battlefield. You choose the shape and color of the tapestry when it appears, though it always originates from you (see the Tapestry Shapes By Level table). If you move to another space after creating the tapestry, it remains in its original shape, orientation, and location for 1 minute, or until you dismiss it as a Bonus Action.
Your tapestry grants you two the following two abilities:
- Favor. Whenever a friendly creature within your tapestry must make a saving throw, you can use your reaction to spend 2 sorcery points to give it advantage on the roll. You can grant this benefit to multiple creatures at once, but you must spend 2 sorcery points for each creature.
- Fall. As a bonus action, you can spend 3 sorcery points to force a creature within your tapestry to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, choose one type of damage. Until the start of your next turn, you and your allies ignore resistance to damage of the chosen type for that creature. Creatures with immunity to the chosen damage type instead have resistance to it until the start of your next turn. You can target multiple creatures at once with this ability, but you must spend 3 sorcery points for each creature.
Once you have woven your tapestry, you cannot do so again until you have finished a short or long rest.
The range of your tapestry increases at 14th level, as shown in the Tapestry Shapes By Level table.
Tapestry Shapes By Level
|6th||30 ft||15 ft||10 ft x 60 ft|
|14th||60 ft||25 ft||10 ft x 120 ft|
Thread of Gold
At 14th level, your Norn ancestry tethers you to the weave of magic that permeates all things. You gain advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Judgement of the Norns
When you reach 18th level, your connection to the Norns allows you to cement a creature in destiny or doom.
Destiny. As an action, choose a creature within 30 feet of you and expend 1 to 10 sorcery points. The creature regains 1d8 hit points per sorcery point spent.
Doom. As an action, choose a creature within 30 feet of you and expend 1 to 10 sorcery points. The creature must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 2d8 necrotic damage per sorcery point spent on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Like this article? Consider supporting me by buying one of my products on the DMs Guild, such as Darkhold: Secrets of the Zhentarim or Elminster’s Candlekeep Companion. If you’re running Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, consider picking up an alternative introductory adventure to the campaign, Devil’s Advocate: A Guide to Infernal Contracts, or Baldur’s Gate: City Encounters.