"Choice of the Viking"—Forge a legacy in a land of gods and giants!

I enjoyed this one, it’s very much steeped in Norse myth and culture, plus plenty of humorous moments that remind me of Monty Python. It’s got an interesting premise, with your group exploring a new land and trying different approaches to survive rather than being the stereotypical Viking™ barbarian raiders. To be honest, yes, I went into the game expecting the latter, but it was actually a nice surprise that I could play as a peace-loving, mild-mannered sorcerer, which is about as far from the stereotype as it could be :stuck_out_tongue:

There’s a fair amount of politicking and even a trial later on at the Alþingi. Those intrigued by the less well-known parts of Norse culture like lawspeakers, seiðr, the concept of fylgja, etc. will probably like it. Also, I liked the option to anglicise the names and terms or keep them in Old Norse.


Thank you so much!


I find it funny that outside my name you dont see any äs and ös on the beta tester list


So, first off: This is awesome. This is easily one of my favorite CoGs already - a title I don’t give out lightly. It fits perfectly into the Icelandic sagas, complete with angry dead, gods both old and new, and multiple court cases. (It’s not an Icelandic saga if there isn’t a lawsuit!)

My first game was an epic tragedy, too - Svanhild Fire-Mind used seidr and wisdom to build a prosperous Icelandic democracy and a house of learning well before Saemundr the Wise, expelled Snorri from Iceland without killing him…and because she made dark pacts to do it, all her good deeds were for naught, and she ended up in Hel. Awesome.

I do have one question for @dctaggart though:

*selectable_if (nickname != “ghost-tongues”) #Collect information: watch the lands’ spirits through my second sight.

Is it intentional that “ghost-tongues” can’t watch the lands’ spirits? It seems like the nickname would enable rather than disable a sorcerous outcome.


haha, thanks! It’s very nice to be here, and I’m glad you got something from the doc. The Northman is a bit controversial for various reasons among people in my field, but, honestly, I loved it for how Eggers realizes those intentions you talk about. It has been a while since I watched it, but I think a lot of the religious ritual is made up (with the help of expert researchers), yet Eggers makes it feel not only plausible to the audience but a fundamental part of the world of his characters.

I would like to think there’s a place for lots of different flavours of historical fiction and fantasy. I definitely like stuff across a pretty full range myself. I’ve enjoyed a few different CoG but not come across Diaspora. I’ll have to check it out (though I’ll probably wait until it’s done)!


Honestly, I’m so glad that was your first time through. It has some of my favourite stuff in the game. :grinning:

Thanks for the question: if I remember right, for reasons of continuity, it is intentional that ghost-tongues can’t watch the land spirits there. Probably it would be better as *if rather than *selectable_if, now that you point it out though. Thanks!


@dctaggart One thing I’ve wondered about - and I actually did a little research on this, but I trust your expertise above Google’s - is how much anachronism entered into the portrayal of gender roles and relationships. Is there any historical precedent for a woman as chieftain of a clan? How would Viking society look on same-gender sexual or romantic relationships? Would there have been a place in real life for someone like Leikny?



Also, I hit a continuity corner case in an ending. Aftor romancing Geirrid:

Geirrid eventually abandoned Christianity for her former gods, inspired by your own faith and devotion, and became an acolyte above all of the god Heimdall, the son of seven mothers. Her reasoning was that any deity with such a strong female presence in his life must have learned something right from it.

My Catholic Church score was 75, and my Pagan Community score was 63 - I was a Christian priestess with a very ecumenical approach. It might need a check for pagan>church there - I’m not going to ask Geirrid to abandon the White Christ, even though I hold the Aesir and Vanir in high regard as well.


Ran into one bug, here

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This is a huge topic and probably one I should have addressed this more in text I wrote on historical accuracy because it is one of the biggest changes I made for Choice of the Viking.

I changed the gender identities of a lot of characters from the original texts just so that the game would have far more of a gender balance. Myself, I’m not much of an expert on gender roles in the Viking Age, but it is a large and still-growing area of research, and if anyone is interested in it I would really recommend they read anything by Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir.

Early Scandinavians and Icelanders have a good reputation in terms of women’s rights. If you google the topic, you’ll probably get a lot of listicles about how the Vikings were actually all feminists because they allowed divorce and women probably did have more rights than in other contemporary European societies, especially those in wealthy families with big farms to be managed (or if they were widows). Still, though, we are talking about heavily patriarchal societies. For example, my impression from medieval stories (and some older poetry for that matter) is that romantic relationships were really all about asserting and maintaining masculine social dominance, with a woman’s marriage as much of a resource as anything else. (The love triangle in Kormáks saga and its very sexy poetry comparing a woman’s cheeks to moons is a good antidote to this, though).

Almost all the evidence says that men held the positions of social power. A goði (pronounced ‘gothi’) was the name for a political leader in the early medieval period in Iceland, but probably also held religious responsibilities as well. It does have a counterpart for women (gyðja), but this word is found incredibly rarely, and, I think, in the texts that remain, a woman who inherits the position of goði has to pass it on to a man instead. I think it has been suggested that gyðja must refer to a more private type of cult (I’m sure someone has used the term ‘domestic’ somewhere in relation to it), but that is harder to back up. The reality is that we have very little information about Old Norse religion, because it is all handed down to us by Christians who kept some bits of information, discarded other bits, and made up the rest. That makes it very hard to be confident about almost anything. Maybe gyðja suggests women had more power earlier in the Viking Age, and there are references to women leading rituals and being warriors.

There is one woman who stands out in the early history of Iceland called Aud the Deep-Minded (aka Unn), but she is remarkable. She was one of Iceland’s original settlers and built up a big power base in the west of the island (not far from where the game is set). It’s hard to say how much her story links with a historical reality, but she is a very important figure in medieval literary tradition.

Topics like homosexuality, cross-dressing, and women taking up masculine behaviours like violence do come up in the sagas and in some poetry, but usually it’s not depicted very positively. This may be misleading, based on the types of sources that have survived, but I can’t imagine that there was a widespread trend that looked on them positively. Homosexuality, in particular, is a theme that has been widely debated and is strongly linked with shame and social dominance. Homosexuality in women is really under-studied in comparison to men-men relationships, I think.

On the topic of Leikny, I’m sorry that I can’t think of much support in early texts for one of my favourite characters. I struggled to find non-binary names, and, as I mentioned, even women wearing men’s clothing is frowned upon in the sagas (and grounds for divorce). Thinking about the myths, Odin and Loki are the characters with identities closest to anything like being non-binary. Loki transforms into animals of different biological sexes without hesitation. It’s probably no coincidence, though, that these are the two classically ‘untrustworthy’ gods.

However, this is also something being studied a lot right now, and I might be behind the curve. There is an interesting archaeological find from a few years ago I could point you to, of a warrior with a possible non-binary gender identity. I haven’t read any of the scholarship on this one, though.

In general, I’m writing all this off the top of my head, and I do know that some researchers are more optimistic than I am on these topics, at least in casual conversation, so I’m very happy to be corrected. As a side note, the podcast Vikings Are Gay goes over a lot of this material as well, is very digestible, and is one of those more optimistic sources.

tl;dr The gender identities and sexual orientations in my game are not historically accurate, but actually, we don’t know much about the past. Check out a book or a podcast?


And I’m very sorry for how long that reply is.

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You know, I was talking about Loki with a folklorist buddy of mine a while ago - he said that Loki is actually from an earlier pantheon than the rest, and people apparently keeped him because they liked him so much. If that’s true (I don’t know the sources, I’m not a folklorist myself), it’d seem to me that his untrustworthiness is more an endearing trait (or the result of the people who actually wrote it all down, whichever. Like Kalevala’s arguably most poweful mages being women, but you wouldn’t guess it from the story Lönnrot decided to write).

Sorry. I digress.


Thank you so much! That was fascinating - even if it left me with as many questions as answers. And don’t apologize for the length - I don’t mind reading.

You’ve definitely inspired me to learn more. If nothing else, I am determined to get my hands on the Eyrbyggja Saga, which sounds as if it belongs on the same proverbial shelf as Herodotus and the Venerable Bede.

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We should be thanking you for sharing your knowledge! This is all very interesting to me personally as someone with an interest in history and gender.

I figured that there was a lot of leeway when it came to gender roles because my seidr user character never got any comments about him being a male practitioner. There was that bit when Snorri spread rumours of the MC giving birth to monsters, but 1. that applies to MC of any gender, and 2. it needs a bit of cultural context to understand that it’s viewed as “like a woman” and thus insulting for a man.

@KZV and @Ramidel Thanks for catching both issues! All being well, a fixed version of the game should be up very soon. :grinning:

*edited so I could reply to another post…

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@AletheiaKnights Being left with questions would put you in the same boat as almost anyone researching Old Norse literature or culture :grinning:. I hope I did provide some answers though.

Eyrbyggja saga is one of my favourites - it’s so quirky and even weird at points - but a lot of seasoned saga readers would probably point to Laxdœla saga or Njáls saga (both tragedies) as the real classics. That is the boring answer though.

@Kshatriya I wrestled with the social and cultural implications of seiðr quite a bit when I started writing. They’re quite important in the original texts, but in the end, I didn’t think that they would add very much to the game for me, especially when I am altering so many other elements of gender and sexual representation.

Because it is Snorri spreading those rumours about the MC and the monsters, I’d like to think that it only reflects poorly on his values and prejudices rather than everyone else’s. :smiley:

@LiliArch Sorry I missed this earlier! That’s a really interesting perspective. I love that reading of Loki, though I don’t think I have come across it before. There are some suggestions that a war of the gods in the mythology is actually a folk memory of a clash of religions in some prehistorical period, possibly as one of the cults moved into Scandinavia. I think those arguments are all great, though they are really hard to get good evidence for.

Personally, I like the idea that the character of Loki was, in earlier myths, a much more endearing but also untrustworthy helper in Thor’s myths who later became more demonic under Christian influence (building on a book by John McKinnell called Both One and Many). (“endearing” could be a good word here).

A good alternative suggested by Triin Laidoner is that he comes from another northern mythology such as that of the Saami. It’s really only in the last 20-30 years that researchers of Old Norse have started to take account of how much of a debt early Scandinavian culture owes to its neighbours.

Probably he is a mix of lots of different ideas gathered over a long period of time from different corners of the North.

*edit to respond to @LiliArch


It’s not my specialty but I’ve always had a soft spot for Nordic religions. Even wrote a paper in college about how the Slavic to Nordic religions mirrored the better known Greek to Roman religions. Comparing Perun and Thor to Ares and Mars. Think I got a B for poor citation.

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How do I become King?

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It involves some hidden stats. Be liked or feared, be prosperous, have allies and fame, beat down Snorri’s influence, and vow to become overchieftain. Having an easily-amended constitution helps.


I did all of these things and it said that I wasn’t able to complete my vow.

Edit: Nevermind, I got it. :sweat_smile:

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