To add to the atmospheric setting of particular historic event players can choose to play a historic hero or heroine. There are several famous Viking leaders, explorers, settlers and discoverers who have written history during the Viking Age. A small list of them has been added to the game, they can be included in any scenario or campaign.
In general historic scenarios take longer to play as more details need to be prepared and set up on the map, but you can always pick a historic character and play immediately without any extra effort. Some of them can be quite difficult to play as they have specialized talents and gear.
|Name||Surname||title / profession||century AD|
|Naddod||discoverer of Iceland||9th|
|Erik||settler of Greenland||10th|
|Gunnbjorn||explorer / discoverer||10th|
|Leif||warrior / trader||10th|
|Olaf||king / raider||10th|
|Saxolb||raider of Ireland||9th|
|Turges||raider of Ireland||9th|
|Agonn||chieftain / raider of Ireland||9th|
|Ketill||king of the Isles||9th|
|Amlaib||king of the foreigners||9th|
|Halfdan||king of Jorvik / Dublin||9th|
Flóki Vilgerðarson, also known as Hrafna-Flóki, was one of the early Norwegian Viking explorers and settlers to set sail for Iceland in around 865 AD. After news of the island's existence he prepared a ship and gathered men to accompany him on his journey. On the ship he took with him his wife and children, livestock and many other things. Among the men who accompanied him were a farmer called Thorolf and two other men called Herjolf and Faxe. He asked for the favor of the gods and took with him 3 ravens; these ravens would help him find the way to the new land.
His journey started from the western coast of Norway, where he set sail to the Shetland Islands. After a short stay he went further to the Faroe Islands and then he set sail to the west again. After some time sailing he released the 3 ravens he brought with him. The first flew back to the Faroe Islands from which he came. The second went up in the air and then returned to the ship. But the third raven flew towards the new land giving him the direction he needed to continue his journey.
After he reached the southern part of Iceland he sailed along the coast, going westward past the Westman Islands and the headland of Reykjanes. He then reached a large bay which he named Faxa bay, here he landed ashore for a short visit and then returned to the ship again. He continued his journey along the coast to the northwestern part of the island. Flóki eventually settled in the following bay at the southern West-fjords called Vatnsfjordur. These lands had lush grass and woods and plenty of shelter from the rough weather. There even was a hot pool to use and bathe in.
- Hits: 2333
Ingólfur Arnarson together with his wife Hallveig were one of the early permanent settlers who arrived in Iceland in the year 874 AD. Before Ingólfur came to Iceland he had become involved in a blood feud in his homeland. As a result of this he and his step brother Hjörleifur Hróðmarsson left Norway to seek new land to start a new life.
When his ship arrived before the coast of Iceland he threw, according to Norwegian custom, two richly carved pillars (Öndvegissúlur) with pagan imagery into the sea. The carvings had the family name and a special emblem. On it were also representations of Viking gods, particularly one they were most fond of and had allegiance to. The gods would decide the area for him to settle permanently. He swore an oath to settle and build his farmstead close to the spot the pillars were washed ashore. These high pillars were meant to stand at the sides of the chieftain throne. Ingólfur first came ashore at what was subsequently known as Ingólfshöfði, and raised his first dwelling where he spent the winter.
Somewhat to the west his good friend Hjörleifur had started to settle. He got into trouble when his Irish slaves rebelled to his leadership. The body of Hjörleifur was found by Karli and Vífil who were searching for the two pillars. They reported back to Ingólfur, and he reacted with anger. He set up a search party and followed the Irish slaves back to the Vestmannaeyjar archipel (Westman Islands). On Heimay island the fugitive slaves were killed one by one, thereby saving all the women who were held captive by them. One of which was his sister Helga who had been married to his friend Hjörleifur. Ingólfur and his people moved to a new place at Hjörleifshöfði, were his former friend had settled first.
- Hits: 1762
Erik Thorvaldsson, also known as Erik the Red, was a Viking explorer and settler who founded the first Norse settlement on Greenland. Erik was born in the Jæren district of the Rogaland county in Norway. His family settled in Hornstrandir in northwestern Iceland after his father Thorvald was banished for murdering a man. His nickname 'the Red' was because of his red beard and hair and possibly also of his fiery temper.
Erik married Thjodhild and moved to Haukadal in Iceland to set up a farm. After a violent dispute he was banished from that area and then moved to the island of Öxney. Another dispute occured involving setstokkr, which his father had brought from Norway. During the dispute Erik killed a number of men and was banished from Iceland for 3 years in 982 AD.
When hearing of the discovery by Gunnbjorn Olfsson of islands to the west of Iceland, Erik decided to sail to these lands during his banishment. With his ship and crew he sailed due west from the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. He found the Gunnbjörn's skerries and then landed on the coast of eastern Greenland. Erik then sailed south along the coast round Cape Farewell and landed on the southwestern coast. After spending the winter on an island he sailed up Erik's fjord and spent the two following winters at the southern tip of Greenland, exploring the area.
- Hits: 1970
Erik Segersäll, also known as Erik the Victorious, was one of the early kings of Sweden who lived from 945 till 995 AD. He became king in the year 970 AD and ruled until his death. Erik was born in the house of Munsö, his father was Björn Eriksson who ruled Sweden from 882 to 932 AD. He had a brother called Olof Björnsson.
His territory comprised of Uppland, Södermanland, Västmanland, Gästrikland and probably more. He founded the town Sigtuna in the Uppland province. He had military successes through allying himself with the free farmers and forming a seasonal conscription called leidang. He acquired his nickname 'the Victorious' after defeating an invasion by the Jomsvikings in the Battle of Fýrisvellir in 984 AD led by Styrbjörn the Strong. Styrbjörn went to battle to retake the Swedish throne after he suspected Erik to have poisoned his father and was denied the throne when his father Olof Björnsson died.
The battle was a fierce but memorable one. When Styrbjörn's fleet entered Mälaren, Erik amassed the leidang at Uppsala. Stakes were put up in the waterway leading to Uppsala, when Styrbjörn arrived he could not sail further. He vowed to win or die and never leave Sweden again. He set the ships on fire but his Danish allies did not want to take any part in it and left. He marched towards Uppsala with the Jomsvikings. Styrbjörn threatened to start a forest fire if they did not led him pass, the Swedes did not attack and backed down.
- Hits: 1296
Leif Erikson, also known as Leif the Lucky, was the first Viking explorer to settle in North America. He founded a Norse settlement on Vinland situated at the northern tip of Newfoundland. He was born in Iceland and was brought up on Greenland.
The family of Leif consisted of his wife Thorgunna, his sons Thorgils and Thorkell. His father was Erik the Red, explorer and first settler of Greenland, and his mother was named Þjóðhildur. He had a foster father Tyrker who had been responsible of looking after Leif and raising him.
Leif traveled from Greenland to Norway in 999, when he arrived he became a housecarl of King Olaf Tryggvason. He also converted to Christianity and was given the mission of introducing the religion to Greenland. After his stay he traveled back to Greenland and was blown of course close to the North American coast. He rescued two men who were shipwrecked there and went back to Greenland.
Apparently someone called Bjarni Herjólfsson had traveled to this new land before, Leif spoke to him and prepared an expedition towards the lands Bjarni described. He purchased a ship and gathered a crew of 35 men. His father Erik did not join him as he saw a bad omen to go with him. Leif followed Bjarni's route and landed first on a rocky desolate placed called Helluland. He decided against it to settle there and went further south and landed a second time in a forested place he named Markland. He traveled further and after two days he landed at a luscious place. As winter was approaching he decided to settle here for the winter. He and his men founded a small settlement which was called Leifsbúðir.
- Hits: 1272
Halfdan Svarti, also known as Halfdan the Black, was a king of Vestfold. He belonged to the House of Yngling and his son would become the first king of Norway. His nickname 'the Black' was given because of his black hair.
The family of Halfdan consisted of Ragnhild his first wife and Harald his son. They both died after falling ill. His second wife was also named Ragnhild and his second son was also named Harald. His mother was named Åsa and his father Gudrød the Hunter.
Halfdan was one year old when his father was killed. His mother Åsa took him to Agder immediately afterwards. He grew up in Agder and became stout and strong. When he was eighteen years old he became king of Agder. He quickly increased his kingdom through diplomacy and military conquest.
First he divided the kingdom of Vesthold with his brother Olaf. In the same autumn he went with an army to Vingulmark against king Gandalf. There were many battles in which the vicory went to one or the other. Eventually Gandalf agreed to give half of Vingulmark as his father Gudrød ruled it before.
Next Halfdan proceeded to the area of Raumarike, and subdued it by killing it's ruler Sigtryg and other men in battles. As soon as Halfdan returned to Vesthold, Eystein, the brother of Sigtryg and king of Hedemark, went out with his army to Raumarike to subdue it. When king Halfdan heard of this news he gathered his amry again and returned to Raumarike where a battle ensued. Halfdan was victorious and Eystein fled and begged for peace. Half of Hedemark was given in exchange of peace.
- Hits: 1347
Gormr Gamli, also known as Gorm the Old, was a Danish king ruling from 936 to 958 AD. He was able to unite the small petty kingdoms of Denmark into one kingdom (possibly Jutland only). He was a great warrior and a real viking througout his life. His royal seat was in Jelling from which he ruled the land.
The family of Gorm consisted of his wife Thyra and his three sons, Toke, Knut and Harald. All sons were viking raiders by heart, departing each summer to raid and pillage foreign lands. His father was Harthacnut a Norwegian viking who conquered himself a piece of Jutland.
A kingdom was inherited by Gorm when his father died. It was small in size but stood high in rank, for it was here that great sacrifices to Odin were made as it had one of the most sacred places. Gorm often went on adventurous viking raids to plunder along the Baltic coast or other areas. He expanded his kingdom by conquest and barter, using his riches to increase landed possessions.
His wife Thyra ruled the lands when Gorm was away from home. To defend the homelands from incursions form her southern neighbours she extended the Danevirke. A long fortified wall with stockade and ditch, which ran across the neck of the Cimbrian peninsula at the southern border of Denmark.
Queen Thyra, who worshipped the northern gods, showed much favor to the Christians and caused some of her children to be signed with the cross, king Gorm however remained a fierce pagan. Gorm mend his ways to Christianity in due time and allowed preaching in his lands and the building of churches. He permitted his son Harald, who favored the Christians, to be signed with the cross, but he kept to the faith of his forefathers, as did his son Knut.
- Hits: 832
Olaf the White, also known as Amlaíb Conung, was a Viking king in Ireland. He came to Ireland in the year 853 AD and used the Dublin settlement and longphort as his base of power. Together with his brothers Ímar and Óisle he ruled the surrounding lands and tried to expand their influence in Ireland. The three brothers were also named 'kings of the foreigners'.
The family of Olaf consisted of his wife Auðr, daughter of Ketil Flatnose, and his sons Thorstein and Carlus. His father was Gofraid. king of Lochlann who ruled part of the kingdom of the Isles.
In 856 a war between Olaf and Máel Sechnaill, the overking of the Southern Uí Néill, started to errupt. Máel was a powerful king and his lands were close to that of Dublin. He had a small army of Norse-Irish Vikings. The fighting was focused on Munster for their power had been weakened in 856 by a Viking raid on the royal centre at Lough Cend in which many leaders were killed. This weakness drew the attention of Olaf and Máel to expand their influence in Munster.
The early battles went in favor of Olaf and his brother, they inflicted a rout on the troops commanded by Caitill Find. In 858 Ímar routed a force of Norse-Irish at Araid Tíre. He had allied himself with Cerball, king of Ossory, a kingdom which was wedged between Munster and Leinster. The following year Olaf, Ímar and Cerball conducted a raid on the heartlands of Máel in Meath. After the attack the alliance dissolved and Cerball pledged allegiance to Máel again.
A new ally had to be found by Olaf and Ímar and they forged a new alliance with Áed Findliath, overking of the Northern Uí Néill. In 860 Máel and Cerball led a large army of men from Munster, Leinster, Connacht and the Southern Uí Néill into the lands of Áed Findliath near Armagh. While the southern forces were encamped there, Áed launched a night attack, killing some of the southern men, but his forces took many casualties and were forced to retreat. In retaliation for this invasion Olaf and Áed led raids into Meath in 861 and 862, but they were driven off both times. In later years, the alliance between the Northern Uí Néill and the Vikings of Dublin became a regular occurrence.
- Hits: 1539
Einarr Rognvaldarson, also known as Torf-Einarr, was one of the jarls of Orkney. He was the son of a Norse jarl and a concubine. He is seen as a successful viking warrior and his rise to power began after one of his brothers failed to keep control of the Orkney islands. Einarr founded a strong dynasty which retained control of the islands for centuries.
The family of Einarr consisted of his father Rognvald Eysteinsson jarl of Møre, his five brothers Ivar, Hrólfr, Hallad, Thorir and Hrolluag. He had a wife and three sons named Arnkel, Erlend and Thorfinn who became jarls after his death.
The Orkney and Shetland islands had been conquered by Rognvald's family in the ninth century AD. Sigurd Eysteinsson, Rognvald's brother, was made jarl of Orkney but he died during a campaign and was succeeded by his son. Guthorm, Sigurd's son, died shortly afterwards and then Rognvald sent Hallad his oldest son to govern the islands. But Hallad was unable to maintain control of Orkney due to the predations of Danish pirates. He resigned from his jarldom and returned to Norway as a common landholder.
Rognvald was furious about Hallad's failure and summoned his sons Thorir and Hrolluag. He asked which of them wanted the islands. Thorir said that this decision was up to the jarl himself. Rognvald thought that Thorir's path would likely keep him in Norway and Hrolluag was destined seek his fortune in Iceland. Einarr, the youngest son, then stepped forward and volunteered to go to the islands. Rognvald said: 'Considering the kind of mother you have, born in slavery on each side of her family, you are not likely to make much of a ruler. But I agree, the sooner you leave and the later you return the happier I'll be.'
A ship and a crew were provided to Einarr in the hope that he would sail away and never return. Despite his father's misgivings, on arrival in the Scottish islands, Einarr fought and defeated two Danish pirates, Þórir Tréskegg (nicknamed Thorir Treebeard) and Kálf Skurfa (nicknamed Kalf the Scurvy), who had taken residence there. Einarr then established himself as jarl of a territory that comprised the two archipelagoes of Orkney and Shetland.
- Hits: 1756
Guthrum, also known as Æthelstan, was king of East Anglia as part of the Danelaw territory ruled by Danish Vikings. He first arrived in England during the great Viking invasion of 865. In 875 the Great Heathen Army army split in two. Part of it, led by Halfdan Ragnarsson, went north, while the other half, led by Guthrum, went into East Anglia quartering themselves at Cambridge for the year. By the year 876 Guthrum had consolidated his power and gained various parts of the kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria.
In 876 he turned his attention to the kingdom of Wessex of Alfred. Guthrum sailed with his army around Poole Harbour and met with another Viking force. They were skirmishing the area between the Frome and Trent rivers. Guthrum won his initial battle against Alfred and he captured the ancient square earthworks known as the Wareham.
A peace agreement was negotiated between the two leaders, which was broken by Guthrum in 877 when he led another raid on Wessex, forcing the beleaguered Alfred to confront him in a series of skirmishes in favor of Guthrum. Another peace treaty was signed at Exeter, after which the Vikings left Wessex to spend the winter in Gloucester.
On the 6th of january 878 Guthrum broke the treaty with a surprise attack while Alfred held his court at Chippenham. Alfred fled to the Somerset Levels an area of marshland. Alfred stayed there for four months while he rebuilt his armies back up to strength and after that led his fyrd to Edington to fight the Viking forces.
Guthrum's hopes of conquering all of Wessex came to an end with his defeat at the hands of Alfred at the Battle of Edington in 878. At Edington, Guthrum’s entire force was routed by Alfred's and fled to their encampment where they were besieged by his fyrd force for two weeks. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Guthrum’s force was able to negotiate another peace treaty known as the Treaty of Wedmore.
- Hits: 2063