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Freya is a goddess in the Norse pantheon. She is a goddess of love and fertility, and it said to have taught witchcraft to the Aesir. One of the Vanir goddesses, she is sister to Frey and the wife of Odur.

Description

Appearance and personality

Freya appears as an elvish woman with fair hair and green eyes, and often dresses in green. She is admired by gods, giants and men alike for her entrancing beauty.[1] She is six feet tall.[2]

She is free-spirited, passionate, charismatic, and highly intelligent. She is popular with male deities, and makes her own decisions regarding which men she visits, a fact which a few of the male Aesir find disagreeable. Many scandalous tales are told of Freya, including her dalliance with a group of dwarven smiths in exchange for the priceless necklace Brisingamen.[1] She enjoys romantic poetry.[3][4]

Freya is strong-willed. She can be impulsive, and prone to anger. However, there is never any evil intent behind her actions.[4]

Freya is neutral good in alignment.[2][3] Some consider her to be chaotic neutral.[1]

Titles

Freya is called the Goddess of Love, or Goddess of Love and Fertility.[3] She is called the Lady of Fire.[1]

Abilities

As a deity, Freya is of superhuman ability, and is immortal unless slain.

Her senses extend to a distance of fifteen miles from herself and from any of her worshipers, holy sites, holy objects, or anywhere her name or one of her titles is spoken. She can literally see magic.[3]

Freya can take control of any person or creature which has the ability to cast at least one spell. She is herself a skilled sorcerer, and can cast arcane spells instantaneously, including spells beyond the 9th level normally attainable by mortals. She can counterspell instantaneously.[3]

Her combat ability is significant. She can move with supreme speed, dodge attacks, and instantaneously move up to 350 feet.[3]

Freya can command fire, and remove curses by a touch. She can assume the form of a falcon or any other sort of bird.[5] It is said that no fire can harm her, no bird will ever attack her, and no other being can ever control her actions, even through magic.[2][4]

She can create magic weapons, armor, or other magic items used by fighters, wizards or sorcerers. She can create all but the most legendary of items in this way.[3]

Portfolio

Freya is a goddess of fertility, love, magic, vanity, passion, and omens. She has particular control over the domains of air, charm, good, and magic. She is also one of the Norse deities of the dead.[1][4]

She is the patron of seeresses who wish to predict the future.[6]

Freya watches over women in labor. She and has the power to bless any woman with child, inflame passions between people, and to alleviate pain or injury.[6]

Freya automatically senses anything which occurs involving romance, and instantly knows when any item worth more than 10,000 gp in value is created.[3]

Worship

Dogma

Freya teaches her followers that whatever they do, it should be done with the utmost enthusiasm. Followers of Freya seek to find beauty in magic, and magic in beauty.[3]

Worshipers

While the people of Midgard typically worship the Norse pantheon as a collective group, Freya is particularly followed by a wide variety of people, including bards, sorcerers, wizards, lovers, husbands and wives, elves, gnomes, and half-elves.[3] Those who wish to enter Sessrumnir, particularly female warriors, join Freya's cult.[7]

Freya is particularly popular among mortals due to for her beauty.[1] Among the common folk of Midgard, she is the most popular goddess, and perhaps the third or fourth most popular deity after Odin, Thor, and perhaps her well-liked brother Frey.[4]

Clergy

Freya prefers female clerics over male, but both are present within her clergy.[4]

Priestesses of Freya are skilled diviners and seeresses, and often travel the land acting as fortune tellers. They are said to have the ability to turn themselves into a horse, sometimes to escape culpability when breaking the law of the land.[6]

Clerics of Freya place importance on her role as a warrior goddess, and spend a great deal of time training for battle. Many are also arcane spellcasters.[3]

Holy sites

Temples of Freya are built with their doors facing the sunset, as that is the time when her husband, the sun god Odur, returns to her.[3]

Her temples are lavishly decorated with gold, and contain valuable and well-protected displays of jewelry. Visitors who come bearing a gift of jewelry for the temple are always welcome. Gifts of magic items, new magical knowledge, and songs are also valued.[3]

Freya's temples also contain stores of magical knowledge, arcane laboratories, armories, and training grounds for battle.[3]

Holy symbol

Freya's holy symbol is a falcon.[3] She is also sometimes represented by a flame in the shape of a woman.[1]

Favored weapon

Freya favors the longsword.[3]

Relationships

Family

Freya is the daughter of the Vanir sea god Njord. She is twin sister of Frey.

The identity of her birth mother is less well known, and disputed by the people of Midgard. It is often said to be Skadi, who was Njord's wife.[8] However, it is also said to be Nerthus, an obscure goddess of the Anglo-Saxon pantheon.[5]

Freya is the wife of Odur, the sun god. She cares for him a great deal, and weeps tears of gold when he is away.[3] Freya and Odur have a daughter, Hnoss, whose name means "gem".[4]

In the Old Norse Prose Edda, in Skaldskaparmal, Freya is said to have a second daughter, Gersemi, "treasure", who is not attested in any D&D canon.

Some scholars speculate that Freya is an aspect of Frigga.[4]

Enemies

Unknown. Freya is well-liked, although as one of the Vanir she is likely to side with the Aesir at Ragnarok.

Allies and minions

Freya is on good terms with all of the Aesir, particular Odin.[4]

Freya is in charge of the valkyries, and occasionally accompanies them to great battles.[2]

Freya's chariot is pulled by two giant cats or lions.[5] She also has a giant boar, named Hildisvin.[4]

Freya's divine servants are mostly female. They include Lhana Tomsdallihr, a beautiful human mage known for her charm magic,[1] and her male apprentice Ottar the Simple.[4]

Artifacts

Freya is best known for the priceless necklace Brisingamen. It glows when a lie is told in its presence. Its value is estimated to be at least one million gold pieces.[2]

She has a fur-lined cloak of falcon feathers which allows the wearer to transform into a falcon and to fly at great speed.[5][1][2] She has lent this cloak to Loki in the past.[4]

She has a fiery dagger which sets opponents on fire that cannot be extinguished by non-magical means.[6] She is also said to wield a frost brand sword.[2]

She wields a dancing, spell storing longsword of supreme magical enchantment. Its fights on its own and can have spells cast into it to be inflicted upon whoever it strikes.[3]

Realm

Freya's home is the hall Sessrumnir, whose name means "Hall of Chairs". It stands by Folkvang, the "Field of Folk", in Vingolf, part of what was Vanaheim, now considered part of Asgard. Sessrumnir is a place of luxury, and was gifted to Freya by the Aesir. It is said that no person can enter Sessrumnir unless Freya opens the doors.[5][1][3]

When the valkyries come to claim heroes who die in battle, half go to Sessrumnir instead of Odin's hall Valhalla. All women who die in battle go to Sessrumnir.[9]

History

Following the end of the war with the Aesir, the Vanir goddess Freya was one of the gods given to the Aesir as a hostage to secure the peace treaty between the two peoples.[10] She married the Aesir god Odur.

In order to rebuild the wall around Asgard after the war, the Aesir contracted a suspicious builder, the giant Thjassi in disguise, if he could complete it in six months. The goddess Freya was offered in payment, alongside the sun and moon. Loki thereafter cheated to ensure that the giant would not win.[11]

The frost giant Thrym once held Thor's hammer Mjolnir hostage and demanded Freya's hand in marriage in return. When Freya learned of this, she became so enraged that the amulet Brisingamen shattered.[4] Loki came up with the solution to disguise Thor as Freya and Loki as a bridesmaid, and were able to steal the hammer back, whereupon Thor used it to slay all giants present at the wedding feast.[12]

Freya is said to have brought the Vanir art of witchcraft to the Aesir.[12] Her spells included in particular certain aggressive magics.[4]

Cultural significance

In esoteric mysticism, Freya is associated with the planet Venus, in the same crystal sphere as Earth.[13].

Freya is associated the taltos, a form of sorcerer or spirit shaman born with unique and innate magic.[14]

Publication history

Original D&D

Freya first appears in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.31. She is said to be the daughter of Njord and Nerthus.

AD&D 1st edition

Freya appears in Legends & Lore (1e) (1985), p.102 and Deities & Demigods (1e) (1980).

She is also detailed in the article For Better or Norse: II, Dragon #110 (Jun 1986), p.24-29.

AD&D 2nd edition

Freya is detailed in Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.180 and the Planescape sourcebook On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.143.

D&D 3rd edition

Freya appears in Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.176-177.

D&D 4th edition

The Norse pantheon does not appear in D&D 4th edition.

D&D 5th edition

Freya is one of twenty Norse gods listed in the Player's Handbook (5e) (2014).

Creative origins

Freya, also spelled Freyja, is a major goddess appearing in Norse myth. Her name is thought to mean "lady" in Old Norse, and is cognate with modern German "Frau", meaning "woman" or "wife". Other Norse goddesess whose name refers to their marriage include Sif ("relation by marriage"), and possibly Nanna ("mama").

In Thrymskvitha, Freya shows her thoughtful nature when she lends her cloak of feathers to Loki so that he can visit Jotunheim to look for Mjolnir. Freya tells Loki, "I would give it to you, even if it were made of gold; I would loan it to you, even if it were made of silver."

Later, when it is suggested that she marry the giant Thrym in order to secure Mjolnir's return, her anger is so great that the halls shake.

Freya's land Folkvang, where she takes half those who die in battle, is attested in Grimnismal. In Voluspa en skamma, she rewards loyal Ottar for building her a temple by having a witch recite his family tree so that he may claim his inheritance; the witch implies that she is taking Ottar to Folkvang. In Lokasenna, Loki claims Freya has slept with many men, including her own brother, and that she is a witch who has dealt many curses.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.143.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Legends & Lore (1e) (1985), p.102.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.176-177.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 For Better or Norse: II, Dragon #110 (Jun 1986), p.24-29.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.31.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.180.
  7. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.200.
  8. For better or Norse: I, Dragon #110 (Jun 1986), p.21.
  9. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.165.
  10. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.163.
  11. Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.169.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.194.
  13. The Seven Magical Planets, Dragon #38 (Jun 1980), p.28.
  14. The Taltos, Dragon #247 (May 1998), p.44.
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