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Sleipnir, also spelled Sleipner, is an eight-legged horse belonging to Odin, chief deity of the Norse pantheon. Sleipnir was a gift from Loki.[1]

Appearance and personality[]

Sleipnir is an eight-legged gray horse, with white lower legs. It stands twelve feet all at the shoulder. It is very intelligent, and can often be seen running at great speed.[2] Its gender is unknown to the people of Midgard.

Sleipnir is lawful neutral in alignment.[2]

Abilities[]

Sleipnir is capable of running at great speed. It can run even across water at great speed, and fly through the air. It can also teleport with its rider on command.[3] It can transport itself and its rider even between planes, and can be ridden through any medium, even water or solid earth.[2]

It usually allows none other than Odin to ride it, although at Odin's order it may carry a worthy hero on its back in order to teleport them from danger.[3][2]

It can pull almost any weight, and is exceptionally strong in combat.[2] It attacks with its hooves in battle. [4]

Family[]

Sleipnir's father is the stallion Svadilfari, known for his great strength. Its mother is Loki, who transformed into a mare to distract the stallion and prevent his giant master from completing the construction of the wall of Asgard in time to claim his payment.[4] By this relation, Sleipnir is half-sibling to the world serpent Jormungandr, the goddess Hel and the wolf Fenrir.

Sleipnir's offspring include the foal Lonn, golden winged steed of the valkyrie Fria.[5]

Cultural significance[]

Planar philosphers say that Odin's horse has eight legs because that's the number of legs of a coffin when it is carried by four pallbearers. Odin, having hung himself upon the tree of Yggdrasil for nine nights to gain the knowledge of life and death, is himself in a sense "dead".[6]

Publication history[]

Original D&D[]

"Sleipner" appears in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.26.

AD&D 1st edition[]

"Sleipner" appears in Legends & Lore (1e) (1984), p.99 and Deities & Demigods (1e) (1980).

AD&D 2nd edition[]

"Sleipner" is mentioned in Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.175 and On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.141

D&D 3rd edition[]

Sleipnir is given the most detail in Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.169. The D&D 3.5 errata booklet gives him the equivalent stats of a legendary horse.

D&D 4th edition[]

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

Creative origins[]

Sleipnir appears in Norse mythology as Odin's eight-legged horse.

In the Poetic Edda, the poem Voluspa en skamma attests to Sleipnir's parents Svadilfari and Loki. In Grimnismal, a disguised Odin claims that Odin is the best god, and Sleipnir the best horse. In Baldrs draumar, Odin rides Sleipnir to visit Hel. In Sigrdrifumal, it is said that runes are carved on Sleipnir's reins and sled.

In the Prose Edda, Snorri notes that Sleipnir has eight legs, and tells the story of Loki transforming into a mare to distract the stallion Svadilfari, and would later give birth to Sleipnir. Odin also lends Sleipnir to Hermod to visit Hel and offer a ransom for Balder.

In the Saga of the Volsungs, Sigurd's horse Grani is descended from Sleipnir, guaranteeing that it will be more excellent than any ordinary horse.

DMGR6 The Complete Book of Villains (1994), p.60 argues that the eight-legged Sleipnir is symbolic of the wind, which blows over land and sea from eight principle points.

Language specialist Anatoly Liberman argues that name of the tree Yggdrasil may have originally referred to Odin's horse.[7]

References[]

  1. For Better or Norse: II, Dragon #110 (Jun 1986), p.27.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Legends & Lore (1e) (1984), p.99.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.26.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.169.
  5. Valkyrie, Dragon #109 (May 1986), p.71-75.
  6. On Hallowed Ground (1996), p.141.
  7. Odin Hangs Himself (2019). Jackson Crawford, Youtube.
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