This game was played solely as a Play-by-Mail (PBM) game, where participants took turns by postal mail and, later, received their turn results. Some PBM games had no published components; others offered a published player's manual or introductory setting guide, etc. Salient details may be noted here in the description - especially for games with no published component.
Your character is either the second son or the rebellious daughter of a well-to-do, but not rich, family. The first-born son will inherit all of the lands and chattels in this feudal society. Your only avenues of prominence are the traditional routes of military, church or trade. The less common routes of remaining Independent, Barbarism, Banditry, Piracy, Schism and Religious Heresy are also possible. You are not destitute, as your family has provided you with a stake. Three of your closest friends have sworn to join their fortunes to yours, and to serve as your loyal followers. Unemployment has been high recently, and you have been able to persuade about two hundred local youths from the farms and villages to act as your retainers to share in the adventures to come.
Your family has never been very politically or religiously inclined, though you are familiar with the major Factions of Midgard. You are free to place your fate with any of the power structures, but might well be advised to wander a bit, carry cargo between towns, and learn more of the lay of the land before making any decisions. You have never been further than the nearest city, but you know the region fairly well. Additionally, you have a map of Midgard given to you by your eldest brother.
The game encourages a player to advance through a series of levels of increasing power and influence. Players accumulate influence points by completing tasks for a Faction. Trade missions can be undertaken for any Faction without prejudice (merchants are seen as a necessary part of society and a low status occupation). At this stage, you are simply an "Independent" clan. After you have gained some familiarity with the region through travel, you can expect to be offered more challenging and varied assignments by many of the Factions. Midgard is, after all, a very uneasy world and your services can be important to many. Once you have gained some military experience, the Faction leaders will help you recruit more retainers to use as soldiers. This will occur after you consistently begin supporting one Faction. The pressure to choose a side builds quickly. Though you may change your mind, or put off making any decision, others will be acting quickly, hoping to gain the upper hand. Briefly, the possibilities are Secular, Religious, Mercenary, Bandit, Pirate or Independent. There are numerous Factions which are fully described in the FACTIONS section. Players will eventually control the Senior positions in the Factions, governing cities and the like, and you can expect to see large and far reaching economic, political and military actions. The GM will control the quantity of forces released by each Faction.