The Northern Realm is intended to be a shared story as much as a multiplayer game. Control of what happens around you by way of environmental effects, non-playable characters, and events lands squarely in the hands of the Story Master, but how you influence the events around you is bounded only by your imagination. It is the Story Master's job to choose a place within The Northern Realm and use the information available to him/her to build a rich environment. We have provided a plethora of resources in this book to make sure that detailed descriptions of histories, geography, cultures, magic, monsters, organizations, even fables are available for use.
This project started as a rules-lite version of D20 with a stronger emphasis on roleplaying versus dice rolling, in a setting heavily influenced by history, old folktales, and some of my favorite books, including the Silmarillion, the Vlad Taltos novels, Wheel of Time, and others. In the five years I've worked on The Northern Realm a lot of the rules fell away and the Northern Realm became more of a novel. With that said, gameplay can be easy, but the option for complex gameplay and character design is still there. There are tons of options for players to be exactly who they want to be and to interact with a world that truly hits back.
The introduction itself is easily navigable via hyperlinks, which allow you to toggle through the document without difficulty. It includes rules on character creation and gameplay, cultures, all classes, and feats; basically, everything you need to put together a campaign and start adventuring!
Several versions of this item have been released in rapid succession. The easiest way to distinguish them is by their page count, as no version numbering is available. In general, each iterative release adds more content.