[Ravensfort] Re: [Ansteorra] Persona Worksheet for Vikings

L T ldeerslayer at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 22 18:59:59 PDT 2001

--- Christie Ward <val_org at hotmail.com> wrote:
> To continue the thread on persona development worksheets, here is one I use
> in Viking persona workshops:
> The following questions are provided as suggestions for persona development
> and study.  It is not necessary for you to have elaborate answers, or even
> rudimentary answers, for any or all of these to have a Viking persona.
> Knowing this information will provide you with background for conversations
> and persona play to help make your persona have depth and interest.
> (1)	Where does your persona originate?  Country, district, town, name of
> farm.
> (2)	What year was your persona born?  Figure this to start with using
> current date-keeping terminology.  The advanced version is figuring out how
> your persona would reckon the date.  Note that the Viking Age dates from
> 793AD to 1066AD – also you may wish to research what dates a given location
> were first settled.  Another consideration is to figure out the exact date
> when Christianity was introduced, pagan personas will want to be before that
> date, Christians after or just slightly before.
> (3)	What is your persona's name?  To get a good name takes more than just
> going to the sagas and plucking one out of the Glossary of Proper names.  We
> have pretty good evidence for a bunch of names as to where they were most
> common and when they were current – not all Viking names were in vogue
> throughout Scandinavia.  West Scandinavia (Norway, Iceland and points west)
> tended to have a slightly different dialect and name choices, while East
> Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) in turn had their own practices.  You may
> wish to consult with the Academy of St. Gabriel (http://www.s-gabriel.org/)
> to find an accurate name for your place/time.
> (4)	What are the names of your parents?  In part you will probably already
> know some of this in answering #3, since the most common name usage in the
> Viking Age was a personal name plus a patronymic.  To learn more about how
> names were selected and how one's name may reflect the names of one's
> parents and grandparents, see: http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/ONNames.htm
> (5)	What are the names of your grandparents and other near relatives?
> Again, as in #4, the most usual naming pattern in the Viking Age was to name
> children after a recently deceased relative, often grandparents or
> great-grandparents, though aunts and uncles and great-aunts and great-uncles
> on either side of the family were also possible name sources.
> (6)	What is your occupation?  Do you have a trade?  What are your every day
> duties?  What tools would you use in your daily work?  Where would these
> tools come from?  What raw materials does your trade require, and where do
> they come from?  Do you sell what you produce, and if so to whom and for
> what value?  How did you learn to do this work – who taught you, what was
> the learning process like, what problems did you have in learning it?
> (7)	What is your daily life like as an adult?  What time do you awaken? What
> do you eat and when?  What do you do throughout the typical day?  Do these
> activities vary seasonally, and if so, why?
> (8)	What was your daily life like as a child?  What tasks were you set to
> do?  What were you expected to learn, and how did you learn it?
> (9)	Are you married?  What is the name of your spouse and your spouse's near
> relatives?  Is this your first spouse?  If not, did the spouse die, or are
> you divorced, and what were the circumstances?  For a lot of general
> information about weddings, courtships, and divorces, see
> http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/wedding.htm
> (10)	What is your religion?  Viking Age peoples might follow the pagan Norse
> gods, they might have a special relationship with one god, they might be
> Christian, or they might choose to follow no gods at all, relying only on
> their own strength.  What are your persona's religious beliefs and why does
> your persona believe that way?
> (11)	What would your persona have worn for clothing?  Although the SCA has
> lots of "generic Vikings" there are actually fairly well-defined styles that
> vary by location and by time.  This may influence or be influenced by #1 and
> #2 above.
> (12)	What superstitions and beliefs about the occult or otherworld would
> your persona have had?  It's interesting but true that many times a person's
> superstitions and irrational beliefs define them as much as any other
> factor.  What frightened your persona and why?
> (13)	Has your persona ever traveled and if so, where?  While a lot of people
> in the Viking Age and early Middle Ages never saw more than the few miles
> surrounding their home village or farm, some were amazingly well-traveled
> even by modern standards.  Where did you travel?  Why did you go there?
> What did you see?  What stories would you tell about your travels when you
> got back home, and how would the folks back home receive these stories?
> (14)	What foods would your persona have eaten?  Which did your persona
> like/dislike and why?  Were there special foods at various times of year?
> Why were they special, and why were they served at that time? For some
> basics on this topic, see: http://www.vikinganswerlady.org/food.htm
> (15)	What celebrations and festivals were observed?  When did these occur,
> and what did they celebrate?  Where did they occur, and did you have to
> travel to attend or were they held nearby?
> These are just suggestions, and there are many, many more details you can
> research.
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