Culture & Lifestyle
Published May 17, 2019

From Asgard to Jotunheim: Discover the 10 Realms With These RPG Cards

Data wizard Walt Hickey lays out an infographic breakdown of 'War of the Realms'!

Malekith the Accursed has spent years building a coalition to conquer the Ten Realms. After years of preparation and conquest—the fall of Alfheim and Nidavellir and more—he and his cabal of worlds have attacked in WAR OF THE REALMS. Their target? Midgard, a place that I happen to live in and so do you so now is probably a great time to panic.

 WAR OF THE REALMS

That's right: Malekith and the combined legions of Jotunheim’s Frost Giants, Svartalfheim’s Dark Elves, Niffleheim’s dishonored dead, Muspelheim’s armies of fire, the Roxxon Corporation, the realm-less Trolls, and (in a shocking heel-turn) the Angelic hoard of Heven now own Midgard. This is, generally speaking, not great for Midgardian inhabitants, society, or property values.

So what’s the big deal with all these realms anyway? What’s so nice about Midgard? Now that we’ve been crushed by the might of Malekith and they’ve divvied up the spoils, who's really scored what? And why does it matter?

Well, it’s old Midgardian wisdom that it's always important to be on good terms with the landlord. And sure, they may be a Frost Giant or a Minotaur energy executive or a screaming fire-insect or a vicious Dark Elf whose violent nature is a little extreme even for the most bellicose nation in the cosmos. But don’t judge too quickly! Who knows, maybe you got the ultra-capitalist Angels, and as long and you’re on time with the rent, that can’t be all that bad... Right?

Listed in order of quality of life, here is your cheat sheet for the realms—the vibe and inhabitants of each, what they’d be like to visit—and the skinny on our new landlords right here on Earth.

Asgard

ASGARD
  • Inhabitants: Asgardians.
  • Climate: Feels like Denmark. Average temperature of 7.5°C, but fluctuates. Temperate climate. Low biodiversity—an Asgardian safari would be fairly boring due to the low levels of open wilderness remaining in the developed realm.
  • Development index: Highest of the realms. High life expectancy, high income, high education quality, and though it’s technically a theocratic monarchy, Asgard has experimented with various forms of leadership in times of political stress.
  • Best known industrial export: Management and administration.

Alfheim

Alfheim
  • Home races: The Light Elves and the wondrous, beautiful, and violent Faerie people.
  • Climate: Feels like France. Average temperature of 10.7°C, pleasant and temperate setting, very high levels of biodiversity. Warmer than most but not all places in the Ten Realms, this is a very nice realm to visit, or was before…the war. The one of the Realms.
  • Development index: Above median, so decently high! Moderate life expectancy, high-income, and high levels of education realm-wide. A monarchy, the government of Alfheim enjoyed generally favorable relations with other realms, with the notorious exception of Svartalfheim.
  • Best known industrial export: Agricultural products.

Vanaheim

Vanaheim
  • Inhabitants: The Vanir.
  • Climate: Feels like Germany. Home to dense forests and a low level of development to disturb the natural landscape—and, as such, is resource-rich. Average temperatures are about 8.5°C, but Vanaheim’s key ecological appeal is their high level of biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Development index: Above median. High education quality and life expectancies, though moderate incomes due to only partial exploitation of abundant resources.
  • Best known industrial export: Magically-attuned objects and services.

Nidavellir

Nidavellir
  • Inhabitants: Dwarves.
  • Climate: Feels like Switzerland. Arid and alpine, average annual temperatures of 5.5°C, but most of the real business is going down underground, so external temperature fluctuations are not a major climatological concern...at least before Muspelheim’s invasion of fire.
  • Development index: Above median. Residents of Nidavellir enjoy high income due to a prosperous developed economy, moderate life expectancies, and high levels of education. A monarchy and key Asgardian ally in WAR OF THE REALMS, Nidavellir hosted refugees of Alfheim before themselves suffering invasion.  
  • Best known industrial export: Mining and skilled manufacturing. Big hammers.

Heven

Heven
  • Inhabitants: Angels.
  • Climate: Feels like Italy. It has 13.5°C annual temperatures, a temperate biome; it feels nice in Heven.
  • Development index: Above median. High life expectancy and income, moderate education quality. Anarcho-capitalist monarchy. It's the newest of the realms, as the Angels have generally existed independently. Testy relationship with Asgard.
  • Best known industrial export: Financial services.
  • New Midgardian Colony: Given control of Africa. The continent has 1,260,000,000 inhabitants, a GDP of $2.27 trillion, and median age of 18.9; Africa is young and on the rise.*

*(These statistics do not include Wakandan GDP or population, owing to the nation's policy of not participating in OECD data reporting.)

Svartalfheim

Svartalfheim
  • Inhabitants: Dark Elves. Handy guide to distinguishing Dark Elves from Alfheim’s: the Svartalfheim elves ones tend to be much, much stabbier.
  • Climate: Feels like Ireland. Biome is home to bogs and swamps, but overall is quite temperate. Average annual temperature of about 9.3°C. Home to moderate biodiversity due to an environment conducive to diverse types of life.
  • Development index: 40th percentile, though moderate education, the life expectancy and income opportunity for Svartalfheim residents is low, owing largely to the martial nature of the society and poor administration. Government best described as a “loose gerontocracy” managing a number of factions with generation-spanning strife, only recently controlled by an appointed dictator.
  • Best known industrial export: Defense industrial products.
  • New Midgardian Colony: Europe. Population of almost 1 billion in 68 countries across 5.7 million square miles. Malekith kept the second-wealthiest slice of land for himself, as the region generates $22.5 trillion in GDP.
     

Midgard

Midgard
  • Inhabitants: Humans and all the animals known to humans.
  • Climate: Varied. Global average temperatures of 14°C and rising. Roxxon Energy target of 16°C by 2050, and management indicates work is proceeding ahead of schedule.
  • Development index: From the view of the other realms? Rather low. Though moderate-income and education, Midgardians are known across the cosmos for their laughably low life expectancies, which rarely enter even the triple digits. Government is historically divided between nations, a policy that will continue following the consolidation of assets in post-War of the Realms accounting.
  • Best known industrial export: Prayers, Super Heroes.
  • New Midgardian Colony: Midgardian Roxxon Corporation ceded control of Antarctica. 5.1 million square miles, only 4,490 people; a frozen, resource-rich desert.
     

Jotunheim

Jotunheim
  • Inhabitants: Giants, including Frost and Mountain Giants.
  • Climate: Feels like Norway. Average annual temperature of 1.5°C. Biome ranges from arid and mountainous to arctic and also mountainous. Moderate level of biodiversity.
  • Development index: Bottom 30% of realms. System of government is, at best, a loose confederacy of tribes, at worst a tight confederacy of tribes controlled by a particularly frigid local strongman. Low life expectancy, low-income, low education quality, so very low quality of life.
  • Best known industrial export: None to speak of.
  • New Midgardian Colony: North America. Home to only about 539 million people across 8.3 million square miles, but has a GDP of $22.2 trillion. Only three countries with the largest city, New York, home to highest Super Hero-per-capita outside Westchester County (a statistical outlier due to a higher ed facility).

Muspelheim

Muspelheim
  • Inhabitants: Fire spirits.
  • Climate: Feels hotter than the hottest place on earth, Burkina Faso. Desert at best, on-fire at worst. Low biodiversity as very few things can be alive while constantly on fire.
  • Development index: Bottom 30%. Low life expectancy, education, and income.
  • Best known industrial export: None to speak of.
  • New Midgardian Colony: Asia. The largest cession by population, GDP, and area, the Queen of Embers will have her coffers and hands full—3,132,000,000 people in 28 countries with a GDP of $24.6 trillion across 11.7 million square miles.

Niffleheim

Niffleheim
  • Inhabitants: The dead.
  • Climate: Think Canadian. Chilly at best, frozen at worst, average temperature of -5°C. High level of biodiversity, as everything dies†.
  • Development index: Bottom of the bunch. Low education, low income, life expectancy of 0. A monarchy.
  • Best known industrial export: Mortuary services.
  • New Midgardian Colony: South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Population of 516 million, this is the lowest-population land for the highest-population realm. GDP of $4.8 trillion.

See work of R. Richards et. al (2015)

Realmless

Trolls
  • Inhabitants: The Trolls, historically without a realm to call their own, were remunerated for their role in Malekith’s war with key holdings on Midgard.
  • New Midgardian Colony: Oceania. Population 685 million in 13 countries, generating GDP of $4.9 trillion across 4.9 million square miles.
 "A.I.M. Intern" Walt Hickey

"A.I.M. Intern" Walt Hickey is a data journalist and writes the daily morning newsletter Numlock News. His work has previously appeared on FiveThirtyEight and Business Insider. 

Read WAR OF THE REALMS at your local comic shop right now!

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