The Norse Civilization

Here is my Idea on the Norse. Feel free to throw any critique if there is anything that feels to strong or weak! I would love to hear your input!

The Norse

Norse Kingdoms

Infantry, Navy, Raiding

Difficulty: 3/3


  • Villagers can become infantry. (Spearman, MaA, Archers)

  • Fishing Boats drop off 30% more fish.

  • Scouts have +1 Line of sight. All ships have +1 Line of sight,

  • Knarr and Longboats have +2. Infantry can construct Longboat in shallows.

  • Naval units cost 5/10/15% less from Feudal age and onwards.

  • Unique Unit: Berserker

  • Unique Unit: Huskarl

  • Unique Unit: Longboat (replaces Arrow ships and Transport)

  • Unique Unit: Knarr (replaces Fishingboat and Tradeship)

Viking Raiders: Gain bounty (25F, 25G) from putting buildings on fire. And (25W, 25G) from sinking enemy ships. This bounty increases by a value of 25 each age up. Monasteries and Landmarks provide triple the bounty. Villagers can be converted to Spearman from Dark Age, MaA/Archer from Feudal Age, with the cost of respective unit. Infantry can units can be converted to Villagers for the same cost as a villager. Rearming has to happen near TownCenter, Houses, Barracks, Archery Ranges, or Blacksmiths.

Unique Landmarks

Feudal Age

  • Rökstenen: All shorelines become explored. Increases Bounty gain value by 35. Grants Torp technology for free.
  • Borg Longhouse: Functions as house granting 40 population. Infantry charge speed increased by 100%. Grants Settler technology for free.

Castle Age

  • Nidarosdomen: Functions as a Monastery, Relics give 100 gold and 70 of each resource. Can store up to 2 relics.
  • Kernen Tower: Function as a Keep with +2 Range and Vision. Can produce all military units twice the production speed.

Imperial Age.

  • Kronborg Castle: Function as a Keep, can also be built on the shore like a Dock making it able to function as a dock, increases Trade gold income by 15% (If Kernen is built, this effect doubles)
  • Drottningholm Palace: All gunpowder units are 10% cheaper and do 10% more damage.

Wonder: Borgund Stave Chruch



  • Longboat (I, 150W 50G): A Unique unit that functions as a Transport ship, in the Feudal Age it also functions as an Arrow ship with transport ability. Also faster than most ships.
  • Knarr (I, 75W 25G): Knarr functions both as a Fishing boat that can gather fish, and can also function as a trade ship from feudal age with upgrade.
  • Berserker (II, 90F 25G): Lightly armored Melee unit wielding a Dane-Axe. Does bonus Damage against infantry and cavalry.
  • Huskarl (III, 75F 55G): Heavy armored Melee unit, with bonus damage against ranged units.


  • Torp (II, 100W 35G): Villagers can drop off food resources at houses. Upgraded at Mill
  • Cargo Hulls (II, 500W, 300G): Knarr can now function as tradeship.
  • Berserker’s Rage (II, 100F 100G): When Berserk Ability is activated, gain charge bonus that roots enemies in place for 1 second, also regains 10% of the damage done as health. Extends the duration of ability to 7 seconds. Upgraded at Barracks
  • Settlers (II, 75W 75F): Infantry can be turned into Villagers 25% cheaper. Upgraded at Towncenter
  • Viking (II, 40F 100G): Reduces the cost of turning Villagers into Infantry by 25% Upgraded at Barracks
  • Shield Wall (II, 150F 50W): Grants the Shield Wall ability for Man at Arms and Huskarls. When activated increases ranged armor by +5 but reduces movement speed by 50%. Upgraded at Docks
  • Shield Racks (III, 150W 150G): Longboats gain Shield Rack ability, when activated gain +5 Range armor but -40% movement speed. Upgraded at Docks
  • Sunstone and Compass (III, 200W 250G): Increase the movement speed of all ships by 10%. Upgraded at docks
  • Ringborg (III, 250S 300G): Reduce the cost of building Palisade and Stone walls by 15%. Upgraded at Keep
  • Steelworks (IV, 300F, 700G): Reduces cost of Blacksmith upgrades by 40%. Upgraded at University
  • Kite Shields (IV, 400W 700G): Man at Arms, Huskarl, Horsemen and Knights gain +2 Range armor. Upgraded at Blacksmith
  • Stabbur (IV, 200W, 100G): Villagers drop off 15% more food. Upgraded at Mill

Additional Notes:


would be rather distinct in the early ages, in the Dark ages, they would mostly consist of Turf houses constructed low into the ground to withstand the hardy climates of the north.

In the Feudal Age, their houses would become more Wooden standing out of the ground, still retaining Turf roofs.

Castle Age, the houses mostly lose their Turf design and became mostly wooden with distinctly recognizable decoration along the roofs.

Imperial Age the houses will be more painted in various Colors (Player color), lined with white and looking more akin to the stereotypical Scandinavian houses.

Town Centers could be in the form of the Longhouses the Vikings are famous for, shaping more into a manor of Scandinavian design in the Imperial Age.

Naval units would look like European sail ships for their Cannon and Warships, But their Knarr and Longboat were distinct and much similar to the Rus Lodya ships.

Language progression:

This is a bit tricky in the later stages, as during this period, the Norse language changed quite a lot.

During the Dark Age they would speak Proto-Norse and Feudal age they speak old Norse. (Norrøn) Castle Age and especially in Imperial Age, the Norse language starts to split.

This is where maybe the use of Landmarks will decide their final Imperial age language would be.

If one has most Swedish Landmarks, the imperial language would be Old Swedish (Fornsvenska)If one has most Danish Landmarks, the imperial language would be Danish.

If one has most Norwegian Landmarks, the imperial language would be old-Norwegian(Gammalnorsk).

If one happens to have 1 of each landmark, then the language gets chosen randomly.

If this becomes too much work, then I suggest going for Norwegian. As it is mutually intelligible with both Swedes and Danes, the long history of being in Union with both Nations. While the Swede and Danes have a much harder time understanding each other.


Berserkers stats:

  • Health: 75/90/105

  • Attack: 10/11/12 Melee; 14/16/20 torch; +6/+9/+10 Bonus Damage against infantry and cavalry

  • Rate of fire: 1.25s melee; 2.0s tortch

  • Armor: 0 Speed: 1.25 tiles/s

Berserkers are lightly armored infantry wielding the mighty Dane-axe. As their name implies they also have access to the Berserk ability. Increases their movement and attack speed by 15% for 5 seconds. With a 90-second cooldown timer.

Huskarl stats:

  • Health: 135/155

  • Attack: 9/11 melee; 16/20 tortch; +6/+12 Bonus Damage against ranged units.

  • Rate of fire: 2.75s melee; 2.0s tortch;

  • Armor: 3/4

  • Pierce armor: 6/7

  • Speed: 1.125 tiles/s

Huskarl are heavy infantry of elite warriors. These units are specialized in taking down Ranged units. Much like their AoE2 counterpart.

Knarr stats:

  • Health: 210

  • Speed: 1.5 tiles/s


  • Health: 550

  • Attack: 10 ranged; (4 Burst attacks) +8 vs Incendiary Ship

  • Rate of fire: 2s. Ranged; Range: 3.75 Tiles.

  • Pierce Armor: 4 Speed: 1.88 tiles/s

Longboat functions both as a transport ship and an arrow ship.Although its offensive capabilities are unlocked from the Feudal Age.The Longboat can also be constructed in shallows by infantry in the same way as siege weapons. Allowing for unique flexibility for the Vikings and more mobility in raiding along coasts and rivers.

Landmark references:


Is one of the most famous runestones found in Sweden. It is considered the first piece of written literature. It is very often the Runestone that comes into mind for most people. It contains fragments of Norse mythology and also makes historical references to the Theodoric the Great, of the western roman empire. It contains the longest extant pre-Christian runic inscription.

Borg Longhouse:

This was the largest building ever to be found from the Viking period in Norway. It served as the seat of a Viking Chieftain in Lofoten. It has today been Reconstructed as the Lofotr Viking Museum.


This is a gothic-style cathedral in Norway that serves as the burial site of King Olav II, patron saint of the nation due to his work of converting the Nordic kingdoms into Christianity. It became the center of Christianity within the nordic kingdoms. Originally a Catholic church that later got taken over by Lutheran Protestanism during the Christian reformation era.

Kernen Tower:

Was also known as Helsinborg Castle, it was one of Denmarks’ most important castles, along with Kronberg Castle, the danish had controll of all passing ships coming through the strait. After having lost the war against the Swedes in 1658, the Swedes tore down most of the castle except for the tower, for the sole purpose to have a Swedish flag swaying forever symbolizing the Skåne-lands would forever remain in Swedish control. All passing ships were obliged to respect the Swedish flag and fire a salute when passing.

Kronberg Castle:

Has been one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe. It was placed strategically in Denmark to be able to demand tax from any ships to and from the Baltic sea.

Drottningholm Palace:

Today serves as the private residence of the Swedish royal family. Near the capital of stockholm. It was originally built by the Queen Dowager Regent, Hedwig Eleonora. It burned down the same year it was built. During the period of reconstruction, it was rebuilt near Stockholm. This was when Hedwig Eleonora was the head of the regency of the still-underage king Charles XI of Sweden. During this time, Sweden has grown into a powerful country after the Peace of Westphalia.

Borgun Stave Church:

Famous wooden curches build in the distinct familiar Viking style architecture. Built sometime between 1180 and 250 AD, and served as a Parish church of the church of Norway. Stave churches have a nice smell to them. Like the inside of an old dried-out barrel used to store whiskey from personal experience.


The famous Norse is rather interesting, because, during the medieval period, they went through drastic changes, both militarily, cultural as well as the language drastically changed and diverged into Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish during this time period. Forming empires and unions of their own and were in countless wars against each other and around them.

They went from being the Vikings that we all know and love, into more standard-medieval, and then into the Renaissance style that came to predominantly dominate Europe. Not being much different from the Germans, Dutch, English, and even the French in the customs, arts, and crafts. Changing religion from the Norse Pantheon, into Catholic Christianity and then into the Lutheran Reformation.

Another challenge was also trying to represent their culture, many have a tendency to forget that Vikings were not one unified country. They derived from many tribes, that eventually became kingdoms, and these kingdoms became more and more distinct from each other.

Norwegians, Danes, and Swedes. Even the Icelandic and Faroese diverged from the common Viking heritage. While the latter two somewhat held onto the heritage both linguistical and way of life for a longer period.

So This is why I decided to carefully choose the Landmarks, making sure that you had Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish landmarks as these three nations represented the 3 distinct Viking cultures. Iceland was much closer tied and pretty much part of either Norway or Denmark at the time.

And added in the Linguistic notes about how these landmarks can be put to change the “identity” of the Civilization while playing in form of language.

When it came to the style of play, I wanted the Norse to be more represented by their fierce reputations as Vikings and raiders.

People do forget that Vikings weren’t just a military force, but also settler and in Age of Empires terminology; Villagers. Vikings as we know of were mainly just peasants with the knack for fighting.

Both women and men fought and would fight to defend their homestead, being a hardy people with a limited amount of farmland, fights often happened between tribes and even neighbors. This is why I wanted to give the Norse the unique ability to convert Villagers into military units in times of war and military units into villagers in times of peace. But ofc at a price.

This would allow us to somewhat mimic the Viking raiders of the past, being explorative and aggressive. Yet also able to settle in distant lands and give them a rather interesting approach to econ.

While Watermaps is very underplayed in this game, there is no denial, that Water played a very core role for the Vikings, so it was pretty unavoidable to make them more of a water-based nation.

Berserkers, I wanted to make an imposing infantry. Something to think twice before engaging. This is why I tried putting them more into a role of shock troops that doesn’t really care if it faces cavalry or infantry, and that any melee army should be cautious off. But at the expense of being very vulnerable to ranged units for good reason.

The Huskarls. Who were the “professional” soldiers during the Viking ages, their name translating into something of Manservant. Or quite literally: hus-karl, Hus being House and Karl meaning Army or very often, the word Karl/Carl would mean Free-man in old Norse.

Yes, this means the main character’s name from Half-life is Carl.

The Huskarls I wanted to serve as more core-unit, and also wanted to make them equally famous/infamous for being anti-ranged units from AoE2. Weaker than a Man at Arms but strong against ranged, and can pretty much ignore defenses and apply good pressure against anything that doesn’t shoot a springald size projectile or outright gunpowder.

Both the Huskarl and Berserkers are unique units that Villagers can not convert into. The Norse Villagers can only be made into Spearman from Dark age and onwards, Archers and Man at Arms from Feudal. The Norse also has access to feudal Man at Arms.

Next up: Scottish

If you enjoyed this read, then check out my other civilization concepts:
The Thai
The Khmer
The Koreans
The Japanese


Support, it is not easy to type so much.

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Really good and well thought out.

This name would be against the naming logic of all previous civilisations.
AoE4 doesn’t have the Turks either.
It will have the Danes and maybe later the Swedes or Norwegians too.
The Danes even appear in the English campaign already.

It’s a Stone. Not sure if it counts as a landmark.

It was build in 500 AD which is many centuries before AoE4.
Also it’s just the larges one we found so we don’t know if it had any significance back then.

Fantasy unit. Doesn’t belong into a historic game.
Infantry equipped with a Dane Axe is fine though. Not sure why it should have bonus damage against cavalry thought. Anti Armour might be better.

Anglo Saxon unit. If you listen to the English MAA voices, they call themselves Huskarls in the Feudal Age.
Anti ranged Infantry might be reasonable though, just the name is kinda wrong.

Also fantasy.

Kite Shields are from around 1000 AD not 1500 AD. This should be a Feudal Age technology not an Imperial Age one.
It makes no sense to have units with Kite Shields next to cannons.

They were only Catholic within the AoE4 time frame.
They converted to Christianity in around 960 AD (Harald Bleutooth) and the reformation started in 1517 AD. Both at the edge of the AoE4 time frame.

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Thanks for reading through! I always appreciate critisism, it shows that people care!

then the same logic would apply to the Chinese. During this time, there were no such thing as “Chinese”. China is a large country with a diverse people group. Even though its hard for most westerners to disguistinguish between them.
Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Tujia, Mongolian, Tibetan, Bouyei, Dong, Yao, Korean, Bai, Hani, Li, Kazak, Dai, She, Lisu, Gelao, Lahu, Dongxiang, Va, Sui, Naxi, Qiang, Tu, Xibe, Mulam, Kirgiz, Daur, Jingpo, Salar, Maonan. Blang, Tajik, Primi, Achang, Nu, Ewenki, Gin, Jino, Deang, Ozbek, Russian, Bonan, Monba, Oroqen, Derung, Tatar, Hezhen, Gaoshan and Lhoba
Just to name a few.

And if you look on the Chinese dynasty system, you even see they have the Yuan Dynasty, which is a Mongol Dynasty, not chinese.

The Term “Chinese” was coined by westerners interracting with China. Many Asian nations, would refer to the individual kingdoms and dynasties. Not necessarily call them China.

So are the mongol Deer Stones.

The chinese landmark Spirit Way was buildt during the early Han dynasty, around 25 AD. Way before the Longhouse.

Its not a unit, its an ability. And it is well documented that there were viking warriors who would drug themselves and go into a form of rage mode, or simply just be high on psychadelics during battle, which sometimes led them to be irrational.
Also according to Norse-Legend, berserkrs were warriors who wore bearskin coverings and worked themselves into such frenzies during combat that they became immune to the effects of steel and fire.
This was commonly told legend, so obviously there would be warriors wanting to imitate that, and there are documented cases of Viking-warriors wearing bear skin. Which wasn’t unique to the vikings either.

For Balance purpose. The Age ups arent defined to any particular age other than being Linear.
Many techs for other nations are shifted around that dosn’t fit the “time frame”.
Take a look on Abbasid tech Faith. It’s a Imperial Tech, Faith has nothing to do with time. Its not like the Abbasid empire suddently became faithful to Allah during their golden age.

They weren’t purely catholic. Paganism prevailed strongly into the 13th century. While Christianity certainly spread fast, many “Norse” still kept to pagan traditions and certain rituals, that still prevails today, such as the Midsummer festival, and the celebration of “Jul”, even though Jul today is linked to christianity and christmas, it had its origin in of celebrating the Winter Solstice. Not the coming of christ.
Which is why you see Christmas being celebrated the 24th in Norway, not 25th.

There was the Han dynasty and the Tang dynasty that pretty well defined what it means to be Chinese.
Yes the occupied areas with people that don’t see themselves as Chinese but so did all the other 7 Empires in AoE4.
Just because England had a civil war doesn’t mean that there was no idea of an England.

Also China had the dynasty mechanics to display some of those differences.

Norse wouldn’t be completely impossible for AoE4 but Denmark is 99% more likely to happen.
They have even officially confirmed Denmark in an interview last year.

Which is pretty much the worst Landmark in AoE4.
The Danes and the other Scandinavians build a lot of nice buildings, so there is a lot more to choose from.

If we go for stones the Jelling stones are actually historically significant and not just archeologically.

There are multiple Spirit Ways in China and some still stand today and they certainly still did 500 years ago.
This Longhouse likely didn’t exist anymore in 1000 AD.

Yes but you can find anecdotic evidence of that for every culture.

That is the modern fantasy interpretation.

Berserkers were Champions that were did fight in judicial duels for their owners.
Kings and other high rank nobles usually only had 1 and rarely more.
They are not a normal battlefield unit.
They could be in the game as an elite guard unit that is limited in numbers.

But most civilisations can’t build monks in the first 2 ages. A Christian ruler wouldn’t allow shamans or similar people to have a significant role.

That’s the case for everywhere in the world.
In Peru they still celebrate in the Incan way today.

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Can u link interview where they confirmed Denmark?

It was one of the German Gamestar interviews form last year.
I can’t find which one atm, and I don’t want to watch all their videos again.

They did a survey in the chat which civilisation people want and the winner was “Vikings” and then they asked the developer when they gonna add them and the answer was “The Danes won’t be the first civilisation we will add the the game.”

But the Danes are already in the game anyway so it’s very unlikely that they will change them to the Norse.

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While they might have confirmed it, things can change. Perhaps they want to be more inclusive, I designed the Norse civ to be based on norway, denmark and sweden.

If they were to add Denmark, thats great, but it would require its own set of landmarks and quite many things as well.
And it wouldnt just be Denmark, it would be Denmark-Norway, as Norway were just as integral to the danish kingdom and opposite. And the idea of Norway among the Norwegians has always been firmly rooted.

The whole Civ design i made was based on playing on the identity between the 3 major “norse” or Viking civilisations as most people would refer them to.

Do you want to go Denmark? You can do that, focusing on the danish and norwegian landmarks.
Want do go the swedes? Focus on the Swedish landmarks.
Or go for norwegians, by going for the Norwegian landmarks.

There were distinct and clear differences between the 3.
The danes were more empire and city builders, while the norwegians were more exploratory, and aggresive expansionists, and were renowned for thier capability at naval combat.
The Swedes were far more interested in cultivating their religion and their tradenetwork into the east. and had strong interractions with the Rus. henche why Slavic Pantheon is increadible similar to the Norse-pantheon. Why Lodya ships are essentially long-ships.

I personally think it makes for a more interesting and dynamic way of play as you could go Aggresive with a lot of early pressiure. (Norwegian), Play it more defensively (Danish), or go for the Econ/Religion game (Swedes)

I don’t disagree with this that the Deer stones look pretty shoddy.

Jelling stones would definitely be something relevant for a Denmark-Norway landmark. Reason I chose Rökstenen is to give a early Swedish landmark, and has more eastethic potential with its painted runes being very definable.

Longhouses were used and still built well into the 1500’s.

Sometime around after the 1500’s they started to devide housing between people and animals.

Thats quite wrong, in iceland they had goĂ°i who was a pagan leader (non christian), that had a important role in religious structure, communal roles such as being a chieftain, judge and keeping order amongs his Ăľingmenn as well as involved in political descisions. These lasted well into the 13th century in iceland.
There were more numeros of times where Christian kings, especially in Norway, would keep their religion for themselves. And live in a otherwise pagan dominant community were several nobles were pagans.

This isn’t anything unique or unnormal, and was quite common at the time of transition. Christianity happened over time, often through force, but at other times through peace and passage of time, letting christian preachers slowly convert the populace over time.

It wasnt uncommon to have important position in both social and military be manned by someone who wasn’t christian.

even the muslims had jews and christians.

Infact, some of the earliest Crusades were lead by muslim generals!

And such is the way of religion and culture. Religion blends in with local culture and customs and slowly takes a new form.

This is why catholism was so extremely efficient in being spread, not only because of it being spread with a religious fervor. but because they quickly integrated local customs and gods. Turning local religious figures into a “Saint” and hencheforth.

You see this especially in latin america and the philippines. Where catholism is predominant, yet witch doctors and shamans still do their practices, sometimes alongside the curch.

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Why argue over realism in a game where monks pick up a relic and convert everything around them in a circle by saying “wololo” and we have an expansion coming where units turn invisible near a building :eyes:


Regarding the unit designs, I would like to highlight that more than the stereotypical image of a Nordic warrior with a masked helmet, it was a variation on a sea of armor and Scandinavian vernacular styles, of which the conical helmet definitely stood out the most.

The conical helmets with nasal protection and the abundance of chainmail suggest more of a Norwegian army.