The Frozen North

You hail from the lands of the Frozen North, a forsaken land borne on snow and ice, lost to the realms of Nirath. The Frozen North is a dangerous placed because of its harsh environment. The features of its terrain are snow-capped peaks, ice-sheathed seas, sprawling tundras, conifer boreal forests, and chasms of ice. Such a hostile territory could only be inhabited by small populations and sparse towns.

Some of the places contained in the Frozen North of Nirath are: Mount Hagra and the Ergen Mountain range (this is the Elder Stones in Dwarvish tongues); the Split, a great chasm; Menar’s Forest; the frozen lake of Omrith; the Walk, a tundra which weaves and touches seemingly every part of the North; Prulernilly Swamp; and the Sea of Ealie, which lays to the far east elevated above the Walk and stretching out into the sea—it is where large shelves of ice look out into the blue of the Great Sea, where the horizon is swallowed in by the cold, hovering fog and roamed by the terrors below the surface—and there in Ealie, the shelves drop and crumble, by which Ealie is ever changing. Off the coast of the main land is Isle Irenaum.

The kingdoms of the North are as follows. The City of Wrone, which travelers say can be reached by following any path laid out in the Walk. It is the great city built by the men from the North. Gulheim’s Throne, located along the skirts of the Brikan Dul Mountains, situated northwest of Wrone. Gulheim is home to mighty giants and their vassal races, the orcs and goblinoids, and their slaves, the ogres and minotaur. The dwarves built Varaed, translated as Exile’s Hearth. They dug into Mount Aifguz (the Sky’s Thirst) which rests in the Nalharduum Mountain range (Honored Hearty Home), a branch from the Ergen, and erected their halls of stone before the shores of Lake Omrith. From Lake Omrith, the Avoran (Gray Water) River leads out to the Great Sea, and the Varaed Bridge crosses the Avoran’s flow. Varaed sits in the middle of the Frozen North. Though the races are so very different, their architecture comes from their common past, and so each city is built with doorways at least fifteen feet tall.

Wars are not for the faint of heart, and a time of peace rests between these three kingdoms—though refugees fleeing Gulheim is a matter of politics. The year round cold months dictate that the inhabitants must decide whether such conflicts are worth their time, and often, food and warmth take precedence.

The humans of Wrone are natural horsemen and sailors. Many stories suggest they have arrived from a faraway land. Once known as the raiders from the Great Sea, the cold slowed the men down, forcing them to settle whatever lands they conquered. They pilfered the earth with the richest soil and have since become the main source of agriculture and fishing. Such a position makes the realm of men everyone’s friend. The king of Wrone is named Umdar, Lord of the Frigid Halls, and his wife’s name is Alnsa, daughter of Berovi.

Varaed, the Exile’s Hearth, and the hub of crafting. Working away in their frozen halls, with columns, statues, reliefs, and various stone artwork adorned by the metals of the deep caverns and depths of the mountains and the heart of the frostfell. They sculpt great statues along the roads, honoring the most noble of dwarves. The dwarves are by far the most expansion-oriented of the three main kingdoms. They are responsible for crafting much of the North’s art, weaponry, and architecture. Their greatest smiths are renowned for the magic weapons they produce. The elves claim they granted the dwarves the ability to enchant the gear, though the dwarves say this is part of their geomancers—the mages of earth and stone. They have even made their home in the tundra. Their High King is named Vonli Dordelrim, whose name means Tunnelbeard, the Red Steel King, his queen is Glordred, the Silver Maiden. Though the dwarves have some animosity with the elves, a relation was sealed between the two when an ancient elven king gifted the dwarves with the eggs of great eagles, which the dwarves breed to soar through the skies on their feathered backs. The dwarves also raise deep hounds, an underdark hound.

The giants are negotiators, diplomats, warriors, slavers, and shipwrights. Each year the giants host a festival on Gulheim’s shores. During the festival, a contest is held for the best crafted ship. The giants host wrestling contests, which the other races claim is to be arrogant and demean the smaller races. Their present wrestling champion is named Gotshornan, the Spine-twister. The giants perfer to live near the hills surrounding Brikan Dul and Gulheim. Their king is named Heidarl Snowbeard—Heidarl’s queen was murdered, and Heidarl blames the minotaurs and the ogres.

These three ruling factions control most of the Frozen North. The last war was dominated by the giants, but since then, the nations have worked tremendously to lay roads. The other races see this as the giants forging an expedient, future conquest.

Such are the stories of the lesser kingdoms.

A band of roaming rangers titled the Oak travel the Walk and the remainder of the Frozen North. They are mysterious and their presence warrants caution.

The orcs and goblinoids swore fealty to the giants, considered disgraceful by the orcs and a great source for mockery from the dwarves. The orcs and goblinoids surrendered their land claims, and so they became one with Gulheim. The giants are suspicious though of these two, for they believe they continue to behave to exhaust their resources. The orcs are natural athletes and rope makers, and the goblins are trapmakers and hunting experts. The ettins followed the orcs, who are little more than brutes and brigands.

One of the main roles the ogres play in Gulheim are caretakers of the goblinoids wolves. The minotaurs are manual laborers, good with their hands. These two races’ kingdoms fell, and if their slavery was rough, at the death of Heidarl’s queen, their slavery became unbearable. These races are dimwitted, and hard labor is just hard labor in their eyes. The members of their races smart enough to notice the pain flee for asylum in Wrone, and the populations of these smarter members is small.

The elves are natural trackers and hole up in the boreal forests along its streams. Rumor has it that an ancient city dwells hidden away in the forests, floating on crystal clear water, but such thoughts are just that—rumor. The elves and the gnolls have a braided history. They remain at war and always have been. The elves are said to maintain close connections with the Oak, and so the gnolls’ travelers fear contact with them. When the elves began to push the gnolls out of the Walk, the gnolls resettled in Ealie.

It became known later that the gnolls were responsible for the giants’ war, having delivered a forged letter which bypassed the giants’ skillful eyes. The letter convinced the giants to attack the other races, beginning with the minotaur for the minotaur refused to let the gnolls expand near the forests. Their plan backfired when the giants decided to try their hand at all the other races. As per the letter, the giants slaughtered the minotaurs first, and the minotaurs resent them to this day, yet their druidic nature restrains their revenge. From the heights of Ealie’s snow mounds, the gnolls defended against the giants’ advance. The elves fled, the dwarves hid, the gnolls fought. The humans waited for news of their failure, yet the gnolls stood. The gnolls pressed their advantage, but Gulheim was beyond their grasp. Nevertheless, the gnolls won their freedom from their own hand.

Hailing from Prulernilly Swamp are the gnomes, resilient to Swamp Fever, a plague that has an outbreak in the rest of the kingdoms every so often. The sick are confined to exile, where they waste away with the disease. The gnomes are untrusted and believed to try and inser the plague into the reset of society. The Swamp is also home to the lizardfolk, and the gnomes and lizardfolk do not get along. Gnomish merchants sell “magic” potions in the towns, which seem to rarely accomplish their purpose. The extra tricky are known to hire another race to sell their wares.

The halflings are tundra hill folk. They are herbalists and doctors and alchemists. The halflings are mild mannered and a peaceful nation, hiring mercenaries to fight their wars from the profits of their labors. They have been known for riding snow worms, deer, elk, and moose.

With the wintry climate and harshness of the politics and terrain, many peoples resort to crime to steal the scarce resources.

The Northerners worship the deities Aengrist, Auril, Balder, Farlanghn, Forseti, Heimdall, Hleid, Iborighu, Levistus, Moradin, Mya, Olidammara, Rao, Roknar, Telchur, Tharmekhul, Thautam, Thrym, Uluti, Vatun, and Valkauna. Across the lands, worshipers gather in the Temples of Frost, located in nearly every city.

The months of Nirath are Primus, Undragus, Snowmus, Herramus, Dendrastus, Olstus, Creatus, Westmus, Girhadus, and Nesmastus, each twenty days in length split into five day weeks.

Each month, the city celebrates these events:

Festival of the New Month (Held on the First)
A festival celebrating the change in the month and the change in the season.

Feast of Pools (Held on the Fourth)
A festival where snow and ice are brought into each city and melted for drinking. Bucket sales go up.

Circle of Ends (Held on the Seventh)
The day when executions take place, if any. The passing of those lost to any death is celebrated here.

Festival of New Days (Held on the Eighth)
This is the day when weddings occur in the lands. New births are also celebrated on this day.

Night of the Moons (Held on the Ninth)
A festival celebrating the return of the second moon of Nirath. This day is the only day when the second moon is visible in the sky, and it is visible all day.

Dance of Songs (Held on the Tenth)
A celebration of music and dance. Performed as a community building event amongst the peoples.

Celebration of the Crafts (Held on the Twelfth)
A celebration where craftsmen gather and show their expertise in a wide variety of crafts. Also used to encourage sales and business.

Run of Ice (Held on the Fourteenth)
An exhibition of acrobatics, racing, and gladiatorial styled combat. This competition lasts for a whole week.

Day of Taxes (Held on the Sixteenth)
A day when the citizens must pay the taxes to their king. Guards collect these funds from everyone. No one is allowed to the leave the city within two days before the collection day, which is always the sixteenth. Citizens pay 1sp, unless they are a business owner, in which case they pay 1g.

Eve of the New Month (Held on the Twentieth)
This is a celebration of the end of the current month and a preparation day for the month to come. Most say this celebration is just to make the Festival of the New Month longer.

Enter Songshire, a town of men and refugees, criminals and adventurers, settled in a farming community outside the city boundaries of Wrone, the capitol of the kingdom of men. And the town which you find yourself. You sit in the White Dragon’s Whistle Tavern and Inn, an “L”-shaped building. The inn is on the main floor with additional rooms on the main floor. The barkeep’s name is Freid, a lifelong citizen of Songshire, and his worker is named Myrus. There are three minstrels playing music, and the patrons dance to the tune. There are five other patrons—Holfsteir, Grutog, Ujiraln, Muka, and Osbiran—sitting at the tables. You’ve been either a traveller across the the Walk or a resident of the Kingdom of Wrone. Either way, your journeys and life have brought you here to Songshire, seeking out some path in your life. The White Dragon’s Whistle seemed like a decent place to grab a bite to eat and warm up at the hearth.