The Frozen North
Darkness, emptiness and otherworldly horrors at the top of the World
Capital: Snorri’s Hold (900)
Major Settlements: Eriksholm (pop 1,100), Haroo (pop 925), Night Axe Deep (pop 450), Starish Vol (pop 1,350)
Ruler: Irri Diamonddottir
Government: Tribal Alliance
Major Races: Humans, Ith’n Ya’roo, a handful of dwarves
Major Faiths: Ferrakus, Ithreia, Nise
Resources: Black Ice, Bone and Ivory, Dried Fish, Hides, Lead, Quartz
Languages: Common, Dwarven (Night Axe Dialect), Ith’n Ya’roo
The Frozen North has always been at the ends of the world and never well populated but for centuries it was controlled by the dwarves of the Night Axe Consortium who kept trade flowing and order when needed. While the other groups living in the Frozen North did not always agree with all of the Night Axe Consortium’s actions, for the most part, the improved roads, ports and fortifications provided by the Consortium more than made up for the occasional demands made by them.
The fall of the Night Axe Consortium happened near concurrently with the NewGod wars but it is not known if one triggered the other or if it was just coincidence, but the dwarves released something, something buried since the beginning of time. The primary mine, Gold Axe Delve, was swallowed up in one hellish week, less than a score of dwarves out of more than a thousand who lived and worked there escaped. The same was repeated across the dwarven holding, only Night Axe Deep, the first of the dwarven holds in the north, was able to withstand the attacks and drive the otherworldly creatures back. All of the garrison and engineers were recalled and expeditions sent to the other dwarven holds, while a few survivors were rescued, the cost was heavy and the other holds were sealed until a proper expedition could be raised. No such expedition has been raised as the effort to defend Night Axe Deep soon absorbed all of the dwarven resources of those who stayed as many other fled to safer holds, far from the North.
In the power vacuum left by the withdraw of the dwarves, the human and Ith’n Ya’roo tribes fell into a short but brutal conflict, made worse by the raids of the starspawn and other creatures that slipped passed the dwarven wards. They quickly turned to politics to sort out their differences, falling to a system of boasting, gifts and personal achievements to select a leader who would rule until they stepped down or successfully challenged.
Now the era of the Night Axe Consortium is remembered as a golden age of stability and prosperity among all of the peoples of the Far North. Dwarven built building and roads are visible in almost all of the communities and still used.
The surviving dwarves remain in Night Axe Deep fighting a never-ending war with the terrors of the starspawn and other hideous creatures. They trade with any who come to the hold and are always looking for adventurers willing to raid the depths or venture into the sealed holds.
The human and Ith’n Ya’roo tribes have come to an uneasy alliance, cooperating against monsters and outsiders while jockeying for position among themselves. Currently the loose tribal alliance is directed, ruled would imply a level of control that does not exist, by Irri Diamonddottir who slew an ice worm and served it to the counsel of chiefs to secure her position. She has been coordinating ventures, trading and raiding both, beyond the north in order to build up the wealth and resources of the tribes.
Attacks by starspawn, and other terrors, is currently at a low ebb but everyone knows that they will return and defenses and custom weaponry is being prepared by all for the next wave of serious attacks.
Eriksholm, the oldest of the human settlement and one of the few with anything resembling extensive crop lands. Hot springs and a shielding ring of high hills make it one of the warmer areas and grain fields and a few orchards provide food and fodder (as well as sustaining honey bees) making it the bread basket of North.
Haroo, all of the permanent buildings in the Ith’n Ya’roo town were built by the dwarves and later expanded with hide tents. It is near to good seal and whale hunting areas as well as good fisheries.
Night Axe Deep, the last of the dwarven holds and it is a fortification of immense complexity built and maintained by the last of the Night Axe Consortium as a point of pride. It is a dangerous enough place that dwarven children are not raised here, instead being fostered at safer holds to the south.
Snorri’s Hold, the most central of the settlements and the agreed upon place for the high chief to organize from. A fine dwarven keep watches over the fine natural harbor. An armory of fine weapons, of dwarven and other make, many crafted specifically to fight the starspawn and the horrors.
Starish Vol, the southern most of the towns and the primary point of exchange with other regions. The old dwarven fort and marketplace are the central points of the town which features buildings in a wide variety of styles.
The dwarves are always in need of scouts and explorers to venture beyond Night Axe Deep and to investigate the wards and barriers in the abandoned dwarven holds. Weapons, maps and other useful idea will be provided for future expedition once a group has proved itself effective and loyal.
A young chief wishes to make a bid for the high chiefdom and needs advice and allies to make him a hero in the eyes of the people. He has maps and legends to follow to build his reputation and wealth, which will be shared by those who help him.
A trapper has found a seam of black ice but it is near to a starspawn ‘nest’, he needs help to retrieve it. He is willing to give those who help him the lion’s share as long as he gets enough to help his family.
Friend of the Ice (Regional) Raised among the harsh cold and barren terrain of the Frozen North you have learned how best to thrive in such conditions. You gain a +1 bonus to saves against cold-based effects and Survival is a class skill for you, if survival is already a class skill for you gain a +1 bonus to Survival skill checks instead.
Night Axe Guardian (Regional) You have been trained and hardened in Night Axe Deep to fight the starspawn and other horrors that threaten your home and the regions beyond. You gain a +1 bonus to Will saves and a +1 bonus to melee damage when fighting starspawn and aberrations.
New Material - Black Ice
A strange substance, believed to be the frozen blood of otherworldly horrors (though it does not detect as evil or magic), it is ice so black it almost seems to drain light around it. It does not melt until it is shattered.
It is brittle but extremely sharp and can be made into arrowhead, spear points and similar items, these are treated as masterwork weapon that also inflict 1d4 points of cold damage but are one use. Expended to enhance a cold based spell, it adds 1 point of damage per two dice of cold damage the spell inflicts (minimum of +1).
A single shard, enough to make one weapon or to enhance one spell, is worth 100 gold.