As December looms around the corner with the promise of wizards and winter, we head for the frozen reaches of Icewind Dale.
The Spine of the World mountains lurk in the treacherous North of Faerun, where biting winds prove to be as much of a threat as the trolls. But up there,if your cold weather gear and ring of the elements are handy, you might find the thriving community that makes up the ten towns of Icewind Dale,
Icewind Dale lives up to its name. This particular dale describes an arctic tundra located in a region of the North called Frozenfar, which should tell you everything you need to know about the region. Frozenfar, for the record, is the coldest, most remote region of the North and comprises Icewind Dale, the Cold Run, the Sea of Moving Ice, and of course the Spine of the World, which are the mountains that keep the North safe and sound from whatever lies beyond them.
Icewind Dale isn’t just cold, it’s near-inhospitable. Even when not laboring under the effects of a terrible curse, the inhabitants of Icewind Dale must put up with little sunlight, harsh winters, and adventurers from the Southlands stumbling their way into the wilderness, frozen half to death. But, if you live long enough in the region, you might get to know a little something about it.
For instance, you might learn about the Knucklehead Trout, one of Icewind Dale’s claims to fame. Many in the region are dependent on the knucklehead trout and other fishing-related resources to survive, selling both the fish, as well as the bones. The Knucklehead Trout perfectly captures the character of the region: it is hardy, stubborn, and looks amazing mounted. But it’s not all novelty trouts and regional delicacies in Icewind Dale.
First populated when Northlander longships ventured into the area during the final days of the Illefarn Empire, the Northlanders settled the region that became known as Icewind Dale, holding their ground and carving out a distinct nook for themselves even as Icewind Dale became home to a powerful necromancer who proceeded to take barbarians and beasts and tried to make something of them.
Icewind Dale has very little in the way of permanence. The only real settlements are a collection of ten towns known as the Ten Towns, because the cold leaves you too frozen to think of an imaginative name. Collectively they are:
- Good Mead
- Dougan’s Hole
- and last but not least: Bryn Shander.
And living among these ten towns are the fishers, crafters, rangers, dwarves, barbarians, and merchants that survive out on the tundra among the elk and the polar bears, and the occasional white dragon.
For such a little, isolated place, it has seen a great deal over the years, including the fall of multiple Netherese skyships/islands, which is why the region of Icewind Dale is just lousy with a magical material known as Chardalyn. And strange monsters that would be better to have been forgotten back when Netheril was a young and meddling empire.
So if you’re looking for a cool place to hang, it doesn’t get much more chill than Icewind Dale.