Frozen North
“Some of the stone-hides speak of a place of no snow beyond the wall-that-is-light. It may be so, but how could any-roo live like that?” -Drek Blacktooth, ith’n ya’roo shaman

Capital: Snorri’s Hold
Settlements: Eriksholm (1,100), Ha’roo (925), Night Axe Deep (450), Snorri’s Hold (900), Starish Vol (1,350)
Ruler: Stonemistress Irri Diamonddottir
Government: Tribal Alliance
Races: Dwarf, Human, Ith’n Ya’roo
Faiths: Animism, Ferrakus, Ithreia, Toma Thule
Resources: Armor, black ice, bonecraft, godmetals (adamantine, mawine), metals (lead, gold, steel), weapons
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Ith’n Ya’roo
Border Conditions: Restricted (full border containing a sub-polar climate; border with Californ is selectively-permeable)

History
The Frozen North is an anomaly on Porphyra, a polar wilderness in the tropics, located on the Land of Steam. The willful goddess Ithreia brought her beloved land here as a base to battle the elementalists, though her attentions have wandered elsewhere since. For centuries it was controlled by the dwarves of the Night Axe Consortium, who kept trade flowing, and maintained order, when needed. While the other groups living in the North (as they stubbornly call it) did not always agree with all of the Night Axe Consortium’s actions, the improved roads, ports and fortifications provided by the Consortium more than made up for the occasional demands they made.

The North drew attacks during the NewGod War, as Ithreia was particularly hated by the Elemental Lords, but the dwarves were expecting the waves of frost giant marines, and repulsed them handily. Ironically, the ancestors of the defeated giants maintain small seasonal ports to trade with their ancient enemies. Almost concurrently with the Wars, the deep delving dwarves, by elemental design or coincidence, released something, something buried in the gold-bearing stone since the beginning of time. The primary mine, Gold Axe Delve, was swallowed up in one hellish week, with less than a score of dwarves out of a thousand making it out alive. The same was repeated across the dwarven holdings, with only Night Axe Deep, the first hold established back on the home-dimension, able to withstand the attacks and drive the otherworldly creatures back. Those there know the ways of the most identifiable of the lot; akata, gibbering mouthers, mimics, phrenic scourges, and the dreaded seugathi. All of the garrisons and engineers were recalled and expeditions sent to the other dwarven holds, and 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 colony’s resources, and many fled to other lands, mostly Giant’s Retreat, far from the North.

In the power vacuum left by the withdrawal 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 seugathi and other creatures that slipped by dwarven wards. They quickly turned to politics to sort out their differences, resorting to a system of boasting, gifts and personal achievements to select a leader who would rule until they stepped down or were successfully challenged in ritual combat.

Current Events
Today, the era of the Night Axe Consortium is remembered as a golden age of stability and prosperity among all of the peoples of the Frozen North. Dwarf-make buildings and roads are visible in almost all of the communities still used. Rumors of dwarf-treasure still bring the odd gold-hunter from “the warmlands”, but the locals know better, and don’t get attached. The surviving holdout dwarves remain in Night Axe Deep fighting a never-ending war with the terrors of the seugathi and other hideous creatures. They trade with any who come to the hold, as well as the giant-ports, and are always looking for adventurers willing to raid the depths or venture into the sealed holds. Armor made by Nightaxers is said to be the finest on Porphyra, and unique kromagg, or black ice weapons are also highly valued, especially in neighboring Californ.

The humans and ith’n ya’roo tribes have come to an uneasy alliance, cooperating against monsters and outsiders alike 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 Stonemistress Irri Diamondottir, a dwarven paladiness who slew an ice worm and served it to a gathering of chiefs to secure her position. She has been coordinating ventures, raiding and trading into Th e Enclave and Californ in order to build up the wealth and resources of the tribes. Attacks by seugathi and other terrors is currently at a low ebb, but everyone knows that they will return.

The ith’n ya’roo have had a renaissance of sorts, training many adventurers to travel the world and bring back artifacts and knowledge for the arctic beast-men. Defenses and custom weaponry is being prepared by all groups, in readiness for the next wave of serious attacks.

Settlements
The major settlements of the Frozen North are:

  • Eriksholm, the oldest of the human settlements and one of the few with anything resembling arable land. Hot springs and a shielding ring of high hills make it one of the warmer areas in the North, with grain fields and pastures (including beehives) making it the bread basket of the North, and the center of worship of Ithreia.
  • Ha’roo is an ith’n ya’roo conclave adapted from a dwarven outpost. Th e beast-men there have advanced rapidly, and many explorers and adventurers from this intriguing race take advantage of the whale and seal hunting areas, and even trade with the ‘stoneskins’, as they call armored humans and dwarves.
  • Night Axe Deep, the last of the dwarven holds, is a fortress of immense complexity and maintained by the Night Axe Consortium as a point of pride. It is a dangerous place, though mined products are still found from the guarded but extensive mines beneath.
  • Snorri’s Hold is the most central of the settlements and is the agreed-upon place for the high chief to organize the territories directives. A fi ne dwarven keep watches over the nearby harbor, with Ferrakan clerics directing passage. An armory of fine weapons of dwarven make is the Hold’s pride and joy, many crafted specifically to fight aberrations and other horrors.
  • Starish Vol, the southernmost of the towns and the primary point of caravans to the east and Californ. Built on a hot spring, many of the varied races here have experience in both tropical and arctic conditions.

Intrigues

  • The dwarves are always in need of scouts and explorers to venture beyond Night Axe Deep to investigate the wards and barriers in the abandoned holds. Weapons, maps and other useful items will be provided for future expeditions once a group has proved itself eff ective and loyal.
  • A trapper has found a seam of kromagg, black ice, but it is near a seugathi ‘nest’ and 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.
  • A young chief is making a bid for the high chiefdom, and needs advice and allies to make him a hero in the eyes of his people. He has trailmaps and legends to follow to build his reputation and wealth, whichwill be shared by those who help him.

See Also