General Information

Capital: Bryn Shander
Govenment: Oligarchy
Ruler: The Council of Ten Towns
Population: 7,000 - 7,500
Races: Humans, Half-elves, Halflings
Exports: Scimshaw, fish

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Icewind Dale is far to the north, sandwiched between the Sea of Moving Ice, the Reghed Glacier, and the Spine of the World. It’s home to a few tribes of tundra barbarians, reindeer, polar bears, wolves, elk, the fierce tundra yeti, and a white dragon or two. In the west, as the mountains descend to the Sea of Moving Ice, the ridge falls sufficiently to provide a pass. Through this, caravans journey to transport the ivory scrimshaw carvings that make the Dale financially worth inhabiting.

A harsh land almost beyond the reach of the warmer and more settled south, the small amount of warmth generated by the Sea of Swords funnels across the lowest part of the mountain wall, keeping the dale marginally hospitable. Nomadic tribes who hunt reindeer huddle next to the three lakes (Maer Dualdon, Lac Dinneshere, and Redwaters), and the dwarves in their tunnels attempt to survive in the harsh land. Evil creatures flourish in hundreds of mountainous delves, and Icewind Dale has the reputation as a hideout for those seeking to lose themselves.

In this bleak tundra is the farthest bastion of civilization in the Savage Frontier, a loose confederation of 10 towns and villages known collectively as the Ten Towns. The towns are located on or near the three deadly cold lakes, the habitat of the knucklehead trout (found nowhere else in Faerûn). The lakes of Icewind Dale are justly famous for their fishing, but locals tend to think of the lakes as their own, not a pond for southerners to wander up to and pull their living out of.

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Climate
Icewind Dale has an Arctic climate, bringing bitterly cold winters with lows of -40° F and highs rarely exceeding 30° F. Summer brings warm days of 70° F or more, but with lows that can drop to 11-19° F. Stiff breezes off the Trackless Sea create bitter wind chills by as much as 10-20° F. Winter snowfall is heavy enough to regenerate the glacier mass dominating the Utter North. This translates to about 20-50 inches of snow accumulation each winter, but no more than a few inches each snowfall. The rest of the year, drier weather prevails.

Industry:

Scrimshaw is the art of forming a kind of Trout called knucklehead trout. The ivory from the fish is widely demanded all across Faerûn. It is the only export from Icewind Dale.

Main exporters of the Scrimshaw are: Targos, Lonelywood, Bremen, Caer-Konig, Caer-Dineval, and Termalaine.

The land north and west of the Spine of the World not
covered by the Reghed Glacier is Icewind Dale. The origin
of the name is obvious: This region is frequently lashed by
howling storms that flatten buildings and scour shrubs from
rock crests. Anything that can’t lie down is smashed or frozen
by the winds, and anything that can lie down is buried by
snow. This wild, barren, barbarian-infested region is visited by
white dragons, crag cats, orcs, and glacier remorhaz. There’s no
sane reason for civilized folk to come here.
The Ten Towns cluster around three lakes: Maer Dualdon,
Lac Dinneshere, and Redwaters, the only known homes of the
knucklehead trout, a fish whose fist-sized heads and spiny
bones are akin to fine ivory in hue and appearance. Even in
summer, the waters are icy enough to kill anyone in the space
of a few breaths. Greed brings the roughest rogues to this
land—it’s not a place for the idle traveler. The only exceptions
are the longrunners, folk who roam for food and bring firewood
from the distant northern flanks of the Spine of the World.
Scrimshanders, the skilled carvers of knucklehead scrimshaw,
are important and respected craftsmen here, but everyone else is
tolerated as long they cause no trouble and do honest business. In
winter, troublemakers are usually killed, or worse, cracked atop
the head and drenched with the contents of a chamber pot. In either
case, the bodies are usually found in the spring thaw.
Most important to the Ten Towns is the central, walled,
trading town of Bryn Shander. Most travelers end up here, unless
they join the fishing trade. From Bryn Shander, a gravel
trail known as Eastway leads east to Lac Dinneshere, and to
the community of Easthaven at its southern end. Caer-Dineval
and Caer-Konig stand on the shore of Lac Dinneshere. Despite
their names, no castles stand here—they were once log
fortresses. South of Lac Dinneshere is Redwaters, the smallest
of the three lakes.
From the southernmost reaches of Kelvin’s Cairn, a cleft or
valley once inhabited by dwarves runs south and west to the hills
where Bryn Shander stands. West and north of this lies the
largest of the three lakes, Maer Dualdon. Four towns stand on its
shores: Bremen, at the outflow of the river that drains the lake
into the Shaengarne River and eventually to the sea at Ironmaster;
Targos, the only walled town other than Bryn Shander; Termalaine,
the most beautiful of the settlements, sprawling with
tree plantings around the widely scattered houses placed behind
rubble walls to protect them from the winds; and Lonelywood,
the northernmost settlement, whose buildings nestle into the
trees of an isolated wood along the lakeshore.
The Speaker of Bryn Shander lives in the largest building of
the Ten Towns. Despite its pillared porch, it’s no larger than a
small inn.
Each of the Ten Towns can field a home guard of 100 to 500
men armed with dwarven weapons and light armor. The towns of
Bremen and Caer-Konig are home to tundra barbarians. The
towns are fiercely independent and competitive with one another,
particularly with towns sharing the same lake. Fighting between
rival ships is not uncommon. Because of this tendency, it’s
hard for the cities to band together and defeat a common foe,
making each city a single entity and relatively easy to conquer.
Visitors find life harsh here, with the 8,000 folk of Icewind
Dale suspicious of outsiders; this paranoia is not helped when
the area is also home to a multitude of men and women with
checkered pasts looking for an escape from captors. Most can
remember bloody battles against the barbarians and against the
tyrant Akar Kessell. They think visitors are trouble.
Rumors persist of white dragon lairs crowded with treasure in
the glaciers nearby. Some even feature heaps of frozen gems as
tall as a house. The rumors grow even wilder when people speak
of the dwarven delves under Kelvin’s Cairn and the Spine of the
World. Sages of the North often remind that truths have often
been revealed behind such stories. It’s true that some adventurers
adventurers
come back from Icewind Dale rich beyond their wildest
dreams. Some of them even live long enough to enjoy it. Those
swayed by the antlers displayed on tavern walls will be pleased to
find that guides can be found in the Ten Towns, but they should
always go armed and in numbers.
The Ten Towns originated when ivory-like scrimshaw was
discovered. Nine villages grew along the three lakes, and Bryn
Shander grew as residents needed a central location to meet
traders. Proximity to Bryn Shander was second only to the
quantity of fish hooked and netted in determining the success
and size of the fishing villages. The Eastway made Easthaven
rival Caer-Dineval in size.
Both Bryn Shander and Targos were walled against the hostile
land. But walls did nothing to protect Targos when Akar
Kessell sent a killing beam from Crystal-Tirith. The beam
struck major buildings, missing the ships in the harbor.
The barbarian tribes of Icewind Dale often raided the villages
of the Ten Towns, but as autumn of 1351 DR came and
the herds moved south, the tribes chose to make one massive
thrust in an attempt to occupy the communities and live off
slave labor. A traitor from one of the communities revealed his
plan of attack. Unbeknownst, Drizzt watched the traitor and
promptly informed Bruenor and, through Regis, the Council of
the Ten Towns. The halfling convinced his fellow councilmen
to form an alliance and the Ten Towns stood ready.
The bulk of the barbarian force moved south to Bryn Shander.
Once the city was occupied, the barbarians could strike at
leisure at the other communities. Aware of the plan, men of
Maer Dualdon hid in Termalaine. When the tribe entered, it
was overwhelmed. A threefold trap lay in wait at Bryn Shander
for the main host. Inside the city walls stood the combined
forces of Bryn Shander, Caer-Konig, and Caer-Dineval, armed
with bows and hot oil. Outnumbered, the barbarians turned
back and found the way blocked by Bruenor’s dwarves. Townspeople
from all three lakes surrounded the tribe.
The dwarf-built palace of Cassius, spokesman of Bryn Shander,
was given to Regis after the battle. Designed for the Ten
Towns’ council meetings, it’s the largest building of the Ten
Towns and the grandest north of Mirabar. Regis promptly filled it
with clutter from the front hall staircase to the master bedroom.

Places of Interest

Except those in Bryn Shander, all inns in Icewind Dale are
places the visitor won’t forget: rented straw in a stables. For
most places, the inn and the tavern are one and the same—
most inn/taverns are closer to a rooming house than anything
else. Large bands can rent a warehouse, but they find nothing
to warm it with unless they brought wood. Most warehouses
are sunk into the ground to avoid the wind, and so they are
little more than sod-roofed cellars.
Bloodril’s Snug, Haven Faelfaril’s Inn, Geldenstag’s Rest,
The Hooked Knucklehead, and The Northlook are found in
Bryn Shander. They’re the oldest and least suitable houses in
the settlement. They were built by folk who hadn’t yet felt a
true northern winter. They stand tall and proud against the icy
winds that lash through them, leaving guests shivering.

Volo's stuff:

The land north of the Spine of the
World that has not yet been covered
by the Reghed Glacier is known as the
Icewind Dale.

The origin of the name is obvious:
This region is frequently lashed by
howling storms that can flatten buildings
and scour shrubs from rock
crests. Anything that can’t lie down
will be smashed or frozen by the
winds, and anything that can lie down
will be buried by the driven snow.
This wild, barren, barbarianinfested
region is visited by white
dragons, crag cats, and occasionally
even glacier remorhaz. There is no
sane reason for civilized folk to come
here.
The Ten Towns cluster about three
lakes: Maer Dualdon, Lac Dinneshere,
and Redwaters. These are
the only known homes of the knucklehead
trout, fish whose fist-sized
heads and spiny body bones are akin
to fine ivory in hue and appearance.
Even in summer, the lake waters are
icy enough to kill anyone in the space
of a few breaths. Greed brings the
roughest rogues to this frozen land—
it is not a safe place for the idle traveler.
The only real exceptions are the
longrunners, folk who roam for food
and bring firewood from the distant
northern flanks of the Spine of the
World.
Scrimshanders, the skilled carvers
of knucklehead scrimshaw, are
important and respected craftsmen
here, but everyone else is tolerated
only as long they give no trouble and
do honest business. In winter, troublemakers
are usually slugged on the
head, tossed outside, and drenched
with the contents of the nearest
chamberpot. They’ll be dead of the
cold before they regain their senses.

Most important of the Ten Towns is
the central, walled, trading town of
Bryn Shander. It is here that most
travelers will end up, unless they
really want to join the fishing trade.
From Bryn Shander, a gravel trail
known as the Eastway leads east to
Lac Dinneshere, and to the community
of Easthaven at its southern end.
Caer-Dineval and Caer-Konig stand
on the western shore of Lac Dinneshere.
Despite their names, no castles
stand here—they were once log
fortresses.
South of Lac Dinneshere is Redwaters,
the smallest of the three lakes.
The lake was named for a bloody battle
where the towns of Good Mead
and Dougan’s Hole stand.
The tundra between Lac Dinneshere
and Maer Dualdon is broken
by a thousand-foot-high peak called
Kelvin’s Cairn. According to barbarian
legends, the mountain is named
for the frost giant hero Kelvin Duarol,
who was slain here by the god Tempus.
Tempus pulled rocks from the
plain in a long ditch and piled them
atop his fallen foe to mark his victory
and to warn others of the fate of those
who court the war god’s wrath.
From its southernmost reaches, a
cleft or valley that used to be inhabited
by dwarves runs south and west
to the hills where Bryn Shander
stands.
West and north of this is the largest
of the three lakes, Maer Dualdon.
Four towns stand on its shores: Bremen,
at the outflow of the river that
drains the lake into the Shaengarne,
and thence to the sea at Ironmaster;

Targos, the only town other than Bryn
Shander to be walled; Termalaine, the
most beautiful of the settlements,
sprawling with tree plantings around
the widely scattered houses that are
placed behind rubble walls to protect
them against the winds; and Lonelywood,
the northernmost settlement,
whose buildings nestle into the trees
of an isolated wood along the
lakeshore.
The visitor will find life harsh here,
with the 8,000 or so folk of Icewind

Dale suspicious of all outsiders. Most
can remember bloody battles against
the barbarians and against the tyrant
of Icewind Dale, Akar Kessell. They
think of visitors as trouble. Many are
fugitives from justice in warmer lands,
and all have had to be tough—or die.
The speaker (the title of the nominal
leader of the town) for Bryn Shander
dwells in the largest building of
the Ten Towns. Despite its pillared
porch, it’s no larger than a small inn
of the rest of the North.

The highlights of a typical day
include a trapper bringing a dozen
hares into town to sell, or the town’s
boats bringing back a good knucklehead
catch for eating and scrimshaw.
The highlight of a summer month
might be an outlander bringing foodsfrom
warmer lands for those with
coin enough to buy them. Snowberries,
rock moss, juniper tips, cold
clams, weasels, hares, and the occasional
bear or elk are standard fare
here, along with the fish that come
out of the lake.
Rumors persist of white dragon
lairs in the glaciers nearby that are
crowded with treasure. Some, the
whispers go, even feature abandoned
heaps of frozen gems as tall as a
house. The treasure descriptions
grow even wilder when people speak
of the dwarven delves under Kelvin’s
Cairn and the Spine of the World.
Sages of the North and elders of
Icewind Dale have both reminded me
of the truths that have often been
revealed behind such stories,
warning me not to dismiss them. It is
true that some adventurers come
back from Icewind Dale rich beyond
their wildest dreams. Some of them
even live long enough to enjoy it.

Places of Interest
in Icewind Dale
Inns
Except for those in Bryn Shander, all
the “inns” in the towns of Icewind
Dale are places that the visitor will
remember for a long time: They rent
straw in the stables for visitors to sleep
in, and charge as much as 10 gp for a
rough meal in the inns’ taverns (in
fact, in most places the inn and the
tavern are one and the same—most
inn/taverns are closer to a rooming
house than anything else). Large
bands can sometimes rent a warehouse,
but they’ll find nothing to
warm it with unless they’ve brought
their own wood. Most Icewind Dale
warehouses are sunk down into the
ground to avoid the worst of the wind,
and are really only sod-roofed cellars.

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