Icewind Dale Character Sheet
Icy port on a very cold day in Icewind Dale.

North of the Spine of the World and west of the towering Reghed Glacier is a frigid expanse few dare to explore, let alone inhabit. This icy land of windswept tundra recently became locked in a perpetual, dark winter without reprieve. Auril the Frostmaiden, the divine embodiment of winter’s fury, has withdrawn to this cold corner of the world to live among mortals. Further, she has cast a terrible spell over Icewind Dale, to the detriment of most of its denizens.

Each night before midnight, Auril takes to the sky on the back of a white roc and weaves her spell, which manifests as a shimmering curtain of light—a beautiful aurora that illuminates the night sky and fades before dawn. This powerful magic prevents the next day’s sun from rising above the horizon, turning midday into twilight and trapping Icewind Dale in winter’s dark embrace, with no sunlight or warmth to melt the snow and ice. Each casting of the spell leaves the Frostmaiden weakened, with just enough divine power left to barricade the mountain pass with blizzards and churn the Sea of Moving Ice with blistering winds. Such measures discourage travelers from approaching or leaving Icewind Dale, further isolating the region. Icewind Dale has thus been trapped in a different reality from the rest of the world, for though the sun never rises over the dale, it continues to rise everywhere else.

The people of Icewind Dale know Auril’s wrath when they feel it, and they have a name for the unending winter she has inflicted on them. They call it the Everlasting Rime. No one understands why the Frostmaiden has imposed her will in this way or why the other gods refuse to challenge her. This prolonged winter, which has gone on for more than two years, threatens to doom not just the flickering lights of civilization known as Ten-Towns but also the indigenous flora and fauna that need sunlight and the change of seasons to survive.

Not all creatures are discouraged by what has transpired north of the Spine of the World. The long nights and sunless days are a blessing to Xardorok Sunblight, a duergar who longs to carve out a domain for himself on the surface and enslave the people of Ten-Towns in the process. Already, he has taken advantage of Auril’s magic and raised a fortress amid the dark shadows of the mountains. From here, his underlings strike out across the tundra in search of chardalyn—a crystalline substance known to exist only in Icewind Dale. Once he gathers enough of it, Xardorok plans to construct a chardalyn dragon and unleash it upon Ten-Towns.

Despite Auril’s blizzards and other deterrents, visitors still come and go. Among the recent arrivals are four wizards of the Arcane Brotherhood, a powerful society of spellcasters based in Luskan. They’ve come chasing rumors of a lost city buried under the Reghed Glacier—a fragment of the long-gone Empire of Netheril, whose wizards wielded magic that terrified the gods. Netherese magic has a way of attracting power-hungry wizards, as members of the Arcane Brotherhood often are. The cities of Netheril floated among the clouds, making them almost impervious to assault for centuries. Then, nearly two thousand years ago, this floating city crashed during the fall of the empire, and no one has found or explored it since. It is, arguably, Icewind Dale’s greatest secret—a necropolis of Netherese wizards and the magic they left behind. What survived the crash is anyone’s guess… .

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