Dreams of Ice and Madness
The Scar. The White Dragon. Lessfrost, The Frozen Wound. Cold.
Many names have been given to the once-river valley that many of the great races chose to settle in following the southern exodus, but the most universally used is the Survivor’s Vale. The presumption is that The Vale is but one of many places where the dejected survivors of the world have fled to – Or at least, the hope of these people is that they are not alone.
Nearly 400 miles from the southwestern expanses which trail into uninhabitable frost, and the northeastern pass filled by the Spearwood, it takes the fastest messengers 20 days to cross the breadth of the Scar, but most would take almost two months to complete the same circuit.
The Northern edge of the valley is steep, but still sloped mountains, stretching up to nearly cloud level and blocking off sight, travel, and contact with anything to the north. Only two passes permeate the peaks – The larger great pass, filled with an ancient trade road, and the remote Highpass, a much more treacherous crossing. A great road runs along the southern faces of the ridge, from the rocky cliffs of Westwall, far east, before descending into the Spearwood.
Westwall is a much steeper cliff range, and the main settlement of Dwarves in the Vale. Ancient tunnels began by offshoots of a mighty river have been finished by Dwarven mattocks, a smattering of small cave-filling communities centered on the rocky fortress of Deepwall.
The central wastes are home to most of the population, both permanent settlements and the roving tribes and clans of humans. Frozen plains covered with snow, but only just below freezing.
In the east, a large plateau is home to the elven community of Highwood, also the only group in the Vale capable of growing wheat. Rarely do they come down from their high realm, except to trade their wheat away for wealth, tools and hides of wasteland animals.
Stormbluff is one of the most developed settlements, perched on the steep cliffs of the southeast, small by many standards but built with stone, including the tower where the Vale’s most powerful arcanist lives.
To the south, a deep gouge carved in the southern cliffs carries the roar of wind miles northward. Yet nestled within the pass lives an ascetic community of the poor, the outcast, those willing to try and make peace, or at least others striving to achieve a grudging respect with the frost.
The southwest expanse, the Dragon’s Tail, is a mire of humanoids and monsters, small clans of humans invariably worshipping strange patron animals, spirits, and monsters of the ice in exchange for protection.
Several very disparate settlements have grown in the centuries since the Exodus, all of them young and struggling in their own ways.
Clans, Settlements and Tribes
Iron Bear Tribe