The Land of Icehorn: A Complete History (Lore)

This lore provides a background for the upcoming campaign, Adventures in the Greenrun.

 In the Beginning

Eons ago, when the world was still young, a fierce battle raged for control of the lands that pocked its surface. The Ice Gods sought to expand their influence from the far northern reaches and into the world at large. They were met with resistance by the Fire Giants, who freely roamed the otherwise warm, clement globe.

For 1,000 years the battle wore on – the Ice Gods swallowed the earth in cold and white as volcanoes thundered and fires whipped against the frost, and above it all, a deadly wind of steam and snow howled. By its end, both sides had been so decimated during the millennium of war that they retreated to their ancestral homelands: the Ice Gods in the far northern mountains, the Fire Giants deep beneath the earth’s surface.

Eons passed as the gods and giants lie dormant, safe in their holds of ice and fire. During this time, life spread across the earth, and soon all was green and lush and vital – except for the far north, which remained cold and icy and desolate. There, in a land that would come to be known as Icehorn, the old gods of ice and snow watched with contempt as life found a way from one continent to the next.

The land of Icehorn was a barren tundra – its high mountains were choked in ice, and its low valleys drowned by frozen seas. Nothing grew in its frigid soil, nor lived on its icy plains. And so it stayed until, before the very eyes of the Ice Gods, a river began to run. At first, it was only a trickle of ice-water that ran like tears from the towering mountains. They felt their power weaken as the trickle became a stream and grew to enormous strength, carving through the black rock, ever flowing, rushing to the cold sea beyond.

By the time they acted, it was too late – the surrounding land was tainted by wet and warmth. The river roared from the highest mountain, coursing through stone and over land, threatening to thaw anything it touched. The Ice Gods raised mountains of ice and stone, encircling the river and isolating the region – which would come to be known as the Greenrun – from rest of Icehorn. With their remaining strength, they retreated deep into the continent’s interior. Here, they summoned a winter storm that would last 10,000 years, and set it loose upon Icehorn.

In this storm, they sleep, and from this sleep they will rise with new, more terrible powers, and with them they will freeze the blood of every living creature and plunge the earth into an icy darkness for all eternity.

The Sleeping Years

During this great slumber, the Greenrun was transformed into a land of plenty: wide boreal forests covered its surface, thousands of rivers and streams coursed throughout, and plant and animal life became abundant.

At the end of the 7th millennia of sleep, Icehorn – and shortly after, the Greenrun – was discovered by explorers from the south. During early colonization, settlers uncovered strange artifacts buried in the earth: giant weapons made of ice as hard as diamonds (including a sword of ice as black as night, gripped by a huge, stone-blue hand), massive rock tablets carved with intricate runes, caches of black gems as large as boulders.

Fearing their power, these artifacts were loaded onto ships and sent south to be hidden away and forgotten. Their arrival in the south, and subsequent theft nearly 1,000 years later, would lay the groundwork for the mythos of the Wounding Hand, and be instrumental in their coming to power throughout the Greenrun some generations later.

In Adventures in the Greenrun, the year is 9,997 and the Awakening is imminent. The Wounding Hand works to weaken the Greenrun in anticipation of the Ice Gods’ return. The Greenrun, for its part, is almost entirely unaware of the stakes – the world dismisses this history to be a creation myth. They believe different stories and worship different gods now, and only a limited few religious orders (followers of the true religions) have received revelation that a great threat looms in the distant mists of tomorrow.

It is the twilight of the Sleeping Years. Beset by attacks from the Wounding Hand, ravaged by mysterious and extreme winter storms, and afflicted by an array of other maladies, the Greenrun looks for heroes that will deliver them from a doom they do not fully know is coming. Without such champions, the flame of life will be extinguished the world over, and the cosmos will fall again into darkness.

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