Welcome – lords and ladies, warriors and wizards, rogues and royalty – to Esgaia!
On the continent of Esgaia rests one of the greatest kingdoms in the known world, the Kingdom of Conwyn. This kingdom is made up of eight separate provinces, all with their own lords and rulers, who bend their conjoined knees to the true King of Conwyn
Before the Frosthaven Province
The Province of Frosthaven – a land of tundra and snow. Formed centuries ago by migrating tribes of barbarians from the Icepeak Mountains and land far beyond where most sane men will travel. It is here that the Winter’s Knight campaign will begin, behind the fortress walls of the capitol.
The land north of Amaranth was once a desolate place, where only dead trees planted their roots and wolf packs were the only famalies that roamed the frosty plains expanding for a hundred miles north to the Icepeak Mountains, and the forests that surround them. In the Icepeaks, however, nestled dozens of barbarian tribes of humans, who made their way hunting wolves, bears and, once upon a time, dragons, before the few remaining ones decided to abandon Esgaia to be swallowed into darkness by the lesser races. But even these fearless warriors did not dare tread beyond the safe boundaries of their caves and rocky hunting grounds. Even farther to the north were horrors far greater than any dragon. And one day, these horrors decided to travel south, destroying whole tribes of the barbarians, and driving the rest out of the Icepeaks, down into the Deepwood and the plains below.
After recovering, the humans did as they are best known for: they adapted. They removed themselves from their old habits and become plain hunters, learning new techniques for stalking and capturing prey, as well as learning the ways of agriculture. In order to easily adjust to this new lifestyle, the barbarian tribes put aside whatever differences that lied between them to work together, forming one large community that they called, Frosthaven. After just over a hundred years of developing beyond their old, barbaric ways, the tribes had formed a solid community that Amaranth, as well as King Ragorn, began to take notice of. It was through this notice, and the admiration Ragorn had for the spirit, persistance, and strength of these new people, that he granted them dominion over the northern lands, naming in the Frosthaven Province, and granting the current chief, Jacard Coldbark, his family, and all his descendants, the power to rule over the new Province. Since that day, Frosthaven has served the King well, by providing him with soldiers for the standing military and seeing that the once wild and uncontrollable tundra is brought into order, as all should be in Conwyn.
The Legend of Winter’s Knight
After the barbarian tribes were driven out of their original homes in the Icepeaks, but before they were indited into the Kingdom of Conwyn, there was a period of darkness. Specifically, a chain of harsh winters that shredded through the humans as teeth shred through flesh. Many of the barbarians fell to illness. Other fells to the cold. Others to starvation. But no matter how it happened, death was in abundance, and food was not, as the animals in the Deepwood and in the plains to the south suffered the same troubles. However, it is from these troubled times that the sacred tradition of Winterfest was born. The legend goes…
Prikor Coldbark, and his band of hunters, were hunting in the Deepwood one afternoon when a horrible snowstorm hit. The party become lost, and eventually ended up at the base of the Icepeaks, where they were ravaged by wolves, panthers, and various other wildlife that had also been left hungry by the horrible Cold Season. What remained of the party, that wasn’t eaten, froze to death – all except for Prikor. However, he had become lost in the forest, and spent days wandering the woods and hills. The storm had altered the forest and destroyed the trail he had left, and eventually, he had become so weak, he dare not journey far from the humble camp he had managed to build for himself on one of the lowest mountain peaks.
One evening, as he was desperately searching for a sign for the correct direction to go, Prikor heard a loud, frantic chirping. Upon investigating, he found himself in a large clearing at the base of the mountain, with an immensely large pine tree in the middle. At the base of this tree, a small raven lie, crying out for help. It seems the strong winds had knocked it from its nest, which was made at the near top of the tree, and broken one of its wings. Prikor removed his torn, ragged hide cloak and wrapped the bird in it, and carried it to the top of the tree, despite his weariness. After returning the raven to its nest, and venturing back down, a figure awaited him at the bottom: a tall, thin man with pale, blue skin, large raven wings, wrapped in black robe and bearing a longsword and shield.
According to the legend, the man introduced himself as the Child of Cold, and Servant of Winter, and that, for saving him, neither Prikor, nor his family or friends, would ever starve or freeze to death, again. Ever since that day, game has been plentiful in the Deepwood, and no Cold Season has been as cruel. Prikor was made Chief of Frosthaven, and when the town finally became a part of Conwyn, the Coldbark family became nobility, and Lords and Ladies of the North.
Whether or not the legend is true changes depending on who you ask. Most simple commoners believe heavily in this legend, though you have the occasional disbeliever or two spread among that rabble. Outsiders of Frosthaven will call this legend foolish to their friends in the south, but dare not mention that to a northerner lest their fear of a large axe swung at their neck becomes reality. Asking the Coldbark family themselves only yields the usual response, “My ancestor, Prikor, was a grumpy, violent man. I’d prefer not to wake him to ask.”
The Town of Frosthaven
Frosthaven has come a long way since its first colonization of barbarians hundreds of years ago. The town, although not as large as other capitols in Conwyn, still contains many commodities possessed by the modern day civilization. It has its own stone wall, giving the town somewhat of a fortress look, with a classy tavern called, “The White Waif” just past the main gate that travelers and go-toers and froers pass through upon entering and leaving the town. On the third floor of the White Waif, just below the top of the town wall, is the headquarters of the Warg Brigade, headed by Ilim Jostin, Captain of the Guard. The Warg Brigade, or the “Wargs,” as they are more casually called, are an elite group of rangers charged with keeping peace in the Deepwood and the Tundra Plains from the more…unusual…wildlife.
Another large change the people have made from the barbarian ancestory is the new gods they worship. Instead of the heathen deities they once worshiped, the people have turned their gaze to the modern pantheon. There main place of worship is the cathedral to Cayden Cailean (CG bravery, wine, ale, freedom), which stands nearly as tall as Haven Hall, home of the Coldbark family. The cathedral often hosts small parties available for anyone to attend several nights a week. Aside from the cathedral, a slightly smaller church to Gorum (CN strength, battle, weapons) exists beside it in the Holy District, alongside two small chapels to Milani (CG hope, devotions, uprising) and Erastil (LG hunting, trade, family, farming). One god who still remains in thier beliefs, as he is the reason Frosthaven still stands today, is Winter’s Knight. And depsite the, almost, complete turn of faith, the people of Frosthaven remain a suspicious lot, and still believe in many of the old myths, legends, omens and wives’ tales passed down from their great-great-great-great grandfathers.
Outside of Frosthaven’s fortress walls lay several farming hamlets where plants such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, spinach etc. are grown and harvested year-round. Though not inside the town itself, the Coldbarks look out for these surfs as if they grew crops within Haven Hall itself. There are constant guard patrols circling the farms, on the lookout for common dangers, such as wolves, and the more rare occurances, like bandit raids.
Shops, Services, and Places of Note
The White Waif: The more classy of the two popular taverns in Frosthaven. Run by Urbac Harlis, and occasionally his daughter, Linsa (when Urbac has sampled too much of his own poison), it is always the first, and final, sight people see when entering and leaving Frosthaven, as it’s built inside the town walls, just past the main gate.
The Six Blind Mice: The less expensive, but arguably more popular, bar in town. The joint owners, brothers Edren and Poren Morgwynis, are a cheery duo who come across as sleazy as they do friendly. Behind the counter of this establishment stands an immense, stuffed arctic bear, that towers over even the over-muscled bouncer. Edren and Poren enjoy bragging to new comers about this bear, claiming it to be their greatest prize back in their hunting days.
The Five Angel’s Forge: Paea Maidbridge, one of the only female armorers in the land (or any land), runs the blacksmith’s forge that lies just outside Haven Hall. She has garnered respect from even the most accomplished male warriors of Frosthaven, as she can forge steel better than any other they can claim to have seen, even signing each craft with her own insignia: a cat’s eye with a dagger piercing the pupil.
The Frost Strike Bowyer: The half-elf Connor Ironspell runs the bowyer located a short distance from the Five Angel’s Forge. His wares have drawn the eyes of many adventurers and collectors, as they seem to be made from strange materials and in strange fashions that none can identify. Connor refuses to share the secret of how he makes his wares, or where he gets the materials for them. Only promising that they will find no others like them anywhere in the eight provinces.
Roland Kabrand’s Dry Goods: The halfling for whom this general store is named after, Roland Kabrand, co-manages along with his business partner/bodyguard; the grim, silent half-elf that no one knows by anything other that Druin. It’s a mystery to the citizens of Frosthaven how these two came to be friends, as Druin’s cold, unwelcoming demeanor seems to directly contradict with Roland’s upbeat and bubbly attitude.
The Hidden Tiger Treasury: One of the most marvelous places to spend time in Frosthaven, this shop is run by the mysterious dwarf called Aman Olgrim. Aman has assembled an impressive collection of, what he claims to be, powerful magical items of civilizations lost by the corrosive curse of time. Whether or not they are what he says they are, people pay to simply come see these beautiful artifacts and hear the wonderful, even if utterly false, stories and legends Aman has to tell about them.
The Friendly House: Aptly named, the bordello is a common place of relaxation and warm company for Frosthaven’s bachelors after they’ve had their fill at the Six Blind Mice. Run by the always exotic Madam Qilla Yvon, who has a kind heart for not only beautiful women and lustful men, but also children in need, running a secondary business in the basement of the brothel. She provides food for orphans and street urchins in the early hours of the day, before business begins to boom, and the women treat these guests as they would treat their own children.
Haven Hall: Home to the Coldbark family, as well as the largest single structure within the walls of Frosthaven, Haven Hall could be considered a home to any commoner as much as the ruling family. The Coldbarks welcome visitors at all hours, and have a mead hall where they can sit, visit, and discuss the daily events and drudgeries. The hall also acts as a safe haven (no pun intended) for the community in the case of a siege on the town, allowing the commoners to escape through a secret passage at the back of the town wall through a serious of tunnels beneath the hall.
Tower of Galehveth the White: Once an ancient ruin that housed nothing more wonderous than spiders or rats, this landmark is now the home of a powerful diviner, Galehveth – or Galehveth the White, as he so grandly likes to introduce himself. Though a bit cracked, he’s never caused any harm, and keeps to himself mostly, which is just how the superstitious people of Frosthaven would have it. He travels into town once or twice a month to trade magical potions and oils for food, clothing, ingredients, etc., as well as offer services if they are requested of him.
Snowmill: The only other town in the province large enough to be placed on the map, Snowmill is about a two day journey along the Glory Road south of Frosthaven. Any news coming from the south often makes its stop at Snowmill, where a messenger bird, or scout trained to travel through the tundra, is sent to Frosthaven to finish its delivery. Most southerners have little to no experience traveling through the frosty plains, and are afraid of either losing themselves in the rolling hills or being eaten alive by packs of hungry wolves.
The Coldbark Family
Chiefs and Lords of Frosthaven for nearly two hundred years, the Coldbarks have always been held in high regard by those who serve them. They hold honor and courage above all else, and consider every man of the north a member of their family. At the moment, there are five Coldbarks living in Frosthaven.
Hanich Coldbark: Lord of Frosthaven, and current King of Haven, Hanich is a well-respected man among his people. It is his belief that he serves his people, they do not serve him. If he cannot cater to their needs, how can they cater to his. Thus earning him the nickname “Honorable Haven.” Hanich is also a fierce warrior, and uses many of the ancient barbarian techniques of his ancestors in battle.
Sinwen Coldbark: Originally the daughter of a stone mason from Snowmill, Sinwen was the only member of her family that had learned to read. She was sent to Frosthaven to attend its university, hoping to further her academic knowledge and become a scholar. Her first task after her graduation was the education of Lord Hanich Coldbark in the art of reading and writing. It was during these lessons that the two ultimately fell in love, and were married.
Owen Coldbark: An eager young fighter, the oldest child, and next Lord of Frosthaven. Upon turning seventeen, Owen was engaged to the Lord of Amaranth’s youngest daughter, and are planned to be married once she has finished her lessons back home. Owen often takes combat lessons from Ilim Jostin during the daytime, and can be found drinking with the off-duty guards at night at the Cathedral of Cayden Cailean.
Silua Coldbark: Perhaps even closer to the usual idea of a “princess” than the actual princess, Silua is often called the “Ice Flower” by her subjects, on account of the beauty her pale skin and bright, blonde hair give her. She loves her brother Owen very much, and even seeks guidance from him fairly often, with the two being very close in age.
Bella Coldbark: The most rambunctious of the Coldbarks is the adorable Bella. Not content to stay in the halls of her home, she often leaves the safety of the town walls to wander the farm lands beyond them. More than once, she’s been drug home by the town guard. She has a particular talent for annoying her older sister, and follows her older brother around like a lost, yapping puppy whenever she has the opportunity.