Portals of the Frozen Wastes
By James Wyatt
Four portals form a trail connecting four frigid regions of Faerûn's northern wilderness: the Sea of Moving Ice in the west, the High Ice in Anauroch, the Great Glacier, and . . . someplace else. Nobody has yet figured out where the latter portal leads, but those who have used say it is a frozen locale shown on no map of Faerûn. The frost-rimed ruins in this mysterious place hold the key to unlocking the secret of the four portals -- if some hardy adventurers can brave the frigid cold and ancient ghosts long enough to discover it.
Follow a magical path to learn the secrets of the portals of the frozen wastes!
Statistics and supplemental information:
- Thurghom, an evil orc druid of the Sea of Moving Ice
- The Red Worm, half remorhaz, half dragon, all bad
- Tosvin, one of the Icy Claws of Iyraclea
- Qorrash, genies of cold
- The Prince of Jhothûn, the lost empire's last protector
- Sea of Moving Ice portal map (JPG format)
- Gharreil map (JPG format)
- Jhothûn Exterior (JPG format)
- Jhothûn Ground floor (JPG format)
- Jhothûn First floor (JPG format)
- Jhothûn Second floor (JPG format)
- Jhothûn Third floor (JPG format)
Any individual location described on these pages can be introduced into an established campaign set in Faerûn's cold regions, or the entire network can form the basis of a mini-campaign focused around the discovery of Jhothûn. Consider the following hooks to draw characters into the adventure and mystery surrounding the portals.
- The characters accidentally stumble on one of the portals (in the Sea of Moving Ice, the High Ice, or the Great Glacier) while busy on another adventure.
- While involved in fighting some representative of the Empire of Shade, perhaps at another Netherese ruin, the characters learn that the shades are interested in exploring a cavern under the High Ice where a Netherese colony once stood. It is clear that the shades have high hopes for recovering powerful magic from these ruins.
- The characters are captured by the Icy Claws of Iyraclea (a group of gelugons who each have some character levels), but one of the devils insists on taking the characters into his own private custody. This devil, Tosvin, actually negotiates with the characters, offering to give them their freedom if they help him defend the portal in the Great Glacier against shades using the portal in the High Ice.
- The characters discover (perhaps in an ancient dragon's hoard) a scroll that mentions the ancient cities of Choshein and Gharreil, which are seats of two Satraps of the Empire of Jhothûn. Without knowing any more than the meager information mentioned in the scroll (it assumed much knowledge that is lost to history), the characters are motivated (through the promise of great treasure, perhaps, or simply by historical curiosity) to learn the truth of this lost empire.
About the Author
James Wyatt wrote articles for Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine before joining the Wizards of the Coast staff in January 2000. Game design is career Number Five, after stints as a childcare worker, ordained minister, technical writer, and web designer. He currently resides in Washington state.