"All a man can ask for at the end of a hard day's labor
is a good strong fire to keep the chill away."
-Klarion of Winterwolf, Borrellian Tanner
|Ruler||His Ferocious Majesty, Lord of the North Lands, Lord Krodose of the Snow Drifter Clan|
|Demographics||Human (Northern) 45%, Borrellian 22%, Ogre 13%, Human (Eastern) 10%, Orc 5%, Dwarven 3%, Grum 1%, Other 1%|
|Languages||Borrellish 50%, Northern 50%|
|Year Founded||2228 CY|
|Currency||Trade and barter|
|Natural Resources||Forests, subarctic fauna and flora, granite, copper|
|Manufactured Goods and Major Exports||Lumber, wood and bone carvings, medicinal herbs, furs and pelts, leather and leather goods, various types of meat, whale oil, fish, bone and ivory, copper jewelry|
|Government Stability||Unstable - frequent clan skirmishes|
|Enemies||Rukemia, Carrikos, Vorrik, Normidia, Arkalia|
|Technology Level||Dark Ages|
|Primary Religion||Grythga and Uthalgrim|
|Other Religions||Kolo, Erylon, The Three Fates, Farzak, Kael|
|Terrain||Mountains, forested hills|
Ice Gate is the unofficial capital of the nation of Borrell. It is the northern most major city in Ithria. This remote unwalled city is built on the western slope of Mount Almar which provides the city a commanding view of the Alkarian Ice Flats, the largest and least dangerous pass into the interior of the Borrellian peninsula. This city is mostly comprised of heavy framed log cabins. A perpetual blanket of snow covers the roofs of the homes.
The citizenry of Ice Gate is a mix of humans, Borrellians, ogres and dwarves. The majority of the citizens of Ice Gate tend to be a rugged lot - lumberjacks, trappers, hunters, miners, soldiers, mercenaries, tanners and so forth. The folk of Ice Gate are a hardy breed used to severe weather and limited resources.
For a thousand years, the peninsula of the Ice Rock Mountains was home to dozens of Borrellian clans. The relationships between the various clans was an evershifting network of alliances and blood feuds. Every summer, the Borrellian clans would take to the sea and raid the northern coastliness from Vorrik to Rukemia. They came to be known as fierce warriors and daring mariners. The clans fought with each other as often as with the peoples of the south.
In 2207 CY, a Kitaran noble, Baron Kellad, serving as ambassador for the King, came north with an entourage of seventy men. They made peaceful contact with several clans of the Borrellians. Languages were learned, gifts were exchanged and trade was conducted. The baron and his men stayed in the north for almost two years. Upon returning to Kitar, the Baron reported to his king. In 2224 CY, Baron Kellad and his two sons, along with 140 men, made another trip.
The Snowdrifter clan, with the help of Baron Kellad and his men, spent more than three years rebuilding the ruins of the town of Thraem. In 2228 CY, the rebuilt town was renamed Ice Gate. For the last four centuries, this town has been the gateway to the north. It is now a major center of trade and neutral territory for Borrellians and visitors from the south to come together. In 2229 CY, Kitaran ambassadors and the chieftain of the snowdrifter clan signed a peace pact and trade agreement. While little more than a token of mutual respect, it is a step toward civilizing this wild and barbaric region.
While the Borrellian clans recognize no central government and bend knee to no king, the Snowdrifter clan and the trade center of Ice Gate have become something of a capital city for the far north.
Lord Krodose, chieftain of the Snowdrifter Clan, rules the city of Ice Gate very much like a king. On occasions, Lord Krodose may call a council meeting where all leaders of the community come together to discuss some issue. Whenever a meet is called, every Borrellian tribe in the city will send one representative on any matter under discussion. Often, there will be no representatives of a clan present. At other times, a lone Borrellian may find himself the only member of his clan and called upon to attend. Some non-Borrellian members of the community may be invited to the meet at Lord Krodose' discretion.
The Great Northern Hall
The Great Northern Hall is the governmental building of Ice Gate and the hall in which Borrellian chieftains intermingle freely with political representatives from the south. In addition to this, it also serves hot food, offers rooms and stores equipment for the small militia of Ice Gate. This impressive building is built entirely of huge logs cut from northern timber. The central chamber of this great hall is large enough for an audience of hundreds. The enormous throne upon which Lord Krodose sits is cut from a single block of wood, ornately carved and darkly stained.
The city has a set of laws which all are expected to obey. Most minor offenses are dealt with switfly and harshly (either by the victims or the guards). More serious matters are brought before Lord Krodose himself who passes judgement. Punishment for serious crimes is usually either execution or banishment.
A standing force some two hundred Borrellian warriors of the snowdrifter clan maintain peace in Ice Gate. Each of these warriors has a snowdrifter and patrols from horseback in and out of the city. These guards protect the city from invasion from other clans and guard government buildings. However, they don't generally concern themselves with petty matters such as tavern brawls and street duels. For the most part, citizens of Ice Gate look out for themselves and many small matters are handled with street justice. Visitors who get into trouble in this city may find themselves on their own.
Ice Gate does not have any large temples or churches. The largest place of worship is a shrine dedicated to Grythga and Uthalgrim . A small wooden sign out front names it the Brazier's Flame. It is run by a single priestess. All of the Borrellians in Ice Gate worship Grythga and Uthalgrim. Ice Gate also has small shrines to Kolo, Erylon, The Three Fates, Farzak, Kael.
Ice Gate serves as a trade center between Borrell and the lands to the south. Ice Gate has a strong trade in lumber, oils, herbs, meat, pelts and mead. Limited supplies of metal weapons and armour are available. Merchants from the south trade food, textiles and wine.
The Borrellians are an aggressive race and they routinely raid other lands for wealth and valuable resources. They typically will raid Kitar, Duthelm, Arcanum and Rukemia to the east. To the west, they raid as far as the Captured Sea, striking at Normidia and Vorrik fishing villages. Such raids are limited to the summer months as the northern seas, especially the Crystal Deep, are ice-locked during the winter. Icebergs and severe storms in the northern seas make sea travel very difficult during the winter. Some stolen goods taken during the summer raids eventually end up in Ice Gate.
The House of Three Bells
This large wooden hall serves as the city's market place. The entire market square, small though it is, is contained in a building out of sheer necessity. (It's hard to conduct business if the coins are frozen together). This market sees mostly trade and barter along side the exchange of foreign coins.
Lord Korodose, once a powerful warrior and a terror on the battlefield, is now aging and fat. Even so, he is still a strong man and can lift and swing his great blade. Born of a strong family, Lord Krodose has the stern gaze of his father, who ruled the Snowdrifter Clan before him. Krodose seeks to build Ice Gate into a respected city of culture.
Ragnar the Half Blood
Ragnar is a well known half-Borrellian hunter and trader who travels the north lands extensively. Perhaps to make up for his human half, Ragnar spends more time in the snowy mountains of Borrell than most Borrellians. He tends to stick to the southern half of Borrell and typically goes on hunting trips that often last 2 months at a time. He usually visits Ice Gate 6 or 7 times a year. Ragnar is generally foul tempered and prefers his own company to that of others. It takes a fair bit of coin to hire him as a guide.
Hjoric is a very old and wise hatraddi of the Snowdrifter Clan. He is the only known spell caster in the entire city. Mages and priests from other cultures are barely tolerated in Ice Gate. Some have been killed by the Borrellians of Ice Gate while others hide their powers. Hjoric is skilled in herbalism, healing and nature lore.
Bjorn is a tremendously fat Borrellian man and a well known skald. He can usually be found in one of the taverns playing various instruments and singing rousing songs about Borrellian heroes. Bjorn knows everyone in Ice Gate and is an excellent information source. Bjorn has a long mane of curly yellow hair, watery grey eyes and a friendly face covered in a thick bushy beard. He has a tremendous booming voice which can usually be raised in song or laughter.
The hardy mountain men of the Malus mountains and the Borrellians of the far north find common ground in the frontier town of Ice Gate. The Snowdrifter clan of Borrellians rule here. However, other groups from other clans will often come to trade. Ice Gate is not an uncivilized place, but the harsh life of the northlands has forged a hard people who do not take kindly to trouble makers or weakling southerners who whine. The citizens of this city are proud of their town and their way of life. Southerners would do well to respect it or chance facing an angry Borrellian warrior.
Most people here carry a weapon and know how to use it. Full blooded Borrellians make up almost a fifth of the popu
Ice Gate has earned a reputation as being a "safe haven" for criminals since it is so far beyond the reach of most governments. It is likely that dozens of citizens in Ice Gate are escapees or wanted criminals, trading in warm weather for freedom in the icy north. Due to the rugged and untamed nature of the population, unescorted women in the town are taking a terrible chance.
Ice Gate is not divided up into districts.
Statue of Brentarr
Watching over the largest plaza of the city is an immense 35 foot granite sculpture of Brentarr, he who led the pilgrimmage north and settled the town that would eventually become Ice Gate. Brentarr leans against his axe and looks to the north. A pair of great winter wolves flank Brentarr, each carved in granite and fifteen feet tall. A marker before the statue tells the tale of Brentarr and the pilgrimmage to the north. People often leave flowers or small gifts here before the statue and asks for Brentarr's blessing.
The architecture here is a mix of Borrellian and southern style. Most buildings in Ice Gate are fashioned from rough hewn logs. Stones are used only for hearths. Roofs are steeply pitched to avoid snow buildup. Sod is used for insulation and roof shingles are typically fashioned of birch. Most buildings have an upper loft where the residents sleep. Homes tend to be long. One end of the building functions as a barn and is used to keep horses, goats and other animals sheltered indoors during winter storms. Very few buildings in Ice Gate have windows.
Ice Gate has no outer walls, no bridges, no canals, no sewer system and no street lights.
The streets are not paved and meander about as the placement of buildings follows no real pattern.
Drunken brawls are common. Thievery, pick pockets and so forth are common enough. The occasional murder is not uncommon here as blood feuds between Borrellian clans occasionally flare up and become bloody.
|Name and Proprietor||Description|
|Tavern - The Worm's Tunnel is the most popular tavern in Ice Gate. It offers rooms, good food and a variety of drinks (everything from Goldsmoke Brandy to Thundermead) which Wulfgar goes to great lengths to acquire. Wulfgar is a popular member of the community who can always be found tending bar here.|
|Tavern - The Fire Pit is a tavern which secretly is home to a tiny guild of thieves, bandits and other rogues. It is the only organized thieves guild in the distant north and the only place to purchase such items as thieves tools, poison, lockpicks and other tools of the trade. It's also the only place one can find an assassin. This guild is only about twenty members strong - one leader, one assassin and an assortment of thugs, bandits and pickpockets.|
|Gambling Hall - A small tavern/gambling hall run by a grum named Topknot. Sociable and well-liked fellow. There aren't many grum in this northern city, but the few that do live in Ice Gate tend to congregate here.|
|Inn - A decent inn with a large common room (straw strewn floor, no blankets) which can hold up to 20 people (1 copper for the night). It also has two small private rooms (no locks) which are a silver per night. Run by a half-ogre named Jorog, his Borrellian wife Freyga and their son.|
|Tavern/Inn - A large central hall built around a long rectangular fire pit which is flanked by long oaken benches. This establishment serves lots of hot food (mostly gruel) and hot ale. Run by Bulgar, a Borrellian of the Snowdrifter clan, and his large family. One large common room for rent which sleeps 50. No beds, only straw. Large stable.|
|Snow Goose Saloon
|Tavern/Inn - The Snow Goose Saloon is a small establishment with four rooms for rent and a small common room where meals are taken. Sully, a large man from the south, runs this establishment alone. He does all the cooking, cleaning, maintenance and general labor. He tends to the customers every need. It's a labor of love for him. The Snow Goose is known for excellent food. Sully's oatcakes and griddle fried pork patties are well known in town. And he serves them with his signature spiced maple syrup.|
|Name and Proprietor||Description|
|Weapons and Armor Store - A small store that sells a variety of weapons and armor. It also offers wagons, horses and miscellaneous equipment useful in surviving the harsh mountains.|
|Brothel - The Dancing Maiden is the name of Ice Gate's only brothel. This small establishment is home to a small group of girls, some Borrellian and others southern. The brothel is active as northern men often come out of the mountains without having seen a woman in months. Hadiloch is a tough-as-nails older Borrellian woman who takes good care of her girls. Hadiloch is the older sister of Lord Krodose, chieftain of the Snow Drifter Clan, so she has powerful friends.|
|Smithy - The Dragon's Scale is a smithy that specializes in armor. Kalled is a skilled blacksmith who relocated to the north from Duthelm after his wife was killed in a riot. Kalled will make a custom fitted suit of armor for anyone with sufficient funds. Payment is always in advance and Kalled will take precise measurements of the customer before he begins. He makes chainmail, ringmail, plate mail and field plate armor. He doesn't bother with anything lighter than chain.|
|Face of the Glacier
|General Store and Trading Post - The Face of the Glacier is a trading post and general store that serves Ice Gate. It carries a little bit of everything - food, weapons, armor, tools, lumber, horses and more.|
|Stables - Kempoc is a Borrellian of the Snowdrifter Clan and a member of the city militia. He raises and cares for a variety of animals but is known best for the wondrous six legged snowdrifters. He also trains these fine steeds for the militia.|
|Leather Goods and Garment Shop - Run by a tall, powerfully built man with a thick mustache and steely eyes. Haltalf is very good at his trade. He often hunts for his own skins and pelts, brings them back to his shop, tans and cures the leather himself and makes them into a variety of products. Besides leather goods and clothing, he also dabbles in armor (leather armor, studded leather and chainmail). He is an honorable man who charges a fair price is known for never lying. A massive two handed sword hangs on the wall in his small shop. A suit of polished plate armor sits in the back room. It's obvious that when he came to the north some 10 years ago, he came as a fugitive from some distant land. But whatever his story his, he is tight lipped about it.|
This website was last updated November 30, 2023. Copyright 1990-2023 David M. Roomes.