The Long Winter in Icewind Dale
Icewind Dale is an arctic region along the northernmost part of the Sword Coast.
Icewind Dale is an icy tundra and the northernmost explored area of Faerûn. Its only permanent settlements are the Dwarven mining city under Kevlin's Cairn, and the confederation of minor settlements known as Ten-Towns.
Kelvin's Cairn, the only mountain in the region, overlooks a western valley known as the Dwarven Valley, where the inhabitants under the mountain spend their days mining and crafting.
Three lakes, whose temperature even in the summer months is cold enough to kill a man, are the only known places to find the Knucklehead trout, a fish whose bones are almost exactly like ivory.
The arctic climate conditions which dominate Icewind Dale and the Sea of Endless Ice beyond the Spine of the World bring a bitterly cold winter with lows as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and highs that barely exceed 30 degrees (still below freezing).
Summer brings warm days of 70 degrees or more, but with lows that still can drop into the teens. Near-constant, stiff breezes off the Trackless Sea force temperatures even lower, due to wind chill, by as much as 10 to 20 degrees.
Precipitation falls as snow in winter and as rain or sleet the rest of the year. Winter snowfall is heavy enough to regenerate the glacier mass that dominates the Utter North. This translates to about 20-50 inches of snow accumulation each winter, but no more than a few inches each snowfall. The rest of the year, drier weather prevails.
The capital of the region is the city of Bryn Shander. The Ten Towns Council oversees the small pocket of civilization huddled at the base of Kelvin's Cairn. The Dwarven Valley has its own internal government, ruled by the remaining members of Clan Battlehammer. The nomadic Barbarian tribes trade among themselves and with Ten Towns when needed, though they recognize no government (the one exception being the Tribe of the Elk, who have formed a mutually beneficial arrangement with the people of Ten Towns, having been given permanent claim to the town of Caer-Konig.
The region is mainly populated by fishermen, craftsmen, rangers, dwarves mining the deeps for minerals and precious stones, barbarians, and merchants who tolerate the hostile climate in the hope of trading in ivory and gems. The region is home to a number of white dragons.
Roads and trails