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The World of Icengale

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Welcome to the World of Icengale, a world divided. The bulk of Icengale is comprised of a single continent that nearly circumnavigates the entire planet. This continent goes by many names in many parts of the world, but most know it simply as The Great Belt. The continent, and the world itself, is dominated by the Godspawn Mountains, a single chain of mountains that rise to a height of 40,000 feet. This mountain range is in turn dominated by the Vainen Glacier, an inhospitable region inhabited by a few species of animals that are uniquely adapted to survive in this frozen realm. Together these two features make an impassable barrier that literally divides the world in two. The only known means for non-magical travel between the two halves of the world is via a narrow strip of water known as the Icen Channel.

The Icen Channel, however, is not always accessible. The Vainen Glacier completely fills the Icen Channel, blocking it with a solid wall, right down to the bottom of the channel itself. Every two years, though, the currents in the surrounding seas shift and warmer water thaws a tunnel through the glacier, exposing the channel. This tunnel, often referred to as The Merchant's Portico, is only open for about 4 months. During this time merchants and explorers from both sides race through to do as much trading as possible before the glacier once more closes in and seals off both halves of the world. Many a merchant has found himself stranded on the other side of the world because they tarried too long. And untold numbers of ships and dead sailors litter the bottom of the channel because they did not tarry long enough.

For those caught in the channel once the glacier starts to freeze back over death is by no means certain. A massive, dwarven kingdom exists beneath the shores and water of the Icen Channel and numerous entrances to their kingdom dot the region. It is believed that the channel somehow thaws from the middle out as when the merchants sail through they find the dwarves there, waiting behind makeshift defensive works and offering all sorts of services for everyone sailing through. These services range from shelter to food and drink to arbitration and appraisal services. They also offer a last hope refuge for those unable to escape the channel. Those rescued are made to pay for their room and board while given sanctuary and those unable to pay either pay their debt through hard work or are locked up until someone will pay for them. This treatment might seem harsh but the dwarves are least fair and treat everyone the same way.

Rumors persist that the Merchant's Portico is not the only means to cross over to the other side of the world. A few intrepid adventurers have claimed that the Vainen Glacier does not completely seal the Icen Channel, and that hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the water the currents carve a veritable maze of small tunnels through the ice. They tell tales of the tunnels being inhabited by all manner of aquatic denizens and countless undead, but they claim it is possible to travel through to the other side. Oddly those who make such claims never seem able to remember exactly what route they took or seem eager to retrace their steps. Many a person has gone searching for this warren of tunnels and is never seen again. There are also tales of similar tunnels located above ground, up among the upper reaches of the Godspawn Mountains. No one has ever been able to prove this to be true, but given the countless number of streams and rivers that issue forth from the glacier it is easy to see how such rumors are born. One of the most common rumors tells of a hidden valley within the mountains, a verdant bowl of geysers and tropical plants surmounted by a dome of ice through which sunlight filters down. This valley is said to be the home of a community of dwarven mages, but given their non-magical nature everyone knows that there is no truth behind this fantastical story.

There is one other means of travel to the other side that has been verified, and that is beneath the mountains themselves. At least a dozen known charted routes exist in the underground realms, the Dark Regions. These routes, however, are very long, often circuitous, and in addition to being fraught with natural and monstrous perils they are not ideal for trade as everything has to be packed through on one's back or on the backs of pack lizards. None of these routes are considered safe all the way through and only a handful of merchants ever attempt to trade along these routes. Many adventurers, though, readily attempt these crossings. Other routes are suspected of existing but none of these have been successfully mapped out and are thought to be nothing more than rumors that have spread and grown with each retelling. This still does not prevent intrepid explorers from searching for yet another route under The Great Belt.

This natural divide has led to an interesting cultural divide between both halves of the world. The southern half of the world, which calls itself after the world itself, has developed a cultural that is relatively similar to the Medieval European culture of the Middles Ages of the planet Earth. The Northern half of the world, which calls itself Elagenci, is an Oriental culture, similar to that of Kara-Tur on the planet Toril. This cultural difference, however, is not tied to a racial difference between the two. Those of Asian racial stock are just as likely to be found on the Sourthern half as those of Caucasian racial stock can be found in the Northern part of the world. This applies to all of the human racial types. In addition to the cross existence of human racial types on both sides of the world, the human racial types also exist among the more common humanoid races, though in lesser numbers. Thus it is possible to find dwarves that in addition to being, well, dwarves, are also of Asian stock, or elves that are swarthy and dark skinned. The only exception to this is those who are similar to the ancient Aztecs and Incans of Earth. This racial type exists only in humans and is only found in one isolated valley within the Godspawn Mountains and only accessible from the Southern side of the world.

Another interesting difference between the two worlds is one of directions. Both halves of the world view the Godspawn Mountains as being to the "North." This extends also to mapping preferences. Maps from both sides almost always are oriented with the great mountain range on the top of the map. When working off of a map this is generally not a problem to foreigners on the far side of the world, but when asking for verbal directions travelers have to take extra care to mentally invert North and South directions lest they inadvertently find themselves traveling in the wrong direction. To add to the confusion both East and West are the same on both sides of the world, with the sun "rising" in the East and "setting" in the West.

Icengale has two green moons, Gainem and Nirvea. Nirvea is the larger of the two moons with an orbit of 19 days. Sometimes known as Mirstar's Bane, Nirvea is a battered and scarred satellite, with many large craters and streaks of dark green stretched across her pale surface. The same side faces Icengale at all times. This was not always so, and in a few of the oldest Sarain libraries can still be found maps of the far side of Nirvea. These maps, however, show her before she was scarred and battered. There are also maps of the near side as it once appeared. Gainem is a smaller moon and is farther away, having an orbit of 30 days. She is too small to see any details and has an orbit lasting 30 days. Known as the Dark Watcher she sails across the sky, a symbol of endurance for she alone of the old world has appeared to remain constant and unchanged. The Sarai revere her greatly.

A note on Slavery: Slavery is a common practice throughout the entire world. This is not to say that every kingdom practices slavery, but rather that every kingdom knows of slavery. Most kingdoms that practice slavery follow the same general rule that the status of slavery is hereditary, though freedom can usually be purchased. The acquisition of new slaves is an oft touchy subject. The normal means is to purchase slaves from legal slave dealers in kingdoms where slavery is legal, and most of those slaves are the offspring of slaves. New stock, however, is often acquired through other means. Some of these are the captives of war, the victims of raids by slavers, the victims of kidnappings, or criminals sentenced to slavery as a punishment. The open seas are probably the most common source of new slaves. Among those kingdoms where slavery is not legal it is at least tolerated in the sense that it is legal for visitors to bring their slaves with them. Universally every one of these kingdoms has a law that allows them to seize slaves who are openly abused or are citizens of that kingdom and many of those allow for the seizure of all assets of the slave's owner. A few kingdoms, however, have complete and total bans on slavery and they will actively seize and release all slaves within their borders and arrest their owners. Only one race as an entirety practices slavery, and that is the Sarai.

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Statistics
Equatorial Radius 23,038.5 miles
Polar Radius 23,163.4 miles
Length of Day 25.0004878 hours
Length of Year 410 days
Number of Moons 2 (Gainem and Nirvea)
Gainem's Cycle 30 days
Nirvea's Cycle 19 days
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Interactive map of Icengale:

The World of Icengale
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Developmental Notes:

The world of Icengale is currently a work in progress, even if it is often a neglected work. I endeaver, however, to work on it when time and life allows me to. At present the main area of development is in the area of Perryn Island, which is located in the south-west area of the main map. My overall plan is not to fully develop and flesh out every area of the world. Most areas will only have a brief description. Some, however, will be developed beyond this, be it slightly more detailed all the way up to fully detailed.

 

 

Updated:
2005-11-16
by John Videll
Icengale@hotmail.com
© 2015 Lothrumil Enterprises

 

Dedication:

This website is dedicated to all of my friends.
Thank you for putting up with me over the years,
and thank you for listening to all my stories,
over and over and over and over and over again.

 

Acknowledgements:

First and foremost I would like to thank my dad.
He introduced me to Star Trek as a child and that started
me down the road of being a life-long fan of sci-fi and fantasy.

I would like to thank my brother for introducing me to D&D and The Hobbit.

I would like to thank Richard C., Melissa R., Butch O., Lena H., Jennifer O.,
Henry C., Baki A., Luigi L., Michael M., Andrew I., Lyle E., Otis L.,
Reid P., Darren B., Mike L., Mike K., Shawn L., Amy H., John O., Joe G.,
Chris D., Jason K., Don B., Allen B., Jason R., Bob A., Mike F., Sean L.,
and all the other people I have played D&D with throughout all the years
since I first stated playing in 1981 (especially those who played every
Friday night in the basement of The Bookshop back in Jamestown, NY).

I would like to thank the good folk over at Dragonsfoot.org
for all the feedback on my world as it has evolved from a nearly
forgotten idea to the growing world contained on this website.

I would like to thank Tracy & Laura Hickman for helping me to see a
new way to look at and play D&D via their Killer Breakfast.

I would like to thank everyone who has ever contributed an article
to Dragon Magazine or had a hand in writing a published module or
supplement while working at TSR.

I would like to thank the fine folk at Profantasy. All of my maps
have been created on their programs Fractal Terrains and CC3.

Lastly, I would like to thank Gary Gygax and the other creators of D&D.
Without them there would be no D&D and this world would not exist.

 

Blame:

Any discrepencies, errors, or things that make you scratch you head
and ask, "What in all of Hades is that?" are strictly my own fault.
That being said, I do feel the need to blame a few people for some things.

I blame J.R.R. Tolkien for the proliferation of dwarves in my world,
and I blame Douglas Niles, author of Against the Cult of the Reptile God,
Dungeon Module N1, for the proliferation of lizardfolk in my world.
I also blame Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and
Michael Stackpole for the lack of contractions.

 

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