Hungering Frost

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Who were the shadowy forces behind the endless tide of frozen invaders from the Nocthian Caldera? Why do they hate the dragonborn of Wyrmhold so much?

Originating deep in Mount Nyx, the dormant volcano at the heart of the Nocthian Caldera, a swarm of creatures large and small arose every winter to assail the only pass into the eastern lands beyond the caldera. It was 130 years ago when they swept out of the dark, bringing winter in the heart of Midsummer, leaving the land snow-covered and icy behind them. The first wave was rime wraiths, elemental creatures from the Plane of Ice. Each wave sapped the heat from the ground and the defenders of the Old Dynasty alike. Following behind them were frost worms--wingless, belly-crawling monstrosities that breathed shards of ice and whose trails froze the ground down to the bedrock--and frost giants, 25' tall, blue-skinned, rune-adorned merciless warriors who swept the dragonborn before them. Broken, the survivors of this assault retreated down the Last Resort Pass, a 70-mile stretch of mountains once carved by a mighty river, now frozen solid at the source. They managed to turn the tide at great cost at the head of the pass, and the two fought over those first few miles for more than 90 years. In 211 AC, a group of adventurers struck a mighty blow at the dragon Xol'cerd and the ritual powering the tide of winter magic, bringing the threat of the Frost to an end. The next spring, the Wild Cards struck down Isskap herself, putting an end to its chill reign forever.

Leadership

The ultimate driving force behind the Hungering Frost resided in the Plane of Ice. The Titan Isskap, betrayer of the Titan Conclave and wielder of the Disc of Remembering had retreated there and transcended her mortality. After the Cataclysm, she took control of the plane and began plotting to regain the rest of the Orb. She is driven by a desire to see her children, preserved by the power of Broken Order against the degeneration inevitable to all titan-kin after the First Wish, restored to life and ascended to godhood. The sacrifices necessary to preserve them and herself have left them tainted by the Abyss; she needs a focus of runic power to banish the taint and catapult them to ascension. Until that day, she maintains effectual control over the plane and its inhabitants, although she constantly must fend off rebellion and undermining by her vassals. Her ability to act directly on the mortal plane is limited--if she pushes too hard, she'll incur the wrath of the 3rd Celestial Legion contingent stationed in the Plane of Water.

The day-to-day command of the forces of the Frost resides with Xol'cerd, an adult white dragon. As a wyrmling, her brother was killed by adventurers in the days leading up to the Cataclysm. Isskap came to her with his soul trapped in a skull and bent her mind toward vengeance against the dragonborn (under the pretext that the killers were dragonborn). Xol'cerd vowed to destroy all dragonborn in retaliation. She hoarded any and all magic items she could.

The other forces were commanded from the Plane of Ice

  • The jazuu were under the command of Gripnir, a brainwashed Frost Giant. He committed suicide after the fall of Isskap.
  • The barbegazi were under the command of Hnrimnir. After the fall of Isskap, he and his extraplanar forces retreated into the wilds of the plane.
  • The monsters were under the influence of Fenrir, a colossal Winter Wolf ascendant. She served under duress and has returned to her wild ways away from civilization.


The jazuu and barbegazi left in the Caldera reverted to their tribal ways. Some oppose the returning mortals; others have allied with them. The beasts remain a threat, but diminished. Many of the lupine ones have joined barbegazi and jazuu tribes.

Forces

The forces of the Hungering Frost were of several kinds: the goblinoids, the jazuu, and the beasts.

The bulk of the forces are ice goblins, called barbegazi. Larger and more solid than regular goblins, these goblins have traded much of the racial memory and ability to create hobgoblins for individual prowess and hardiness. They rode wargs and partner with winter wolves. They also build the siege equipment used against the Wall and form most of the raiding parties into Dynastic territory.

The jazuu have migrated via portal from Oelfra. Born to fight, the frost giants are few in number but individually powerful. Along with them are several hill giants, stone giants, and many ogres and trolls. A host of goliaths also came, but served in a support role and were not directly involved in combat.

The local beasts, spearheaded by the ice wurms, were under the direct command of Xol'cerd.

The Desire

The entire point of this invasion was to obtain three items, parts of the Orb of All Might. First is the Disc of Binding, said to be in the possession of the Khaimal dwarves in Hammerhead. A strong force of goblins and jazuu was sent against them, but that resulted in a stalemate. Second was the Core of Strength, found in the regalia of the dragonborn kings in Wyrmhold. Thus the constant attacks and attempts at infiltration. The third was the Disc of Summoning, reputed to be somewhere in dragonborn territory.