Across the crystal gulf of the Altreth Sea lies a continent perpetually wrapped in ice and snow, a place of sluggish, gleaming blue glaciers, bristling conifer forests and razor-tipped mountains of black rock draped in gleaming white. Here in this rugged but breathtakingly beautiful landscape, the people of Kar Vreld make their home. Distant and mysterious to the warm lands of the south, the Vreldith peoples are said to be mystic hermits who restrain all emotion and passion in search of the mysteries of eternal life.
Others whisper that the Vreldith are the keepers of the secrets of the Gods, or even the guardians of their tombs. In truth, the peoples of these lands - Humans
or otherwise - are hardy, rugged and practical, wasting little of their precious energy on foolish pursuits, intimately attuned to their difficult and dangerous environment, and formed of deep and complex interpersonal bonds with family, friends, clan and culture.
The Winter Folk tend to be intensely spiritual, seeing the work of the Gods in the stunning and majestic nature around them, and though the bulk of the inhabitants of this land are hunters, fishers, and farmers as anywhere else, their social hierarchy is dominated by revered religious orders of clerics, sages and monks. Remote monasteries in the snow-swept peaks draw seekers of enlightenment and wisdom or train orders of warrior monks to hone body, mind and spirit. More isolated still are the mountain hermits whose dwellings in the deepest caves and forests may be sought by only the bravest and most determined of petitioners.
Though some consider the fur-clad people of Kar Vreld to be barbarians, here indeed lies much of the lore, history and tradition of the world, carefully preserved in vast libraries and monasteries hidden within these snowy domains. Indeed, most of the other kingdoms of the world encounter only two kinds of people from Kar Vreld - fisherfolk abroad on their boats, and their wandering itinerant monks, sent forth into the world to gather more knowledge and experiences to be recorded in the great libraries.
This is an honour and rite of passage for any aspiring monk, for on the path to transcending the physical world, one must first walk in it. Those who decide to prey upon these softspoken, curious travelers, however, find their mild manner conceals a bite, for no monk leaves Kar Vreld without extensive training in the mysterious martial arts of the North...