Ice Caps Geographic Location in Etharai | World Anvil

Ice Caps

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The ice caps of Etharai are two different biomes, located at the north and south poles of the planet. There is not actually land on either of these poles, but there is a permanent layer of ice that serves as close enough to land for life to grow.

The North


There is a single sapient species residing in the northern ice cap, the norrith. They are a non-verbal community that communicates using signed languages, and stays fairly isolated from the rest of the world. They make their villages buried in the snow layers of the ice caps, the entraces to their homes and building indetectable from too far away.
The norrith can be split into two major groups, the snowsunken norrith and the nightwalker norrith. The snowsunken make their villages through tunnels underneath the packed snow, entirely disconnected from the surface. The nightwalkers leave their homes at night to hunt and collect food for their people.


The majority of the northern ice caps are vary flat, with a dense layer of snow on top of the glaciers of ice forming the closest things to solid ground that the biome has. In some areas, this snow is denser than others, making it potentially dengerous to traverse. To the untrained eye, it is very easy to walk over a patch of less-dense snow and cause the ground to collapse underneath oneself. In areas with enough depth, this can cause grievous injury, and there may not always be a way back up - especially with patches reaching up to three miles deep.


The ice caps get very little in the way of precipitation, though when it does come it is always in the form of snow. While the southern ice cap is much colder than the nothern due to heavy winds, the nothern ice cap still receives some of the coldest temperatures on the planet, especially during the winter months. This makes the climate very unfriendly to outsiders.


The most common plant life in the northern ice caps is ice lichen, capable of aquasynthesis. Herbivorous animal species in the biome subsist off of it, such as the snowslug and the picklebelly penguin. These are both eaten by the predatory ice cap rabbit.
Another plant species that grows in the area is the arctic cucumber, primarily eaten by the cyan-tailed moth. The lightdancer lark eats both the snowslug and the cyan-tailed moth, and is eaten by the iceburrow fox, which also eats ice cap rabbits.

Natural Resources

There are some valuable materials that can be found underneath the layers of snow in the northern ice caps. Ice silver is a precious metal that can be found in the area, used by the nearby cultures in many of their tools. Winter crystals are a beautiful clear-blue crystal in high demand to those not living on the ice caps that can manage to get their hands on it.

The South


Similar to the north, the southern ice cap is somewhat barren, receiving little precipitation. It reaches slightly colder temperatures than the north, due to the howling winds almost always present in the region. It is the coldest place on Etharai, and a very hostile environment. However, there is still some life that persists here.


The most common plant life found on the southern ice cap is the permafrost tree, a tree that has the appearance of being frozen, even without ice coating its trunk as is usual. The sunswallow makes its nest in these trees, subsisting off of iceworms that dig into the cold ground in search of frozenroot.

Natural Resources

Despite its unfriendly environment, the southern ice cap is rich in natural materials. Powderdust can be mined in the deeper, ice-filled areas, while more ice silver can also be found here. Conditions are right for winter crystals to form as well, though this occurs slightly less commonly than it does in the norther ice cap.

A Hostile Environment: Trade and Resource Gathering

Due to their plethora of natural resources, the ice caps are often visited by the species living on the other parts of the planet. In the north, these resources can be aquired through trade, making it a bit more popular for the collection of winter crystals. However, due to the value of ice silver, the norrith are not particularly keen on trading it away without good reason. It is for this reason that mining expeditions have been made to the southern ice cap, in hopes of being able to find a better way to acquire the metal, as well as a way to obtain powderdust. However, these expeditions have an uncanny tendency to quickly go awry.

Mission Report: An Expedition to the Southern Ice Caps
Document | Dec 30, 2023

A report on a mining expedition that occurred in the southern ice cap, before going horribly wrong

Cover image: Group of Penguins on Ice by Pixabay


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 10, 2023 13:26 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The picklebelly penguin is my new favourite thing.   I find the idea of falling through snow into a cravasse faintly terrifying. I think making friends with the norrith is vital before trying to go for a walk.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 10, 2023 13:41 by spleen

probably! xD

Have a wonderful day!
Feb 10, 2024 16:47 by Aster Blackwell

Brrrr! In the "trade and resource gathering" box you say that people from other planets visit? Did you mean other places or countries?

Feb 10, 2024 23:41 by spleen

i meant places, yep. whoops

Have a wonderful day!