Shenchuan Tundra Geographic Location in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

Shenchuan Tundra

The frigid, iceblasted wastes of the far north where even the hardiest beings fear to tread lest they be slaughtered by the fiends that prowl the snowfields


As one of the northernmost locales on all of Zheng-Kitar, the Shenchuan Tundra is largely as one might expect it to be on a surface level - a seemingly infinite expanse of frigid ice fields, massive flowing snowdrifts, and rising hills broken up by the occasional mountain range or glacier towering above the largely flat tundra like towering frigid goliaths that steadfastly watch over the land's denizens from high above. In the far south, where the Tundra meets the rest of mainland Zheng-Kitar, the geography is a great deal more wooded - though the farther north one goes, the more inhospitably frigid the geography becomes until all that remains is ice and snow as far as the eye can see with little to break up the landscape.   However, rather notoriously, the "Rule of the North" is commonly used by explorers and locals to denote the legendary oddities of the land's geography - namely, that the further north one ventures into the Tundra, the stranger and more alien the geographical features become. In the most well-known and legendary example of this, in the northernmost reaches of the Tundra lies the legendary domain known as Titan's Reach, where one of the infamous Six Husks resides - The Wanderer. Even before the domain of that unfathomably enormous colossus however, strange geographical features are common - the normal frigid iceflows and freezing lakes and streams often give way to pockets of extraplanar geography that often crop up around areas known to the locals as Thinlands, where the Planar Boundaries become so weak as to allow the geography of other Planes of Existence such as Malefacta or The Abyssal Wastes to seep into the Tundra, creating lava flows or flaming poison fields where all life suffocates and immolates in short order.


As one of the coldest locales on Zheng-Kitar, the ecosystem of the Shenchuan Tundra is one where, much like other extreme locales such as the Great Gyatsoshin Desert, only the strong can survive and truly thrive - here, the extreme scarcity of resources means that all who live here turn to extreme means to find heat, water, food and shelter; often either at the expense of their neighbors or themselves as they burrow deep underground to reach geothermal heat sinks and escape the blistering cold above.   In either case, all life here is adapted in the most brutal and extreme way possible to the frigid ecosystem - life competes viciously with one another for the smallest amounts of resources, and the entire ecosystem itself revolves around the two most critical aspects of the land; Shelter and Heat. To most beings that live here, all else is secondary - even sustenance comes secondary to finding a way to endure the frigid winds and extremely lethal winds and iceflows that mark the land, lest one die before even having the chance to find sustenance to consume.   Naturally, with these two maxims being most important for survival it is little wonder why the strongest beings here are those that have natural or innate solutions to one or both of these two critical aspects - such as the fearsome Remorhaz beasts, the massive insectoids who dwell beneath the snowfields with body heat so intense as to melt metal, or the Jotun, whose innate cold resistance and fearsome terrain mastery allow them to easily dominate and tame the land's beasts, or even the fearsome and legendary Dai-Yukai who serve as the area's apex predators whose undead bodies have no need for heat or food, and whose natural ice manipulations allow them to construct their own shelters and settlements out of ice itself.

Ecosystem Cycles

Though in the southern tundra where snow-capped forests dot and dominate the landscape the seasons can wax and wane somewhat, in most of the Tundra the only constant is nail-biting, soul-rending cold the likes of which few have ever seen or can truly fathom. The only changing cycle of the Tundra for the most part is its weather patterns - for most, the relatively cyclical nature of the winds and frigid blizzards means that all but the strongest local lifeforms must constantly stay on the move or find constant shelter for survival, leading to migrations or hibernations being common solutions during the coldest or most windy times of the year. In the very peak of the "Summer Months" when the temperatures rise ever so slightly, most locals indulge in hunting or mating seasons to act while the weather is ever so slightly more accomodating.

Localized Phenomena

Most notable of the Phenomena local to the Shenchuan Tundra are the areas known by the local inhabitants as Thinlands - places where the boundaries between the Material Plane and other Planes of Existence grow thin enough to allow unique and often highly lethal phenomena to infect the Tundra, such as the lethal flaming poisonstorms that sweep across the fields of Malefacta, the abyssal clouds that hang around The Abyssal Wastes, or most terrifyingly the mind-destroying waters of The River Styx, domain of Charon that originates from Gehenna, the Roaming Star of Destruction.   All of these Phenomena and more are unfortunate facts of life in the furthest and most inhospitable reaches of the tundra, and are unfortunately believed to not even be the worst of the possible results of these Thinlands - in the worst case, extraplanar portals can even arise that link the Material to the infecting plane of origin, allowing Devils, Demons, Daemons, or Fiends of any kind to seep into the Tundra at large to slaughter and destroy its inhabitants at their leisure. These portals are believed to be quite rare, and even moreso are their most fearsome cousins, the Gateways - of which only one has ever been documented, which was rumored to be as large as a castle and big enough to sustain an invasion force of Fiends that could pour through by the hundreds each day.   To add onto these extraplanar infections which also frequently have a deleterious effect on local wildlife(often mutating or corrupting them into hyper-lethal killing machines), the natural weather of the Tundra is notoriously lethal - blizzards, windstorms, and even the fearsome Uttercold Superstorms which whip ice particulates and hail through the air so fast as to strip flesh from bone in seconds(Known as "Razor Hail" by the Tundra's locals) mean that those who seek to travel the Tundra must contend with the weather just as much as they must the locals.


The climate of the tundra is, as one might expect, consistently frigid beyond belief - in the southern reaches of the tundra temperatures are slightly more mild in the forested areas of the tundra closer to the rest of southern Zheng-Kitar, but in the rest of the Tundra the climate is freezing and frigid year-round, warming and easing its lethality only ever so slightly in the summer months.   The wind here is legendarily intense, and can often become lethal when paired with the area's notoriously dangerous Blizzards, Windstorms, or even the Uttercold Superstorms which can whip hail and ice particulates through the air fast enough to flense flesh from bone in a matter of seconds or minutes of exposure depending on the level of protection one has.   Near the tundra's notoriously lethal Thinlands, the climate can be even more unpredictable and lethal as extraplanar climates merge with that of the Tundra, creating freezing fields of poison, life-devouring expanses of abyssal corruption, and flaming fields of poisoned Hellfire that scorch those who enter down to their very bones. On extremely rare occasions, these pockets of corruption can mix with existing weather patterns and go far afield from their points of origin, creating poisoned windstorms, abyssal blizzards, and other nightmarish weather patterns that serve as the worst of both worlds.   From what little information has been gathered by explorers, however, many of these hyper-lethal weather patterns are somewhat or mostly well-documented and understood by the local inhabitants, who have grown used to avoiding, enduring, or otherwise surviving them as they pass overhead.

Fauna & Flora

Little in the way of flora exists within the Tundra, as only the southernmost expanses of the area contain Trees - the rest of the tundra sports only low-growing plants such as moss, lichen, and flowers of various kinds. As a general rule, outside of the Tundra's southernmost reaches, if one sees a plant of any notable height, it is likely it is either extraplanar in origin(and thus likely lethal), or is a hyper-adapted megaflora or other lifeform that is unique and therefore to be avoided, or lethal - and therefore to be avoided as well.   As for fauna, few if any fauna dwell in the Tundra that are not adapted to its lethalities in the most effective ways possible - most dangerously as the Remorhaz beasts, the massive insectoids who dwell beneath the snowfields with body heat so intense as to melt metal, massive frigid Frost Worms adapted to the freezing climates, Ice Drakes who have adapted to fly through the area's windstorms with fearsome effectiveness, massive Elephants and Wooly Mammoths, and most terrifyingly of all the True Giants who have come to dominate the area as the ultimate apex predators.   Among these true giants, most fearsome are the Taiga Giants and Dai-Yukai - the former of which is stronger but smaller and number and therefore extremely rare, and the latter of which occupies the prestigious slot of the Tundra's most hyper-lethal and effective apex-predators, outclassing even their mates the Jotun in raw power and domineering might as they rule from their massive, sprawling cities of Shatterice and smaller camps and settlements across the Tundra where the likes of Jotun and even Dwarves work and serve beneath their leadership. However, the Jotun are not to be underestimated despite their ranking as second or third in the tundra's hierarchy - they are the most numerous of the top-ranking fauna in the Tundra, and are often the most intelligent and tactical despite their stereotyping as brutish madmen. Worth noting as well are the Frost Giants who mar the landscape as near-constant predators of frothing, slaughter-obsessed madmen who often tame the region's beasts, though they are hunted with rigor by the Jotun wherever they are found.

Natural Resources

In all, the natural resources of the Tundra are relatively unexplored due to the extremely lethality of the area - most obviously are the area's Uttercold deposits as well as the Shatterice and Blue Frost produced by the region's Dai-Yukai tribes, though any other resources aside from perhaps raw ice and snow have yet to be uncovered.


In general, the Shenchuan Tundra is believed to be one of the oldest locales in all of Zheng-Kitar - as one of the last holdouts for the forces loyal to The Spirit Kings during the Defeat of the Sapphire Elves and the Advent of the Spirit Kings during the time of Zheng Lao Ka, countless relics of this time undoubtedly slumber buried beneath its snowfields and iceflows, as countless warriors of this time met their end here on the snowfields while The Six Great Ancestors strove to bring about the Advent of the Spirit Kings to save the entire land.   Going back to a time even before the age of men and the advent of the Spirit Kings, the Dwarves of the Dholerian Mountains and the surrounding mountain ranges of the central and southern Tundra had sat unchallenged in their citadels, their thanes an unbroken line of divinity tracing back to the earliest days of the continent. During these times and even as recent as a little over a Thousand Years ago, the lands of the Tundra were once the domain of the Ezdhûl city of Nan-Dhurgalir and its surrounding sister citadels that dotted the central and southern mountain ranges of the Shenchuan Tundra. During the reign of the Ezdhul, the Tundra was said to be quite a safer place for travelers to venture - however, the lands were forever scarred by the Invasion of the Infernal Host which rocked the Tundra as the forces of the Outer Planes such as Malefacta, Gehenna, and The Abyssal Wastes tore apart the Planar Boundaries deep in the tundra and launched a full-scale invasion of the continent which ultimately resulted in the destruction of the Ezdhûl citadels in the area and the permanent scarring of the land, leading to a permanent "thinning" of the planar boundaries even long after the invasion had ended as fiendish holdouts from the war continued to plague the locals even into the modern day.   Now, the lands of the Tundra have gone a thousand years without any notable civilization to be seen - and the dangers of the area have only increased exponentially as a result. Were the long-lost city of Nan-Dhurgalir to be found and restored to the rightful hands of the Ezdhûl(Who have fled north in the intervening centuries and found refuge in the camps of the Dai-Yukai they once fought alongside during the Invasion of the Infernal Host), the land would likely see a return to glory not seen in a thousand years as the Rockcrusher Legions of the Ezdhûl could provide peace and stability to the land once more.


Few venture into the Tundra for any reason - explorers only dare to travel into its reaches with the most thorough of preperations and the most comprehensive of protections lest they be ambushed by Dai-Yukai or Jotunraiding parties and enslaved, and the local tribespeople typically view outsiders poorly or with suspicion, if they allow them to notice them at all.
Alternative Name(s)
The Sea of Snow, The Great Mother, The Seedbed Expanse


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