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Jun 01 2007 -
Area Concept - Ice Islands
s said in our last featured article, an important document to plan a new update is the area concept. Today, we will present you parts of this year's area concept to show you how such a document is structured and what it contains. Moreover, you can surely read many interesting facts about the new Ice Islands. The complete area concept is about 4 times as large as the following excerpt. However, to keep the fun to explore the new islands, we present only parts of the area concept and leave some surprises for you to discover ingame, such as the detailed background story which you will be able to figure out by reading the new books.

Area Concept

1. Introduction
- Name of the new area and general idea of the scenery
- Where is it located in relation to the existing map?

The cold north of Tibia may not be an attractive home for many species but there are in fact some humans, animals and other creatures who found shelter in this icy surrounding. Apart from the three well-known and sparsely populated islands Folda, Vega and Senja with their everlasting winter, there are several other regions which have been almost forgotten over the years.
Directly north of Folda, where the ocean currents get colder and where it gets harder to breathe, the large island Hrodmir can be found. Most of its surface is covered by the Formorgar glacier whose labyrinthine ice caves are rumoured to conserve an evil from old times. It might have been better if these islands had never been discovered, but since humans tend to poke their nose into everything, many explorers have recently been sighted there - much to the displeasure of the local barbarian tribes, the Norsir.
The past decades have not been very good times for the Norsir either. The recent rediscovery of the northern Ice Islands by Carlin (and later Venore) which led to a flood of traders and miners forced the once free-roaming nomads to stay south of Hrodmir where they live in fur huts or find shelter in caves. A few of them, however, chose to rather work together with the new visitors and to build a settlement with quite comfortable wooden blockhouses: Svargrond. They cannot deny their barbarian roots though. Their rough habits are still common around this seemingly inviting little village.
On Nibelor, a small island to the northeast of Hrodmir which can be reached by dog sled, a circle of druids maintains the balance of nature and tries to sabotage the animal hunters disturbing the peace on the southern island Tyrsung. They also take care of burial ceremonies which traditionally involve sending the deceased into the wide ocean on a small boat, accompanied by prayers.
It is also rumoured that a new dragon breed has developed on the southernmost island Okolnir, where geysers are almost as steaming hot as their breath. So put on your warmest coat, take your ice pick and prepare for a really cool summer!

2. Landscape

2.1. Geomorphological structure
a) Description
The landmass of the ice islands has its origin in volcanism. There is a submerged hotspot that created the basis of the continent. A hotspot is a hole in the ocean crust where magma can leak out and after many centuries a new island emerges. Within this process the main island Hrodmir and the three small islands Nibelor, Grimlund and Helheim in the north-east were formed. The other two islands Tyrsung and Okolnir in the south-east broke apart from the main island because of a deep ocean trench where two oceanic crusts diverge. Nowadays there is no volcanic activity found on the landmass of the Ice Islands anymore except for a few geysers on Okolnir in the south-east.
As a result of the cold climate in this latitude, huge glaciers and ice shields turned into high elevations. Today, there are two ice shields left: one in the centre of Hrodmir covering the volcano and the other one covering the mountain of Tyrsung in the east.
Concerning glaciers there is always strong physical erosion and as a matter of fact there is a huge outwash of gravel, sand, silt and clay that is deposited in the plains. Starting at the glacial door south of the ice shield on Hrodmir, a wide complex river system transports and deposits the outwash over the valley and into the sea. North of the main island, a very special situation occurred. The outwash of the ice shield is deposited evenly, building an elevated plain.
A cold sea current coming from the east and going around Tyrsung and back to the north east is the reason for the sea ice surrounding Nibelor and Krimlund.

b) Instructions
- Which ground tiles should be used for which area and which should be avoided?

In general, all islands are very meagre and snowy, so mainly the snow and ice palette should be used. In the South, where it is a little bit warmer, it is possible to add a few grass or dirty spots, not too many though. Rock soil is another alternative to combine with snow. To make a transition between two different grounds, so-called clips are used. There are mainly two different clips for the borders of the islands. First of all the snowy-river clip and secondly, the rocky-river clip. There are also connection tiles between the river / snowy river and the ice shelfs.
For the ice shelf and floes the dominant tiles should be ice and snow. The changeover between ice shelf and the mainland can be realised with snowcracks. The floes around the coasts should look as if they have a similar shape like the coastline itself so it appears like they just broke off. The glaciers and mountain regions of the islands should be made of snow, rock soil and ice.
Okolnir is the only island with volcanism on it, so it should be a mixture between muddy areas near the geysers and snowy parts more far away. The geysers themselves are small pools of water with bubbles on the surface. The dungeons underneath the islands can be made with dungeon floor, (geyser) water and in the lower levels with lava.
The complex river system to the south should be built with snowy river clips/ rocky river clips and maybe ice as frozen parts in the river that can act like bridges. The river should differ in its width with small sandbanks of gravel, debris and stones in it.
The ice tiles can be used to create frozen rivers. Overlapping transition tiles create the illusion of motion which was on the surface of the river while it froze. The edges can be covered either with matching ice transitions or with snow heaps that can form a continuous line. These tiles are also very good to remove the sharp edges of walls on the ground.

2.2. Climate
The climate of the Ice Islands reaches from cold till temperate in the lowlands over alpine to polar in the higher parts.

3. Plant and animal life

3.1. Flora
In general the Ice Islands are very meagrely overgrown. Only in the lowlands it is warm enough for some conifers to grow. Especially fir trees and pines have very good adapted to these cold weather conditions and the main tree/bush is the mountain pine. Moreover, there grow several very rare herbs and berries in the lowlands during the summertime. The cold and wet habitats also hold very good conditions for mushrooms to grow. In the alpine/polar zone of the high mountains of the islands, only moss and lichen can be found.

3.2. Fauna
a) Description
- Which wild animals and other, non-intelligent creatures roam the surface?

Despite the cold conditions, the fauna of the region is very versatile. Many different fish races live in the sea around the islands. The penguins predominantly live on the Fimbul ice shelf and on the small ice shelf north of Hrodmir. Most penguins feed on krill, fish and squid caught while swimming underwater. They spend half of their life on land and half in the oceans.
The seals on the Ice Islands have no certain spot. You can find them at every coastline on every island. These mammals are specialised for an aquatic life and are able to swim very long distances. However, as they cannot turn their hind flippers downward, they are very clumsy on land, having to wriggle with their front flippers and abdominal muscles. The preferred food for the seal is fish.

b) Instructions
In this part it is normally stated which creatures are spawning at which point and how many of them. Of course we do not want to spoil this already. ;)

4. Civilisation
- General introduction paragraph mentioning the different races residing in cities, settlements or hideouts in the area

4.1. Svargrond (Human Settlement)
a) Short summary in keywords:
- Human main settlement with long wooden blockhouses
- Accessible by ship from Carlin, Thais, Venore, Ab’Dendriel
- Accessible by carpet from Edron, Femor Hills and Darashia
- Population mixed of former barbarians/fishermen and traders/miners from Carlin
- Depot, church, tavern, rentable flats and houses, all trader types, paladin/knight/magic teachers, harbour, warehouse

b) Description of inhabitants
- Physical and intellectual attributes of the inhabitants residing in this settlement
- Background story how and why they came to this area
- Preferred places, habits, interaction with the local fauna/flora, adaptation to the landscape and climate

A long time ago, a few refugees discovered one of the larger Ice Islands and tried to make it their new home. In hope of being able to adapt to the cold climate, they started to build their own primitive civilisation there which was characterised by little progress and rather rough habits. According to their location, they called themselves “Norsir”. They were not really interested in exploring the other islands and suspicious towards outsiders. Still, they were content with leading a nomadic lifestyle or living in small settlements and camps depending on where the fish supply was good. The caves, which they discovered in the course of the years, proved to be a source of danger though. Therefore, they were considered a taboo and avoided whenever possible.
When Carlin started to flourish and the southern ice islands Senja, Vega and Folda were populated, visits from the main continent became more frequent. The "barbarians", as the Norsir were often referred to, noticed that trading with the "wacky" mainlanders did in fact bear some advantages, especially since the Carliners wanted resources which the barbarians had no interest in themselves. The explorers from Carlin discovered valuable ores in the "mystic caves" which were avoided by the Norsir anyway. So they did not mind to grant access rights to the people from the main continent. In exchange, they received for example wood - which was quite precious and rare for them - as well as some other conveniences. Over the years, a settlement grew in the north of the island. It had a very unique, rustic style with long blockhouses and was inhabited by both barbarians and mine workers.
The relative wealth and prosperity of the settled barbarians was attracting many of the remaining fishers to the settlement. However, some people of the nomad tribes were observing the settlement with envy and suspicion. In fear of assaults and burglaries, the inhabitants of Svargrond erected a palisade around their settlement. They also stopped to use the name “Norsir” for themselves, since they could not really identify with this rather barbaric culture anymore. From that time on, there was a clear cultural divide between the Norsir and the “Svargrondar”.

4.2. Ragnir, Bittermor and Grimhorn (Home of Savage Barbarian Tribes)
a) Short summary in keywords:
- Primitive settlements of savage barbarian tribes (Norsir)
- Accessible by foot when crossing the Formorgar glacier from Svargrond
- Simple huts made of fur, bones, stones or ice; combined with natural caves where available
- Hunting ground for low- to midlevels

b) Description of inhabitants
In contrast to the Svargrondar, many of the Norsir stuck to their nomadic way of living. Although they are used to wander around and usually do not stay in one place for a very long time, there are three loose settlements which have developed on Hrodmir over the years: Bittermor, Grimhorn and Ragnir.
In the beginning, these settlements were mainly restricted to the members of one large family each and there were a lot of minor battles and quarrels between the different tribes. Over the years, the borders between the tribes faded and became less and less important as it was more crucial to ensure survival.
There are several different ranks among the Norsir according to each barbarian’s skills and abilities. The strongest barbarians of the tribe are called “bloodwalker” in honour of their great and destructive power in battle and their numerous victims. The “skullhunters” are those who are always in the front line of battle, defending their camp fearlessly and mercilessly. They are backed up by the “headsplitters”, barbarians which are especially skilled at throwing axes from afar. Last but not least, the barbarian women are rumoured to have a special connection to the beasts roaming around the camps, such as polar bears or winter wolves and can summon and control them at will. This is why they are called “brutetamers”.
Although traitors among the barbarians are immediately killed, their culture is a lot less brutal than many outsiders might expect.

c) Architecture
Grimhorn, located on the southern tip of Hrodmir, is the oldest of the Norsir settlements. The place was chosen for its great fish supply and relatively “moderate” temperature – at least compared to the higher Hrodmir regions. Its inhabitants build primitive huts out of bones, fur and stones which protect them surprisingly well from the cold. Especially mammoth bones, tusks and fur are the main material used for these huts, but they utilise pretty much everything that seems suitable enough, like polar bear bones or even chakoya fur.
Bittermor and Ragnir are closer to the glacier. This means that the temperatures there are even lower, however, a lot of natural caves can be found here to find shelter. Many barbarians simply live in one of the many southern caverns, lined and sealed with different furs to create a warm and comfortable home. Another advantage is the nearby river system which ensures freshwater supply. Also many animals live near the glacier and provide meat for the barbarians.

4.3. Jotunar
a) Short summary in keywords:
- hunting ground
- Accessible by ship from Svargrond
- Mountain made of rock and ice with natural cave system in the mountain as well as underground

4.4. Inukaya
a) Short summary in keywords:
- hunting ground
- Accessible by dog sled from Hrodmir
- Small ice houses and caves, mainly natural system

5. Storyline (an excerpt)

5.1. Current scenery and factions
The inhabitants of Svargrond are aware of the existence of some strangers since they obviously occupy the mines, but they have no idea of their true ambitions. Since they sealed the deeper mines and do not allow strangers to enter, the area is of no further use to Carlin right now and the city has lost interest in the Ice Islands. There is only one small delegation of the Carlin trade syndicate left who hopes to regain control over the mines. However, the rivals from Venore have also started to show interest in the Ice Islands and established a camp in a small bay on Tyrsung. In the meantime, the nomadic barbarians are frequently trying to take over Svargrond again.
Interested in the whole background story? Read the new books and talk to new NPCs that the summer update will bring!

5.2. Raids
This paragraph contains detailed descriptions of raids and their rewards - but sorry we won't spoil them now.

5.3. Quests
This paragraph contains detailed descriptions of quests and their rewards, mentioning which places to visit and which NPCs to talk to. I guess you all can imagine what happened to this chapter - you are right, it was CENSORED!

6. Glossary

The whole document ends with a glossary in which all new hunting grounds, objects, creatures, NPCs, buildings, features, settlements and dungeons are listed with their new name and a short description. However, it contains many facts that you surely want to discover yourself, so we are not going to share this with you here.

Look forward to explore the new area!
Your CipSoft Team

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