The Udana Frontier
The Land of Shifting Ice
Background and Climate
The rapid glacial movements of this land have earned it the nickname “the cartographer’s bane” for icy ravines and chasms appear and disappear within days. This is thought to be due to lava floes from the Ashlands that travel deep under the ice. These floes cause melting at the interface between ground and ice resulting in the steady shifting of the gargantuan icy surface sheets. It is this constant movement that causes the relatively rapid migration of the glacial sheets toward the Sea of Whirlpools. The melting never penetrates to the surface due to sub-freezing winds that blow in from across the Sea of Darkness to the northeast. As a result, no liquid water has been observed in the Land of Shifting Ice. The scraping of passing ice sheets can cause locally observed ice-quakes which range from minor tremors to severe quakes resulting in loss of balance and destruction of buildings.
Snowfall is very nearly a daily occurrence in the land of shifting ice as the northeastern wind brings with it a seemingly limitless number of moisture laden clouds from across the Sea of Darkness. Most buildings in the Land of Shifting Ice are not permanent and can be built atop trampled snow as semi-permanent buildings. These must be cleared constantly to avoid being buried by new snowfall and/or blowing snow drifts.
Travelers beware: Proper Apparel Required—your life depends on it.
Special precaution should be taken by those brave enough to attempt travel in the Land of Shifting Ice. Obviously, proper apparel for keeping warm is required. However, no common product of textile weaving nor skin of western nor southern beast is sufficient to fight the bitter cold of the northeastern wind. Only the Udanai possess the craft secrets to produce clothing appropriate for the Land of Shifting Ice. Udanai clothing is very valuable and is sometimes used in bartering along the frontier. These clothes have been studied by many a craftsman attempting to duplicate the Udanai work; however, the results have been no more than poor copies which do not last as long nor keep the wearer entirely safe from the icy hands of the northeastern wind. The northeastern wind cuts through the thickest wool coats and will extract the heat from an exposed humanoid body in a matter of minutes.
Dog sled teams comprised of 6-15 animals are most commonly used for transportation by foreigners those who travel in the Land of Shifting Ice. Only three breeds of Adazonian sled dog are sufficiently adapted to survive running across the Land of Shifting Ice. Khazak Malamuts, Solinar Count Bendicoor Huskies, and, the recently discovered Thanelord Highpeak Thunderpups. All are favored for their thick coats, strength, and endurance.
The economy of the Land of Shifting Ice largely revolves around the barter system. As the Land of Shifting Ice is a disputed territory, there is no standard currency system aside from the often changing trade exchange between western trappers, traders, and the native Udanai tribesmen. Genrally, Udanai clothing is considered the closest relative to a universal currency southwest of the Udana Frontier. It is possible to conduct trade using other materials or currencies but it is often advised of those looking to do business in the Land of Shifting Ice that “worth” is a subjective concept and will vary from trade partner to trade partner. The Dominion of Uz also conducts regular raids that cross into Udanai lands with the intent of capturing slaves. As a result, western traders lacking established ties with the Udanai tribesmen are met with reactions ranging from cautious apprehension to open and often violent hostility.
Non-Climate Related Dangers
There are numerous dangers in the Land of Shifting Ice. Most obvious and deadly is the climate. As mentioned above travel and survival in this realm is difficult to nigh impossible. This is compounded by the presence of dangerous a particularly dangerous beast: the Albatrossus. Woe to those who attract the attention of the Albatrossus as this gigantic bird has been the death of many travelers and traders as well as their entire teams of dogs and personnel. This monstrous creature is attracted to movement on the ice and spends much of its time circling above the land to scan the terrain through holes in the clouds for prey.