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FR14 The Great Glacier (2e)

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"A village is only as livable as
its surroundings. We are
caretakers not only of our
homes, but of our world."

Strange sentiments, perhaps, from one who lives in what many perceive as a frozen wasteland, but the philosopher Inum speaks for the Ulutiun people of the Great Glacier. Their tribes share that icy landscape with arctic dwarves who enjoy sunbathing, sled-animals that are hardier than dogs, and fierce monsters that live nowhere else-and thrive in the freezing air.

The Great Glacier is the first supplement for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting to detail an Inuit-based culture. In this booklet is fact-based information on building a snow-house, surviving in sub-zero temperatures for extended periods of time, and more ideas for fantasy campaigning in an arctic setting. For those who are tired of the normal, temperate, "you-meet-in-the-tavern-and-proceed-to-go-adventuring" games, here's something completely different.

Make sure your characters dress warmly-it gets nippy at night on the Great Glacier.

This accessory is suitable for use by all levels of play.

Product History

FR14: "The Great Glacier" (1992), by Rick Swan, is the fourteenth book in the "FR" series of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms. It was released in August 1992.

Origins. Ed Greenwood's original Forgotten Realms didn't have any real-world analogs, but TSR opted to included everything in their Realms — allowing for pirate adventures, Arabic adventures, Oriental adventures, and more. Thus Rick Swan decided to people the Great Glacier of the Forgotten Realms with an Inuit-based culture — the only one of its sort in fantasy gaming.

Continuing the "FR" Sourcebooks. The majority of the "FR" Forgotten Realms sourcebooks were geographic splatbooks, and "The Great Glacier" continued with that trend.

Into the Arctic. As noted, "The Great Glacier" details the first-ever Inuit fantasy culture. It also provides some rules for cold-weather survival. Despite these freezing innovations, several other Realms products had already featured cold lands, including "FR1: Waterdeep and the North" (1987), FR5: "The Savage Frontier" (1988), and FR9: "The Bloodstone Lands" (1989).

Other D&D settings had also paid attention to cold-weather environments. The first such supplement was Dragonlance's DL6: "Dragons of Ice" (1985), while GAZ7: "The Northern Reaches" (1988) and HR1: Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (1992) did so for other worlds.

Expanding the Realms. The Great Glacier was one of the areas from Greenwood's original Realms that was changed the most as it became part of TSR's Realms, which was created by divers hands. To start with, the Glacier got rolled back to provide space for Vaasa and Damara when the Bloodstone Lands were incorporated into the Realms. Then, Greenwood's original ideas of a fantasy, cold realm — full of ruined cities swallowed by glaciers, cold-weather monsters, and societies of giants — was never seen. Instead, Rick Swan defined TSR's official Glacier as the more realistic home of the Ulutiuns.

Monsters of Note. "The Great Glacier" introduced the Realms sixth type of dwarves, the arctic dwarf.

Future History. Some information on giants in the area appeared a few years later in FOR7: Giantcraft (1995). The Soldiers of Ice (1993) and The Ruin (2006) novels also feature the area.

Much more recently, Frostburn (20004) was a more generic sourcebook that detailed arctic adventuring for D&D.

About the Creators. Swan was extensively writing for TSR in the late '80s and early '90s. He'd previously written FA2: "Nightmare Keep" (1991) and would later contribute to Elminster's Ecologies (1994), both for the Realms.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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April 17th, 2016
With a scanned product, there can be technical issues over its legibility. However, with this product, the problem seems primarily to have been with the original printed version, not how it was scanned. Dark grey print on a mottled grey background was [...]
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