In this series I will be looking at each of the individual nations of Faerûn in turn, in alphabetical order. This series is based around the status of each nation as of 1371-72 Dalereckoning (at the end of D&D 2nd Edition and the start of 3rd Edition). The maps are drawn from The Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas CD-ROM and their respective 1st and 2nd Edition sources. They are not necessarily current for the 5th Edition of the setting (which is set c. 1496 DR), as borders have changed and some towns and cities have fallen, whilst newer ones have risen.

A map showing the lands of Sossal. Please click for a larger version.
  • Ruler: The Circle of the Frozen Sun (druidic order)
  • Capital: Sundice
  • Settlements: Dharvil, Naupau, Shannath, Uldfest
  • Population: unknown, but believed to be 99% human with some isolated dwarven settlements
  • Area: 363,151 miles² (940,556.772 km²)
  • Military: Local militias and a strong warrior culture
  • Languages: Common (with a Damaran influence), Uluik (along the Great Glacier), Sossrim, Skaevrym (Sossrim dialect)
  • Religion: Auril (benign aspect)
  • Exports: Dwarven weapons, silver, various kinds of meat
  • Imports: Fine wooden furniture, furs, gold, seal meat
  • Sources: Dwarves Deep (Ed Greenwood, 1990),The Great Glacier (Rick Swan, 1992), Warriors and Priests of the Realms (John Terra, 1996), Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, 3rd Edition (Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo, 2001), The Grand History of the Realms (Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood, 2007)

Overview

Sossal may be the most isolated nation in Faerûn, certainly relative to its impressive size. Sossal is located north and east of the Great Glacier, consisting of both highly mountainous regions bordering the glacier and immense plains in the north-east. The nation’s borders extend east to the Great Ice Sea, Yal Tengri. The northern borders have not been determined, but may run all the way to the Endless Ice Sea.

Simply getting to Sossal is a major task in itself. The most direct route is passing over the Great Glacier, but this is an extremely hazardous journey without a native guide. An alternative overland route is striking out across the wilds of far north-eastern Narfell (the domain of the hostile Far Quey tribe) or the North Country of Rashemen, skirting the far eastern feet of the Icerim Mountains and the north-western tip of Taan, and thus coming up into Sossal via the broken and jumbled countryside where the Icerims almost fall into the Great Ice Sea. An alternative is to take a ship across the Great Ice Sea itself, but ports on the sea are very few and far between.

Sossal itself is a frigid, cold land, although this can be overstated: most of Sossal lies at the same latitude as Luruar and Luskan, and only the frigid, lightly-settled northern plains are at the same latitude as Icewind Dale and Hartsvale. Still, compared to most of Faerûn, Sossal is a cold and seemingly desolate land, with the Great Glacier of Pelvuria both helping cool the nation further and providing a huge obstacle to overland travel to the rest of the continent. Sossal’s towns and cities are mostly located in the shadow of large mountain ranges, which help keep the worst of the freezing northern winds away.

The Sossrim are a secretive people. They conduct all trade and relations with outsiders via the port of Naupau and the inland towns of Uldfest and Shannath, where they engage in trade with the natives of the Great Glacier. The Sossrim dress all in white and, amongst themselves, speak a language which seems divorced from the other human tongues of Faerûn. Outsiders are not permitted to visit the capital at Sundice without the express permission of Sossal’s rulers. The Sossrim seem to be divided between hardy warriors, spiritual druids, merchants and artisans, including those who seemingly can carve intricate works of art with just the power of their mind, suggesting psionic powers may be more common in Sossal than other parts of the Realms.

Sossal does have its own trade ships and has established small trading, logging and trapping camps around the coasts of Yal Tengri. They also apparently know of secret ways through the ice pack of the Endless Ice Sea during summer, with Sossrim ships occasionally seen in the Trackless Sea and, on very rare occasions, visiting cities as far away as Calimport, almost exactly 3,000 miles away.

History

The region today called Sossal was, in ancient times, believed to be part of the great giant realm of Ostoria. After the epic wars between the dragons and the giants over 30,000 years ago, the borders of Ostoria retreated westwards, leaving the region unclaimed for many thousands of years.

The initial settlement of the region took place in 2642 BDR (Before Dalereckoning) and was spearheaded by the dwarves of Clan Dareth, under King Orloebar Snowbeard. The dwarves settled many of the mountain ranges in the region, including the Icerim range, forming the Kingdom of Dareth (later, the Ice Kingdom). However, the creation of the Great Glacier circa 2550 BDR discouraged travel to this area and left the dwarves in an increasingly hostile landscape.

Circa 2320 BDR, a clan of Rashemi origin migrated far to the north, led by the great chieftain Soss. Skirting the Great Ice Sea and the Great Glacier, they found the land unexpectedly opening into a somewhat pleasant region, centred on the valleys of the Armridge and Ushar mountain ranges. They settled in this area, with their descendants becoming known as the Sossrim. The Sossrim became isolated from the concerns of the rest of Faerûn, but did establish friendly dies with the dwarves of Dareth, located under the Icerim Mountains to the south.

Some Sossrim did leave their realm from time to time to explore other lands, and during the Mulhorand-Unther War small numbers of Sossrim mercenaries fought for both sides. During the Orcgate Wars, the Sossrim sent some troops to fight across the orcs alongside the Raumvirans, Rashemi, Nars and Mulhorandi.

In 343 BDR, Dareth was attacked by white dragons from Hoarfaern, a region believed to be located in the south-west of the Great Glacier (possibly the part of the glacier that once covered Vaasa). Dareth was hard-pressed, abandoning its annual trade meets with the Sossrim to focus on the threat. In 329 BDR Dareth was unexpectedly reinforced by Clan Shattered Shield, a dwarven clan from Citadel Sundbarr in Delzoun. The Shattered Shields had abandoned Sundbarr after an altercation with neighbouring Citadel Felbarr, which had spread the slaying slumber disease through their city. The Shattered Shields had fled east in an arduous exodus over the massive ice glaciers spreading over the north of recently-fallen Netheril (now called the High Ice) and then over the Great Glacier itself to Dareth. They found Dareth hard-pressed by the dragons, almost besieged in their mountainous strongholds below the Peaks of Cold Death, in the northern Icerims. The two dwarf factions allied, broke out of their tunnels and established a new fortress on an isolated peak in the northwest of the range, which they dubbed Mount Sundabar in honour of their lost home in Delzoun. Embryn Shattered Shield was elected king of both realms, taking the name Dareth in honour of his new home.

However, the victory was short-lived. Within a few years, the white dragons had regrouped and attacked Mount Sundabar, destroying the dwarf-hold. The dwarves managed to escape and, by now expert dragon-slayers, broke into small groups tasked with ending the threat of the creatures for good. For several years the two forces battled through the mountains, the dwarves taking heavy losses but the white dragons becoming so paranoid they could barely sleep without fear of being awoken of the sound of falling axes. The dwarves and dragons met in a final battle on Heroes’ Height, with both forces being destroyed almost to an individual. Although there were few, if any, dwarven survivors, the white dragon menace in the region was comprehensively obliterated, freeing the area for renewed settlement.

Around 300 BDR, Sossal was invaded by a frost giant army led by the chieftain Orbrud of the Pines. Sossal was sorely-pressed and called for aid. Surprisingly, Arkhan Tallos of Raumathar sent a detachment of wind genasi warriors to aid the Sossrim. With their aid, the Sossrim turned the tide and won the battle. In return, the Sossrim pledged their support and alliance to Raumathar. However, Raumathar did not appear to take up the offer and the Sossrim apparently played no part during the destruction of both Raumathar and its western rival of Narfell in the Great Conflagration.

In 331 DR, the Sossrim tribes were united by Ylaethar the Bear, who declared himself King of Sossal. Under his leadership, the Sossrim settled down into more permanent settlements.

Thanks to Sossal’s remoteness, events in the rest of Faerûn had little impact on the kingdom, which was mostly concerned with internal politics. With the thawing of parts of the Great Glacier, bringing the southern kingdoms of Damara, Narfell and Rashemen closer to Sossal’s borders, the nation did start taking a moderately greater interest in outside affairs, if only to protect their own borders.

In 991 DR, Sossal was invaded by demons that had been imprisoned under the Great Glacier during the height of Narfell, and freed by a freak earthquake. The Sossrim united under King Londraeth and defeated the demons in battle.

In 1319, King Thelessar was murdered by his twin sons Norlith and Baldraeth, who desired the throne for themselves. Both were banished from Sossal for their crimes by the nation’s spiritual leader, Great Druid Ulthorkh. With no other legal heirs to be found, Ulthorkh and his druidic order, the Circle of the Frozen Sun, assumed governance of the nation.

Sossal played no role of note in the Time of Troubles or Tuigan War, and remains something of an enigma to the rest of Faerûn.

Government

Sossal is ruled by the Circle of the Frozen Sun, a powerful druidic order. The Circle took control of the nation after the last king, Thelessar, was murdered by his sons Norlith and Baldraeth. The sons were banished from Sossal and their subsequent fate is unknown. The nation is ruled from Sundice, a city built on the lower slopes of Mount Sundabar, which the dwarves of Dareth once fortified as their capital before they were destroyed in a war with dragons.

Sossal appears to be loosely governed. With no nations pressing on its borders and limited threats from the surrounding lands, the nation is largely free to go about its business without worrying too much about outside threats.

Sossal has no military alliances and only very loose trade ties across the Great Ice Sea. Sossrim traders occasionally appear in other lands, whilst outsider traders are only permitted access to limited locations in Sossal, most notably the port and markets at Naupau. Sossrim hunters and fortune-seekers can occasionally be found wandering the Great Glacier, which they are almost as well-equipped to do as the native Ulutiuns.

Religion

The Sossrim almost exclusively worship Auril, the Frostmaiden, which is not surprising for such a northern land. However, the aspect of Auril that is worshipped in Sossal is benign and even friendly, unlike her harsh and cruel countenance which is prevalent elsewhere in the Realms. The reason for this discrepancy is unclear.

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