What is “Born from Ice”?

Loren SmallDeep Dive, Game DevelopmentLeave a Comment

When I think about tabletop role-playing games, the scenes that come to mind are those of wizards and warriors, of enchanted forests and fiery dragons, or of the deep distant future, cybernetic implants, or exploring alien worlds. Taking a step away from the common fantasy or sci-fi tropes that permeate the TTRPG space, I began to envision a new unique and compelling setting, which has become Born from Ice.

Born from Ice is a RPG set in our real world. It is a harsh prehistoric world full of danger—powerful creatures that roam the face of the planet, the treachery of other human tribes, the catastrophic forces of nature herself as a world warms from an icy slumber—that constantly threaten the survival of the clan.

A World Untouched by Magic

Forget about wizards summoning mighty fireballs or clerics calling upon divine powers. In Born from Ice, magic is believed in within the setting, but doesn’t exist as a game mechanic. Instead, players find themselves in an environment defined not by spells and enchantments but by sheer human tenacity and survival instincts. This is a world where humans haven’t begun their rise as a dominant species through magic or technology, but through the raw determination to endure in a land that is unforgiving at best.

Born from Ice is a celebration of the primal, the raw, and the elemental. It’s a reminder of a time when the world was young, wild, and unbridled. It’s an invitation to step back from the arcane and embrace the pure, unfiltered thrill of survival.

Survival: The True Adventure

In the last Great Ice Age, every day is a dance with danger. Each tribe or clan forms an oasis of warmth and camaraderie against the vast, cold world. Here, the stakes are real. A misstep during a hunt or a failed negotiation with a neighboring tribe could spell doom. The dangers aren’t mythical beasts but real-world challenges – starvation, exposure, and rival tribes.

Players can’t rely on a convenient spell to light a fire or summon food. Every decision, every resource, and every alliance takes on heightened importance. A simple task like crossing a frozen lake becomes an adrenaline-fueled adventure, filled with the potential risks of cracking ice or unseen predators lurking below.

Crafting the Perfect Hero

In such a setting, what does it mean to be a hero? Here, heroism isn’t about slaying dragons or acquiring legendary artifacts. It’s about leading a hunting party to a successful kill, ensuring the tribe has enough to eat. It’s about mastering the art of crafting tools from bones and stones. It’s about reading the stars and snow, predicting the weather, or navigating treacherous landscapes. In Born from Ice, you don’t merely play a character; you step into the shoes of a survivor, an innovator, a leader.

The Dance of Tribes: Politics at its Rawest

While nature is an ever-present adversary, the interactions between tribes and clans provide a wealth of story potential. These aren’t grand kingdoms or empires but small, tight-knit communities. Every individual matters. Alliances are as fragile as the ice bridges spanning the frozen rivers. Love, betrayal, trade, and feuds—every interaction holds weight and can tip the balance of power.

Stories that Resonate

While the setting of Born from Ice might be far removed from our modern comforts and magical fantasies, its stories strike a chord that is deeply human. They talk of perseverance, of community, of the simple joys of a shared meal, or the melancholy of a setting sun on a cold horizon. This is storytelling at its rawest and most primal.

Conclusion: The Allure of the Ice

In a RPG landscape dominated by magical realms and futuristic dystopias, I want Born from Ice to stand as a testament to the power of human spirit and storytelling. It challenges players to think differently, to approach problems not with a spellbook but with wit, strategy, and collaboration. It strips away the layers of magic and technology, leaving behind the raw essence of humanity’s will to survive and thrive.

In our world, where the only true magic is the human spirit, I can’t help but be reminded of the timeless allure of storytelling. Just like thousands of years ago when our prehistoric ancestors gathered around the fire and told tales, we have the same impulse and desire to embrace the mysteries of the world. Whether the classic high fantasy of Dungeons & Dragons or the primal landscapes of Born from Ice, the magic truly lies in the tales we weave, the characters we craft, and the shared adventures we embark on with the people we love. So, as the icy winds beckon and the tribes gather, I invite you to dive deep into this unique RPG setting, and let the stories of survival, camaraderie, and raw human spirit warm your soul.