I'm about to run a D&D 5E campaign that centers around the village of Deadsnows in the Silver Marches. I'm using the Blood and Gold campaign as a template and branching out in several directions / storylines. After reading several FR products about the region (Silver Marches (3E), Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3E), Volo's Guide to the North (2E), and the Storm King's Thunder (5E)), I've noticed that there's a discrepancy when it comes to the location of the Hospice of Marthammor.

In Silver Marches (which has a campaign where Deadsnows is the focus), it clearly describes and shows on a map that the hospice lies several miles outside of town (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Deadsnows). In Volo's Guide to the North, it doesn't mention the hospice, but notes: "The dwarves worship in a natural cavern beneath a tor that rises at the center of the walled community. In times of trouble, everyone in Deadsnows retreats into this cavern, and the entrances are walled off... The tor is also used as a lookout post." This tor isn't shown on the Silver Marches map; in fact, Icespear House appears to be the highest point within the walls, and it's off in a corner.

In the Storm King's Thunder, it describes the hospice as being at the center of town: "The main feature of Deadsnows is the Hospice of Marthammor, a fortified abbey in the middle of town. Surrounding it are several wood-frame buildings that make up the town, and all is contained within a crumbling wall that's in desperate need of repair."

It sounds like Silver Marches is the outlier, despite having a map clearly exposing the Hospice of Marthammor as being outside the walls Deadsnows - definitely not in the center. Was this an oversight by the creator of the Silver Marches book?

One other interesting note about the location of the hospice can be seen here: http://vince.manticore.be/Sessions/CotSQ/Deadsnows.htm . The close-up map of Deadsnows points to the hospice as being to the South-East, while the zoomed-out map revealing the surrounding region shows it as being to the North/North-East. Is this yet another mistake?


1 Answer 1


Yes, the Silver Marches appears to be the outlier.

Deadsnows received some serious modifications for the SM, perhaps because it was chosen as the site for the mini-adventure "Blood and Gold" in the last chapter of the book. Below you will find a detailed summary of various official sources, most of which are consistent with each other, while the SM stands like an outlier.

  • Savage Frontier (1988): Does not mention Deadsnows at all.

  • Volo's Guide to the North (December 1993): Describes a tor with a cavern inside, a workshop used by Lathanderites, an inn. Inhabitants are 450 dwarves dedicated to Marthammor and 30 or so human priests of Lathander.

  • The North - Guide to the Savage Frontier (April 1996, 1370DR): Essentially repeats the same data as Volo's guide, word by word:

    The dwarves worship in a natural cavern beneath a tor rising at the center of the walled community. In troubled times, everyone retreats to the cavern and the entrances are walled off. The cavern has two secret paths into the Underdark, ...

  • Demihuman Deities (December 1998): Data provided on page 76 are entirely consistent with the information in VGttN and tN-GttSF.

  • Rand's Travelogue (19 December 2001): Outpost of 500 dwarves and 30 humans. Serves as an early warning post for the communities to the south. The locations of the various places of interest are not clearly described; however the Underdark cavern and the abbey are mentioned separately:

    Together the two races maintain a watchtower, an Underdark cavern, and an abbey that provides shelter for travelers.

    While I could not identify the travelogue's in-game date, it describes its material as supplementary to the FR Campaign Setting, which is dated to 1372DR. FRCS only mentions Deadsnows in a list of SM settlements (possibly because it is too small).

  • Silver Marches (July 2002, 1372DR): Total population 830, 191 of which are dwarves and 448 are human. While it mentions a large increase in population due to recently discovered gold in nearby mountains, it fails to explain the dramatic decrease in the number of dwarves (there is a brief mention on page 106 of attacks by hill giants, but nothing that specifically targets dwarves); actually the implication is the influx of beings also included dwarves:

    The village’s population has swollen by some three hundred hopeful humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings.

    Moreover, we also get introduced to a human aristocrat, Lady Arletha of the Icespear family, as an authority figure. No such person/family is ever mentioned in any of the earlier products; the authority figure was the dwarven cleric Kerrilla Gemstar (for example she was a founding member of Alustriel's Council of 12 Peers of Luruar according to tN-GttSF & DD). Speaking of Kerilla Gemstar, SM is inconsistent about her alignment: she is LN on page 73, and NG on page 140. And we find the hospice she leads moved outside of the town. [Another self-inconsistency in the SM is about the location of the hospice, the maps shown on pages 140 and 142 disagree.]

  • Shades of Blue Fire (Living FR adventure, March 2009, set a century after the Spellplague): We learn that the village was destroyed and there is now a "plagueland surrounding the forsaken village".

  • Storm King's Thunder (September 2016, 1485DR): Essentially the same things as pre-SM sourcebooks. Abbey again the center of the town, again run by NG priest Kerilla Gemstar, again a watchtower manned by a handful of Lathander's faithful. And while the Icespear family is mentioned, it has lost any influence:

    ... held much in influence ... for many generations, until Lord Delvon Icespear was killed in the War of the Silver Marches. He left no heirs, ...

It is worthy of note that at the very beginning of the Storm King's Thunder, SF, VGttN, and SM are mentioned amongst the list of books that provided material and inspiration. So we can probably assume that the authors consciously decided to disregard the inconsistent data from the SM.

Other products that mention Deadsnows only by name: Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark (1999, 1370DR), Menzoberranzan - City of Intrigue (2012, 1480DR).


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