The northern city of Blackpine is accustomed to trying winters. Local lore among the farmers holds that the colder the weather at year's end, the more bountiful will be the year that follows. And so when the snows started three weeks earlier than expected this past autumn, the people of Blackpine simply dug in their heels and prepared to wait out the long, dark season. But when that season extended through spring and even into the summer months, it became clear that something was very, very wrong.
As winter dragged on, the situation became increasingly dire. Food supplies ran short and many farmers were forced to butcher and eat their cattle, sheep, and even dogs. Some dogs would butcher and eat their farmers. Blackpine itself grew crowded with refugees. A strict food ration was put in place by the lord of the city. The snow itself became a near insurmountable problem as it piled higher and higher, threatening to bury everyone alive. The city began to die.
And the dead began to rise.
Some said the low temperatures preserved the bodies of the recently deceased, allowing them to continue to move. Others said they could simply no longer tell the difference between the cold of winter and the cold of the grave. But the city's priests and mystics all came to the same conclusion; all of this was due to an irregularity with the Winterstone.
The Winterstone is a great gem enshrined in a temple south of Blackpine. It is said to be a remnant from a time long past, when the gods walked the earth in mortal shape. It possesses great elemental power and is almost fatally cold to the touch. The learned of Blackpine know it is the source of the region's harsh winters. Something has clearly happened to throw its power out of balance; someone must brave the frozen fields and silent forests in search of the Temple of Frost. Someone must seek the Winterstone and learn what has become of it.
It is in this dark hour that a certain nameless adventurer arrives at Blackpine's icy gates...