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Super Dungeon Explore, the chibi board game, returns with LEGENDS — featuring a new starter box, campaign play, and RPG action!
Super Dungeon Explore, the chibi board game, returns with LEGENDS — featuring a new starter box, campaign play, and RPG action!
6,611 backers pledged $1,290,522 to help bring this project to life.

Unexplored Realms: Frostbyte Reach

Posted by Soda Pop Miniatures (Creator)
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Click to Enlarge

There is a story popular among the freyjan. It holds that, when the Goddess was shaping Crystalia, she passed her hand through groves of great trees and brushed up a cloud of fluffy seeds. Delighted, she blew on them, and laughed as they scattered in every direction to spread life to the world. But the force of her breath carried on, and the chill of it grew as it flew from her, so that by the time it caught in the tangle of rock that became the Frostbyte Reach, it was so cold that it froze everything it touched. Ice and snow encased the mountains and have never released their grip.

No one knows when the dwarves first came to the Frostbyte Reach, or indeed if they actually originated here, as their official histories claim. Those records say that the first dwarves were shaped by rapid streams when they fell through fissures into underground chambers and channels. Their shapes were waiting, trapped in the rock. As the water washed the softer stone, the Goddess saw the emerging forms, smiled, and stepped in to give them greater definition. Her fingers traced over the outlines, filled in the shape of their beards and strong limbs, and touched each of them on the forehead. With that touch, the first generation of dwarves awakened in the darkness. These are the official stories, of course, and widely accepted as national myth if not necessarily historical fact. For all anyone knows, they could well be true.

Fragmentary evidence suggests that the first completely underground cities developed close to the surface and along the courses of existing subterranean rivers before the techniques developed to build artificial waterways. Foruk’s Falls, near the Wandering Monk Mountains is traditionally held to be the first such city. Many outside scholars question this, citing its deep location, clearly dwarf-made water system, great sophistication. None of them realize that the current Foruk’s Falls is the third city of that name. The ancient ruins of the original city can be found over a mile from the current walls; the scars and scorch marks left from sack of the city remain obvious. The continual construction of increasingly impressive defenses for all dwarven settlements dates from this time.

Without question, dwarves dominate the Reach; indeed, to all appearances, this seems to be their original homeland. Since the Dragon Call, the Frostbyte Reach has also been the foremost stronghold of the dwarven people in Crystalia. Hearthsworn dwarves rule a series of fortified kingdoms that extend from the inhospitable surface to the wondrous caverns deep beneath. Most first-time visitors to the reach are shocked to see the shear number of dwarves living in even one of these fortified strongholds. To many, it seems as if all the mountains must be hollow.

While the Hearthsworn dwarves predominate, the far edges of the Reach are home to the other major branch of the dwarf family, Brinebreakers. On the eastern and southern coasts, where tides and storms eat away at the blank faces of the Frostbyte’s cliffs, the Brinebreakers build their deep harbors and stone shelters. For the most part, they live in smaller villages and towns devoted to fishing, shipbuilding, coastal trade, and aquaculture. They have a few cities, however, and these are the sources of their exotic crafts and creations. No one builds ships or approaches sailing and the sea quite the way Brinebreakers do. Catamarans and trimarans, often with mismatched hulls, dominate the design for their faster or larger ships, which are incredibly stable in the often rough and stormy seas. But, custom craft grown and sculpted from coral or crafted from giant shells have sailed from their docks.

Much as some Hearthsworn cities have above and below ground components, well over half of the Brinebreakers’ largest city, Bright Coral Bay, is underwater. Painstakingly excavated from coral and a ridge of submerged granite hills, the city’s most famous feature are the huge expanses of magical crystal that serve as windows. Some measuring almost forty feet thick, these marvels are enchanted to remain watertight and perfectly clear. Magical lights outside illuminate the surrounding sea during the day and phosphorescent plants take over at night, lending the galleries and halls below them a pleasing feel of daily cycles. The armored docks of Bright Coral Bay can close completely, allowing work in and out of the water, even completely flooding for special projects, and provide perfect protection against the worst storms. 

Central to any description of the Reach, Dwarfholm Bastion is the great ancestral home of Crystalia’s dwarves. Grand, glorious, a majestic and monolithic marvel; writers and singers have applied every superlative to Dwarfholm at one time or another, some of them all at once. All of them are true. The scale that some of the Bastion’s halls and galleries are built on would humble the jotnar. Many have wondered this, given the dwarven stature and their habitual conservation of space. The fact that these spaces never fail to inspire awe—even regularly in those who have seen them almost daily for decades—answers the question quite firmly. Dwarves are not ostentatious by nature, but they are rightly proud of their achievements, and their magnificent architecture continually proclaim their prowess to all who come to their ancient strongholds.

The Bastion is not one settlement. Rather, a half-dozen of the oldest holds and halls gradually expanded and merged, much as often happens on the surface. In this case, however, the dwarves recognized the process very early and laid careful plans for the best method of unifying their communities, as well as providing for mutual assistance, defense, and trade. This successful cooperation ultimately resulted in the original version of the Sanctuary of Stone, the magnificent hall that forms the core of the inter-clan government. Carefully sited to allow for gradual expansion and embellishment, the Sanctuary is a grand meeting hall, ever-evolving monument, and seat of deliberation; it’s also a point of pride for dwarves across Crystalia. Even those who have never visited know that, should they ever go, they have the same right to stand before the assembly and speak as any practiced politician or feted ambassador.

The term “Bastion” refers broadly to the working communities, the winding and gorgeously decorated tunnels connecting them, and the extensive defenses that surround this spiritual heart of all dwarves. “Dwarfholm” specifically means the series of halls, galleries, and caverns that form the core of the Bastion. Strangely, precise definitions of the ‘Holm seem to vary. Most include the Sanctuary of Stone, the Gallery of Memory (four stories of multi-level, overlapping mosaics and friezes depicting the sweep of dwarven history), Ordendoral’s Anvil (an enchanted communal smithy), the Measureless Cavern (a twisting, spiraling cave of unworked stone filled with crystals), and the Fields of Fnafir (the armory, training ground, and marshaling yard of the Bastion’s army). Some add variously the Greywall, the Falls of Kallodor, the Empty Hall, and even the Way of Mourning. Regardless of any official classifications, all dwarves hold these locations sacred and many work for decades to be able to visit them at least once in their lives.

Oh dear, I think I'm melting.
Oh dear, I think I'm melting.
CaGeRit, Andrew Milley, and 25 more people like this update.


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    1. Jeremy Law on

      Can you guys stop posting lore and calling it an update? We want to see the progress on the physical pieces of the game and rules.

    2. Eric Robichaud on

      I'm sure there's plenty of other art done for Frostbyte Reach. It would have been cool to show off some more (though perhaps they can't, because the other retail stuff isn't technically part of the Kickstarter?)

    3. Dante Pendragon on

      Let me just throw this out there.

      What if...there was an Fennek corporation(lets call it Super Magic Products or SMP) that came up with a product that all of the kingdom was clamoring for. The kingdom gave SMP over a million gold pieces. Now, years have past and SMP has stopped communicating with the kingdom, they've 'gone to burrow', and there is no indication of the project nearing completion. See, SMP went to a Gnomish corporation to have them build the product...but then something happened. SMP was embarrassed and scared, they worked so hard but they were in such a bad place.

      Now, I'm not saying that you need to tell us what the state of the product is...but maybe...have someone finish this little story I've started. A complete work of fantasy fiction.

    4. Matt Drake

      I hope that little ice cube guy is a teaser for some good creeps! That would be fun.

      I like the dwarf background, but the orcs are also from Frostbyte, aren't they? Can you tell us who besides the dwarfs lives in Frostbyte? Especially monsters. The more you can feed us about monsters, the better. I know there are frost kobolds, but that's just because we have alternate paintjob cards for them.

      There's an ice dragon, right?

    5. Janos on

      The usual letdown.

    6. Missing avatar

      Mark Screen on

      Where is the game? Why is it not delivered yet? Why are you wasting finances on expanding the game when it hasn't even been delivered yet? Why Can't you address your customer concerns?

      Get this done...or get new Managers/Directors/employees that can actually execute on your promise of delivering a product...

    7. Hubert on

      thanks for the update

    8. Missing avatar

      Zach on

      I can't believe this. Months no meaningful update. Not even a vague hey, new production partner this takes time. If we don't get an update soon we won't get this in 2018. Any reason why we shouldn't start looking at legal resolutions to this issue soon? Because as someone who bought every single thing you put out for SDE, backed other projecta, I'm having a real hard time not just going forward with litigation to stop you from screwing anyone else over with another bad kickstarter.

    9. Missing avatar

      Eric Wikstrom on

      Can we have a Meta fluff update on the status of the project. Like unexplored realms: SPM headquarters.

    10. Jason Clark on

      And the balls go jingle jingle as they bounce together.

    11. Missing avatar

      Joseph Maiorino on

      I officially hate you guys now. A+++++ on trolling your backers. I don’t think I will ever back any of your stuff again.

    12. Missing avatar

      Joseph Maiorino on

      Thanks for another useless update where’s my game.

    13. Jared Bond

      How about the next updates include:
      1) Visual table showing the current status update of all the various stages of production for the various products that are being produced
      2) Paragraph (or more! or pictures!) of what *new* has occurred since the last update, showing what progress is being made, or explaining why progress hasn't been made since the last update
      3) A paragraph of creative world-building fluff
      Because, really, I think most people that actually read updates are looking update.

    14. JazzFlight

      Also really disappointed with this update, as usual. It's disgusting how you treat your customer base.

    15. Coach K on

      Here's the cliff notes version. yada yada yada.

    16. Dante Pendragon on

      I'm certainly not as frustrated as many on here are, at this point I'm resolved to just hopefully one day getting the game. I think you'll be able to do it.....

      But Please! Please, Please, Please, PLEASE!! Stop with the updates that are just content. I know some people like them. I did for a while until it became too frequent. I'm not saying stop them all together, but at least consider including a paragraph every month or so with some information about the completion of this project. If all you can say is 'We have a new manufacturing partner, they have the files. We are hopeful that in the next few months we will have a significant update for you." It at least acknowledges that you are still working towards it.

      As it is now, I think most backers(who are actively posting at least) believe you have run out of money and can't afford to produce the game. That might be true, it might be more complicated. I just want to know. Please consider that we have not heard anything in 3 months and many of us just want to play your game.

    17. Missing avatar

      Robert kelly on

      I would love to fine them at their next convention and find out what kind of dental insurance they have. He he he...

    18. Frank Wenzel

      All, please focus on the positive! This doom and gloom helps nobody.
      This a clear improvement, for example they spent more than 30 seconds on the art this time - and additionally they…
      Just Joking.

      Can you please finally go out of business? Bad for the honest people working there, but a company that outright lies to its customers and is not even competent at that does not deserve to exist.

    19. Csanád Szőke on

      I changed my mind after rail raiders arrived, but with the way you're sh*tting on us backers, I'm beginning to consider suing you after all. It would be a pain in the ass, but at this point, there such a thing as doing it out of spite just to prove a point. Seriously, this is your answer for our trust and loyalty to your company? Nevermind the delay, that is understandable, sh*t happens, but these updates, your communication with us is simply insulting to the people who are / were your core fans, the one who believed in you guys enough to fund your kickstarter. Will you realise already that you're only losing more face, more trust, and you don't have a lot of that to be honest at this point. Do you even understand that a company is nothing without it's customers, and transparency is the least we could expect from you for sticking with you? Soda Pop, it is FINE if you f*cked up, miscalculated, if you don't have the funds because too many people asked for a refund and now you somehow have to scrape things together to fnish this. Whatever the heck went wrong with this kickstarter, it's FINE if you have a plan for fixing it. It would be fine with transparency, with communcation. But the way you're handling it... that's not fine, that's simply f*cked up

    20. Jared Bond

      A bit of a worthless update. Any actual news? How is production going? Specifically, any news about the miniatures?? Oh look, a new update posted. I’ll go there now!!

    21. Michael Boyle on

      With great delay come great irritability....
      -Uncle Ben

    22. Missing avatar


      too pointless; didn't read

    23. Missing avatar

      Jared on

      This is just sad at this point. Any information would be welcome no matter how small you may think it is. It's just insulting and a major slap in the face to your backers to continue to release these fluff updates.

    24. Kai Barnard

      Wow you guys have balls I'll give you that

    25. Jason Clark on

      And what does this have to do with product development, manufacturing, and delivery status? How does this lore tie into gameplay?
      Please provide us with something more meaningful in the future. Have to admit we've been patiently waiting here.

    26. Missing avatar

      David Fajardo on

      Well, at least there is something related with the game. This is not like the HeroQuest 25 where there was total silence for years and no updates. The game will come out eventually with great delay.
      Also upset for this delay

    27. Missing avatar

      Will on

      Hey guys, read the room...

    28. Predator_Flagship on

      You got to respect their commitment to the trolling. They’ve kept this up for ages.

    29. Stuart Culshaw on

      Is there any chance of getting a clearer update of where you are with manufacturing?

      I have sat quietly just watching updates go by, however the fact that we haven't had any clear manufacturing update in such a long time is disheartening, especially to those of us who have been loyal and bot requested a refund.

      Please just let us know where you are, even if that is just stuck going back and forth with the manufacturer.

    30. Oehlio on

      my patience is also melting...

    31. Kim Pierson on

      I so hate this company.

    32. Moises Pera Tadey on

      another pointless update

    33. Missing avatar

      Matt Johnson on

      At least the art is still good