This is one of the articles that was submitted to the contest and won 7th place. It was written by Senior Captain Marten
Cute Chakoyas, evil cults, magical energy of ancient races, powerful artifacts and… ice cream?! What do they all have in common? Find out in…
The Chilling Mysteries of Svargrond
(by Senior Captain Marten)
I’ll never learn, will I? From unbearable heat of tropical Treasure Island straight to bone-freezing and ice covered Hrodmir. When will I choose some place with a pleasant climate to do my work for a change? Nevermind, there’s nothing my whining will do, let’s grab a warm, puffy winter jacket, thick boots made from mammoth fur, some earmuffs and a second jacket on top of it all, just to be safe. Okay, I am ready! Svargrond here I come!
My gods, I should have worn three jackets… brrr…
But wait a moment, first of all I should have explained why am I heading here. Well, my dear reader, as you may or may not know, Svargrond and its surrounding areas are quite mysterious. My aim is to present to you a short article that will summarize most of the shenanigans going on in the area with the intention of, possibly, convincing you into visiting this chilly place yourself and (possibly, maybe, perhaps) doing your own research – as we need more fanatics of Tibia’s most secretive secrets (and if not – I hope it will at least entertain you).
So… let’s get into my favorite place to do work – a local tavern, grab some locally made delicious mead (I’ve heard it’s strong, but trust me – I’m a veteran) and begin working on my article.
[few hours and several cups of mead later]
… aaaand I’m finished. Quite a nice work I’ve done. What? Did you expect me to by immensely and violently drunk from all of this mead? Haha, I told you I’m a veteran when it comes to this – a honorary barbarian you could say!
Now, why don’t you read my article?
II. Sweaty gladiators and tasty ice cream
Pardon me for generalizing people, but I would say that most people know Svargrond for only two things – the arena and city’s policy on dogs. They will storm in, prove themselves in the arena, grab the rewards and head for the first boat departing from the port, slapping some huskies on their way out. But what if I told you, that even the arena is home to some of the local mysteries. “What?!” you may say, “Arena?! This place where you and some big, muscly dudes hit each other’s faces for the entertainment of some unwashed barbarians is mysterious? Ugh, what are you talking about?”. Don’t worry, I hear you, although abstain from speaking again for the benefit of both of us. Let’s take a closer look at Svargrond Barbarian Arena together.
Finishing all of the three levels (Greenhorn, Scrapper and Warlord) we face 30 gladiators, many of which definitely are fighting against their will. Many of them make some minor references to pop culture, most interesting of which is Darakan the Executioner, who, as TibiaSecrets team wonderfully noticed in their Explorer’s Diary – Episode 4, quotes Darth Vader and Ric Flair, but these references are not the focus of this chapter, as what’s the most interesting for me is what we can learn about arena’s combatants after our challenge is complete.
Have you ever noticed the row of statues in the corridor leading to the reward rooms? Let’s take a look on all of them:
There are three similar statues near the entrance to the arenas as well:
The last statue we can find represents the last player who finished the challenge:
Shoutouts to Mabelix the Healer, whoever you are.
Each of the statues represents a person with a Warlord title. Roster of champions as diverse as the combatants we face during the challenge – we have a lizard, a pirate, a dwarf etc. And of course, the most important one – You ? (provided you have finished the arena). There are a few of the statues that are especially interesting, like the nameless huntress statue of a person, who is most likely the mother of Svoren the Mad – fifth boss of the highest level of the arena. When facing him you might assume he’s an insane person, calling out to his mother when fighting you:
“NO mommy NO. Leave me alone!”
“Are we there soon mommy?”
Maybe not so mad if we take into consideration that his mother was in fact, an area Warlord. Could she have forced her son to participate in the fights? Poor Svoren. And she did leave you after all.
Another important one is the statue of Alrik, the hero of Svargrond. It’s the only champion we can get more information on. Thorwulf shares with us that Alrik was a great arena fighter who disappeared without a trace one day. What’s interesting, his Warlord statue disappeared entirely at the same time. People believe that he was taken by Chyll (the god of northwind) to the afterlife as a reward for his impressive deeds. What’s even more interesting is that Alrik is not the only person who disappeared without trace. Same fate happened to the father of Svargrond’s leader Sven. Let’s see what he says.
Sven: It’s an old tale but it persists in the minds of the Svargrondar. It is about my father. There are rumours that he is still alive. People regularly report about seeing him on top of the cliff right next to Svargrond. I myself would be glad if finally his corpse were found. Then I would be jarl ‘Sven the Elder’ ….. sounds much better.
When talking about Sven’s parents it may be important to mention that his mother, as he describes, was a witch with an ability to foretell the future.
And I know what you are waiting for – the fourth arena. Or to be more precise, the cleverly named ??? level of the arena. Only the gods at the celestial realm of CipSoft offices know when we will be worthy enough to fight there. Though, who could we face after defeating literal demons on the third level? Hmm… what about other champions who completed the Warlord level? Counting the statues, including the You, the player™, in total we are still short of two champions to get the full roster for ten stages of the arena. Gods, are you listening? Find Alrik then hire two or three more gladiators and open up this legendary arena, I promise you we are ready to fight.
And ready to get the rewards! I mean, imagine what kind of insane treasure would await us after completing the ??? arena! Like, for example, umm… a rare flavor of… ice cream!?
It’s kinda silly how rare some of the Ice Cream Cones are. Three of the flavors (Blue-Barian, Chilly Cherry and Crispy Chocolate Chips) are available from The Ultimate Challenge Quest, but Mellow Melon, Sweet Strawberry and Velvet Vanilla are, to this day, unobtainable in any way in game. Some of them were given away as rewards in competitions many years ago. That’s a lot of effort for an item you can accidently click and lose forever. What a tasty mistake though.
III. Cute and fluffy
You know, this talk about sweet things and people disappearing without trace reminds me of something – the race of creatures known as the Chakoya.
Oh my, aren’t they cute and adorable and fluffy and stuff?
They are one of the biggest dangers Svargrond is facing. I’m serious. Ask around about Chakoyas and prepare for blood chilling (heh) stories about these sweet little bears butchering and eating an entire mammoth till there’s nothing left.
Kjesse: Only the harsh nature of the land keeps the chakoyas at bay. If they grew in numbers, they would surely annihilate all life here.
Robert: For all I heard, the palisades won’t stop them when they come at night to kidnap sleeping people and to eat them alive.
Kidnapping people in the night? What if that’s what happened to Sven’s father and Alrik? But they wouldn’t also remove Alrik’s statue, right? They are probably too dumb to even know what a statue even is haha! Well, about that… the Chakoyas might be slightly more intelligent than you may believe. They are not some kind of fluffy locust, they form a society with many different roles (with the Windcaller profession being the most respected) and their own language. They sometimes even exile from said society, like the poor and always hungry Sinatuki, who is forced to live outside of the village. We mostly encounter them on Nibelor – the area of Hrodmir with, according to local barbarian shamans, particularly strong influences of the Chyll’s northwind. And it shows, as Chakoyas are capable of quite impressive magical feats, especially the aforementioned Windcallers. Some of them even came into possession of very rare artifacts, like Ocyakao and it’s incredibly rare Eye of the Storm.
What’s interesting is that Chakoyas weren’t always as aggressive as they are today.
Siflind: I don’t think much of rumours but in fact there is a story that always comes to my mind. It is more a tale than a rumour, but anyway …… it says the chakoyas have not always been that hostile. There must have been an incident that shook their trust in manhood so strongly that it would last forever. Imagine that we could be friends if only that incident never happened ……… whatever that was.
An incident, huh?
Another thing to note is that they practice a cult of the Yeti. The mythical beast only seen by a few people.
Hjaern: The yetis are real. They are elusive but dangerous. Some say they are rather residents of the spirits’ world than ours. The spirits are silent about them which is an even greater enigma.
Apparently, Chakoyas are not even related to Yetis and the latter never appear on Nibelor. Only with the addition of Chyllfroest could we see them together. The question is, why do they worship Yetis? Is it because of their connection to the spirit world, as Hjaern mentions? Or maybe they just want to get the legendary Bunnyslippers?
Speaking of Yetis, did you know there was supposed to be a Yeti boss called Freegoiz? Unfortunately we have only seen it on a test server. Wonder what role it would play in all of this. Chyllfroest seems like a perfect place for such a creature to appear.
And that’s not even the end of cute creatures with vile intentions living near Svargrond. Let’s quickly take a closer look at some other shady group.
All over Hrodmir we can find numerous crested penguins. Nothing out of the ordinary? Let’s now take a look at their official description from Tibia.com library. Let me cite the whole thing, as this is an interesting read:
“The Penguin is an evil bird species that sacrificed its ability to fly to some dark Penguin god in exchange for unknown but doubtlessly sinister rewards. The scheming Penguins gather in large groups to plot their vile plans which likely involve the sinking of ships and the downfall of man in general. The dark nature of the Penguin probably lead to its salty, oily and almost inedible taste. Still the northmen insist that Penguins provide valuable resources which only proves their backward and barbaric character. Considering their cruel and cunning disposition, one can only guess what the Penguins are really up to. Perhaps it was them who have been responsible for the years of the serpents or maybe they are even the driving force behind the maritime quara. Though usually physically weak, the power of their dark god sometimes manifests in the form of a so-called Dire Penguin – a dreadful beast that is known to cut of a grown man’s arm with one bite of its beak. Driven by the desire to conquer and to destroy and gifted with incredible strength, it roams the ice in search of prey. This luckily rare monster is an immense threat to all unwary adventurers who approach a Penguin colony unsuspectingly.”
Whoa! Who would have expected this? You think this is a joke? Then you have never encountered the Dire Penguin – an angry beast capable of welding a Dragon Hammer, throwing stones and casting paralyze spells at you. A penguin shouldn’t be capable of these things, right? Let me mention something I stumbled upon recently – the Dohwar.
Picture of Dohwar from Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix 2
Dohwar are a race of fae creatures from the Forgotten Realms series. They resemble crested penguins but are capable of holding objects (like a big hammer hmmm?). They are known for scheming and their aggressive behavior towards other races. Sounds just like our Dire Penguins.
Additionally, a funny fact is that Dohwar get extremely intoxicated from the effects of honey. And what is the most popular beverage in Svargrond – mead, or, in other words, honey wine! Just a small coincidence.
IV. The secrets of ancient ice
While traveling on Hrodmir we will encounter many intriguing creatures. Of course on one hand we have tiny Chakoyas and penguins plotting to end the world but on the other giant golems made of ice, ice covered dragons, ice covered spiders and a lot of other ice covered entities. But how did it all happen?
Long, long time ago, on Hrodmir, there lived a powerful ancient race. They used their magic to warm up the climate of the continent. The land was hot and filled with green, unlike abything it is today. All of the northwind chill was directed by them into a huge ice crystal called the Frostheart Spire. At some point a war started. War with an army of demons trying to take over. In all this commotion the crystal shattered covering the entire land in extreme cold, freezing all the demons beneath the ground. The fierce ice age has begun. Only some of the ancient creatures survived this event (like the Frost Giants), some had to adapt to polar climate (now we encounter winter variants of creatures like wolves, rabbits, bears and trolls), but other creatures met much more interesting fate. You see, the Frostheart Spire was filled with the magic of that mysterious ancient race, and when it shattered, it covered the Hrodmir with Ice Shards, which still contain that very magic.
After some time passed, some of the monsters that survived, began to, for the lack of a better word, mutate. Dragons and Giant Spiders began to be covered with the ice shards, eventually becoming what is now known as Frost Dragon and Crystal Spider. The ice even started to live on it’s own, forming powerful Ice Golems, now controlled by Ice Witches to do their deeds. This continued spread of magical ice bears a striking resemblance to the corruption which is slowly consuming the Zao continent.
Interestingly, in the update which introduced The First Dragon Quest, we got to face a creature called an Ice Dragon, as well as their boss Gelidrazah the Frozen. Both of them resemble Frost Dragons in behavior, could this be how they looked like before they got corrupted by the ice shards? Young Frost Dragon Hatchlings aren’t covered in the ice yet so we can see that their skin is light blue like, just like the Ice Dragons.
Many years after the shattering of Frostheart Spire, an expedition from Carlin began, to the concern of native barbarians. Books from Ice Witch Tower in Krimhorn shed light on events from that time. They are journals of a wizard scientist who came here with settlers from Carlin after the mining operations under the glacier began. He encounters a beautiful local shaman who agrees to help him with his research on Ice Shards. In exchange the wizard began teaching her magical spells. Soon after this the miners make a discovery, demons, the same ones from the ancient war, frozen in ice beneath the glacier. This doesn’t stop the mining expedition and the people from Carlin are being opposed by the population of barbarians more and more. This sentiment is fueled by the shaman girl.
The scientist makes a great discovery. Among other magical properties, the Ice Shards are capable of slowing down the aging process! We are then given the description of the mysterious ancient race responsible for the magical shards and a reason why there is no trace of their cities – they all were built from the ice crystals of the Spire and got destroyed when the Spire shattered. The miners discover that the demons, despite being frozen, are still alive. Meanwhile the young shaman is demanding more and more knowledge and at the same time is rising in the ranks of barbarians.
To stop Carlin officials from interfering with his research, the wizard performs a ritual to lure Sea Serpents to the area to slow down the influx of ships from the city. The shaman girl, now head of her people, takes over mines in the glacier. The conflict began, with barbarians raiding the miners’ settlement. Meanwhile the scientist perfects the use of life prolonging effects of the shards with the help of ancient sarcophagus which can be opened only when lit by the light of the stars. With the Carlin settlers lacking reinforcements due to Sea Serpents attacks, the barbarians drive the miners off completely, stopping the expedition. They eventually got a hold of the sarcophagus. The young witch uses the artifact regularly to retain her youth and beauty.
Eventually Carlin magicians forced the barbarians and their witch leader to retreat, most likely to Krimhorn. The settlers and miners who remained in the area, together with some of the barbarians (now described as civilized barbarians) created what is now known as the city of Svargrond. At some point, while the witch was in her regenerative sleep, the sarcophagus was stolen by an unknown culprit and dragged deep under the glacier, where no star light will ever reach it (unless you have a certain artifact which can be found in the treasure room of the Pits of Inferno). I am sure that you already have guessed by now that this young shaman lady is none other than powerful ice witch Yakchal.
Recently, upon learning of the discovery of ancient demonic power underneath the glacier, some shady types started to arrive to the now deserted mines.
Siflind: I heard a secretive group of people passed Svargrond a while ago. Later others followed. We don’t know why they came here and where they went.
Hjaern: Months ago, many strange looking people passed Svargrond. The inhabitants tell stories about a cult they belong to. It is rumoured that they are trying to awake unholy spirits in the mountains. Maybe other people know more about that cult.
These are the cultist who we encounter deep in the mines and who are responsible for the summoning of the Triangle of Terror member – Ghazabran.
And so with that I tricked you into learning the full story of the city of Svargrond. You now as well know why some of the bosses spawn where they spawn – everything has its reasons. Who said history lessons have to be boring?
Did you know? Ghazbaran references Mortal Kombat by yelling “FLAWLESS VICTORY!”?
Did you know? Ghazbaran initially was supposed to be a bit lighter shade of blue?
Did you know? Yakchal’s unique drop – Queen’s Sceptre – could be looted from Infernalists for some time? Now it’s also dropped by Ferumbras and a different Ice Witch boss – Zushuka.
V. Mysteries! Mysteries everywhere!
With all we have described up to this point we’re still just scraping the top of the iceberg (or rather the top of the Formorgar Glacier). There’s still so much more to talk about.
Like the mysterious isle of Helheim. The menacing mountain in the shape of a skull protects the secrets of the city of Bonelords underneath it. A place that disrupts the spiritual realm, felt by the shamans of Nibelor. Also a place where we first met the Braindeaths.
Truly a bizarre creature.
And what about one of the most unique bosses in the game – Man in the Cave.
A boss with an interesting mechanic – when you step on the correct spot he might rope into his hideout. Though I believe the story of his origin to be even more unique. It was a tribute to a post made on Tibia forums by a player named Frack’Heart. Have a read yourself, as this is a true piece of Tibian history:
If you still don’t have enough, how about this?
There’s a conspiracy of rich and powerful merchants who use their resources to partake in demonic rituals and most people are oblivious to this.
Think I’m quoting Alex Jones? Not really – these are the conspiracy theories of Svargrond’s banker – Jessica, who hates Venore with a passion. Ask her about anything (including the recent cult activity) and she will find a way to involve venorean traders in this.
She even tries to trick us when we ask her about local rumors:
Jessica: I heard the jarl opened a head hunt on the Venoreans. As this is a secret, you have to use the keyword blubber to gain his trust in that case. He promised 1000 gold for every dead Venorean hunter.
Unfortunately, jarl Sven has no idea what we are talking about when mentioning the secret keyword to him:
Senior Captain Marten: blubber
Sven: What do you need blubber for? I don’t have any!
But who knows, maybe it’s Jessica who is right and we are all wrong.
As you can see, this cold wasteland has a lot to offer when it comes to unique and mysterious content. I still could say a lot more but I want to invite you to continue with your own research. Just remember to bring some warm clothing!
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to click on every item and every tile of Tibian world to see if the new sound update hides some secret we were unable to hear before.
…and man, it feels even colder in here with these new chilly ambient noises…
-Senior Captain Marten