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Isenbrad was recognised as a paragon of Wisdom.


Isenbrad of the Steinr was a smith known for excellent judgement and good counsel. While there are plenty of stories about his deeds, especially in the northern Empire, very few actual facts have ever been confirmed. The most common story involves a miracle attributed to him. At some point the smith quested with a companion named Godric, opposing a terrible troll kingdom. Upon loss of their weapons, he turned his legendary skills to shaping weapons of unmenlting ice from the walls of a cave beneath Runegrott. After he and his companions had been victorious, he carved the secrets of his art upon the walls of the ice cave using the runes.

One thing that is known for certain is that, after his death, he was laid to rest in the swamps of Kallavesa; he is perhaps one of the most famous Steinr heroes to rest beneath the Sovevann.


The assembly of Wisdom cited the following signs as demonstration of Isenbrad's paragonhood.

  • His Legacy is the magic of the runes used throughout the Empire.
  • He Inspires adventurers, artisans, and magicians to this day. When in a tight spot, many followers of the Way ask themselves "what would Isenbrad have done?"
  • His tireless fight against the enemies of the people of Wintermark, his wise counsel, and his relentless commitment to the unity of the three people, are a demonstration of his Benevolence.
  • His practicality, and his refusal to bow to tradition when innovation was required, led to new ways of thinking among his people, setting them on a path to enlightenment. This is a clear sign of Salvation.
  • The miraculous circumstances surrounding his death are a sign of Liberation.
  • Among several other feats of magical prowess, Isenbrad is known for the Miracle of forging weapons from ice. This story demonstrates the power of using the tools at hand in a practical and unexpected way.

Isenbrad in Play

Runegrott and Runesmith's Law

Following the Winter Solstice 384YE, the WIntermark National Assembly sent the runesmith Isolde Hannasdottir to consecrate an memorial for Isenbrad at Runegrott in hahnmark. This helped establish the Runesmith's Law - the unique set of magic items that can be crafted only by Winterfolk artisans.

Found in southern Northspires, Runegrott is a vast labyrinthine chamber in the ice, in which many runes are carved. They are thought to be very old, and some scholars argue that the origin of runes in Wintermark lies here, rather than in the caves beneath Gildenheim. It is a matter of debate as to whether the runes bear any message -- some claim the original laws of Wintermark, and thus the Empire -- were taken from the inscriptions in this chamber. More recently they have been connected with the paragon Isenbrad, especially by the runesmiths who dwell on the mountain above the caves. The chamber is carefully guarded, and now serves as a repository of schema which only Winterfolk artisans may study, the knowledge contained within being protected by a powerful geas supported both by the consecration and the connection to the Wintermark egregore.

Controversies and Later History

  • The miracle of forging weapons from ice is often contested by pragmatic secularists and virtuous histographs who argue that it is most likely a metaphor. Critics often quote the work of Hengist of Kalpaheim who argued that there are several locations in Wintermark where actual metal weapons are entombed in ice, and that this element of Isenbrad's story could well be a misinterpretation or misrepresentation of the paragon freeing such weapons from the ice where they were preserved.
  • Isenbrad is credited with being the first runesmith, and bringing knowledge of the runes to the people of Wintermark. The true provenance of the runes, however, is a subject for some debate among theologians, runesmiths, and historians. There are questions about how the Jotun and Thule came to employ them - the accepted argument is that they learned them from the Winterfolk, but both barbarian nations refute this explanation. Objects have been found from time to time that appear to date from before the time of Isenbrad yet bear obvious rune markings and are clearly the work of humans from the north-western Empire.
  • As with several older paragons, scholars associated with the virtuous histograph school of thought point to the many stories of Isenbrad's innovation and suggest that this is a clear example of the inspirational actions of several real figures being ascribed to a paragon who may or may not have been a real person.

Further Reading

  • Conduit to destiny - 383YE Spring Wind of Fortune touching on some of the stories of Isenbrad, particularly his connection to Runegrott