Preface: This is a brief history and context for Winterkin, the board game I am making for my college portfolio.
Winter’s not so bad, I think we can agree. Though there’s all the shoveling and traffic, it’s better than freezing in an old, wood hut like our ancestors. Of course, they didn’t have to worry about that too often; winters weren’t annual back then like they are today. When they did come, though, you ran.
They were far worse than even the worst blizzard of today. If you were caught in one, you were dead, no doubt about it. It’s not like the sun was further out or anything back then, but every now and then, every couple of years, winter hit hard. Temperatures dropped to unnatural levels. Of course, it wasn’t natural. It was the Winterkin.
But those are fantastically stories. Surely you don’t want to hear such nonsense? Or perhaps you do. After all, what are old men good for if not stories? You may be grownup, but there’s always room for some truth.
Back in ancient days, before history as we know it, there were many myths and legends. Every myth is grounded in truth, and none more so than the Winterkin, for they existed. Other stories, about elves and trolls, were tricks of the eye, but not the Winterkin.
Everywhere they went was shrouded by wind and cold. When temperatures dropped, Winter was coming. If you had any sense—and believed the stories—you headed straight for Atlantis. No, not that Atlantis, this one didn’t sink beneath the waves.
This one was built in even more ancient times, when Winter was both annual and full of Winterkin. Somehow, we survived, and every year more progress was made on Atlantis. It was inspired by the other Atlantis, which is why the name is the same.
Now, the ones who built Atlantis learned from the original Atlantis how to build a fortress against anything and everything, but it couldn’t hold everyone. The ones who built it remained inside year round, and only admitted people when Winter came. People built huge cities around it, and then fought their way inside at any sign of Winter.
When Winter became rarer, the huge cities surrounding Atlantis slowly dissipated, until Winter, and the Winterkin, were only legends. But Atlantis lived on, and when the next Winter hit, they were ready. They admitted whoever made it, but those were few.
Every few hundred years, Winter would hit again, and the people would learn too late what it meant. In a few families, though, the legend persisted, and they began their pilgrimage upon noticing the drastic temperature drop.
This continued for many centuries, but, like the ancient Atlantis, this Atlantis was overwhelmed. The power to make an invincible fortress only lasted so long, but no one knew until it was too late.