Few now of the existance of coldfire, anti-fire as some call it. It is a strange substance that is nearly identical to normal flame, save that as it consumes its fuel, it burns with a blue flame, and absorbs heat as a normal fire would produce it. When the world was primordial and young, there were pockets of coldfire, places where the water was frigid and made ice, and the land was bitter and cold. No life could flourish here, there was naught but death where the blue flames danced.
The gods saw this, a death gift of the neverborn, and knew that for their world to begin anew, they must harvest the coldfire and hide it away. it was a great task, the gods bending their limbs to the snaring of the blue flames, gathering them to them, and bearing them to Avernus, the boiling lake of lava. The two forces contended. but soon the lake began to harden as the coldfire fed on the fumes and vapors that came from the earth.
The High God thought to take the coldfire into the heavens where it could do no harm to the land that lived. This was for a time good, but soon the winds, which blow through the firmamant soon began to chill, and snow fell, even during the months of Respendant Fire, what some would call summer. There seemed to be no answer to the problem of the coldfire.
The god of the forge was struck by an idea. He took up a great sheet of orichalum, the metal of the sun, and he hammered it into a great urn. The urn was mighty even in the scale of the gods for it was nigh thirty feet from the foot to the lip, and as big around as an adult whale. For the urn, he fashioned a great lid, and a clever contrivance of wire and loop to lock the lid in place.
Upon presenting the gods with his urn, they were pleased. There were many things shapen into the sides of the vessel. Tales of the coldfire told in bas-relief. The great effort of the gathering, and the trial near the lake of fire, and even the lifting of the coldfire into the heavens. The gods were pleased, and took all of the coldfire and poured it into the urn.
It did not all fit. The urn was mighty, but there was a third of the coldfire that it could not hold. Two-thirds were placed within it, and the great lid was closed into place. The vessel frosted on the outside, but the terrible cold was ended, and the warmth of life returned to the halls of the divine. The last third was a cause for consternation. What could be done with it, for the forging of another great urn could no be done, for there was not so much divine metal left to craft another large enough.
“Craft for me a vessel of silver, and fill it with the cold-fire and hang it in the heavens.” Said the goddess, “I will be its sheperd, and not let it tarry to long, and not allow the winds to grow cold.”
The gods agreed, and a vessel of silver was fashioned and the coldfire was poured into it, and alas, there was still but too much. The goddess took the vessel, and hallowed it, naming it the moon, and her domain and was pleased when it rose in the heavens with a silvery light. Of the last, it was taken, and strewn into the highest reaches of the firmament, spread out very thin, as sand across a sheet. The spirit of night saw them, and was pleased and named them stars and held them beautiful.
Now the halls of the Divine grew again chilled, as the frost of the vessel spread, creeping along stone and wood from its hidden abode. They knew that it could not be contained in the divine realm, least they deign themselves to suffer more than the fallen primordial gods who created all.
The Vessel was taken to the northern most reaches of the world where none had thought to place those who would come, or to plant the forests and rivers. The vessel was placed in a valley, between two lifty peaks. The sun held no warmth in that place, and it was perpetual winter as the urn devoured the heat of all things. Wise in such things, the lord of waters bade them to wait, as the urn sanke into banks of snow, and the rivers froze, and the north became all frozen, untouched by the heat and warmth of the sun. After a great number of years, the ocean of ice stopped growing, for the ice that layered between the urn, and the rest of the world was as a shield, and though the north was made bitter and inhospitable, the rest of creation was made fit for life, which would soon come.
The Coldfire Urn is a massive structure, but it can be opened, and some of the coldfire within can be extracted. This requires great care since it is still a vessel of fire and burns are an almost certainty
1. The great and powerful wizard hires the PCs to voyage across the frozen wastes, seeking the urn. They have to face the barbarian peoples who live in spite of the ice, as well as other cold predators such as polar bears, ice worms, and the like. It is likely the wizard will have provided them a smaller vessel to return the coldfire in. They are offered a great reward for this.
2. The great and powerful wizard above actually seeks to hold a kingdom hostage with the threat of a perpetual winter, for which the coldfire was a key spell component. The PCs have to now face their former employer, deafet him, and return the coldfire to the northern wastes, lest in fall into the wrong hands…again.
3. Prophecy, or omens fortell that the urn is being threatened, and if it is opened, it could fortell the begining of a new ice age, of glaciers rolling across the land and blizzards that last for days, and even weeks without end. It could be ice elementals, driven by an ice lord wishing to freeze the world, or by demons who want to destroy it. It could even be a misguided tribe of icewalkers who think that treasure awaits whomever could open the vessel.