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The Icewind Dale franchise contains two full retail released games and one retail released expansion.  All of these titles are isometric party-based roleplaying games with a heavy emphasis on fantasy combat.  Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, and Icewind Dale II all use the Infinity engine that was popularized by the Baldur's Gate franchise.
 
In the Baldur's Gate series, recruitable NPCs could be discovered throughout your adventure to join your party of 6 in order to complete your epic quest to discover the truth behind your bloodline.  But in the Icewind Dale franchise, there are no recruitable NPCs, instead players handcraft their own party of up to 6 hardy adventurers and set off.  The designers focused on combat rather than pure storytelling in the franchise.  Each of the game's in the series plays out like one extended dungeon module.  There is story and dialogue but these elements are on the periphery of importance as compared to carefully firing a fireball and making sure your cleric casts 'shield'.
 
The entire franchise takes place in the Dungeons and Dragons module known as the Forgotten Realms.  Within the Forgotten Realms, the games focus on the Icewind Dale region.  Icewind Dale is an icy and isolated region known for its small fishing villages and harsh weather.  Its also a dangerous region, home to trolls and goblins that lurk above ground.  But even worse, there are numerous subterranean realms with entrances nearby that lead to such horrors as the evil dark elves, the Drow.  


 Icewind Dale

Icewind Dale

A party of adventurers arrives in the fishing village of Easthaven and are promptly hired to investigate the strange occurrences in another remote town called Kuldahar.  As they arrive in Kuldahar they bare witness to the site of a great and magical tree known as the "world tree".  The tree is losing its magical potency due to a demon's interference.  The party investigates nearby crypts, the dwarven city of Dorn's Deep, and other icy temples to discover that a hideous beast from another realm is trying to open a portal to hell. 
 Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter

Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter

In this expansion to the original Icewind Dale, the party of adventurers learn that their is a growing barbarian horde that is threatening to invade the peaceful Ten Towns.  The expansion was self-criticized by Black Isle Studios and so they released a free add-on to Heart of Winter titled: Trials of the Luremaster.  In the add-on, the party of adventurers are invited to go on a quest by a mischievious halfling that traps them in the gauntlet of the Luremaster.  In order to escape, the party must defeat all of the Luremaster's monsters and traps.   
 Icewind Dale II

Icewind Dale II

Set 30 years after the events of the first Icewind Dale game, a group of adventurers sets out to claim a name for themselves as they help defend the Ten Towns from the threat of the mysterious Cult of Chimera.  Icewind Dale II was the last game to feature the long-used Infinity Engine and the first game to adapt the then-latest Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Ruleset. 

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