Istfell is the mist-shrouded realm at the base of the World Tree, a vast plain ringed by a fast-moving river and a towering stone wall. The plain is dotted with bottomless wells and white-stone cairns whose origin and significance are lost to the ages. Looming overhead is the unfathomably huge bulk of the World Tree, whose dangling roots plunge into the realm. Occasional aurora light from the Cosmos breaks through the ever-present gloom and dances across the sky, but its brilliance is muted by the unending fog, which grows thicker and thicker toward the center of Istfell. The spirits of animals, monsters, and most people come to Istfell when they die and spend eternity in aimless imitation of mortal life. The plains of Istfell are encircled by the bone-chilling waters of the Vangir River. Beyond the river is a towering wall, over a hundred feet high, built eons ago to keep Cosmos monsters from attacking the roots of the young World Tree. The only entrance into Istfell is a massive bridge across the river that leads directly to the magnificent Gates of Istfell.
People who die in particularly brave or glorious fashion are marked by the Valkyries and taken to Starnheim. Istfell is for everyone else. The spirits of Istfell include those of people who died of natural causes or accidents, or who showed cowardice in combat. The spirit of every animal or monster that ever lived also runs free in Istfell, and it's not uncommon to see a giant spirit wolf or dragon emerging from the mist.
- The Gates of Istfell.
- The Gods' Hall.
- The Vangir River.
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- Istfell is based on Niflheim (literally "Home of Mist") the realm of primordial ice and cold in Norse mythology. Hel exists in Niflheim, but in contrast to Karfell, Istfell seems to represent the parts of Niflheim that exist outside the walls of Helheim, being wastes of the elemental frost from which the first living beings thawed but which are now wandered by souls of the dead.
- The Vangir River is a reference to the Gjöll River, a river that separates the gates of Hel from the world of the living. And the bridge that connects these two worlds is Gjallarbrú.
- The name Istfell may be the junction of the words of the old Nordic is (ice) and felle (trap).