Role-playing video game Icewind Dale takes place in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting and the region of Icewind Dale.
Icewind Dale's gameplay operates on a similar basis to that of Baldur's Gate, in that it incorporates a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition ruleset, with the rules' intricacies automatically computed; the game keeps track of statistics and controls dice rolling.
It uses a similar user interface though with cosmetic changes, and focuses mainly on combat, often against large groups of enemies, with dialogue driving the main story.
The player is able to order a character to engage in movement, dialogue, combat, or other actions such as pickpocketing within each game location.
Combat has a real-time as opposed to a turn-based system, though with the option of pausing at any time so the player can give the party orders which are carried out when the game is resumed.
Along with the same inventory system and paper-doll mechanics, the game's story is divided into chapters, with a journal system archiving quests and notable entries on specific story-related information from non-player characters.
Players begin the game by creating an adventuring party of up to six characters, either by creating new characters or importing those from a previous game.
Each new character created requires the player to provide them with their name, gender, race, class, and alignment, and then determine their ability scores and weapon proficiencies.
The class of a character affects what alignments are available to them, what weapons and combat styles they can use, and how proficient they can be in them.
Characters designated as thieves require the player to allocate points to the various thieving skills, and spellcasters need a few 1st level spells selected for their spellbook and then one memorised for use at the start of the game.
Once a party is created, characters earn experience points in the game through completing quests and defeating enemies, and level up upon earning enough.
Leveling up will automatically increase a character's hit points, grants spellcasters access to more spell slots including higher levels of magic, sometimes allows additional weapon proficiencies, and allows thieves to improve their thieving abilities.
n the town of Easthaven, a party of adventurers are met in the tavern by the town's leader, Hrothgar, who invites them to join him on an expedition to investigate the town of Kuldahar, after reports of strange happenings there.
On the road to Kuldahar, the expedition is ambushed by frost giants, who cause an avalanche that blocks the path back to Easthaven.
With only the adventurers surviving, they continue to Kuldahar and meet with Arundel, the village's archdruid, who explains that a mysterious evil force has been kidnapping villagers, causing abnormal weather patterns, provoking monsters, and reducing the magical warmth provided by the giant tree that towers over the village.
Asking for their help to discover the source of the evil, the adventurers begin by searching the Vale of Shadows, an area containing Kuldahar's crypts, due to rumours of undead creature sightings.
They encounter a cursed barbarian spirit named Kresselack who tells them that the threat lies elsewhere. Reporting this back to the druid, Arundel instructs the group to retrieve an ancient scrying item called the Heartstone Gem, so that he may discover the source of the evil more quickly.
After finding the gem was stolen from its original resting place within a temple, the party travel to the caverns of Dragon's Eye, finding a number of the missing villagers being held there by lizard men.
They eventually find the gem being used by a powerful Marilith named Yxunomei.
After killing Yxunomei and retrieving the gem, the party return to find Kuldahar under attack by Orogs, and Arundel mortally wounded by a shapeshifter disguised as the archdruid, who taunts them before vanishing. The true Arundel advises the party to take the Heartstone to Larrel at the fortress of the Severed Hand, the only one capable of using it now, before dying from his wounds.