The Ice Tribes (also known as Glacier Tribes) are a warlike tribal society of primitive blue-skinned humanoids found in the northernmost regions of Skyrim and High Rock. As their name would imply, they dwell in glacial crevices. There are at least two distinct tribes: the tribe of Glacier Crawl in the Western Reach, and the tribes which live in the icy tunnels surrounding the settlement of Dawnstar. The Ice Tribes bear a resemblance to the crippled Falmer of Skyrim's underground, the Riekr of Wrothgar's Icy Coast, and to the mainland Rieklings, such as the Ice-Biter Tribe.
The Ice Tribes of Dawnstar are infamous for their attempted sacking of the city. The tribes had often raided the settlement, despite efforts to negotiate peace and Dawnstar's pleading for aid from the Emperor. It wasn't until one of Dawnstar's four champions betrayed the city and formed an alliance with the tribes did they attempt a full attack on the city. Following the attack, the tribes besieged the city's walls and prepared for a final strike. Governor Cyril Vinticae rightfully suspected one of his champions of treachery, and banished them to the wilds surrounding Dawnstar. He then instructed a defender of the town, who had been given the post there in exile, to discover the identity of the traitor. The hero journeyed deep into the ice tunnels surrounding Dawnstar, killing many members of the Ice Tribes.
Using the help of Eustacia, the town's seer and healer, the hero was able to discern the traitor's identity. The tribes allied themselves with many monsters from the surrounding wilderness, including trollkin and the feared Gehenoth. The Ice Tribes and their monstrous allies then gathered around the walls of Dawnstar, and launched their final attack on the city. Despite the city's defenses, sheer numbers allowed several invaders to get past the walls. With the aid of the three loyal champions and the power of Starfrost, the hero was able to defeat any interlopers who entered the city, culminating in a battle with the Thriceborn Gehenoth. The town's defenders emerged victorious, and the Ice Tribes never again threatened Dawnstar.
Members of the Ice Tribes are distinguished by rank. In order of importance, these ranks are:
- Hungry Warrior
- Snow Scout
- Ice Scout
- Dawn Raider
- Ice Warrior
- Winter Scout
- Winter Warrior
- Snow Leader
- Ice Leader
- Winter Leader
- Elemental Scout
- Elemental Warrior
- Elemental Leader
- Thriceborn Warrior
The Ice Tribes are known to inhabit four separate ice tunnel systems: Blind Fjord, Frostheim, Ice Tribe Haven and Ice Council.
The tribe of Glacier Crawl in High Rock is geographically split from the tribes of Dawnstar. The tribe coexisted with Snowrays, dangerous flying creatures that resemble aquatic rays. The Tribe used a system of levers and frozen gates to defend Glacier Crawl from invaders. Each tribesman carries a single frozen key, which is needed to use a lever. Sometime before the Third Era, an airship crashed into the glacier. The tribe raided the ship, killing the crew and taking a Star Tooth that they had captured from the sky. In 3E 397, the Soul of Conflict came in search of the Star Tooth, which was in the possession of the Glacier Chieftain. The hero killed all members of the tribe and retrieved the Star Tooth.
Members of the Glacier Crawl tribe were also distinguished by rank, although it was a separate ranking system from their eastern cousins:
- Ice Scout
- Blizzard Warrior
- Elite Bowman
- Glacier Captain
- Glacier Chieftain
Following their defeat at Dawnstar and the massacre at Glacier Crawl, it is unknown if any members of the Ice Tribes survive.
- The Ice Tribes were featured in TES Travels: Dawnstar. The inhabitants of Glacier Crawl, while not given a collective name, were featured in TES Travels: Shadowkey.
- In Shadowkey, the Ice Tribes reused the same models as Orcish NPCs but removed the tusks.
- The Arctic Rime skin is a reference to the Ice Tribes.