Saturday, 10 September 2011

Old Aalia map decriptions -- part 1

Here's some more descriptive info around some of the locales depicted on the campaign map which I posted previously. Locations which are marked with a star on the map are listed with the corresponding number.

The sunken palaces of Garm (1). In ancient times the city of Garm, located in the middle of Harln, the magical forest, was the seat of a powerful kingdom ruled by sorcerers. Five centuries ago a cult of lizard and serpent gods emerged in the forest, spread like wildfire, and soon became a dominant force in the region, threatening to overrun neighbouring states. Legends are unclear on whether the city of Garm itself was dominated by the lizard cult, but it is well known that a great war ensued and that the city perished at this time, sinking into the great lake around which it was situated. This is presumed to have been as a result of some mighty magic, but none now know the truth. Rumours persist of great riches which lie untouched within the sunken palaces of the ancinet city, and of a secret entrance somewhere in the forest.

The dungeons of Thraal (2). Before it was the seat of the Imperium, S'raka was ruled for several generations by a line of vicious tyrant kings and queens known as the House of Raelle. Their kingdom encompassed the area for a hundred and fifty miles around S'raka, as far as Lope in the south, and Micmar in the east, and covering all of the North Riding of Old Aalia. King Thraal, the last in this line, who was known and reviled for his especially sadistic nature, conceived and had built a series of underground prisons to the north of S'raka. The prisons, constructed initially with the aid of the Dwarrow of Minitol, were intended to bring hell on earth to those poor souls who were cast within. King Thraal lived to the extraordinary age of 126, and his dungeons saw many decades of use and constant expansion. Upon the coming of the Emperor to S'raka, the gates of Thraal's dungeons were opened, granting freedom to any prisoners who wished it. Not all wished for freedom, however, as over decades of suffering a certain contingent among the incarcerated had become twisted by dark forces, and chose to remain in the depths of the dungeons. Over the two hundred years since the dungeon was opened, it has become a stronghold of evil, home to a vast array of monstrous beings, and a legendary goal for adventurers, who hope to retrieve the loot which has, so rumours say, been accumulated in the vast underground complex.

The Eld tree (3). Situated in the middle of the forbidden forest of Gong, the Eld tree is the legendary settlement of a people known as the Meng. Few souls have ventured far along the accursed paths of that forest, and only the most fanciful tales mention the city of the Meng. What such tales describe is a great tree, hundreds of yards in height, which the Meng worship as a deity. The tree is rumoured to grant strange powers to its worshippers, who were once human, but who are now transformed into something other, having the ability to see into the future and the past, and being immune to the ravages of disease and aging. Tales also tell that the wondrous abilities posessed by the Meng are not without a price, and that they send out strange calls to lure the unwary into the eaves of the forest in a lust for human sacrifices.

The fastness of the giant king (4). The preponderance of the race of giants in the regions of the Barrier Peaks around the pass of Oregonn is well known. The giants extract heavy toll from all who use the pass, and hunt and enslave those who dare to seek an alternate route through the jagged mountains. Seventy miles east of the pass, and visible looming above in the high peaks on a cloudless day, stands the great citadel of the king of the giants. Such is the strength of the giants that they are known to take carefully selected captives from time to time, in order to ransom them as political prisoners. The elite of the cities of Lope and Varnmeet have suffered especially at the hands of the giants, but the might of the giants is unassailable to those cities, and the Emperor fails to hear their pleas for action to be taken. Aside from this oft-discussed political tension, other stories tell that the treasure vaults of the giants are beyond the wildest imaginings of men, and of the bold few who have ventured there in search of their fortune.

Grbla, city of the swine-folk (5). Standing on a plateau at the centre of the barren plains of the East Riding of Old Aalia lies the great, sprawling city of the swine-folk. No human has ever visited this city and returned, and the region is shunned by all with a glimmer of sanity. The scant reports from those who have strayed near to the plateau tell of a grotesque meeting place for the roaming tribes of the swine-folk, where humans are kept as slaves to be sacrificed to ancient demonic gods.

The realm of the Ja (6). In the depths of the ancient and tangled Braggling forest which forms the north-western bound of Old Aalia, the fey race called the Ja are known to dwell. Stories say that the Ja are beings of mist and shadow who haunt the ruins of a city of unknown antiquity. The gates and cellars of this city are said to lead into the fey realm of the Ja, wherein can be found a vast winding network of dark tunnels which border on the world of shadows and dreams.

The chasm of Nayellem. Seventy five miles from end to end, and almost a mile deep, the vast chasm of Nayellem lies in the featureless expanse of the East Riding. Very little is known about the chasm, as access to its depths is strictly controlled by a strange fey people who call themselves the Rim. The city of Yelleth, in the closest civilised region to the chasm, conducts sporadic trade with the chasm, via the Rim, and reaps bounties of emeralds and ensorcelled wooden items therefrom. The traders tell that the Rim will allow travellers to enter the chasm, for a price, but that the peoples who dwell in the depths are so savage and ruthless that none dare to descend. Among the inhabitants of the chasm itself are known to be several tribes or factions, which, it is said, are continuously at war. The Rim have managed to maintain a position of complete neutrality among the factions, and are thus able to conduct trade among them.

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