Sunday, 17 June 2012

Somewhere on the Border

High in the Firepeak Mountains lie the Dwarf Holds, mighty fortified citadels ruled by powerful clans.  The foothills of these mighty mountains marks the edge of the Dwarves territory and the start of the wild lands of the Sundered Plains and the Red Mesa ruled by warring tribes of Orc and Goblins.

The Border Country

Firepeak Mountains

The Firepeaks are a huge chain of almost impassable mountains which cut through the northern highlands of Farpoint. They are a wild and untamed and home to all manner of strange creatures but the Dwarves have survived and prospered even in this harsh environment.

They have dug deeply into the mountains, sinking their holds into the very living rock and mine its mineral wealth to feed the mighty forges in their subterranean cities to produce all manner of weapons and goods which they trade with some of the other races in return for foodstuffs and other supplies which are difficult to obtain in their mountain fastnesses.

The Firepeaks

The Firepeaks get their name from the mighty volcanos that sit at their heart. These mighty cauldrons of fiery magma belch plumes of ash far into the atmosphere and are revered as holy sites by the Dwarves who believe their ancestors dwell their still, turned to stone from age and the violent eruptions are caused by these ancients striking their anvils as they work and producing the seams of ore which their descendants dig to uncover.

A volcanic eruption viewed from the Firepeaks

The Dwarves have several settlements and keeps scattered along the Eastern slopes of the Firepeaks and from here they send forth expeditions to explore the Sundered Lands for traces of ore, gold and silver not to mention to keep the savage Goblin tribes at bay and off the Road, the Dwarves main trade route to the Endless sea and the Human and Elven settlements that border it. 

It is a dangerous journey and Dwarven caravans are always well protected and heavily armed as the thousands of leagues they must travel are wrought with perils ranging from hostile tribes to terrible wild animals and bandits.

Southpaw Mountains

The Iron Pass marks the split between the Firepeaks and the Southpaw Mountains. The Southpaws are a wild and lawless place but a less harsh environment to live so are inhabited by all manner of races, not least of which are the Dwarves who have constructed the outpost of Mar Vek right onto the cliff face of the Iron Pass. 

The Southpaw Mountains

The Southpaws are currently something of a battleground as the Dwarves seek to drive several Harpie Eyries out of the highest peaks. In return the Harpies are raiding the Holds supply convoys and butchering whatever travellers they come across. 

View of the Southpaw Mountains

Iron Pass

Iron Pass is a steep sided cut that marks the southern tip of the Firepeaks and the northern range of the Southpaws. It was cut by the Iron River, a deep and broad river that has carved its way through the mountains over millennia. The pass also allows access to the Western half of the continent and as such has ben the cause of much contention over the last few hundred years as Orc and Goblin tribes have sought to push west towards the mighty forest that lies beyond the mountains.

Not wanting to face incursions into their territory in the Firepeaks, the Dwarves have built the fortress of Mar Vek to hold the pass against the wilder races and in a trade agreement with the Fae Elven court to the west they have agreed to build and man a mighty wall that will protect the ancient forests from the unsightly presence of the Orc and Goblin tribes.

A View from within the great Iron Pass

Iron River

The Iron River flows from the Firepeaks all the way to the Endless Sea in the east and marks the boundary between the Red Mesa in the south and the Sundered Plains to the north. It provides a much needed source of water to these arid regions and the land bordering it is lush and verdant and has been settled for centuries by several Orc and Goblin tribes along with Dwarven prospectors and even the occasional human adventurer.

The Iron River

Another view of the Iron River high in the Firepeaks

Bear River

The Bear River emerges from its subterranean flow near the Dwarven Hold of Tor Barak which takes its name from the river. It is a narrow but fast flowing river which winds its way through the foothills of the Firepeaks through several mighty falls and treacherous rapids before joining the mighty Iron River.

Headwaters of the Bear River

The Dwarves make great use of this river at points damming it to provide both water and power for their holds. Despite this the river still flows at some depth as the Dwarves know of its importance further downriver.

Sundered Plains

The Sundered Plains is a vast rolling landscape of grassland punctuated by rocky outcrops, twisting streams and and small forests. It is also riven by mighty magical storms resulting in some rather unusual landscapes.

Northern tip of the Sundered Plains

The plains are home to many tribes of nomadic Goblins, Orcs and other creatures and is a dangerous place to live, especially as the magical storms that frequently strike the region can warp both the terrain and its inhabitants.

It is not an uncommon sight to find strange structures, massive statues or piles of rusting machinery cast upon the plain following these storms and as such they attract all manner of adventurers and even small armed expeditions seeking to salvage what they can from these strange deposits.

Warp Wood stand in the Sundered Plains

Naturally these incursions into their territory angers the natives who will often attack these excursions as they see the deposited materials both as somewhere to live and as holy relics delivered by their savage gods to their faithful followers.

Red Mesa

Stretching for thousands of square miles south of the Iron river lies the Red Mesa, a dry desert like land strewn with canyons, mesas, and hoodoos making traversing it a somewhat difficult prospect.

The Red Mesa viewed from the Southpaws

Hopefully this will give a little bit of an overview of the setting! I will be posting some more information on the various settlements and civilisations that occupy it soon!

All the best!

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