Friday, 27 December 2013

Where to Begin?


As I have kicked off this new Leviathan blog with a fit of enthusiasm, I figured I should probably spend a little time covering the outline of the project and give a bit of information on the various races and locations of Aeroth!

Having  re-read some of my notes from my previous attempt at gaming the world of Aeroth, I must admit theres plenty to cover so without further ado heres a brief outline of the region of the world called the Axeblade Mountains and its assorted denizens:

The Badlands as seen from the Axeblades

"The Axeblade Mountains are a dangerous place to navigate, more so now Wild Magic has been unleashed by the thrice cursed Elves. With the onset of a winter unlike even I have never seen in my long life its becoming ever more difficult to keep our outposts and settlements supplied and protected."

The Axebite Pass in winter

"This winter has been so cold that even the Axebite River, despite being heated by our forges has frozen. Snow has blocked many of the high passes and even the broad Axebite Pass has become increasingly snowbound. The settlements of Mal Dulm and Mal Hrakken have had their populations swollen by the survivors of the destroyed Hold of Sto Heltd and are desperate for supplies to feed all the extra mouths and our border patrols are struggling to keep the military road open and safe."
Kareth Dull

The Axebite Pass

Kareth Dull lies in the Axeblade Mountains near the Axebite pass. The Holds warriors have been manning the great wall that holds the Orcish hordes from sweeping into the North West. The hold itself lies on the Southern slope of the Axebite pass and extends miles back into the mountains.

The safeland behind the wall, deep in the Axebite pass as seen from Kareth Dull

Its mines delve into the depths in search of ore to feed the mighty forges which supply the great hold with its mighty weapons of war while its great walls have held the Orcish hordes at bay for untold centuries. With the arrival of many holdless Dwarf clans, Kareth Dull has begun settling the surrounding area, sending forth doughty groups of warriors to protect its fledgling settlements.

The great hold of Kareth Dull

In the two hundred years since the Death, the Dwarves have rebuilt the exterior of their great hold and expanded it to include terraced fields and ingenious aquifers that are slowly bringing the land back to life but they must be jealously defended from those who would take it from them and the very mountainside itself bristles with fortifications, gun emplacements and towers.

Mal Dulm
The Pass of Mal Dulm

The settlement of Mal Dulm was the first camp set up by the Dwarves following the Death. Unlike other Dwarven settlements it is situated on the surface and was originally intended to house the influx of refugees from the Hold of Sto Heldt which was destroyed by an earthquake immediately following the death.
View of the Pass of Mal Dulm from the Kareth Dull
Despite being called a settlement it is more akin to a military encampment with the surviving clans of Sto Heldt and colonists from Kareth Dull having quickly built sturdy walls and defences strong enough to withstand even the most determined bands of marauding Goblins.

Situated to the East of Kareth Dull, Mal Dulm lies in a secluded pass and is only accessible via a single narrow trail. While a boon for defence it makes supplying the settlement rather difficult. Fortunately the inhabitants have managed to cultivate small fields of crops in the high meadows above and recently began work on digging mine shafts into the surrounding peaks. These mines have begun returning promising amounts of iron ore, coal and even small amounts of Adamantium.
View of the approaches to the Hanging Road

The road from Kareth Dull to Mal Dulm is a miracle of Dwarven engineering as a large part of it is built along a cliff face. Constructed from solid rock and iron girders the Hanging Road is one of the wonders of the new world. From the Hanging Road the trail becomes more narrow and difficult to navigate so each caravan is led by an experienced trail master well versed in mountain lore.
 Mal Hrakken

The hot springs at Mal Hrakken

 Built at the Southern tip of the newly constructed military road which winds its way through the Axeblades, Mal Hrakken was built next to the steaming springs which have recently burst through to the surface during the same quake that destroyed Sto Heldt. The settlement itself has been constructed directly into the cliff face surrounding the hot springs. Now mighty watermills line the outflow providing the new settlement with power.

The bottom of the cliffs near Mal Hrakken

Mal Hrakken is still a small settlement but is quite well protected. It needs to be as the cliffs hot pools have become the home of several wild dragons and the wealth of the Dwarves have led to strife as several drakes have taken to trying to raid the settlement. One particular dragon, a great grey ironback called Ripjaw has taken great pleasure in attacking the caravans winding their way along the military road.

Dragon hunting by War Balloon!

A recent addition to the settlement in the form of a squadron of war balloons has been called in to deal with Ripjaw but the high winds and freezing temperatures have limited their use during the winter. In the meantime an exploration party has been dispatched to the Hoodoo Basin to the South in an attempt to locate the troublesome Drakes lair.
Dur Zamor
Lone Peak

Dur Zamor lies at the Eastern tip of the Southern side of the Axebite pass high in the mountain called Lone Peak. It is surrounded by high mesas and grim pine forests but has been built with a single purpose. It holds a pair of mighty guns called Grimm and Gogg. These mighty guns have a range of several miles and have been used to pound the Orcish hordes that move along the Old Road from the Kargh towards the Axebite pass.
Dawn View from Lone Peak

Not surprisingly the Orcish Khans are desperate to destroy the keep but due to its location its proved almost impossible to assault. This has changed recently with the discovery of a narrow defile which leads from the valley of the Seven Daughters up into the High Mesa. Now hordes of Orcs are amassing in preparation of the coming of spring to assault the keep. Fortunately for the Dwarves this force has been spotted and engineers have been working round the clock to mine the defile so when the Orcs do come they will have a very warm welcome!
 The Broken Lands
The Broken Lands and Golden Lode River as seen from the Axeblades

The Broken Lands are a large area of tortured earth riddled with chasms and scree. Even for the Axeblades its a dangerous place with few safe ways through and even the bravest of Dwarven explorers have given it a wide berth thus far. Its Northern boundary is marked by the Golden Lode river while the Axeblades mark its southern border. Despite its dangers the Broken Lands are inhabited. Its is a mecca for elemental creatures of all sorts as the constant movement of earth has provided an unexpectedly strong source of Earthpower.

Lighting strikes in the Broken Lands

It is this instability that has begun attracting adventurers as the quakes have brought precious metals and jewels to the surface and if one can but survive the surroundings, a fortune can be made.
High Mesa

The High Mesa

The High Mesa bounds the Eastern side of the Axeblade Mountains. Its Eastern edge is marked by a steep cliff which proves an initial deterrent to any Orcs trying to approach the Axeblades. 

Amongst its towering spires and hidden box canyons, tribes of wild Goblins live in small settlements set high in the cliff faces, far from the reach of all but the most determined of enemies. Living simple lives of hunter gatherers, these Goblins have been forced to take up arms to defend themselves from the ever present threat of Orcish slavers. Of late several slaver caravans have disappeared without trace, much to the outrage of the Orcish Khans.
Wild Goblin cliff settlement
Hoodoo Basin

The Hoodoo Basin maze

The Hoodoo Basin is a region of strangely shaped boulders, carved by the Ironlode which at one time fed into a large lake, long since drained. The resulting boulder field is a treacherous maze of strange canyons and is almost impossible to penetrate. It is this maze like quality that has attracted Ripjaw, the mighty grey ironback dragon to make its lair in the caverns which lie at its centre.
 The Seven Daughters
Three of the Seven Daughters at dawn

The valley of the Seven Daughters is steeped in myth as the great pillars which gave the area its name are supposed to be the daughters of the Earth Mother frozen for eternity. It is a sacred region for Dwarves, Barbarians and even the nomadic free Goblin tribes and even the Orcish horde avoids entering it for fear of the elemental creatures that dwell there.
 The Kragh

The Kragh is a fortified settlement built into a mesa on the edge of the Endless Plains and ruled by the iron hand of Gugrum the Large, a Khan of truly titanic proportions. Originally a trading outpost of Dwarven construction, The Kragh was overrun and sacked by the horde shortly after the Death. It is one of the few permanent settlements used by the Orcs and is a staging post for ferrying reinforcements from the plains to the endless siege of the Axebite Pass.

With large subterranean storage caves, the Kragh has been used to store everything from loot to slave and supplies and as such Gugrum has become hugely wealthy and his ravenous appetite has led to him becoming so fat that he cannot walk but is carried everywhere by four burly Great Orcs on a solid gold palanquin. This has led to great resentment with the surrounding Khans as they have to pay exorbitant bribes to Gugrum and his underlings for passage through the settlement.

 Krulls Winter Encampment

The Axebite River near Krulls Encampment

The base of operations of a particularly ambitious and brutal Khan, Krulls winter encampment is a sprawling tent city sitting in the mouth of the Axebite pass. From here Krull has led repeated assaults on the mighty Dwarven defences but without success as even his greatest warbeasts have been unable to breach the wall.

Realising that such a frontal assault is unlikely to succeed, Krull has recently begun sending trusted underlings on armed expeditions into the surrounding mountains in search of an alternative route. Such underhanded cunning is rather unlike most Khans but thus far Krulls expeditions have met with limited success as dozens of Orcs have been frozen in the high mountains or ambushed by Dwarven patrols.
The ever present threat of avalanche

Hunger is becoming a real problem for the Orcs in the encampment and they have resorted to eating their Goblin slaves resulting in many of the remaining Goblins attempting to escape their slave pens and join their wild kin in the badlands and mountains. The fact that their food supply is now running away with valuable weapons and even warbeasts has enraged the Orcs and several punitive raids have driven these free Goblin tribes further into the wild hinterlands.

Whee! Well hopefully that will give you some sort of an idea as to what the setting has in store in the coming months and worry not! The Boar Company will return too for the beginning of a new series of Somewhere on the Border battle reports!

All the best!

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