The Riversyle Area
The Adderrise: Jagged, forested spires, with deep, dark hollows, the Rise contains a network of caverns and tunnels, some of which lead to places deep within the earth. Silverback gorillas inhabit the darkest reaches, fearsome creatures whose fur is valued by the Sespetian Orks.
Allstop: A way station and trading post, Allstop is literally the place where all river traffic stops. The Longway Run peters out into a series of sluices, shallows and narrows here, so almost all boats must be moved from one set of depths to another. The Stoppers (Hafling Engineers) charge a hefty fee for this action, of course, and are thus able to afford the care and maintenance of a rather impressive garrison of mercenaries to protect their interests and investments. As merc companies go, the Iron Shield isn’t the friendliest of lots, but they are efficient (and if the rumors are true, somewhat corrupt, as well). There are ways to circumvent the Allstop Tolls, if one is intrepid and enterprising enough. Thanks to the Shield, few are. The “Mayor” of Allstop is a rather tall Halfling (well over 4’) named Barnabus Brickhands. He is always in the company of his retainers, the Ogres, Maximo and Ignidias (not their given names, but Brickhands tends towards pedantry).
Bob’s Mill: Formerly the lair of the grizzly, “Smiley Bob,” the abandoned mill now appears to be the target of the suddenly active Red Stick Goblins.
Backbreak: A land of scrub, crags and hills, the Backbreak is home to three major Goblin tribes (the White Hand, the Skullbreakers and the Heartreavers) and a large tribe of Puningi Gnolls (near Glass Lake). The Gnolls are unparalleled horsemen, and do much to keep the Goblins in check (mainly by catching and eating them). The area was once the home to a fertile, human kingdom called Be’eldroon, whose remnants and ruins dot the hills and valley. The legendary Great Treasure of Jahren Soth, the last king of the Be’eldroon, has never been found.
Barkburnish Gnolls: Peaceful lodge-dwellers, the Barkburnish (or “Runth’seesee”) trade their fine carvings at Allstop in exchange for treasures from the “civilized” folk. Their wares are instantly recognizable, not simply for their fine craftsmanship, but for the shimmering lacquer they use to seal the wood, the nature of which is not entirely known (but is said to be some combination of woodland flora and the Runth’seesee’s own spittle).
Barrenfallow: This dead forest encircles Highdeep, a towering spire of a mountain whose origin is said to be magical. Somewhere near the top are the Dungeons of the Witch Lord, Tithian, who ruled this area centuries ago (and, some say, still lives on as a lich). Formerly called “Tithiansphere,” the area fell into ruin as a result of a cataclysmic battle against the forces of Baron Bear Claw and his Barbarian Army, its green hills perverted by an arcane mixture of might and magic.
The Barrowmounds: A mixture of rolling, gentle hills and some rough, brushy ascents, the Mounds is often patrolled by Red Stick hunting parties. The hills contain many a dog and drake, as well as herds of wild Buffagoats and Wargsheep. The herd creature’s numbers are kept in check by the constant hunting.
Big Lake: Actually called “Grenthoof Bruk Tanthan” by the Inwahe Gnoll of the East Green, this huge body of water is most often referred to by its very simple translation. Big Lake is the life force behind the East Green. Benevolent Inwahe ply its life-giving waters, alongside the hermetic Wood Elves and other assorted Fey Folk. The lake is supposedly home to a large serpent called “Nossie” by the forest folk.
Blackdeep: A yawning cave complex with evidently very deep roots, the Blackdeep is largely unexplored, mainly due to rumors of shadow dragons in its depths.
City of Oil: See “Trollhaven” entry.
The Dragonscale Roughs: A craggy, broken mess of scrub and rock patrolled by all manner of predator, the Roughs are a place usually avoided. If not for the presence of the rare Rockscale Monitor Lizards, with their valuable pelts, it probably would be.
The East Green: A large forest of woodland creatures, fey folk and Inwahe gnoll. The wood is protected by ancient magics, under the auspices of a regal Queen (or so it is rumored).
The Ghoul Gharns: This large swamp is the most inhospitable area of the East End. It is also home to extremely rare forms of serpents, whose venom is prized by assassins and alchemists.
Grovenwold: A beautiful, lightly wooded forest that holds good hunting and few dangers. On certain spring nights, strange lights appear in the wood. The nearby halflings believe the lights to be Fey protectors of the Wold.
Highdeep: See “Barrenfallow” entry.
Hunter’s Haven: This ancient monastery is built on a bluff overlooking the small, fertile valley between the Stenchbend to the east and the Trenchlands to the west. The hunting to almost all points from this area is magnificent, but so are the dangers (especially from Yellow Dogs, Jump Lizards and, of course, Trolls). Though the buildings are in a state of disrepair, the pristine floor of the inner chapel remains untouched by time. Sanctified by the monks who once lived and worked here, it emits a cooling, radiant light that evil creatures shun. Thus, this place truly is a the haven its name suggests.
Lake Oldsby: The largest lake in the area, Oldsby is shared by demi-humans and humanoids alike. Fishing here is unparalleled, particularly in the summer months.
Lakesyle: The city of Lakeslye is a burgeoning, multi-racial establishment run by halflings under “Baron” Jolly Middlebrook. It maintains token relations with Riverslye, whose denizens it deems as beneath them.
The Lightwalks: A range of gentle hills, the Lightwalks is home to the M’lalrians, a clan of surface dwarves (known as “the sundered” among their own kind). The dwarves are said to be a strange mixture of dwarf-halfling-gnomish heritage. The enigmatic human ranger Garaborn is said to live among the M’lal, when he isn’t roaming the lands in search of adventure.
Sespe: Orks have taken over this ruined city, and actually manage to bring it back into repair (somewhat). The Sespetians are relatively organized and cultured (for Orks), though they do engage in constant territorial disputes with Daerkak, and the Goblins of the Backbreak.
The Stagfell: A quiet forest, this area was hunted to extinction by Ork tribes during the Days of Red Sky. There is said to be a spirit guardian within its trunks, a magnificent white stag that, if tracked and slain, will grant the hunter great power over his destiny.
Stenchbend: This area of the Longway Run slows to stagnation, and, as a result, wells into fetid mire. There’s little worthwhile to see or do here, unless one enjoys hunting Swamp Drakes and Stirges.
Tanglewood: Remnants of the Ork hordes from the Days of Red Sky still roam these woods, albeit not in great number. There is said to be an old Elven Treetop Village here that has been appropriated by these Orks, who have developed woodland skills almost to the level of the Sylvan Elves. Still others believe this village belongs to evil Elves corrupted by some strange, ancient magic.
The Trench Lands: The borderlands just south of Lakeslye is a wide-ranging series of steep hills and deep gullies, some of which are almost chasm-like in their depth. Travel is dangerous through the area, save for the valley of Three Lakes (a sturdy, independent human settlement) and the hill dwarves of Grumblecut. The eastern reach is home to Cawton’s First Castle (sometimes called Cawton’s First Folly), an “experimental” design by the legendary engineer that collapsed under its own weight (covering, they say, a series of sub-basements where Cawton kept his wealth).
Trollhaven: Not a haven at all for travelers, this range of rough hills is home to a good number of Trolls, many of which have taken up permanent residence in the City of Oil. Once the fief of a Lord Herman Smiteblade of the Rhandoon People, the city is now a heap of stones, all of which are coated in a disgusting ooze, the origin of which is something of a mystery. Some scholars believe it is the remnants of a great evil summoned to this plane by a Rhandoonian Sorcerer, a many-tentacled horror opposed and overcame by Smiteblade that, in its death throes, exploded in a heap of ichor that blanketed the city and killed everyone in it. Either that, or the Trolls are just that slimy, and are leaving traces of themselves everywhere. The City of Oil is noteworthy in that any form of fire simply doesn’t flame to life there (making it a perfect home for the Trolls).
Wispy Mountains: Pockets of vapor shroud this mountain range, cutting visibility to zero in some places (and during the winter, all places in the reach). The Wisps are home to the Daerkak, xenophobic mountain dwarves who emerge once a decade to trade their wares (and sometimes wage wars against nearby goblins and orks). Of all the dangers of the area, the well-armed, well-trained, hot-tempered Daerkak may be the greatest.