Witchlands

Overview

The Witchlands. The very name of this land conjures up feelings of fear for most. The poorly mapped and barely understood region north of Alsland is a place tales are told of; the kind of tales that children exchange in hushes; the kind of stories that people tell in front of a campfire. Although these stories are usually fantastic and far-fetched, the reality of the place is story-worthy.

The weather here is cold, and the terrain untamed. Frosty tundra in the north transitions to the dense evergreen forest and mountainous terrain in the south. Summers are short and usually cool in contrast to the winters which are long and generally quite harsh.

This majestic land was once a relatively peaceful place. Although the many clans of primitive goblinoid races that live here would occasionally clash, life was generally peaceful and often enjoyed. A simple hunter-gatherer style of life characterized the peoples here, a way of life that continued for many thousands of years uninterrupted; even the Lavender Day was a relative non-event for the habitants of the vast territory.

Although slavery was officially abolished by all the overraces after the Merchant Accords in 234 AB, Alsland has been secretly continuing the practice since then, abducting and enslaving goblinoids from the region. Under the pretext of defense or in response to fabricated border raids, alslandian mercenaries have been clandestinely terrorizing the voiceless primitive peoples of the Witchlands for years.

The unofficial name, the “Witchlands”, was first given to the territory by the country of Alsland fifty three years ago, after the Order of the Crimson Coin first organized raids into Alsland out of the territory. It was then when Paloy (or “Ploy” as he’s come to be known), leader of the Order of the Crimson Coin, entered into the region seeking allies in his war against the Sellspell Wizard Company. Sick of the daily attacks by the vicious alslandian mercenaries, the many tribes of the region quickly set aside their differences and allied themselves with Paloy and the order. Although initially famously unsuccessful, the organized raids into Alsland began to improve. After several successful raids, and one particularly memorable air assault on broom sticks, an alslandian propaganda campaign to demonize the region described the territory as the “witch lands”. The name stuck.

Now, thousands of slaves have been freed from the merchant nation, most of which have remained in the Witchlands to join the fight. Although still heavily guided by the Order of the Crimson Coin, the territory has produced its own basic government lead by a cunning goblin named Rugalug. The seemingly dim-witted goblin is a master of diplomacy. Using a combination of wit, intimidation, charisma, and deceit, he’s managed to build-up a system of governance out of nothing – a surprising feat of political prowess.

Food distribution, basic education, as well as the teaching of both martial and arcane fighting techniques has been introduced into the region since that system was born – a deed of tall order considering the many disadvantages:

  • The migratory nature of the tribes peoples as well as the climate prevents any kind of agriculture or large-scale production, so food as well as arcane components and weaponry need to be acquired from outside the region.
  • Illiteracy is at near 100% level, so basic education has needed to begin with literacy, something that goblinoids are famously impatient with.
  • Fighting technique was an oxymoron as recently as twenty years ago, so a fighting tournament has been created to promote practice and training.

Surprisingly, off all the difficulties, the mastering of magic has not been one of them. Basic magic and even intermediate magical techniques have been picked up relatively quickly by the peoples here, especially by goblins, who seem to have an intuitive flare for sorcery. Although not every clan, band, or family of goblinoids has been incorporated into this new system, word is spreading. And as quickly as the people of the Witchlands are organizing themselves, Alsland is arming and preparing itself for full scale assault.

Settlements and Adventure Sites

Rugalug Town
Subterranean Mine Town; Population ~4,000

Once an isolated and remote mine belonging to the since dismantled dwarven kingdom of Khaz Molakka, this long abandoned extensive system of tunnels was rediscovered some thirty years ago. After a particularly vicious assault on his clan, Rugalug fled into the mountains and fell through a hidden mine entrance, giving him the characteristic limp he’s known for. After months of extensive, determined exploration, Rugalug managed to map a sizable portion of the overwhelmingly expansive system of corridors, which meandered under almost the entirety of the Rustblade Mountains.

Somewhere deep within the mountain chain, a single town has been constructed in this chaotic tangle of mine shafts, the location of which is a closely guarded secret. Even those who live here couldn’t tell you exactly how to reach the place as coursing the labyrinthine network of tunnels is possible only with a guide, of which there are very few.

Inside this town (with its famously uncreative name), a eclectic jumble of people bustle about. Although primarily goblinoids, a former slave from every race on Seath can be found here, as can tradespeople, students, mercenaries, recently emancipated slaves, tournament combatants, and order members – all mixing here in approximately equal numbers.

The mess of activity and people is mirrored in the appearance of the town itself. A combination of architecture from across the world can be found here, as well as salvaged mine equipment turned into make-shift housing, primitive goblinoid wood buildings, and consummately wrought dwarven living quarters’. Light is created mostly by enormous bonfires that burn openly within the city, although recently the caretakers of Rugalug Town have proposed an initiative to add everburning torchlights to the poorly-lit winding streets. Suit and ash hang in the already thick air and reduces vision in the enormous chasm the city is built within. Mine cart tracks criss-cross through the town, as do the magically propelled mine carts that give the town it’s strange atmosphere.

The city is the centre of a distribution system which uses the dwarven constructed network of tunnels to its full advantage. Goods and people in any amount can be speedily whisked under the mountain to almost any place in the Witchlands. This allows for troops and wares of all kinds to move quickly across the country, giving Rugalug the tactical advantage he’s needed to sustain his nation of slaves in the war with the superior forces of Alsland. New tunnels and passages are being found and mapped everyday, and almost as often old ones are collapsing in on themselves.

Witchlands

The Cosmoscape Chronicles Torvum