Geography of the Great Crater
The Great Crater is far from being the uniform geographic locale some cartographers have depicted it. It actually contains an astonishing variety of terrain, almost as extensive as its close neighbor, the so-called Broken Lands.
The tall mountains of the Silver Sierras and the Kurish Massif form the southern boundaries of the Great Crater. In some places, the devastation caused by the impact of the meteor and subsequent tremors resulting from the event have caused the mountains to collapse and become broken, rugged lands not unlike those found along the borders of the Broken Lands. In other areas, huge clouds of ash and dust left from the impact have accumulated in such massive quantities that they stretch as far as the eye can see. Such a buildup of ash has had a tremendous impact on the formerly fertile valley regions north of the Great Crater.
Within the Great Crater itself, the Red River, fed by runoff in the high mountains, forms a tremendous waterfall as it pours over the rim, landing thousands of feet below. There, it pours into the crater left by the impact of the meteor, forming Marrow Lake. The lake itself is putrid and dirty, full of ash that is picked up by the Red River as it makes its way southward. There is an almost perpetual cloud of steam in the air of the crater, making it difficult to see into it from above. The source of the heat is not entirely clear, but sages have suggested it is caused by either the still-cooling meteor, or the close proximity of a nearby lava flow to the east (kept from spilling into the crater by less than a mile of rock).
Though quite a lot of ash pits and rocky terrain covers the floor of the crater, the areas surrounding the lake are full of lush vegetation. Some curious nature of the terrain in the region makes it particularly receptive to harboring new and unusual vegetal growth- primarily various types of fungi; possibly remnants of the growth magics used by the former Alphatian inhabitants of the region still exist in the soil.
The caverns surrounding the Great Crater are extensive and ancient, but were not a viable route of transport for raiding humanoids from the Broken Lands until the meteor impact, laying so deep below the mountains as they do. There is one large underground lake, fed by a tributary from Lake Amsorak, in Darokin. Vegetal growth abounds, as do new and heretofore unknown types of fauna. Additionally, there are many subterranean links both to the Broken Lands to the east, as well as to caverns leading further north into Glantri, and west below the mountains of Sind. As yet, very few have explored the extent of these subterranean highways, so it is unknown whether there may be intelligent inhabitants that have not yet been encountered.
Principality of New Kolland
Surface: 3,808 sq. miles (68 hexes) - note: this does not include subterranean area.
Population: 8,200 humanoids (total population includes only those tribes directly subservient to Kol)
Net Income: Negligible
Orcus Dominicus: 1,500
New Kolland, also called South Monsterland, is the home of the humanoids of the Great Crater. Despite the prince's best efforts, attempts to tax the populace have met with no gain. The primary source of income is a monthly tribute to the ruler of gains made from raiding and looting. As those gains are most often in non-monetary tender (cattle, stolen weapons and armor, etc.), New Kolland does not generate any appreciable amount of income to contribute to the crown. This does not bother the Council overmuch, as their main concern is that the humanoids are kept in some degree of control.
Recently, the Prince of New Kolland has been selling off mineral rights in the area, as well as issuing hunting permits (for the non-intelligent monsters in the area only) at considerable prices in an attempt to raise some form of viable income. The region is rich in mineral resources, but it is difficult to organize the humanoids to mine the area.
Tribes of New Kolland
Kolland: The tribe of Kolland (for which the principality is named) makes its home in the area surrounding Prince Kol's seige of Blackstone. The hilly terrain around the capital is similar to that of the Kollander's former home in the Broken Lands.
The Kollanders also live in the extensive caverns immediately below Blackstone, along the southwestern edge of the Great Crater. Their subterranean home is sufficiently far removed from those of other humanoids such that Kollanders are rarely disturbed by outside raids. The sole exception to this are the Trollburgers, who sometimes roam into Kolland by way of their caverns beneath the kobold lands.
The population of Kolland is primarily kobolds, with common orcs and gnolls being the two most prominent lesser races.
Orcus Dominicus: The tribe of Orcus Dominicus consists of the former members of Orcus Rex, in the Broken Lands. After having led the hordes of the tribe to Glantri, their leader King Thar seemingly abandoned them. This has led to some degree of resentment amongst the orcs towards their former ruler.
Currently, they occupy the subterranean caverns of the southeastern Great Crater, and the eastern edge of Marrow Lake. In the far east, their tunnels gradually rise and connect up with the subterranean regions of Orcus Rex, in the Broken Lands. They share a subterranean lake with their neighbors, the Trollburgians, which is fed by a tributary of Lake Amsorak.
Orcus Dominicans get along surprisingly well with the Kollanders and their aboveground neighbors, the Ogrelords. Border wars with Goblinians along Marrow Lake are not uncommon, and the Dominicans are constantly on guard against their Trollburgian neighbors.
The population of Orcus Dominicus is mainly common orcs, with lesser populations of kobolds and gnolls.
Goblinia: The tribe of Gobland resides almost entirely underground, occupying the northern end of the Great Crater in caverns beneath Ohr'r and Tombstone. The only surface regions they lay claim are the ash pits and rocky wastes that surround the northern portions of Marrow Lake.
Goblinians get along well with their bugbear cousins above them, but often find themselves at odds with the tribe of Orcus Dominicus, their neighbors to the east, and the trolls of Trollburg to the south, who like to roam the marshlands. They are sufficiently far removed from the hated Kollanders that clashes between the two tribes are rare. Skirmishes with Shadow Elf troops in the eastern caverns near Orcus Rex are common.
The population of Goblinia consists almost exclusively of goblins and bugbears, though hobgoblins are not uncommon.
Ogrelords: The Ogrelords are a loose confederacy of remnants of the tribes of Ogremoor, South Gnollistand, Hobgobland, and Red Orcland. As their respective tribal leaders broke up the hordes in anticipation of conquests elsewhere (ie, Alebane and Hutai-Khan), or for a mass migration (ie, Hool and Nizam-Pasha), those hordes that opted to remain in the region were eventually forced together out of necessity. Other, stronger tribes took over the surrounding subterranean lands, and the hordes had to learn to cooperate in order to maintain their ground.
The hordes of the Ogrelords occupy the caverns along the eastern rim of the Great Crater, and often emerge into the hills of southern Glantri to stage raids. Their cavern system eventually slopes down and connects with the subterranean regions of Ogremoor, in the Broken Lands.
They get along amiably with the humanoids of Orcus Dominicus, who occupy the caverns below them, as well as with the bugbears of Ohr'r- though the bugbears and Ogrelords sometimes raid one another during slow months. Encounters with Shadow Elves in the caverns near Ogremoor are infrequent, but their greatest enemies are the Hill Giants and Bargda of New Threat, who have made repeated attempts to force the hordes of the Ogrelords to work for them.
Virtually any sort of humanoid can be found amongst the population of this disparate tribe.
Trollburg: The trolls of Trollburg, are a recent addition to the tribes of the Great Crater. Having mostly remained in the Broken Lands during the Great War, they were driven out of the region by Shadow Elves seeking to regain their former city of Aengmor (c. 1012 AC). Unwanted by most of the other humanoids, they managed to find themselves a home deep beneath the caverns of Kolland, with access to the steamy, marshy areas surrounding Marrow Lake.
In their opinion, they get along well with all the other tribes of the Great Crater. In actuality, they are strongly disliked by just about everyone else, due to the numerous raids staged by the trolls on neighboring lands. The trolls don't see anything wrong with it though. They tend to be very cooperative in any sort of joint humanoid activity, which is the one reason Kol tolerates their presence. The trolls have not yet encountered the Shadow Elves in their new home, but given its proximity to subterranean Shadow Elf territory, it is only a matter of time...
The population of Trollburg consists almost exclusively of trolls, though one may occasionally chance upon a member of another humanoid race in their caverns. In such cases, the individual is virtually guaranteed to be one of two things- a spy for another tribe, or dinner for the trolls. Sometimes both at once.
Surrounding Regions of the Great Crater
Tombstone- pop. 1,500 humanoids, plus unknown numbers of undead; includes subterranean regions.
The town of Lizzieni, in the former Principality of Caurenze, was greatly damaged during the meteor strike of 1006 AC. The town's Thyatian inhabitants, fleeing both the massive ash clouds and the humanoid invasions of later years, completely abandoned their homes, mostly fleeing northwest into the dominions of Castelbianco and Verazzano.
Today, the town is populated completely by humanoids- predominantly thouls and hobgoblins- and undead, who have been rampant in the region since the meteor strike. The thouls, by far the most numerous of the town's inhabitants, are able to keep the undead in some degree of check, through their shamans and through undead hunts (feasting on corporeal undead, such as zombies and ghouls). While the Council of Princes debates on what to do with the town, demands for clerics in the surrounding regions (notably Castelbianco), are on the rise.
The thoul shaman Al-Nahmi rules the renamed town of Tombstone from the ruins of Circus Lizzieni. The quakes caused by the impact of the meteor opened up tunnels beneath the colosseum that run far beneath Glantri itself.
The thouls often war with their neighbors in the town of Ohr'r, mostly in the subterranean areas. They have little regular contact with the other humanoids of the region, though two potential Goblinian usurpers have begun to make overtures of alliance towards the thouls.
Ohr'r- pop. 1300 humanoids including belowground terrain; approximately 600 live in the town of Ohr'r itself, along with 200 humans)
In the years following Thar's invasion of the Great Crater, the humanoids managed to control much of the lands of Glantri- almost to the city itself. When Glantri was finally able to push the humanoids back into the crater, the former town of Volnay remained firmly under the control of bugbears led by Chief Ohr'r. Since then, Ohr'r has renamed the town in his own honor, and the tribe of Bugburbia has emigrated from the Broken Lands to the town and tunnels beneath it.
Constable Ohr'r has renewed his ties to the Fellowship of the Pouch (the thieve's guild of Glantri), with the result that the town of Ohr'r has become a popular haven for mercenaries and persons of ill repute seeking employment with the underworld element of Glantri. For this reason alone, the town has gained a semi-legitimate status in the realm. Humanoids (primarily bugbears and goblins) are the main inhabitants, although the numbers of humans are on the rise.
The old bugbear lives most of the year aboveground, these days, in his 'palace' (the former city hall). Meanwhile, belowground, younger bugbears plot to wrest control of the tribe of Bugburbia from him, though no individual has yet risen to prominence.
Ohr'r maintains no diplomatic contact with New Kolland, much to Prince Kol's chagrin, though he still has ties with his cousins in Goblinia. The bugbears despise the necromantic practices of the thouls to their northwest, and are often in conflict with them.
New Threat- pop. 200; 70 Bargda, 130 Hill Giants
In 1006, a large warband of hill giants tore through the southern lands of Glantri. They ransacked the Viscounty of Nathrat, which was still recovering from the ravages of the meteor. They were unusually organized, led as they were by a band of Bargda, who had apparently been living for decades in the high mountain reaches. Lord Ezechiel Naramis and his elvish minions were killed almost to a man, and the giantish races took up residence in the ruins of his keep.
Renamed New Threat (possibly a perverted humanoid pronunciation, though the appellation is well earned), the Bargda continue to direct their hill giant minions from their new capital. Worse still, they have managed to outfit themselves with the armor worn by Naramis' army- armor that had been forged out of a mysterious anti-magical ore that he had discovered in the southern hills near Glantri. It is fortunate that he was too paranoid to tell anyone where this ore lay hidden, or the denizens of New Threat might be even more formidable than they are.
The elvish armor was too small for their giantish bodies, and so in typical humanoid fashion, they wear the armor piecemeal. The result is that they have varying degrees of magical resistance, depending on which race is encountered (the Bargda keep the best bits for themselves). A typical encounter will yield the following percentages of Anti-Magic:
(Note: if playing PC humanoids, as detailed in GAZ10, award an armor type/location x 50%; ie, an arm piece yields 5% AM, as do two knee pieces).
The giants of New Threat do not ally themselves with any of the other humanoids (despite joining in the Ethengar/Glantri war, which was purely for their own enjoyment). They have recently made attempts to dominate their nearest neighbors, the Ogrelords. They are a serious threat in the region, doubly so due to their magical resistance.
Celedyl- pop. 250
The new barony of Celedyl is the southernmost of Glantri's dominions. Established on the ruins of the former Camp Huledain, its ruler Qenildor Erewan has built it into a fortified community since the days of the Great War.
Most of the population consists of Qenildor's army- fellow elves who joined his guerrilla war against the humanoids. As typically happens, a large support group of families and profiteers has followed the band and set up with them. Celedyl also provides a sanctuary to the halfling renegades who followed ex-sheriff Jaervosz Dustyboots to Glantri in pursuit of Ludwig von Hendriks.
Qenildor maintains close contacts with his mother, the Princess Carlotina Erewan, and his recent induction into the nobility has only strengthened their bond. They have already begun to coordinate efforts between his small army and her troops in Fort Huledain. He has also asked, and been granted permission, to have a daughter of the Erendyl Tree of Life set up in Celedyl.
Curiously enough (perhaps related to the mysterious magical growth legacy of the Blackhill people), the land around Celedyl has been quick to support vegetation. Qenildor plans to initiate a reforestation project whenever he gets the resources he needs to do so.
Silverston- pop. 60
The ruined tower of Silverston now is home to one of Kol's chief advisors, the goblin Broknag the Sly. After ingratiating himself with the kobold by providing him with the military skills of Ludwig von Hendriks, Broknag was granted permission to have the tower. He spends most of his time therein, with his clan. He has recently stumbled across a vault belonging to the tower's former owner, Prince Volospin Aendyr, that survived the devastation wrought by the meteor. Craving whatever treasures might lay within, he has been seeking a means to bypass the magical wards guarding the vault, but to no avail.
The region surrounding Soth-Kabree is home to numerous griffons, remnants and descendants of the famed griffon riding force of the former Countess, Aliana Nyraviel. Their presence has been noted as a possible problem to open up a new trade road from Eriadna through the southern barony, and into Darokin (in order to bypass the Shadow Elf controlled Broken Lands).
The keep itself is rumored to be haunted, though tales vary as to what may lurk within the keep. Stories of tentacled, other-planar creatures, to an ancient Nithian sorceror have surfaced, as have reports that the voice of the former countess herself has been heard wailing through the night. As yet, no one has mounted an expedition to find the truth of any of these rumors.
Fort Huledain- pop. 900
Fort Huledain- formed in 1010 AC as a means of curbing the humanoid menace. Carlotina Erewan was voted Viceroy of the fort in a narrow decision between her and Brannart McGregor. Carlotina's 1st and 2nd banners stay here, where they are tied up between stifling undead raids in the Thyatian counties to the northwest, and the giant menace of New Threat to the south. In between, they are also forced to deal with the occasional humanoid raid. Duty at Ft. Huledain is very dangerous, indeed.
Sirecchia- pop. 60
Ruins are all that remain intact in the once proud Viscounty. The Thyatian villages that filled it are abandoned, mostly burned and ransacked or shattered by the tremendous quakes that the meteor generated. Some few Thyatian families have returned to the region since fleeing during the Great War, but none are located within miles of the former capital, the Manor Sirecchia.
Within the tower, which still stands whole and erect (if a bit unkempt and overgrown with vegetation), lives the sole occupant and ruler of the Viscounty, Prince Innocenti di Malapietra. A shell of his former self, he has all but abandoned the few subjects he has left, leaving it to the village council to provide a spokesperson to the Parliament.
Eriadna- pop. 6,000
Eriadna provided a haven for Alphatians fleeing the destruction of Blackhill, as well as some Thyatians from the Principality of Caurenze, though not for long. Shortly after the impact, humanoids laid seige to the town for months. Though never fully conquering it, the town was severely pillaged and looted, and the population, which had risen dramatically, was reduced nearly to the levels it was before the Great War.
Today, Eriadna is still recovering. The town boasts two walls- one inner wall that had always been present; and one outer wall (still under construction) to protect those areas that had developed since the days following the founding of the town. The recent founding of Fort Huledain has been a boon to the inhabitants, as they receive a great deal more protection than before. Yet still do the Eriadnans look over their shoulder, fearful that the humanoids might return in force...
Corran Keep- pop. ?
South of the Great Crater, on the Darokin side of the border, stands the solitary Corran Keep. Long abandoned by any human occupants, there is nevertheless strange nocturnal activity around the fortification. The humanoids avoid this area, as they are frightened away by the structures eery phosphorescent glow in the evening.
Saints and Scoundrels of the Great Crater