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The Outskirts
« on: February 04, 2017, 10:04:41 PM »
The Outskirts



Introduction

The Outskirts, similar to the Southlands, are not a unified nation but a geographical and historical area from the ancient empire. There are several notable areas within the Outskirts. There is the City State of Narim, originally a coastal fortress of the Andünese Empire in the times of the Black Citidel it was abandoned by its Empire, only to be 'liberated'. Narim became a criminal hive, run by pirate kings, and Andünese Kingdom could do little to police it. After the cataclysmic events of the emergence of Kreitas, Narim has been reduced to ruin and sealed on order of the kingdom.

The largest land within the Outskirts is likely the Haldaric Desert.  The endless sea of sand is home to one of the more exotic and rare species of Entar; the Katta. It is also home to the Barbarian Human tribes, nomads who have adapted to the harsh environment over the years, as well as desert Orcs. There is little in the way of permanence in the shifting sands, and settlements are often as mobile as their nomadic builders. The only city that stands within the harsh climate of the desert is that Xak Tsirioth. The city was founded in times of struggle between desert Orcs and the Katta and humans. Those who rallied to build a fortification for themselves eventually founded the city. Through many factors including the harsh environment and the nature of its founders, law keeping in Xak Tsirioth is both strict and intense.

An area of particular note in the Outskirts is the Steppes of Valenthia. A fertile grazing land home to yet more clans of Orcs, Katta and Barbarian Humans as well as some more fantastical and rare species this was a gem which was lost to the Andünese Empire.  When the Outskirts broke free from the struggling Empire it was the major settlement of Olrig's Bluff that made their succession possible. A sprawling settlement on the high mesas of the Steppes, Olrig's Bluff was sometimes referred to as "The Barricade", as its defensible nature coupled with the stretched resources of the Empire made it virtually impossible for any to contest the succession.

Finally, the Quegan Jungle spans to the South East of the Outskirts. Technically the Jungle can either be considered part of the Southlands, or in part the Outskirts, The Jungle is home to further tribes of Katta and Jungle Orc.  Dangerous and exotic, the jungle features nothing in the way of major settlements and is also home to many exotic animals and plant life. The sentient species that occupy  the Jungle tend to move around throughout the year, with the exception of Camp Orgaatar, a large Orcish fortress and the ancient ruined city of Kattan, an ancestral home to the Katta of the Jungle, but essentially a relic that certain tribes may come to inhabit from time to time.

Major Cities

Narim

Narim used to be a coastal fortress and important port, but ultimately became its own independent state governed by pirate kings. After the events of the emergence of the new land, Kreitas, Narim was ultimately destroyed by the initial assault of the magi and the after-effects of the dimensional distortion when the continent fused with Eldanar. While the desolation of Narim is more immediate than anywhere, it may not be the only place like this. Narim became a haven of the undead after the magics died down from the conflict and fusion, leaving the once vibrant port a ghost city where creatures born of malicious magic roam. As a result, the coalition made the edict that none should venture in currently. Make-shift fortifications were constructed around the port, to keep those within from emerging.  Naturally treasure seekers and the like make attempts to get in, most are repelled, but Narim can no longer be considered a city.

Some of the major landmarks follow:

  • The Harbor: Once the life blood of the city, this area of haven for the ships of privateers is a shadow of its former self. The masts of vessels both naval and pirate litter the waterfront, remnants of the destruction of the city. Building fronts are loosely intact, but at best abandoned.  While generally the creatures that emerged from the twisted magics stay clear of the waterfront, it would not be uncommon to see undead shambling around harbor.
  • The Hive: Once rife with gangs, thugs, black market vendors and any level of corruption one could consider in normal life, The Hive has now become a labyrinth of ruination and decay. The ruination of the Hive makes it complex to traverse, with many alleys, cellars and buildings that cannot directly be passed through. To add to this the creatures born of the malicious magic are at their highest concentration, and will stalk any would be treasure seeker through the ruins of the hive like a perfect predator. Because of the original nature of the Hive, its basements and cellars can be home to riches and trinkets worth the adventurous risking their lives.
  • The Hole: Once a place where warriors competed for various reasons, the Hole is remarkably intact, given the state of the rest of Narim.  With this comes an unusual twist. While Narim is now rife with creatures of the undead as well as more supernatural creatures, The Hole is filled with warriors of the fallen. While Draugr do not often appear outside of their tombs, the warrior souls manifested from their graves as Draugr, and battle endlessly with one and other. Any intruder in turn will be attacked by such in the ruins of the old battle arena.

Xak Tsirioth

This city, like many, is born of conflict.  A fortress that people flooded to during a great time of conflict, Xak Tsirioth was built by a hero of the namesake, to protect the free peoples from greenskin invasion from the south.  An important city in the Outskirts, as it served as a bastion for the nomandic peoples of Katta and Humans when the Orcs of the south attacked.  After the fact, Xak Tsirioth became a safe haven in the Haldarac, for all those who had left the old empire.  The city became a trade hub between the north an south of Entar.  The city itself is considered an anomaly by many, as it exists in a harsh environment, but it is a conduit between the lush south and the developed north.  In modern times, while still a defensible location, and still a haven for all, it is more of a caravan hub than nothing else.  The city is built next to a large oasis making it nigh impossible for any traveler traversing the desert not to mark it as a stopping point.

Some of the more prominent locations within the city follow:

  • The Keep: The Ancient keep that Tsirioth used to defend the free peoples. Formed into the rock, it remains a unique and defensible position. It has two access points, the main gate and a secret gate. Normally it houses the officials of the city, and is the place of government, but during times of siege, the Keep is intended to house the citizens of the city. The city has grown since this intention, and no one has tested that it could in fact house all the denizens of the city any more.
  • The Market: Immediately outside the main gate of the keep is the market. Typically cities have many small markets and a main market area, but Xak Tsirioth only has one, and it is expansive. The trade between the north and south of Entar is dependent on this market place, not just for trade, but as a rest stop for caravans heading north or south. Generally the market is much more exotic than one might see in the northern nations, but conventional items can be found.
  • The Farms: Tsirioth was not just a great leader in the conflict with the Orcs, he was someone who could make best with a bad situation. By exposing water from tables under the earth, Tsirioth was capable of running a complex system of irrigation in order for his people to grow crops in an environment as harsh as the Haldarac. They are limited in size, and rely on trade primarily, but the city could survive on rations from their unique farming system for longer than any invader might calculate. Scholars will visit the desert city to behold their farming ability.
  • The Gallows: Because of the nature of governance in the city, crime is not tolerated. That is not to say that there is no crime, but punishment is swift and rarely considerate. As a result, a prominent display of executed criminals, hung by the neck, can be found near the main gate. Often people find this off putting when entering the city, but the government will likely never get rid of it, as not only is it tradition, but a strong ethic of city law remains in effect since Tsirioth's days.

Other Towns and Cities

While the region of the Outskirts is not a collective nation, there are numerous settlements, many nomadic in nature.  Some that are still of note follow:

  • Olrigs Bluff: A natural collection of nomads, the bluff is a shanty town established on and around the plateaus at the entrance to the Steppes. Out of necessity this town has become the gateway through the Steppes and ultimately to the desert. The nomadic people who have settled here are ever vigilant and have found lush regions where they can grow crops and sustain themselves independently. Unless directly threatened, they tend to stick to their own devices.

The Countryside

The Outskirts cover a vast area, most of which are not livable. The Outskirts are historically the region that the old empire could no longer control, but only reached as far south as the free southern coast. From the ruins of Narim down to the base of the Haldarac, and almost coast to coast, this region holds desolation and beauty a like.

What follows are notable regions:

  • The Bluffs: Though Narim may be in ruins, the areas around it are surprisingly untouched.  The bluffs are the most notable countryside, a complex region of cliff faces along the coast.  While generally typical, the bluffs are extensive, and even play host to caverns that spill out from the Underdark. Most of the Bluffs remain unexplored and unknown
  • The Marshlands: To the south of Narim and prior to the reach of the desert is the marshland. Teeming with life and danger alike, it is an area avoided by most caravans. Small tribes of Orcs make their home this harsh climate, but are never bigger than a small village and choose life in the marsh out of a desire for isolation. Generally adventurers steer clear of the marsh as the Orcs that inhabit it are fiercely protective of their clan land.
  • The Valanthian Steppes: Home to many nomads of different races, religions, and crafts, the Steppes not only represent the fertile lands of the Outskirts, but also the gateway to the desert itself. The nomadic peoples of the Outskirts will raise cattle here while keeping a wary eye is kept on travelers and armies alike. Called the barricade for a reason, the steppes can be swarmed with hundreds of defenders easily and quickly with simple signaling. This is a trait passed from the old empire. From the defensive position of the various plateaus, defenders can deter a veritable army from gaining passage if needs be.  It is this protection that has kept a level of political isolation from the northern realms. The most prominent area in the Steppes is Olrigs Bluff.
  • The Haldarac Desert: As many would assume the desert is a desolate place. Home to many nomadic tribes of Orcs, but also the home of many mysterious ruins, the desert claims victims of travelers and adventurers both. Rumor speaks of a elemental fire being living at the heart, but none have survived to confirm it. On the western reaches of the desert the most prominent Orcish settlement exists, though few know much about it, nor travel there. Only a bold merchant would head to Rurag'tar.
  • The Quegan Jungle: While as little known as the desert, the Jungle is the opposite in terms of life. It teems with it, and has vast nature and biological wonders that few have beheld. The more wild Katta and Orc tribes make their home here. They are nigh feral and do not suffer intruders gladly. Additionally, many ruins of ancient tribal nature exist in the Jungle. An unpopulated area of Entar exists beyond the Jungle, though the dangers of the Jungle itself and the high cliffs on the coast make this region one of the few untapped areas of Entar.

Organization

The Outskirts are not in fact a unified nation but a geographical region. As such there is no overall organization. Settlements will have their own organization and governments, much closer to tribal. The biggest military presence in the Outskirts is the hardened army of Xak Tsirioth. Their own council based government controls the army, and the council is made of prominent military figures and merchants alike, as well as representatives from prominent groups such as the remarkable desert farmers.

Otherwise the Outskirts is a true free land, which can bring its own benefits and perils alike.

Credits

  • Original Concepts & Write-ups: Vyse, Solia, Esca Mood, Aerthalion & Ephedel
  • Revised Edition: Davin Ragal & Vyse