Moertus Geography (4e Moertus Supplement)
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The Arkosian Forest lies in the far northern reaches of Norlund. It’s most northern edge borders with the Crater Bay. The forest is mostly made up of coniferous trees and plants, with oaks, maples, and elms scattered among them. Most animals and creatures that inhabit Cold Forests can be found here, as well the Arkosian Forest is home to sub-arctic versions of Spiders and Ettercaps. Monstrous Spiders, ranging in size from Small to Colossal, exist in huge numbers within the conifers of the Arkosian Forest, these Spiders are statistically the same as those in the Monster Manual except they have the Cold keyword. Large sections of the forest are draped in thick webs spun by millions of these creatures. Tribes of Ettercaps, also the same as those in the Monster Manual except with the Cold keyword, make there homes in and among many of these spider infested areas. The area where the forest now grows was once the site of an enormous Arkhosian city, ruins from this lost time still dot the forest and are often used as homes for the numerous creatures that live here. As well the Arkosian Forest is home to the Drow Elves, they make there homes both within the ruins of the Arkhosian Empire and in subterranean burrows built beneath the spider infested trees of the forest. The Athar Forest has snow fall for nearly 9 months out of every year, in some areas along the edge of the bay snow lies on the ground year round.
The waters of this southernmost bay often have a deep reddish hue when the tides roll in. The cause may be from the series of volcanic islands that can be found within the heart of the bay, called the Ruby Islands. These 3 small islands are covered in thick jungle growth that is home to millions of insects, during the summer months huge clouds of these bugs fill the air and form a shifting haze around the islands as they fly about in their mating rituals. Many of these insects end up dead and floating in the surrounding waters, staining the sands and surf a deep reddish color that gives the islands their names. Aside from the insects, the Ruby Islands are home to several Red Dragons. Many say that they have packs of Salamanders as well as Dragonborn tribes that serve as their slaves, but none have returned from the islands to confirm this. As well any animal, or creature, that lives in Warm Forest environments may be found here.
This massive bay stretches from the frozen arctic polar regions to the very edge of the Athar Forest. Legend says that the very capitol of Arkhosia was built here, but as the war with Bal Turath reached its peak they called down a massive stone from the heavens that shattered the land and left this huge crater in it’s wake. Regardless of how it was formed, Crater Bay is deep, dark, and icy. Large portions of it’s northern edge are frozen solid, and periodically large pieces of this frozen mass will break off and float across the bay, making navigation here perilous. Those traversing this bay may encounter any animal, or creature, that can live in this Cold Aquatic environment.
This huge temperate forest lies in the center of the continent, and is home to the Elves of Moertus. It borders the Rigsholm Mountains on it’s western edge, and it’s other borders touch every Human nation to the north, east, and south. The forest is made up of a mixture of many broadleaf trees (such as Oak, Maple, Birch), as well as some coniferous trees and plants within its lower layers. Although the Elves claim this forest as theirs, many other creatures live within its confines. Along the border with the Rigsholm can be found the valley of the Gnomes, called Gnomvale. As well gangs of Trolls and packs of Owlbears prowl the forest at will. Also most other animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate Forests may be found here. But by far the greatest danger of the Feyois Forest lies deep in it’s northern reaches. It is there that the several Green Dragons, make their lairs. These monsters control tribes of Gnolls and Dragonborn slaves, that both patrol the surrounding forest, and carry out its bidding when needed to. The Feyois Forest is also the location of most of the portals leading to the Feywild, before the “Fall” Eladrin openly traveled from there to this world, trading and offering help. With the “Fall” they ceased traveling to Moertus and attacked any that entered their realm. Within the past few years they have started to return to Moertus, and even now once more allow beings to travel to their world.
This long narrow valley that lies wedged between the Rigsholm Mountains and the Feyois Forest sits submerged beneath a large canopy of massive oak trees. The thick coverage blocks most of the sunlight from reaching the lower layers and ground coverage of the valley. Because of this there is little plant growth beneath these huge pillar like trees although the dark, damp, and cool conditions allow for rampant growth of all forms of mushrooms and fungi. Many of these fungi grow to impossibly large sizes, with some mushrooms reaching 8 to 10 feet in height. The Gnomvale has thicker growth along its eastern side, with it thinning as the valley stretches toward the west and the Rigsholm Mountains. The Glittering Gold River as well as several smaller streams flow down from the Rigsholm Mountains into the valley, these rivers bring down various mineral riches that gather along the bottom of the streams. As its name implies this valley is home to the Gnomes of Moertus. The Gnomes live amongst the giant fungi and some make burrows near the gem filled streams that roll down the mountains. Aside from the other creatures that live in Temperate Forests, this region is also home to bands of wild Kobolds (many living in underground warrens at the northern end of the valley) and the canopy is used as a roost for flocks of Stirges. These threats unfortunately keep the Gnomes from leading idyllic lives. Many types of fairies also make their homes within the valley and the surrounding areas of the Feyois Forest, they normally spend their time hidden from the sight of larger creatures.
Great Eastern Ocean
This huge body of water runs the entire length of the eastern edge of the continent. The Human nations ply the coasts for both trade and foodstuffs. The Great Eastern Ocean teems with life across it’s entire expanse, and small island chains dot the surface just a few hundred miles off the coast. Many of these islands are populated with large amounts of flora and fauna, and a few are known to house ancient Bal Turath ruins. Several Blue Dragons Dragons live along the huge coastline or lair on one of the many islands. These creatures are known to use tribes of Sahuagin as slaves. All manner of animals, and creatures, that live in the ocean can be found beneath the waves of the Great Eastern Ocean. As well many legends also speak of a race of mermaid-like beings who live beneath the sea in large underwater cities.
Great Glacial Plain
The northwestern corner of the continent, beyond the Rigsholm Mountains, is a massive plain of frozen tundra, ice, and snow. Along it’s far northern border is a mountain range of frozen glacial ice. This wall of ice will push itself southward for hundreds of miles, before slowly retreating back to it’s original position. These huge glaciers perform this cycle over the course of several decades and repeat it endlessly. Very little lives in this region, only animals, and creatures, that live in Cold Lands or Cold Hills can manage to survive here. The greatest terror of this frozen waste lives within the Rigsholm Mountains at the edge of the glacial mountain range, White Dragons. Gangs of Ettins and tribes of Dragonborn serve these vicious monsters, and kill any who enter their territory.
This region of rolling verdant hills, pastures, and rivers, sprawls from the eastern edge of the Rigsholm Mountains to the western bank of the Glitter Gold River, and as far north as the southern edge of the Feyois Forest down to the coast of the Carmine Bay and the Western Sea. This temperate area has several small woodlands and lakes scattered throughout it, but for the most part sources of water come from natural springs that dot the region, or from rivers that roll down from the Rigsholm Mountains, and plant-life consists of many small fruit bearing bushes and trees that grow near them. As well a huge variety of grasses, weeds, and flowers grow everywhere in the Hillshires, making it a idyllic setting to look upon. Most animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate or Warm climates may be found here but this region is widely known as the home of the Halflings of Moertus. These little people make their homes all over this entire area, and enjoy a fairly peaceful existence trading between villages up and down the many small rivers in this region. Still this region holds many dangers, with the most common coming from the tribes of Goblins and Hobgoblins that live in the foothills at the base of the Rigsholm Mountains.
The region known as Lysandra lies nestled between Rodull, to the south, and the Riddari, to the north. On it’s western border lies the Feyois Forest and it’s eastern edge touches the Great Eastern Ocean. Lysandra itself has few woodlands scattered about it with most found near the Feyois, or the banks of the Eastern Ocean. As well Lysandra has very few rivers or lakes, again with most of these being found near the Feyois or the Ocean. Lysandra was once the home of the Human kingdom of the same name (and many still refer to this region as the “Kingdom of Lysandra“), and Humans are found all across this region. Humans from this region have lighter skin tones then those from Rodull, although many will tan to a dark shade from exposure to the sun. Humans here also have lighter hair colors as well, tending toward various shades of brown with darker shades in the south and lighter shades in the north. Most of them have various shades of brown eyes. As well most animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate climates may be found here. One of the most common dangers faced in this area is that of the bands of Ogres and Minotaurs that make their homes here. While Humans actively hunt them, the creatures nomadic nature makes it hard to drive them completely out of the region.
This vast foul smelling swamp extends from the southern border of Rodull Empire for an unknown distance towards the southern end of the continent. The pervasive stink that curses this region comes from the large amount of decaying vegetation that create huge peat bogs all throughout it. A wide array of trees, grasses, and bushes grow here, with many marshes and quagmires scattered throughout. Insect life is abundant here and as well many animals, and creatures, that live in Warm Swamps may be found here. Of all the creatures that live here the most common are the tribes of Lizardfolk that prowl this region. These evil monsters often prey on any who enter the swamp, but many tribes serve Black Dragons, who makes their lairs deep within the Muskeg Swamp. Although the exact size of the swamp remains unknown, legends speak of a forest beyond the Muskeg that is home to a race of angelic beings who keep tribes of feral humanoids as slaves.
This large, untamed expanse of land lies north of Riddari and encompasses virtually all of the territory in that region from the Rigsholm Mountains to the Great Eastern Ocean, and as far north as the Arkhosian Forest. Ruins that lie scattered about this region prove it was once part of the southernmost edge of the Arkhosia Empire. While not an arctic environment, the climate here stays relatively cold year round, and is famous for it’s long hard winters. Small forests, woodlands, and lakes dot the region in a seemingly random pattern, with a number of rivers flowing from its mountainous western frontier down into the relative flat lands of the east. While no true political divisions exist in Norlund, most of the barbaric Human tribes of this area live on the western side of the Blak Aufeis River, while the eastern portion is home to innumerable tribes of savage Dragonborn and Orcs. Most animals, and creatures, that can live in Cold or Temperate climates may be found here.
This region was once home to the Tiefling nation of the Riddari Union, and many still call it that. It lies just north of Lysandra and south of Norlund. The Riddari Union was first built upon the remains of the last remnant of Bal Turath, and the Tieflings that comprise the largest portion of the population did all they could to remove the stain of their predecessors’ violence. Even taking in Dragonborn refugees from the utterly devastated Arkhosia Empire to the north. During the centuries that followed the Tiefling population has dwindled greatly, and Humans now make up the largest segment of the population, and while there are few Dragonborn here, they are the most civilized remnant of their race still in existence. Like Lysandra it’s western border touches the Feyois Forest, and borders the Great Eastern Ocean on it’s eastern edge. The area has a overall temperate climate, but tends to have freezing winters that many years last longer then is normal in the southern nations. Riddari itself has a large amount of forests and woodlands, as well as numerous lakes and small rivers. Aside from the Humans who live here this region is home to many animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate climates. Some of the most common dangers come from the tribes of vicious Gnolls that prowl the western portion of this region, and from the flights of Harpies that nest within the trees of Riddari’s many wooded areas.
This is an enormous mountain range that slices through the entire length of the continent, starting in the south at the edge of the Carmine Bay and running north to the lands beyond the Great Glacial Plain. This region is so large that it supports several different ecosystems along its length. The southern region, which starts at the Carmine Bay and stretches up to the area bordering the Feyois Forest, has a moderate climate. The extreme altitudes in many areas leave large sections buried under snow year round, but most sections of this area have seasonal weather similar to that of the lowlands in this same latitude, if just a bit cooler. The Dwarves of Moertus make their homes in this region of the Rigsholm, with clans found both near the surface and deep beneath the mountains. Other animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate or Warm Mountains can be found here as well. Some of the areas greatest dangers come from the tribes of Giants that live here. The central region of the Rigsholm runs from the southern edge of the Feyois Forest north to the forest’s northern border. This area has a higher then average altitude, and few lowlands exist between its peaks. The result is an area that tends to stay in near winter conditions all year round, with thick snows and blizzards being common during the actual winter months. Some of this region’s most savage monsters can be found here, with tribes of Bugbears and Trolls being the most common. Although most animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate or Cold Mountains can be found here as well. This region is also home to the Goliath of Moertus. Their tribes roam this region moving as the climate forces them. The largest portion of the Rigsholm is the northern area, it spreads from the northern border of the Feyois Forest and stretches far to the north beyond known lands. As well a western spur branches off the Rigsholm here reaching all the way out to the Western Sea. The northern fork of the mountains is similar to that of the southern region in that it has a fair share of hilly lowlands as well as towering peaks, but the similarity ends there. The higher latitudes give these mountains a constant freezing temperature and snow falls continually regardless of the season. Snow storms and blizzards are very common here, with periodic avalanches always being a threat. The Duergar of Moertus live beneath these icy towers, only coming to the surface when a specific need arises. This area is home to Giants and Troglodytes, but most animals, and creatures, that live in Cold Mountains can be found here as well. The western spur lies wedged between the Great Glacial Plain and the Turathian Wastes, as such the overall climate here is a blend of the two extremes. Winters can be harsh and freezing, while summers can be sweltering and horribly dry. With both spring and fall vacillating between the two with little warning. There are many volcanoes in this area as well, and lava vents, flows and steaming geysers are a common site. Tribes of Giants populate this area as well, but many animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate Mountains can be found here as well.
This region was once home the largest and most advanced Human nation on Moertus, the Holy Rodull Empire. This nation was a theocracy devoted to Erathis, and so may have suffered the worse during the “Fall“. This huge region spreads from the southern edge of both the Feyois Forest (the ruins of the “Free City of Nidaros” lies along this border) and Lysandra, all the way south to the northern edge of the Muskeg Swamp. As well it runs from the eastern edge of the Glitter Gold River out to the Great Eastern Ocean. It’s sheer size means the local climate varies from temperate to the north becoming near tropical at its southern border. Rodull is covered in fertile plains that support a huge variety of plant life, although along it’s eastern borders there are several woodlands and forests, and small rivers and lakes make their way down from the seas and into the Muskeg Swamp. Various creatures make their homes in Rodull, taking advantage of the fertile life and varying climate, but the greatest dangers come from the untamed swamp and Lizardfolk will often raid nearby settlements. As well many animals, and creatures, that live in Temperate or Warm Plains can be found here as well.
The Turathian Wastes cover most of the southwestern corner of the continent, stretching from the Western Sea to the western edge of the Rigsholm Mountains, and as far north as the Great Glacial Plain. The entire region is a vast wasteland of sand, stone, and blasted ruins of the Arkhosian past. This huge desert was once a massive city-state belonging to the Tieflings of Bael Turath, but once the Arkosian Empire dealt out their wrath it became a barren land unsuitable to any not adapted to the hot, dry climate. Most animals, and creatures, that make their homes in Desert climates may be found here. Along the far western edge of the Wastes lie a small mountain range called the Thunderteeth Hills. These mountains are home to several Brown Dragons and their tribes of Kobolds and Dragonborn who serve as their slaves and guardians.
This huge body of water runs the entire length of the western edge of the continent. As no civilized nations exist along its shores the sea remains a vast untouched resource full of aquatic flora and fauna. Several small islands are known to exist off the coast of Moertus but little is known about them. There are legends of a huge continent called Atlantius that once existed within this sea, but was destroyed long before the Arkhosia and Bal Turath empires ever laid their first stone, and stories persist of a chain of shattered islands that are the remains of this continent, islands said to hold great ruins and also said to be home to a race of good Dragons. As well legend says that a portal to the mythical city of Sigil can be found on these islands.
At one time portals to the Feywild existed in nearly every wild place on Moertus. Fey creatures, in particular Eladrins, crossed over everywhere sometimes bringing good and sometimes causing trouble. When the “Great Fall” took place the magical world recoiled in disgust, and many of the portals between worlds closed themselves forever. The strongest of these portals exist near the Eladrin cities of the Feywild and connect to the depths of the Feyois Forest, although during the “Fall” these portals were closed by the Eladrin and have only recently within the past few decades have they been reopened and Eladrin returned to Moertus. As time heals the wounded fabric of reality more portals begin to reappear in the most untamed areas, although many of them are open for but a short period before closing again.
The Shadowfell's dark touch only allowed portals to open during certain seasons and under specific circumstances. Although at those times horrible creatures would pour forth and terrify (if not destroy) the unsuspecting inhabitants of Moertus, returning to the Shadowfell when their evil was done. Sometimes things did not come from the Shadowfell, but where instead drawn into it, forever trapped in an evil mirror of the world it was sucked from. When Aphasius triggered the “Great Fall” he went into seclusion attempting to rend the fabric of the universe and allow the Shadowfell to utterly consume Moertus. Drawing upon the pain and suffering the “Great Fall” created he was able to tear open portals to the Shadowfell everywhere misery was at its peak. All of this also caused the natural forces of the Shadowfell to form even more portals at random, with all of them either disgorging hideous monsters or consuming entire towns and villages into its dark embrace. With the destruction of Aphasius his unnatural erosion of the walls between worlds stopped, but it would take decades for most of the damage to heal. Even though many of the portals are now closed, the veil between Moertus and the Shadowfell is dangerously thin, and portals open with little warning during various times of the year. During the worst of the “Great Fall” many Shadar-Kai crossed over into Moertus to prove their worth destroying the Living Dead, and today many can still be found living amongst the peoples of Moertus keeping an eye out for more signs of Orcus and his followers.