Fire Mountains (4e Environment)
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Towering high above the Free Kingdom of Ironguard, Minia, and Verdant to the east, the Green Lands to the north, and the Fey Realm to the south, the Elementals' Realm is a towering spine of volcanic mountains. All of the highest elevations consist of active volcanoes. Over time they have surpassed even some of the Ochre Mountains in height. Where plants can grow through the basalt they do so in alpine tundras. As the basalt recedes in the lower elevations temperate rainforests are prevalent, especially in the south and mostly in the east, because of the sublimation the Fire Mountains facilitate. In the temperate rainforests many rivers begin their journeys', most notably the Red River. Some of these rivers are large enough by the time they reach the borders to be navigated by watercraft. The other forests, and especially the northern forests, are temperate mixed forests because of the lack of intensive sublimation or because of the interactions with the unnatural Green Lands. The inhabitants dwell underground safe from the eruptions and warmed by vents carrying foul-smelling air warmed by lava. The lower elevations are inhabited by fierce creatures, given free range by the Elementals, discouraging anybody from trying to spy on their well-hidden smithies.
The Elementals control the mountain range. Each Elemental dwells in its own forge buried somewhere in a mountain bearing that Elemental's name. Within the forge, the genasi and dwarven subjects toil away, mining and manufacturing wondrous artifacts for their Patrons. Each forge is run differently. Some are run with rigid efficiency. Others more closely resemble free-wheeling laboratories rather than forges. Some forges have only a few score inhabitants, while others run for miles through tunnels in their mountain and house tens of thousands of subjects.
Craftmanship is the culture of the Fire Mountains. Every subject has a purpose; a job. Most genasi and dwarves do not have proper names per se. they are simply known by the acumen of their craft and their position at the forge. Service to the Patron is the only duty, and pride in one's handiwork the only refuge.
The forges of the Fire Mountains burned in solitude for millennia. While it is rumored that the humans were an early creation of the forges that escaped, few people believe such tales. The Elementals rarely emerged from their mountain refuges and have never been known to trod any lands beyond the Fire Mountains. Over the years, however, individual genasi or dwarves, escaping some real or perceived injustice, have fled into the Free Kingdoms, but the Elementals seem to have made no effort to recapture them, using the existence of the Free Kindogms as a pressure valve to release unmanageable or incompetent servants.
This changed 200 years ago, when the Caliphate was founded on a philosophy of Ferroclasty. In a forge, a dwarf named Chingiz sought and obtained leave of his Patrons to raise an army of dwarves and destroy the iron-breaking empire. He traveled from forge to forge, recruiting dwarves, and some genasi, to his cause. He gathered an army 10,000 strong. They destroyed the Caliphate's steadfast ally, the Ramhead Rangers (many of whom were descendants of dwarves and genasi previously escaped from the Fire Mountains) and founded the Free Kingdom of Ironguard. The Caliphate is only a shell of what it once had been, thanks to relentless efforts of Chingiz and his successors.