The Unsettled Territories
The Territories are currently experiencing the first days of their three to five month long rainy season.
The roads between the Farmlands and Fort First Light have been cleared of nearby bandit camps, largely due to a campaign by Tristan Skipsilver. Skipsilver has been hiring adventurers for odd missions to help maintain Fort First Light.
The Unsettled Territories (Also known as The Blasted Lands (Saxum) and The Grave Lands) are a colloquial name for the lands the lie several hundred miles south of the Kingdom Saxum, along the equator of Solum Orbis. Despite what their name implies, the Unsettled Territories maintain a large population, diverse in race, cultures, and religions. Rather, the name for the territories comes from the fact that no country or force has ever been able to truly colonize the region. While rich in natural and magical resources, the terrain and multiple environments that exist in the territories have historically proven too difficult to maintain control of. Many wars have been fought between countries for control of the Territories, but few have had any success against the mix of dense forests, swampy marshlands, and rough mountains peaked with snow caps.
In the year 1290, The Kingdom Saxum appeared to have wrested control of the region from the armies of native spell casters. In the year 1301, Fort First Light, built at the headwaters of the River Animus, finished construction, and held out as Saxum stronghold until 1344, when a plague all but decimated the city. While many outside of the territories believe that Saxum completely abandoned the Unsettled Territories, Saxum continues to maintain a small garrison of soldiers at Fort First Light. Because of Saxums control over the fort, it became known as the safest place in the Territories and gave raise to the most concentrated market in the region. After the plague, the market attracted many to the city, effectively repopulating it. Thus, the city became something of a melting pot, and counts among its prominent residents both natives of the Territories (often jokingly referred to as the “Unsettled”) as well as citizens of the Outlands. For those seeking to reap the benefits of the natural resources of the Territories without having to adventure into the dangerous forests, the trading hub in First Fort Light offers a much safer (though expensive) option.
The majority of the Unsettled Territories is covered in dense forest, though there are some regions that contain land suitable for farming. The River Animus and its tributaries run throughout the Territories, and it is upon the river that many small villages and towns have been formed. The river runs through the Mons Gelum range in the south, feeding Lake Splendor, before continuing on to feed into the sea.
The Mons Gelum range covers the South Eastern expanse of the Territories, and includes several high-peaked mountains and low lying foothills. Lake Splendor lies on the north western side of the range, and is the location of the regions only known active Hakkari temple in the region. To the south of the range, on the southern coast of the Territories, lies Prison Clusus, a prison allegedly shared by a number of kingdoms but officially recognized by none.
The Southwestern coast of the Territories is a swampy marshland, a land favored by isolationists, arcanists, and occultists. North of the marshlands are the Territories only farmlands, which are populated by small, communal farms that supply much of the food for the region via riverboats and canal transports.
While the wide waterways, dense forests, and rocky terrain provide trouble enough for powers seeking to occupy the region, the true danger comes from the inhabitants of the regions outside of Fort First Light, and the farm lands. The fact that the terrain of the Unsettled Territories makes it easy to remain in privacy has caused the region to become something of a hotspot for illegal and forbidden activities. Necromancy is a common practice in the region, and other strange and wild magics have been reported, particular Simbi, a magic system practiced by locals that is found nowhere else in the world. Decades of isolated magical practices, as well as the natural magics flowing through the land, have left the Territories crawling with bizarre and deadly creatures. There are few places for religious worship in the Territories, and most temples that existed have since been abandoned, with the exceptions of those of Waukeen, Tymora, and Torm in Fort First Light. As a result, many residents of the Territories have small shrines in their households, or carry charms relating to their respective deities with them.