Outline – The Savage March

What follows is an overview of the far eastern area of the known world not covered by the Carathan Empire or the Satrapys. The eastern boundary of the Forsaken Seas is formed by a vast volcanic plateau commonly known as the Savage March. It reaches from the northeastern steppes of Suraya to the southeastern coast of the Carathan Empire. It forms a vital trade route between the two dominant powers as it is the only reliable connection across the Forsaken Seas.

The Savage March was colonised by the Carathan Empire roughly one thousand years ago, during the period known as the Great Expansion, although the settlers did not have an easy time of it. The terrain is treacherous – prone to volcanic eruptions and overgrown with dense jungle – and the wildlife is extremely hostile. The settlers were hardy folk, though, and the abundant mineral wealth to be found in the Savage March allowed towns to prosper all along the western coast.

The Great Expansion ended a generation later when the Imperial garrisons were recalled to meet the threat of Magister Kerezain’s chaos horde. The wealthiest of the colonists fled back to the safety of the Empire, abandoning their slaves and small-folk. Thousands perished to famine, strange fevers and predation. The towns, monastaries and forts they left behind were rapidly reclaimed by the jungle, leaving only ruins and mass graves to indicate the Carathans had ever been there.

The map is still in progress, but the overall lay of the land can be seen here:

The North

Where the jungle ends and the land slopes towards the sea, at the northern end of the March, lies the port city of Haven. Developed during the Great Expansion as a naval depot due to its natural harbour, the town also attracted traders, mercenaries and explorers. Haven is comprised of two distinct districts – Stonetown, comprising the docks and warehouses that lie below (and in) the cliffs; and Hightown, which contains the residences of the higher and middle classes, the merchants’ district and services the outlying farms.

Haven is nominally a protectorate of the Carathan Empire, with a governor and standing garrison, but true power lies with the Council of Guilds and the Merchants’ Circle. The Circle maintains the fleets that Refuge relies on for trade, while the Council weighs in on matters of domestic law and employs the city’s Watch. Corruption and graft are, while not rampant, matters of everyday life for the citizens of Refuge.

Extensive, albeit crude, farmlands extend east and south from Haven. Several Carathan style villages lie inland and, thanks to the aegis of the city Watch, are largely free from predation. Further afield, in the foothils to the southeast, are a network of coal, iron and obsidian mines. They are owned by the Council of Guilds and operated by slave labour.

The West Coast

Basalt cliffs stand as a bastion against the storm-lashed Forsaken Sea for much of the western coast of the Savage March. Several small settlements are dotted along the cliffs, populated primarily by escaped slaves and descendants of the original Carathan settlers. They eke out a living from fishing, hunting and primitive agriculture. These are a hardy folk, well used to the hostile nature of their home, and exceptionally cautious around outsiders.

The only settlement of a notable size is Slavetown. Built around the remains of a Carathan fort, Slavetown lies at the halfway point for ships making the journey between Ironport and Haven. As the name implies, it is the base of operations for many of the region’s slavers. The raider cartels collect slaves from the south and sell northwards to the Carathan markets. To borrow a phrase, Slavetown is a hive of scum and villainy ruled by whoever has the strongest gang at the time, law being served at the point of a sword or the edge of a dagger.

The South

South of the Ghostwaters is the territory claimed by the Sarayan Satrapies although there is little there to interest them. The jungles give way to grasslands which, blasted incessantly by the desert winds, rapidly become a barren traverse of dusty hills and brown grass. A huge oasis, Al’lanna Alakhir, lies to the far east and is the semi-permanent home of several nomadic horse-tribes. All weapons are forbidden within Al’lanna Alakhir, upon pain of dismemberment, and disputes are settled by horse race. The wagers on such races, especially those that are the result of a long standging feud, can be quite substantial.

The head of the Ghostwaters lies in a heavily jungled crater valley. The valley has a fearsome reputation for hauntings, demons and, of course, lost elven treasures. Few expeditions return.

At the foot of the river is a most peculiar settlement. The last free port before Suraya, Ironport is built around a massive metal sphere that lies one-quarter buried in the earth. A kilometer in diameter, the sphere is smooth and unpitted, with no indications of its purpose or origin. Ironport itself consists of a network of scaffolds, platforms and walkways clinging to the outside of the sphere.

Ironport is the home of pirates, traders and slavers but ruled firmly by the Iron Captain, whose word is law. The Captain is selected by a strange ritual – once a year a portal opens near the middle of the sphere. Any one who enters the portal and emerges from a simliar portal at the top of the sphere becomes the Iron Captain. It is, by no means, a certain thing as most who enter the sphere are never seen again. The only person who knows what lies beyond the portal is the current Iron Captain who has ruled for nearly thirty years.

Ironport is a prominent local power, having a strong naval presence, a defensible harbour and good supply lines. They demand, and receive, concessions from both Carathan and Surayan merchants who wish to travel the Savage Coast.

The Central Highlands

Swathed in heavy jungle and populated by the deadliest fauna in the world, the highlands of the Savage Coast are extremely dangerous. Rich in both minerals and pre-Sundering ruins, the highlands were settled early in the Carathan Expansion. A massive military campaign was waged to drive out the predators and clear steadings for settlement. When the legions were recalled, to defend the motherland, the highland settlements were quickly overrun by hordes of Cree or darkwings. Those that survived predation succumbed to jungle fevers or starved. The bones of these towns, mines and forts are all that is left.

The highlands are a broad stretch of land starting half a day’s walk from the western cliffs and rising several hundred metres to the base of the volcanic ranges that run the length of the peninsula. Unsurprisingly, there are no settlements of note in the highlands. Of interest, however, are the Cree. These snake-like creatures live in communal hives, numbering from a dozen individuals to several hundred, and are vicious – and intelligent – predators. Their hives can be found dotted throught the jungle, often atop the ruins of the Carathan towns they destroyed.


7 Responses to “Outline – The Savage March”

  1. Cool. So how long before we actually get to “explore” the world?

  2. Don’t we have a galaxy to save first?

  3. I thought it was your stated opinion that there was no money in saving galaxies!

  4. Well, to be fair, that was Flynn’s stated opinion. I was, however, looking forward to any attempts to make us care :)

    The point is probably moot anyway since I’ve pretty much dared Craig to do his worst – which means we’re all going to die.

  5. I look forward to the ethical dilemma playing out among the characters. How many of our roleplaying troupe will play true to their characters stated philosophy of mercenaries out to make a quick buck and how many will want to save the galaxy, because that is what you should do. I can already see the two camps forming in my mind.

  6. Now I want to know which camp you think I fall into – as a player.

  7. I think that you will stay true to the character you have developed. Thats the point I was trying to make, some players are able to develop a character with completely different goals and motivations to their own, while other players create characters that are just extensions of their own personality. I feel you fall into the first camp.
    D

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