The Barony is a fairly wild and exciting region. From the magic-drenched wierdness of the Enclave woods, to the paranoid corruption of Paralyth, from the ancient ruins of the Larcax Forest to the fishy banality of TinTab and Lake Taber.
The Barony is mainly filled with little villages and hamlets (that often have a lifetime of just weeks), with only a handful of major settlements. There is also a number of forts scattered around, reflecting the constant dangers that exist from wild beasts, organised raiders and forces of magic.
The Main Towns and Cities
- To the north-east, along the river Skarr, Calder seems to suffer from the same phenomena as the Enclave woods. Although nowhere near Enclave, and only just within Larcax Forest, it experiences more wierdness than any other major settlement. Its inhabitants tend to be mystics and wierdoes, who believe that Calder is built on a site of ancient power and mystery, and who wish to unearth its secrets. They can be protective of their town, and have been made suspiscious of strangers.
Calder is the town to go to for the more arcane magicks, and to seek solutions to problems that nowhere else can solve. It has the largest proportion of mages, (more than Keese, although less organised) particularly mad prophets and mysterious hermit-types.
Although the town is not too dangerous, the weak-minded risk their sanity by staying there too long.
The people of Calder tend to follow Lomara, and a few shrines to her are scattered about.
- The most northern city in the Barony, Helyth is actually under the control of the Duke. The Duke, suspecting betrayal from the Baron, has filled Helyth with spies. As a result, it is a town of paranoid people, always cautious as to what is said or done, in case they incriminate themselves.
For various complicated political reasons, there is a high military presence in Helyth. Both the Baron and the Duke have large numbers of troops stationed there. This only adds to the tension in the place, but does mean that it is the place to go for weapon supplies.
Helyth is the safest town in the Barony if you don't make any mistakes. One wrong move, one suspiscious word, and you will be imprisoned or executed.
Churches to Yorcas and Hagol exist in Helyth.
- As Keese is the centre of adventuring activity, it is the city that SLuRP is based in, and thus it has its own page.
- Lies some distance to the north-east, on the boundary between
Serithal forest and the
Skarnon mountains, in the shadow of
Mount Skaralyth. The mountains and forest are
rich with minerals, and the town was built up on the wealth created from mining and so forth. Paralyth is one of the richest settlements, but is also the most tangled cauldron of corruption and backstabbing intrigue that you are ever likely to find.
Control over Paralyth and the riches it represents is visciously fought over by a number of rival families. Any strangers who visit the city will immmediately be descended upon by spies trying to ascertain their allegiances and motives.
The dangers of Paralyth are myriad, but you are unlikely to see what kills you. If you want to stay there, buy a stout lock for your door.
The people in Paralyth don't do religion.
- The first city of the Barony lies north of Keese, along the
Great Northern Road and through
Rinthal Forest. It is a thriving city, with merchants and traders coming from all over to sell their merchandise. There is very little that can't be bought in Rasath, from the mundane to the arcane to the downright sinister.
There are many aspects to Rasath. As the thriving centre of trade for the Barony it is full of lavish nobles and wealthy merchants, but it has its more shady aspects too. The Rasath thieves' guild is very powerful, political corruption is rife, if you explore the darker backstreets you can find dens of sin and slave auctions.
Keese has much in common with Rasath.
Rasath as a town tends to make a point of following
- Lies to the north-west of Keese along the river Eber. It is situated on the east bank of Lake Taber and, although it is of little interest to anyone but fishermen, tends to be the city most often visited by adventurers.
TinTab used to be a very safe place, but recently it has become the victim of various threats from the surrounding lands, including bandits and wolfmen and even demonic visitations. Smuggling rings are growing in power, and it is slowly becoming the main drug-producing city of the barony. Being fairly out of the way (and notorious as being dull and boring), it is rarely visted by the Baron's men.
As a rule, there is no reason to go to TinTab unless you crave a particularly fine fish dinner, but occasionally someone with connections and insider knowledge will send some adventurers in to sort something out.
TinTab residents almost all worship Knort, and the only church to him is here.
As a rule, the forts offer nothing more than food and shelter for travellers and adventurers, but they are often good sources of information and supplies. They usually have blacksmiths, healers and so forth, as well as a few taverns and a couple of shrines (usually to Yorcas, sometimes to Lomara or Hagol), but it is rarely worth staying long.
- Fort Deltane
- Stands guard over the Deltara Pass that leads to Stanilov. Still often troubled by attacks from wolfmen it was only recently reclaimed from their control.
Deltane was the site and focus of the first and last battles in the Wolfman War.
- Fort Enclave
- The Enclave woods to the west of the Larcax Forest are thought by many to hide a gateway to the Kingdom of Faerie. The fort was built to provide a barrier between the woods and the barony, rather like Fort Wrath. Soldiers are rarely stationed there long before the wierdness threatens to steal their peace of mind.
As an aside, Fort Enclave makes the most evil liquor known to man.
- River Fort
- Located on the river Taber, on the far side of Lake Taber, River Fort is far out of reach of regular communications with the rest of the Barony. It is rumoured that the entire Fort has succumbed to cultists, and is wallowing in corinthian decadence.
- Fort Trandor/Rendel
- Located at the eastern edge of the Larcax Forest, at the foot of the Barren Peaks Fort Trandor is another place still often troubled by wolfmen.
It is full of some of the toughest troops the baron can spare, now especially after the Wolfman War.
Within a mile of Trandor is the small mining settlement of Rendel, populated entirely by the largest men you'll find. The (frequent) barfights in Rendel are destructive affairs indeed. These barbarians risk the dangers of attack to mine gems from the mountains.
- Fort Wrath
- This fort was created as the last staging post before the infamous chasm of God's Wrath. The soldiers stationed there regularly report seeing beasts of unimaginable horror within the chasm, but no explorer has ever actually ventured in and returned.
Fort Wrath used to be the place where only the toughest soldiers were stationed, but too many were lost trying to prove that they were hard enough to survive the chasm. Now it tends to be filled with the best soldiers - ie the ones who follow orders.
Fort Wrath buys a lot of liquor from Fort Enclave.
- Enclave Woods
- It could be argued that even God's Wrath is less of a mystery than the Enclave woods. Whereas the fate of anyone entering the chasm is certain, the woods seem to change for every explorer, and for every exploration.
There are theories that the Enclave woods are actually part of the Faerie realm, or that the lake at the centre is in fact a pool of liquid magic. Legends abound, but one certainty is that they will provide any explorer with enough astounding tales of magic, beauty and strangeness to last a lifetime.
- Ferithmore Woods
- These woods are traditionally no more than hunting grounds for the Duke, but in the last few years they have become the base of operations of organised outlaws. Possibly inspired by the successes of Garath's bandits in other parts of the Barony, a number of rebel groups have emerged and taken up residence in the woods, striking at the Duke's hunting parties, and occasionally making sorties into the Dukedom itself.
The natural dangers of the woods are limited to irate boar, but the various factions (many of whom are fighting amongst themselves) make the risks significantly greater.
- Green Wood
- The Green Wood could easily be considered an elven reservation. For many of the elves who find themselves in human lands, this is the only place they can feel at home. Here there are tall trees, and locals that don't insult their ears. Here society is based on the elven way of life, and not the politics and beaurocracy the humans are so fond of.
Of course, if you're not an elf and you enter the wood, you will be treated as an outsider and a trespasser.
By mutual agreement, the Baron allows the elves to make their own rules within the wood, on the condition that they allow one of his representatives to oversee everything that goes on, and to have the final word.
- Larcax Forest
- The forest in which lies Keese is ancient indeed, and full of adventure. It is littered with ruins, filled with orcs and wolfmen and bandits and all sorts.
Travellers through Larcax are guaranteed to meet something unfriendly, which is why there are so many adventurers in Keese.
The southern regions of the forest were considered the ancestral domain of the wolfmen, but with the ever more frequent incursions of the humans, the wolfmen became angry and tried to repel the invaders, resulting in the Wolfman War.
- Rinthal Forest
- At the centre of the Barony, the Rinthal forest has a population of bandits that some say exceeds that of the rabbits. Certainly, with the rich trade that passes through the forest to Rasath the bandit problem is the worst of anywhere (even worse than around Keese) but with the rise in power of the Garath bandits (who started here) one is no longer likely to be robbed twice in one day.
Other than the bandits, your unlikely to meet anything more threatening than a goblin.
- Serithal Forest
- The Serithal Forest, as with the Skarnon Mountains, is a place of much danger, but great potential riches. The weather in the east of the Barony tends to be ferocious, and the creatures that live there have to be mean to survive. Although few of the more intelligent(?) creatures are found here, many creatures such as trolls and ogres make the lives of the prospecters and miners who are attrected here, perillous.
- Skarnon Mountains
- This range of mountains is forbidding indeed, with chasms and crevices as deep as an ocean and with peaks and scrags that srape the clouds. The tallest and most forbidding of all is Mount Scaralyth, but even reaching its foot requires navigating some of the most treachourous ground in the region.
Most of the dangers of the Skarnon mountains comes from the landscape itself, and from the unforgiving weather, but there are certainly enough large beasties around to worry the most experienced of adventurers.
- Barren Peaks
- Although a few rich but isolated seams of gems or precious metals have been discovered, the Barren peaks are most noted for simply being uncaring. Whereas the Skarnon mountains seem actively hostile, and God's Wrath is essentially a gateway to death, these mountains are just unforgiving. To navigate them requires inhuman endurance, but one doesn't get the same sense that you are about to die. You feel as if you are already dead.
While there are certainly a good number of creatures that live in these peaks, (wolfmen, trolls, ettin) you can go days without seeing a trace of them.
The discovery of the Deltara pass made the penetration of the Barren Peaks possible for the first time.
- Mount Scaralyth
- The highest and most forbiding mountain in the whole dukedom, Scaralyth has not yet been conquered. Treachourous slopes, viscious weather and an alarming population of rock trolls and other nasties make this a true challenge that many of the greatest explorers hope will be their crowning glory.
- God's Wrath
- Why the God's Wrath chasm is so dangerous is still a mystery. What is certain is that it is the home of the most frightening creatures known to man. Adventurers so tough they have entered into legend have met their ends in the chasm; whole battalions have entered and vanished without trace. If anyone were to enter and return, they would instantly become the most famous heroic figure ever.
Although nothing is actually known about what lives in the chasm, it is widely assumed to be a home for dragons, and as such is expected to have the potential for the discovering of untold riches.
- Lake Taber
- Lake Taber represents (at least to the people of TinTab, who care about such things) an inexhaustable supply of the greatest variety of fish imaginable.
As with any lake this size, especially when the only settlements around it are full of fishermen, there are countless legends of monsters and beasties that lurk in its depths. Although most are certainly nonsense, it is true that TinTab has become the recipient of troubles from some most alarming creatures.
Other Important Bits
- The Great Northern Road
- The major trade route in the barony (indeed the only decent road) starts from the capital of the Dukedom, leads past
Helyth, Rasath and
Keese, to the Deltara pass and, ultimately to Stanilov. It is the combination of this road and the Pass that has opened up trade with Stanilov, and is primarily responsible for the growth of Keese.
- The Deltara Pass
- Until around fifty years ago, the Barren Peaks formed an impenetrable border between the Barony and the mysterious Stanilov. Then, the Deltara Pass was discovered. Although narrow and tricky to traverse, and even though it lies in the heart of the most dangerous part of the Barony, it was still important enough to warrant the building of the Great Northern Road.
Now, the pass is navigated daily by the boldest of merchants, seeking what riches and treasures Stanilov can offer.