Dragons' Tears Mountains

Cutting the west of the continent of Euristan in twain, the Dragons’ Tears Mountains are a remote, lawless area that only hardy folk choose to live in.

Geography

This mountain range is characterised by the numerous false peaks, carved into jagged, pointed outcrops by the vicious winds that batter the highest points, with the action of the wind over thousands of years giving many of the mountain tops a characteristic curl towards the south. Legend, though exactly whose legend is lost to the mists of time, says that the mountains were formed by the tears of a multitude of ancient Dragons, when the first of their kind passed away.   In addition, the mountains have incredibly deep, and often very wide valleys in between the mountains themselves, some of which are thought to be so deep that the land at the very bottom feels at the same altitude as the low land to the east and west. These valleys are havens for plants, wildlife and the area’s inhabitants, though they are not without their dangers. Avalanches that rip down the steep mountain sides are a constant risk and in many valleys whole swathes of trees have been ripped up by their roots and tossed many miles away from their original locations.   During the spring and summer, almost all of the Dragons’ Tears Mountains’ valleys have a multitude of streams and rivulets that flow down the slopes, fuelled by the melt water produced by the thawing snow and ice on the peaks. There are many valleys that local animals and humanoids avoid entirely during the warmer months as they are reduced to little more than fast flowing channels of frigid water.   However, despite the number of valleys to be found in the mountains, there are few passes that cut right the way through them. The largest and most notable is the Wyvern Pass, which provides a vital trade route between the Empire of Turelion's Ferio Province to the east and the nations and city-states of the Wyrm Steppes to the west.

Fauna & Flora

Whilst little vegetation is able to survive on the rocky mountain tops, save for hardier species of moss and lichen, the deep valleys of the Dragons’ Tears Mountains are home to small forests of coniferous trees and innumerable species of fern, which in particular thrive in the shady vales. Some of these ferns are known to grow so large that they rival the trees in terms of their size and the expanse of their foliage.   Like many mountainous, wilderness areas, the Dragons’ Tears Mountains have a large body of native wildlife, one of the most characteristic of which are the locally known Helmet Head Goats, who nimbly navigate the steep mountain slopes, and whose mating contests – solved through the literal clashing of heads- can be heard echoing through the valleys for miles around.

Natural Resources

Whilst the Dragons’ Tears Mountains are relatively poor compared to other mountain ranges in Kelbonnar when it comes to deposits of base metals, there are riches to be found here, though most of the mountains’ bounty is focused in the north.   The northern reaches of the mountain range have bountiful supplies of Blackpowder, whose extraction and export is the mainstay of the City-State of Kazkmal as well as diamonds, mined by the serf population of the Vampires of Ymeris and exported around the Material Plane. Natural resources from the mountain rocks themselves are scarcer the further south one travels along the range, and little prospecting activity takes place in the southern reaches, as the deposits of base and precious metals are deemed too costly or remote to access by the nearby geopolitical entities.   One resource that is readily available across the whole of the mountain range, however, is timber, thanks to the heavily forested mountain valleys which are scattered all over the Dragons’ Tears Mountains. Whilst logging activity is more limited on the north facing slopes of the mountains, thanks to the paucity of geopolitical entities there, these wooded valleys are heavily logged by Ferio Province, who exports the timber to all parts of the Empire of Turelion and beyond.  

Inhabitants and Exiles

  Compared to other mountain ranges in Kelbonnar, the Dragons’ Tears Mountains are by far the most densely populated, though in reality it as a traveller through the region, it would be easy to assume that one is completely alone, with the sheer size of the range still making encountering other humanoids a relatively uncommon occurrence.   The reason for the higher population in the Dragons’ Tears Mountains is that, since the beginning of the Divine War, many of the previously settled populations of the Wyrm Steppes have fled there, seeking the safety of the mountains from the crossfire of the war between the Divines. These people, who once inhabited places such as the now destroyed city of Von Mulhof and ruined town of Seacrest, amongst others are now known as the Exiled Tribes, and they have adapted well to life in the Dragons’ Tears Mountains, using the deep valleys as their homes and as bases. Many of the Exiled Tribes now use their new homes to raid the territory of nearby peoples, to supplement their resources and steal that which they no longer have the means to make themselves.
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Mountain Range
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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