The Spiny Mountains

Cutting the continent of Hunar in twain, the Spiny Mountains are a remote, lawless area that divides Greltor Province in the east from Norgantho Province in the west.

Geography

This mountain range is characterised by the numerous false peaks, carved into jagged, pointed outcrops by the vicious winds that batter the highest point, with the action of the wind over thousands of years giving many of the mountain tops a characteristic curl towards the south, which in the minds of the people who have traditionally lived in their shadow gives the range the impression of being the spines on a dragons back, hence their name.   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 haven 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 Spiny 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.

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 Spiny 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 Spiny 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

Compared to other mountain ranges in Kelbonnar, the Spiny Mountains are regarded as being the poorest in terms of the natural resources available there. Whilst there are undoubtedly large supplies of timber in the mountain valleys, this is barely exploited at all by either Greltor or Norgantho, as Greltor to the east has bountiful supplies of timber already, thanks its access to the all encompassing Yalthar Jungle, whilst Norgantho Province prefers to import its wood from places such as Ferio or Langstrom Provinces, instead of expending soldiers and resources to trying to maintain lumber camps in the mountains, whilst keeping them safe from the inevitable attacks from the Exiled Tribes.   The same is true of metal ores, which are certainly available in the mountain range, but which are deemed too costly or remote to access by the surrounding provinces, though the Exiled Tribes certainly make use of them, especially the iron deposits found there for the crafting of tools and weapons.  

Inhabitants & Exiles

  Compared to other mountain ranges in Kelbonnar, the Spiny 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 Spiny Mountains is that, in line with the Imperial Policy on Mountainous Regions, the native population of the Relialo Plains were forced out of their homeland and into the mountains as the forces of Machestaro I took control of the area, eventually turning it into Norgantho Province. These people are now known as the Exiled Tribes, and they have adapted well to life in the Spiny Mountains, using the deep valleys as their homes and as bases from which to raid the territory of the Empire of Turelion below them.   However, it is not only the Exiled Tribes that call the mountains home. In the far north of the mountain range, the Vampires of Ymeris have resided in the area for millennia, and have proven to be another hardship that the beleaguered people who once roamed the plains to the west have to learn to live with.
Type
Mountain range
Location under
Included Organizations
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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