Cliffwallow Marshlands Geographic Location in Nyrheim | World Anvil

Cliffwallow Marshlands

Full of bounty, but only for those willing to work.

Elrik had been wandering in this damned endless swamp for three days now, and his fresh water supply was running low; he'd tried to drink from the abundant tributaries surrounding him, but he was still too close to the coast and all the water was brackish.   "Why did I have to wind up in this hellscape..," he murmured rhetorically to himself, wincing as he gripped his wounded left side. Elrik had been on a ship sailing to the desert of Northern Alfurstad when they were caught in a voidstorm and marooned in a place called the Cliffwallow Marshlands. He'd been separated from the rest of the crew and was trying to find his way to whatever this place might have in the way of civilization, but wasn't having any luck.   *snap*   What was that? Somewhere off to his right the brush moved.... Elrik readied his blade and slowly approached the suspicious area. Before he knew what was going on, rows of sharp teeth and slimy skin were launching out of the water at his face. He attempted to raise his sword in defense, but knew it was too late. The large jaws snapped shut, but not around his head; opening his eyes again he saw the closed jaws mere inches from his face. The reptilian snout was clamped shut by a pair of faintly glowing vines that had seemingly come from nowhere, and as he inspected the rest of the crocodilian creature before him, he noticed that its hind quarters were also bound by similar vines. Elrik heard a chuckle behind him and whipped around to face the newcomer, but lowered his blade when he realized this being was the source of his salvation.   Standing before him was a rather petite yet muscular woman. She had pointed ears and somewhat angular features like that of an elf, but her olive grey-green skin was unlike any he had seen before, almost as if she'd materialized out of the swamp they were both standing in. She did not appear particularly old, but her skin was weathered from what must be a harsh life in these lands, so he could not be sure of her age. Her hands, one above her head and one outstretched in front of her, glowed with the same faint energy that emanated from the vines; this was all the proof Elrik needed to know that she had just saved his life from... whatever that thing was.   "Come," she beckoned, "my vines won't hold that beast forever, and it doesn't look like you're in any shape to handle her when she gets loose."   "Should we not kill it?" Elrik questioned as he readied his sword to deliver a killing blow.   "For what, defending her territory from a strange creature? No no no, we will go our separate ways peacefully." She retorted as she turned and walked off into the mist, "welcome to The Marsh...."

  On the northeastern coast of the continent of Alfurstad, isolated from the rest of the land by the fork of the Serpent's Tongue mountains, lies the Cliffwallow Marshlands. "The Marsh," as it's often called by its hardy denizens, the Swamp Elves , is shrouded in a layer of mist brought about by the area's low elevation and humid climate. To descend from the surrounding mountains and penetrate said mist is to discover a land of rich biodiversity and harsh survivalism; a place where the strong survive and the wise thrive.


As a natural coastal wetland, The Marsh is full of brackish lakes fed by the many streams that descend from the split ends of the Serpent's Tongue mountain range; the pair of mountain ridges that surround this region have been aptly named, The Fork. Though much of the water throughout The Marsh is too brackish for most humanoids to consume, the rivers run fresh at the base of the mountains, creating a disparity in ecosystems between the two areas.

Fauna & Flora

The foothills of The Fork are a lush environment with a diverse ecology, while the lowlands dip below sea level and create an area that requires a much hardier breed of flora and fauna to survive.  

The Foothills

Fauna of The Foothils

Razor-hoofed Gembeck - A hoofed ruminant that dominates the ecosystem and serves as a staple food source for the Swamp Elves . Though timid and peaceful in nature, the gembeck kicks fiercely when cornered, slicing through most hides with the sharp front edges of its hooves.  

Flora of The Foothils

Queensblossom Tree - A small flowering tree that grows at the edge of foothills where the freshwater rivers begin to turn brackish. Queensblossom flowers are prized for both their beauty and their healing properties.  

The Lowlands

Fauna of The Lowlands

Mottled Scaleback - A giant water monitor with a leathery underbelly and a tough, scaled spinal ridge. This secondary consumer in the lowlands ecosystem preys on fish and smaller game, but finds itself a primary target of top tier predators such as snapjaw alligators and trolls.  

Flora of The Lowlands

Turtle Lily - An intricately veined flower shaped much like a turtle's shell, floating on the water atop a star shaped pad. The flower and stem are known for their ability to halt the progress of all but the deadliest poisons, while the pad is often used in poultices for burns from fire and acid.

Natural Resources

The turbulent landscape of The Marsh might lend one to think it is a place of little value, however, they'd be sorely mistaken.  


Though the fish and game of the region are of a tougher stock than elsewhere on Alfurstad, they are no less delicious and simply require a hardier hunter. A further source of plentiful foodstuffs comes in the form of rice that thrives in the wet climate.  


The Marsh is home to many varieties of medicinal plants that are impossible to find anywhere else on the continent. Herbalists, alchemists, and healers brave the treacherous route's over The Fork for a chance to gather queensblossom, alfherb, and turtle lilies for their potions and elixirs.  

A Seasoned Economy

More so than these other resources, The Marsh's greatest natural treasure is the salt taken from the evaporated seawater of the Storvatn Expanse. The unique landscape and mineral content of The Marsh's waters produces a flaky, grey salt that is prized the world over for its exquisite flavor. Given its considerable value, this alfsalt can be used in place of standard currency throughout Alfurstad.  

Barriers to Trade Dominance

Though The Marsh is land ripe with bounty, The Fork presents a significant barrier to trade with the rest of Alfurstad, and the unstable silt-beds on the coast hamper ship-born trade with the rest of the world. As such, much of The Marsh's wealth remains within its own borders, just waiting for an enterprising merchant to crack the puzzle of large scale trade.
Alternative Name(s)
The Marsh
Wetland / Swamp

Cover image: Nore's Mire by Jeremy Paillotin


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27 Aug, 2018 17:38

Mmm, marshes. I liked the read and it sounds like a neat place I would love to see expanded on. :)   Some notes and questions!   Who lives here? You mentioned its hardy denizens, but no information about who lives there, what they're like or how they get around the issue of drinkable water and such. That'd be real cool to know more about!   As an extension on that, I imagine you could write something real awesome about how the salt-industry looks like (and I bet the competition between boilers/dryers is cutthroat, too :) )   On a formatting note; maybe add another line break between last sentence and next header, to spread things out a bit more.

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
27 Aug, 2018 18:14

When I wrote the article for the contest I wasn't 100% sure yet who I would have as the primary denizens of the area, but I have decided on swamp elves and will be adding a bit of detail to this article, as well as linking to the article about the elves.   As for the salt, I'm a cook so I had to keep myself from going into too much detail on that topic in this article. As I get closer to finishing the contest, I will see how my word limit is looking and go back to add more detail, though even if nothing more about the alfsalt makes it into this article, you can be sure that it will eventually have an article of its own! I agree on the formatting, I've been fooling around with it for a while and that's a good observation. Thanks for your comments.

27 Aug, 2018 18:16

Looking forward to seeing that, then. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
27 Aug, 2018 20:00

Excellent overview of this marshland location! I particularly enjoyed the detail you went into about it's natural resources and am intrigued to know more about any myths or legends associated with this place!   I am sure you will link back to this location in future articles, but perhaps a quote in the sidebar about some local history would be a neat finishing touch!

Journals of Yesteryear
You're invited to explore my new world!
27 Aug, 2018 20:15

I'm also excited to learn about the mythos and history of this location as I create it, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!   I very much want to include some kind of quote or journal entry type blurb in the sidebar, but have yet to decide what it should be. I'm hoping that as I write about the Swamp Elves who inhabit The Marsh I will think of something worthwhile. Thanks for your comments.

27 Aug, 2018 20:32

This article is really well written. I was able to get a feel for what this land was like and appreciated the amount of information you were able to include in the small paragraphs. The only issue I think I had was this: "the gembeck bucks fiercely when cornered" This is mostly because "gembeck bucks" is a bit of a tongue twister and I was reading it as "gembuck bucks." It also made me think that maybe you meant the males were called "bucks" like deer, though I realized this wasn't the case when I read further. Perhaps you could change "bucks" to "kicks."

27 Aug, 2018 21:13

Glad you enjoyed the article, that's a good point about the tongue twister. Thanks for your comments.

27 Oct, 2018 00:23

I really enjoyed this article, especially the flora and fauna section! I felt immersed, being able to imagine the marshland's qualities even without images, and am very intrigued about your swamp elves. The prose in the beginning also provided a nice hook!