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The Dales

North of the Heartlands, battling against the western border of the Kingdom of Oster sit the rugged Dales, ancestral home of the Dale-Men and the orcs. The place has a reputation for being dangerous and uncivilized, full of giants and barbarians, and animal-beasts whose hungry braying and calling pierce the dark of the night.   Lay of the Land
  • Arid Highlands: True, the Dale-Men and orcs have managed to survive here long, but the rocky terrain and lack of roads make travel with horses and wagons nigh-impossible. However, there is plenty of grazing land for beasts, both herd-animals and hunters' quarries. Inhabitants of the Dales are rarely starved for meat.
  • Diverse Climate: Grassy hills, thin forests, and even small patches of cold-desert can be seen by travelers of the Dales. Moreover, the place has barely been mapped.
  • Devoid of Civilization: Aside from a few tiny villages, there are no permanent settlements here; most of the land’s inhabitants are nomads. The low population and clustered geography have prevented orcs and Dale-Men from developing advanced agriculture, and Dale-culture does not include a tradition of craft-work. Sometimes, enough clay and wood can be harvested from the land to allow for some finished goods to be traded among different tribes, and even to outsiders.
Dangers to Dare
  • Giant-Kind: Ogres, ettins, and hill giants abound in the untamed Dales, dining on herd-animals and other unfortunates.
  • Brood of the Blood-Queen: The Blood-Queen rules this tribe of orcs, who represent the worst of their kind. They claim their territory in the northern Dales, near the Stone Teeth, and sometimes clash with the North-Men. They have been known to raid the countryside of nearby Iscagna, meaning they know how to navigate the treacherous pathways of the Stone Teeth. The Blood-Queen herself is a mysterious warlord who encourages her followers to cross-breed with giants, ogres, and trolls.
  • Perytons: These foul abominations, like a cross between a wolf and bird, with the horns of an elk, reproduce by consuming the beating hearts of humanoids. They live in nests upon rocky cliffs, and are the scourge of Dale-Men herders. Their frightening visages are often featured in stone carvings and totem poles.
  • Loose Soil: Sometimes the most mundane threats pose the most danger. Loose soil in the Dales, combined with the hilly topography, can cause rock- and mudslides when it rains too hard.
  • Thunder-Birds: Dalish legends speak of these enormous rocs that live where the hills become mountains.
Folk & Friendship
  • Totem Druids: They see no room for castles and kings amid their homeland, but are the kindest of the Dale-Men, to be sure. They are the keepers of the Old Faith.
  • Orcswatch: Only recently have the Grim Folk been able to even step foot in this walled village, and even then, they are forced to live in huts and tents on the outskirts of town. Its inhabitants hold a grudge against the orcs over a battle from over two generations ago.
Dungeons to Delve
  • Burial Mounds of the Dale-Men: The area is full of burial cairns of long-dead Dale-Men. Not all the tombs are dangerous themselves, but they are guarded fiercely by warriors who wish to protect and preserve the relics of their culture.
  • The Anvil of Grom: This mountain in the northern Dales is supposedly where Grom crafted the first orcs. Grom isn't much of a blacksmith, which explains their somewhat monstrous appearance. What would be a site of great pilgrimage in other religions is instead an accursed place to the Grim Folk. Their religion states that any orc that visits there will be die soon and be made Grom's slave for an eternity. The mountain is riddled with caverns, and if one wishes to hide themselves or their valuables from the orcs, the Anvil would be the place to do it.
Details to Discover
  • A massive wooden totem, dedicated to benevolent nature-spirits, but unattended by any sorts of druids or priests.
  • Dozens of alcoves carved into a sheer, rocky hill, each one filled with the bones of a great orcish warrior.
  • A tall spire of stone, at the top of which seems to be a great fist carved from the earth.
Type
Rolling Hills

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