Ryopytav Mountains

The Ryopytavs are a volcanic mountain range located along the northwest coast of Ruavronor. They are part of the "Ring of Fire", a series of volcanic mountain ranges that ring the Mother of all Oceans.


Millenia ago, the Ryopytavs were created by lifting and folding along a tectonic plate boundry where the oceanic plate dives under a continental plate. As the mountains were pushed inland, the great preassures deep beneath the mountains melted some of the granite substrata, resulting in geothermal and volcanic activity. Several of the highest peaks in the range are active volcanoes. All along the mountain range, ecosystems are affected by the geothermal phenomena. Hot mineral springs can be found throughout the region, attracting specalists that might otherwise succomb to cold temperatures. In addition, subterranian cave systems, usally carved out by the rushing waters, are sometimes bisected by cravasses exposing molten lava flows far below. And, of course, once in a while (roughly once every couple hundred years) a volcano looses its top.


With elevations between 14,000 to 17,00 feet, the Ryopytav mountains tall enough to impose a strong rainshadow. This vertical barrier combined with the coastal effect moving east from the Mother of all Oceans via the Dagger Inlet creates three distinct ecosystems: alpine, semi-arid highlands, and temperate rainforest,.


All ecosystem cycles in the Ryopytavs revolve around seasons of snow/rain and seasons of melting.


The alpine region collects and shares out water to both sides of the range.

Snow and winter storms are a constant feature during the winter months. A single winter storm can dump 5 feet or more of snow in two days, or 10 feet in a week. Annual averages easily top 700 inches, creating the hundreds of snowfields and glaciers along the peaks and ridgelines. While these areas sport a snowy mantle all year long, the slopes below 5,000 feet experience a spring melt, opening the passes a few weeks after the Spring Equinox. The month "Flooding" is aptly named, as waterways on both sides of the mountains swell beyond capacity, sometimes even carving new channels. Summer is a brief moment of floral exuberance, lasting only 12 to 14 weeks; by Samhain, early winter storms have dumped enough snow to close the passes.


The alpine ecosystem is defined by verticality, and a definite sense of "you can't get there from here." Plants and animals that live there year-round must be hardy enough to survive harsh winter storms and deep snow. Before winter sets in, fauna that can migrate generally move to lower regions for better forage in pastures on both sides of the mountains. Many of the omnivores tend to hibernate (bears and owlbears) or brumate (litlikonsk and seer's frogs). Others simply put on heavier coats and spend most of their time in shelter (beavers and mountain selkie). A few thrive in winter, most noteably the wooly rhino, still to be found in very remote alpine valleys. The spring melt, also known as "breakup" activates all the ravines of the range with white water and spectacular waterfalls. Below the treeline, meadows burst with wild strawberries and wildflowers. Residental fauna become more active, welcoming a new generation, and generally eating as much as they can. As the forage becomes richer, migrating fauna such as elk and deer, return from winter pastures to enjoy the bounty and mild temperatures. Autumn is marked by the return of migratory salmon and the "boom" of bighorn sheep mating rituals. Bears, usually rather solitary, gather at fishing spots to gorge on salmon. Early winter storms can blow in as early as late Emberwatch, and by a week or two before Samhain the passes are again closed by snow. Winter rules again, The ursine mamas bed down for their nap, to dream of spring cubs, while the lucky wooly rhino welcomes a new calf to a snow swept meadow beneath the glaciers.


Semi-Arid high desert dominates the eastern side of the Ryopytav range.


The result of the mountai range's rainshadow, the semi-arid ecosystem of the Eastern Ryopytavs is characterised by a lack of precipitation. Rainfall averages about 9 inches per year - snowfall another 11 inches - falling mostly in the winter months. Meltwater from the snowpack keeps creeks and streams running year round, but the thin and rocky soil retains little moisture. The forests are dominated by conifers and other trees that are drought tolerant. Still, there is enough forage for large beasts such as elk and mountain goats.


The terraine here shares the vertical nature of the alpine region. Late winter avalanches and spring waterflow cut deep ravines through the soft sandstone and other sedimentary rock, sometimes building up great tangles of downed trees and boulders. Most of the trails connecting valleys and settlments follow waterways, and are sometimes made impassable due to flooding. Winters here are generally more mild than in the central plains, although in deep winter temperatures can fall as low as the single digits. Spring comes a month or so earlier than in the alpine region; the avian migrations reach this region usually in late Flocktime. Spring flooding is expected, even welcomed, as the agricultural regions are renewed, and mineral wealth is washed down from the glacial morains. Summer brings heat - temps regularily in the 90's to 100's F - and significantly less rain. Most grazing animals move higher into the alpine meadows. However, at elevations between 1500 to 2000 feet, the runnoff from snowmelt provides a consistant supply of water, supporting water loving vegetation along the waterways. Later in summer, as the spring groundcover dries out, wIldfires are a normal seasonal occurance. In fact, many local species depend on fire to thrive. In more remote areas, sightings of pheonix pyres have been reported. Autumn brings a welcome return to seasonal precipitation and lower temperatures.


A Temperate Rain Forest thrives on the western side of the Ryopytav range.


Traveling west over the Snow Squall pass, the temperate rainforest is a wonder to behold and feel. An important characteristic of the temperate rainforest is humidity. Even during the summer, when the skys tend to stay clear, the ground is fairly saturated, creeks are full of meltwater, and ocean breazes carry quite a bit of moisture. Spanish moss, ferns and fungi grow luxuriously beneath the canopy of huge trees, both decidious and coniferous. Wherever a clearing has been created, wild blackberry and rose brambles compete to aquire every inch of sunlit soil. Creeks and streams crash and tumble down steep ravines, sometimes pooling in little ponds or marshes, before continuing their journey down towards the Se'ahl Sound.


The exuberance of plant life adds a gentle blanket to the rocky exterior of the western slopes. Traveling here may involve a lot of inclines and declines, but generally you can get there from here, unless your way is blocked by water. Most flora and fauna are year-round residents, taking advantage of the mild climate provided by Mother Ocean. Winters there (below 2,000 ft elevation) are quite mild, but wet; lows are rarely below freezing for any length of time. Winter and summer are brief seasons bookended by lengthy springs and autumns. Summer temperatures rarely climb above 80 degrees and evening lows are usually in the low 60's. So the brief, sunny warmth of summer is treasured by inhabitants who spend three quarters of the year dampened by frequent percipitation.


Watersheds created by the Ryopytav Mountains


Heavy winter snowfall ( at elevations above 2,000 ft) provides summer meltwater that feeds innumerable creeks and streams in these mountains. The west side of the mountains contribute a significant portion to the Miskafiska River watershed, including major tributaries such as the Coldur River. On the west side, several rivers running more or less due west, drain into the Dagger inlet and Si'ahl sound.

Highest Peak
Mt Tahoma: 16,347 feet
Other notable peaks
Mt Kulshan, Mt Aapeli, Dakobed, and Mt Ashblood.
700 miles, N-S
80 miles
Commercial passes
Snow Squall (3,022 feet), Miskafiska River Gorge (4,000 ft to sea level), Cinderfall pass (4,817 feet)
Historical Significance
  • Natural barrier to Orc armies during the Orc wars (991 - 1026 CE)
  • Mt Ashblood - catastrophic eruption 1325 CE
Alternative Name(s)
An echo of the Sword Mountains and the Cascades
Mountain Range
Vehicles Present
Characters in Location
Related Tradition (Primary)
Inhabiting Species
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