9
May

Frontiers – The Goblin Wastes

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom   in Frontiers

This week’s update is dedicated to Taimur.

Stretching between the North Sajoo River and the South Sajoo River, in the rain shadow behind the orc-ridden Wyvern Peaks, lies a pocket of arid frontier called the Goblin Wastes. In it dwell vicious tribes of eponymous goblins, hardy halflings, and monstrous desert creatures. Also tucked between the dunes are riches and marvels, ruins and rare plants and blooms of meteoric glass, that tempt the brave and greedy to risk their doom against their fortune.

The Goblin Wastes, dry as they are, have been ignored by the forces of progress. The tribes of goblins and halflings that dwell there are only an minor and occasional threat to those settling the greener lands to the north and south. The Empire never dedicated the considerable expense a desert campaign would demand in order to pacify the region, and the city-states that have arisen since the Fall certainly don’t possess such resources. Trade and travel between Northport to the north and Cinder Keep to the south are conducted either by rail through Fort Sajoo to the west, or by sea. A few halting attempts to join a rail directly between the two cities were ended by the dangers of the Wastes, leaving islanded stretches of track and the ruins of camps and outposts as silent gravestones of those entrepeneurs’ folly.

The halflings of the Goblin Wastes are a tenacious lot, trained by centuries of adversity with their goblin neighbors and by the example of the Empire’s betrayal of Nasertia’s native elves to be wary of contact with outsiders. However, traders who gain their trust can stand to profit from the relationship. The Waste’s halflings have considerable skill in finding and shaping one of the New World’s unique treasures: the meteoric glass that is found in Nasertia’s dryer reaches. The glass has inherent magical properties, different depending on its natural coloration. For centuries, the halflings traded glass weapons and tools with the elves, and their wares are still incredibly valuable to the settlers that have supplanted them. The halflings of the Wastes also tame and train desert beasts for war and burden, but they are not as famed for this as the region’s goblins.

The goblins who lend their name to the region are unwilling to treat peacefully with the elves who came before or the colonists who now encroach on their sands. Though disinclined to trade, they occasionally hire as mercenaries with those having wealth and a will wicked enough to earn their respect. Like their neighbors the halflings, they are accomplished glassworkers, but they stand out in their art of monster taming. They enter battle driving their dry beasts: giant scorpions, dire rattlers, venom-mouthed heloderm lizards, and more, each painted with the fearsome markings of their tribe. Individual tribes will specialize in one breed of beast, and twice a year, the different tribes send their champion monsters and warriors to sacred sites to battle. The victors of these ceremonial bouts return to their tribes with trophies, tribute, respect, and the right to lead raids against the settlements beyond the Wastes.

Notable Locations:
Howling Mesas – The Howling Mesas are a range of flat-topped hills that fill the Aullido Valley, deep in the Wastes. The wind comes in near constantly and strong over the plains and into the valley, where the channels between the mesas shape its sound into a perpetual howl. The valley is rich in glass blooms, and several competing tribes of halflings and goblins feud over them.
Kelton-Prosser Line – The Kelton-Prosser Line was the proposed rail route that was to connect Northport and Cinder Keep through the Goblin Wastes. The Kelton-Prosser partnership had established rail camps and begun planning and building rail towns along the route before combined losses from goblin raids and a murderous expedition from the orcs of the Wyvern Peaks put an end to the project. Some of the abandoned buildings, tents, and engines still stand, and are used as shelter or navigation points by traders, prospectors, and bandits. The camps on the north side of the Wastes, the Kelton part of the line, are rumored to be staging grounds for the feared Renegados Oxidado, the bandit gang composed entirely of free-willed clockwork constructs.
Ten Blood Arch – A towering natural sandstone arch located a day’s ride due west of the Howling Mesas, the Ten Blood Arch is one of the goblin sacred sites where tribes gather to set their monsters and champions against each other in ritual battles. The ground around the Arch is littered with the bones and chitinous shells of fallen contestants, and the arch and standing rocks in the region are decorated with painted and carved murals depicting the battles fought there. Ten Blood Arch is visible for miles in any direction, and is widely known as a site for travelers to avoid.
Wade’s Gorge – Named for the leader of the doomed expedition that discovered and first explored it, Wade’s Gorge is a deep canyon in the eastern part of the Goblin Wastes, near the Wyvern Peaks. It is the deepest natural canyon in the known world, but a full scientific survey has never been completed due the to the area being incredibly dangerous. The canyon’s walls are riddled with caverns that open into a vast and ancient dungeon complex. The river that originally carved the canyon has been diverted underground, and current speculation holds that prior to the events that created the Sinstruck Reaches to the west ended their civilization, the complex’s builders were attempting to irrigate and transform the Goblin Wastes into farmland. Both the University of Northport and the Imperial Cartographic Society are highly interested in sending a research expedition to Wade’s Gorge, and are looking to hire accomplished adventurers to lead and protect it.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 4:52 pm and is filed under Frontiers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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