secrets: The King is scarcely more than 14 years old and labors under the delusion that his knights can win the day... eventually.
2) Hostile to all spellcasting: Trenchfolk, or the Romarii as they call themselves, are superstitious and worship a dizzying number of Gods. They inherently fear magic and most kingdoms keep close watch on those who can cast spells.
secrets: The Trench is the home to several, Despotic Wizards, none of whom should be trifled with. It is very likely that this program was instituted long ago at their bequest.
3) Folk here appear physically different from the men of the Anvil and Pangaeus: Warriors from the Trench are stout, strong of arm and value speed and endurance over discipline. The folk here are something like American Indians or the Gypsies of Eurasia. Individually, they are quite capable fighters, but as a military unit, they are limited. Names should be drawn from Eastern Europe or Gypsy names, with a few Greek & Roman names thrown in as well.
secrets: Trenchmen are no different really than their cousins to the north, it's just that the climate is warmer and the terrain is rough, with little arable land. Think Cimmeria... sort of.
4) Damn there are loads of Orcs and Gnolls here: If there is one thing that the Gorgon's Trench does produce, it's Orcs and in substantial numbers. Several of the aforementioned Despotic Wizards actively maintain a standing army of these brutes, sending patrols out simply to control their numbers. The rough, hilly terrain occasionally gives way to scrub plains which happen to be good territory for the various gnoll tribes.
secrets: Some of the Despotic Wizards are either dead, or have been absent for years uncounted, leaving their Orcs to simply fend for themselves. Not surprisingly, there are half-orcs literally everywhere.
5) Surely the Senate or House of Lords will do something about this mess: The government of Thebos is aware of the desperate situation of its citizens in the 3 realms collectively known as the Gorgon's Trench and every effort is being made to bring their standard of living up to other realms in the Empire. As recently as last year, the right honorable Senator from Medea's Gate made an impassioned plea for aid and though the bill is still stuck in committee, there is some hope of progress in the Summer Sessions.
secrets: This place is the cultural backwater of Thebos and SOMEONE plans to keep it that way. It is a cut throat region and no one in power should be trusted. Trust should only be placed in steel.
6) Who are all these arrogant pricks with the long hair, round shields, and long pointy spears: Those would be your cousins to the north, men of the Anvil (Lykaedia), Lykos. That's what the "lambda" on those shields stand for and yes, they are quite good with those six-footers and short swords. They are common mercs, sell swords and adventurers who come to the Trench looking for glory and the wealth of the regions numerous dungeons and ruins. Despotic Wizards often die, leaving behind megadungeons and the like, and well, someone has to liberate all that loot. Many of the local women swoon at their outrageously long hair, oiled biceps and ornately dressed beards.
secrets: Lykaedian society is still very much dominated by its warrior society and ethos, but in truth and on an individual basis, the Romarii fighters are quite capable. They were born fighting and most have several orc kills to their name before the average Lykos noble son has even killed anything other than a rabbit or two. The difference is primarily one of equipment and larger scale military tactics.
7) What is this Stonehell Dungeon place: To the east of Kephi, the capital city of Erythos, lies a very famous adventuring site, no doubt the product of one of those aforementioned Despotic Wizards. Adventurers from all over Thebos have sought in vain to recover its untold riches.
secrets: While there are still loads of goodies to be found, it's not like it's terribly difficult to find. A 2-day hike to the east of Kephi is the village of Kelguswood and any of the locals there could give you directions.
8.) The land is really poor here: Yes, yes it is. The prevailing terrain type is hills with very light forest, mostly coniferous, giving way to badlands and scrub plains. Foraging off of the land is quite difficult so care should be taken with supplies and rations. This is not horse country one should be prepared to pay a premium for a quality mount, and the feed to keep it healthy.
|Scadgrad's Erythos Map showing Stonehell location|
9) Death and Taxes: One of the reasons for the lack of visible wealth is that the nobility keeps a strangle hold on the money supply. Outsiders are subject to downright confiscatory tax rates and few adventurers of means would winter here. Medea's Gate seems like a free city compared to Kephi, Lisaea, Spirythal, Thesapol, etc. Certain items carry a very high tax, weapons and armor are 20% higher to purchase, while horses are 200% more valuable. The open sale or trade of magic items is unheard of and must be acquired or traded via the blackmarket. This is a region of rugged individualism and trading partners and allies are exceedingly valuable. The Great Guilds of Grand Oryx have no presence here, or at least, no official presence.
secrets: While the cities are quite regulated, a few villages hold opportunities for the sorts of trade that adventurers would normally find in the large cities of the north. Away from the prying spies of the oppressive nobility, one might find a kindly wandering cleric or merchant with some magical tidbits to trade or sell.
10) So, no hoplite style, how do these guys fight: With swords, really big swords. The favored weapon is the broad sword (as a longsword) or great sword. You also won't see much in the way of plate armor as warriors here want to be able to move fast. In contrast to the Lykos, the local warriors have no qualms against missile weapons and are skilled with both sling and short bow. Cultural rules are coming at some point soon, so if you're a Romarii, you'd do well to weapon spec in one of these weapons.
secrets: Romarii steel is quite good and a resource that has frequently been exploited in the past. There are a number of legendary smiths who have created swords of unique quality, quite valuable to collectors and those who would make powerful enchanted weapons.
The Above text was written by Scadgrad, the GM and creator of the Averlorn Campaign Setting. For more info go to: The Savage Sword of Scadgrad