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Broken Lands (Goblinoid Territories of the)

Location: South and south-east of Glantri, north of Darokin.
Area: 11,600 sq. mi. (26,100 km2) on the surface, with an unknown amount of territory underground.
Population: 5,000 goblinoids.
Languages: Elvish (shadow elf dialect), Tharian Common (most dialects), and most other goblinoid tongues.
Coinage: Any, as all are stolen from neighbouring lands. No local coins are produced.
Taxes: Whatever a horde leader can take.
Government Type: Feudal monarchy.
Industries: Warfare above ground, while fungus growing and mining (of gold, copper, tin, and jade) take place underground.
Important Figures: Deimos (human lich, male, M18).
Flora and Fauna: The Broken Lands are just swarming with creatures driven out of human lands. This includes herds of goats, giant ants, rock baboons, every race of goblinoid, giant lizards, rats, giant scorpions, and giant spiders.
Further Reading: GAZ 10 - The Orcs of Thar, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3.

Description: by Alasdhair MacCallum

If there is any place on Mystara that one could consider a part of the Pits [AD&D: Mystaran name for the Abyss] made real on our world, it would be the Broken Lands. Only the most foolhardy would enter the area voluntarily, and unfortunately, that list includes any merchant who wish to travel between Darokin and Glantri. Since it's a major trade route between the nations, I have travelled through the Broken Lands several times, so I can give this description from my experiences.

The Land

Unfortunately, not much beyond the sight of the two major caravan routes are known of the area, and my knowledge is just as limited. From what can be seen, the Broken Lands are an endless series of winding ravines, high cliffs, rocky outcropping, jagged hills, sharp mountains and impassable wasteland. Needless to say, one rarely travels here for the scenery.

Along the Vesubia River, a beaten path barely 3 meters (10 feet) wide is all that guides the caravan from one end to the other. The river itself is convoluted, twisting and turning too many times to be counted. Greater rapids dominate almost its entire length. Still, there are a few spots where the water slows down, and at two of these, the caravans actually ford across the river.

The Vesubian trail crosses straight through the mountains of the area, making an arduous climb a daily event. Even the walk back down is dangerous and the slopes are very steep. Near the Glantrian end of the trail, off to the East, one can barely see a huge mountain peak covered in snow; this unnamed mountain is about the only sight on this side of the broken lands.

A second trail follows the Streel River to Ethengar. This trail is wider than the Vesubian trail. Since it passes through a rough valley, it often reaches widths of up to several hundred meters (yards). Although no less exerting than the Vesubian trail, there is definitely more scenery. First, after leaving Corunglain, there are two active volcanoes, each belching fire and lava down their slopes. Of course, because of the dangers of the volcanoes, the caravan route fords across the river and makes its way into the high mountains.

In the mountains, it passes along the base of Mount Valdomir, named after a Traladaran merchant who died here. Mount Valdomir reaches incredible heights and is perpetually covered with glaciers.

Once back along the river, both the trail and river pass in a huge canyon located between two very high plateaux. Often, unless the sun is at high noon, the caravan will remain in the shadows of the cliffs on either side of it.

Finally, a dangerous swamp known as the Mucks, where entire caravans have been known to be sucked down into the mud, is all that remains in the way to Ethengar.

The People

The people of the Broken Lands consist of nothing but barbaric goblinoids who follow the rules of the jungle. The strongest one leads the groups simply because he kills anyone who challenges him. Those goblinoids who manage to take charge of large groups often style themselves kings and queens, but these titles mean nothing in the civilised world of men and elves. And that is about the extent of civilisation in the Broken Lands.

Along the Vesubia river, trolls are the most frequent encounter. They mindlessly attack any caravan they see, not even fearing their own death. This of course makes them formidable opponents. Be warned: if you travel in the area, make sure to always - and I do mean ALWAYS - have a fire handy in case of a troll attack.

Near the Streel River, orcs and gnolls are the major threat to caravans. Although easier to deal with than trolls, they are more numerous and a lot craftier, making this journey dangerous in its own way. On the interesting side, these goblinoids seem to outright fear Heldannic Knights, remembering clearly the massacre the Knights caused on their people during the Wrath of the Immortals. Having a few Knights with your caravan is therefore a very good idea. Another idea that caravan leaders enjoy is to have some of their men dress up as Heldannic Knights, which causes the same effect. Of course, the Heldannic Knights themselves view this as heresy, so such activities are not without risk either.

Recent History

The Broken Lands have been without any true leader since Thar united the tribes under his banner [having lost most of his previous horde to Prince Kol of Glantri. Ed.], and invaded Rockhome while the dwarves where in the middle of a civil war. Thar lost that battle and never made it back to the Broken Lands. The only other goblinoids of note, King Alebane and Nizam Pasha, also left the Broken Lands, each striking out in their own direction. Only a handful of the goblinoid who lived here now remain, and even that population is dwindling.

Now, various new kings are trying to dominate the area, but none have had much success. As such, this only helps to create anarchy among the goblinoids. Only one has had any success so far; an individual named Deimos. Deimos' race still remains a mystery as none have seen him, but many speculate he is an orc [Adventurers who defeated Deimos after this account was written describe Deimos as a former human lich. Ed.].

But another threat has risen in the area - literally. The City of Aengmor is now the base of a group of shadowelves who themselves are trying to dominate the tribes of the area. Since the goblinoids are too busy bickering among themselves for power, the shadowelves are succeeding rather easily. I can only speculate that in a few years, all that remains of the Broken Lands will belong to the city of Aengmor. Still, on the brighter side, the constant battles between the shadowelves and goblinoids have made caravan travel much safer in the area than it has been in years.

Don't Miss

The only sight worth seeing in the Broken Lands, if one is powerful enough to survive the trip, are the twin volcanoes along the Streel River. These volcanoes are the only two in the Old World which spill lava down their slopes. The three volcanoes in Glantri, as well as those in Rockhome are ash volcanoes, belching out destructive clouds of burning ash [more information on the volcanoes are available in the Geology of the Old World entry in the Mystara Miscellanea. Ed.]. This makes them a unique sight found nowhere else in the Old World.

These lava flows follow predictable paths and are usually easy to avoid, so one can safely navigate in the area to good vantage points. Still, many have died when they believed they were safe (hence the reason the trade route takes a long detour around the area), so do not attempt anything without an expert to guide you along. When in a safe area, a favourite hobby of some is to place an item into the lava edge then remove it slowly. The lava will cool down and solidify, placing the emerged sections of the item in solid rock. These "items-in-a-rock" make good merchant curiosities, since most people believe that magic was involved somehow.