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The Orc's Head Peninsula supplement is part of the SAVAGE COAST setting. It deals with a primitive and barbaric land mass located to the west of the Savage Coast, inhabited primarily by non-humans. To fully enjoy these adventures, the reader should have the SAVAGE COAST campaign setting. Familiarity with the other SAVAGE COAST products is helpful, but not essential. Access to the Monstrous Compendium(r) Appendix for Mystara is also recommended, particularly if the DM enjoys customising random encounters.
The Orc's Head Peninsula can be included as part of an ongoing campaign or used to introduce new characters to SAVAGE COAST and the Savage Coast region. It is recommended that characters be from the Savage Coast or the Orc's Head Peninsula. Several new races suitable for player characters were introduced in the SAVAGE COAST boxed set, and six more new character races are available in this supplement. Included in the card sheets are six characters that can be used for this purpose or can serve as templates that players can use to generate their own characters. New character kits are also included. Though it is possible to play races, classes, and kits from outside the area covered by the SAVAGE COAST campaign, part of the area's distinct flavour will be lost by doing so.
Extra DM information, maps, and player handout information are also included in this electronic product. Though they are briefly detailed, neither the Kingdom of Aeryl nor the Kingdom of Eshu on the Arm of the Immortals is shown on the main area map. The plateaus upon which they lie are just to the west of the Western Orclands, with the Kingdom of Aeryl being the more northerly of the two.
Using this Sourcebook
"Character Creation" covers character creation and five new character kits. All characters should utilise either one of these kits (as appropriate for their race and class) or one from the SAVAGE COAST campaign setting. Dark Jungle orcs are not available as player characters, but should a player and the DM agree to include one, most are Savage Warriors or Shamans, and further information on generating such a character can be found in the Complete Book of Humanoids. The rest of this book is divided into chapters, each one covering a geographic location and the primary intelligent race inhabiting that area. These races may be used as player characters (with some restrictions).
In each chapter, general information is given about the specific race of that area, followed by special knowledge that pertains to members of the race who are the player characters (or important NPCs). This information should be used in concert with "Character Creation" to provide the players and Dungeon Master with a complete picture of the race and its special capabilities and disadvantages.
Following those entries is a brief history of the area and its people that can be used to give the player a deeper sense of the character or that might form a core of knowledge for such non-weapon proficiencies as local history or ancient history. Some of this historical information may be unknown even to the inhabitants (see "Wallaras and the Chameleon Men" on the wallara). Parts of it may be useful to the DM who wishes to further customise a campaign or generate special treasures or ruins.
Flora and fauna provide insight into the terrain and creatures that inhabit the area. This section may be used to give descriptions to the players, to decide what random encounters are likely to occur in the area, or even as an aid to deciding what wild game is available for those characters who utilise hunting, fishing or trapping proficiencies.
The unique territories or features of an area follow those descriptions. Whether there is a capital city or a particular magical device in the area, each entry gives information sufficient to build upon should the DM so desire.
Finally, most chapters include a section on the Immortal patrons of the denizens of the area. These may be used as "deities" for Mendoo, Shamans, and other clerical types. Often a people's beliefs and typical behaviours can be inferred from the gods whom they worship, and the Immortals may provide such insights to the DM and players alike.
The adventures provided in Savage Steel draw heavily on the sourcebook for specifics as to places, descriptions, and general customs of those whom the characters are likely to meet. Additionally, the history and powers of the artifact that lies at the centre of the treasure hunt are found in "Nimmur and the Manscorpions" of this book. Familiarity with the chapter that covers the area the characters are travelling through for each adventure is highly recommended. The information given on Pyre in "Denizens of the Dark Jungle" is required from the very start of the first adventure and should be kept handy throughout the game.
A Geographic Overview
Clinging to the western underbelly of the Savage Coast, the Orc's Head Peninsula lies atop the Western Sea and between Yalu Bay, the Savage Gulf and Trident Bay. Shielded from the west by its fellow peninsula, the Arm of the Immortals, it is home to several primitive societies.
The southern part is dominated by the Dark Jungle, where barbarous orc tribes serve the whims of the great dragon known as Pyre while covertly warring among themselves. The northern portion features three distinct areas: forested Jibar˙, where the ecologically-minded, monkey phanatons dwell; the outback land of Wallara, home to the mystical chameleon men known as wallaras; and the Colony of the Horn, an outpost and penal colony of Texeiras, located on a sandy arm that juts out into Trident Bay.
Rocky desert and hills known as the Forbidden Highlands form a partial barrier between Western Herath and the lands of Wallara and Jibar˙. Lying to the west of the Forbidden Highlands and watered by the rivers that find their source in those rugged hills is the Kingdom of Nimmur. Once home to the spiritual winged minotaurs known as enduks, Nimmur is now under the control of evil manscorpions who stole both the enduks' land and their cultural identity. Along the western coast stretches a desolate strip of grasslands, sand, swamp, and mosquito-infested wasteland called the Unclaimed Territories. Colonies, trading posts, and human settlements are few in the Orc's Head Peninsula.
For the most part, the peninsula is unaffected by the Red Curse permeating the lands to the east. Cinnabryl is still in demand, however, for a small part of the land near Herath still carries the Red Curse within it; cinnabryl is also coveted by the great vermilion dragon known as Pyre.
To the west and extending farther to the south, lies another peninsula. The Arm of the Immortals is host to the mountain kingdoms of Aeryl, home of the ee'aar (winged elves), and Eshu, land of the enduks (winged minotaurs). These lie atop plateaus found deep within the sheltering slopes of high mountains known as the Great Immortals' Shield in the central portion of the peninsula. The Western Orclands are divided between three competing tribes and stretch along the eastern coast, with their jungles framing the sea hydra-inhabited Grubb Nest Marshes. To the north, seedy Porto MaldišŃo, once a Vilaverdan trading post, now an independent backwater, abuts the dreaded Rot Swamps.