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Beyond the Savage Coast proper lie several lands. Inland from the coast is a vast expanse known as the Yazak Steppes. Hanging from the western end of the coast proper is the Orc's Head Peninsula, a land of dense jungles and savage inhabitants. While the Red Curse does not directly affect these lands, I believe part of the key to its origins can be found in these other lands, perhaps in the Great Northway, perhaps somewhere on the peninsula, perhaps beyond on the Arm of the Immortals. These areas warrant much study.
The Chronicle of the Curse
by Don Luis de Manzanas
Besides the nations already covered, a number of other interesting places and cultures exist on the Savage Coast. This chapter offers information on how to use some of those areas. Included are the Orc's Head Peninsula, the Serpent Peninsula, the Arm of the Immortals, and the Yazak Steppes. Most of these areas lie within the Haze (see "The Curse and the Legacies" chapter).
The Orc's Head Peninsula
The Orc's Head Peninsula is a vast area that is home to a number of interesting countries and peoples. A brief overview of the most important ones follows. The manscorpions, enduks, and wallaras are all part of the background of the Red Curse; special attention should be paid to them.
The wallaras are the technologically primitive, yet spiritually rich people who inhabit the grasslands on the Orc's Head Peninsula's northern shore. Once a proud and wise race, the wallaras were reduced to their current primitive state through the action of the araneas.
Wallaras look like tall, slender humans, but their skins are covered in stripes of many different colours. They have innate magical powers, such as the ability to activate a dimension door and the ability to emulate a ring of chameleon power. Sometimes called chameleon men, wallaras are distantly related to dragons.
The wallaras are a peaceful people who seek and often find spiritual enrichment. They are nomads now, but they once ruled a vast civilisation that included the now-ruined city of Risilvar, located in the Forbidden Highlands. Wallaras seldom leave their homeland and, consequently, know little of the outside world. During the wars of the last few years, the wallaras remained mostly untouched; the gurrash on their eastern border never venture into wallaran lands, the phanatons to the south are peaceful, and other races are too far away to be a threat.
A phanaton looks something like a cross between a monkey and a flying squirrel, with the markings of a raccoon. The phanatons of the Orc's Head Peninsula are peaceful primitives dwelling in tree-houses far above the forest floor in their homeland of Jibarú. The phanatons are closely tuned to nature and are protectors of the plants and animals of their homelands. Phanaton society is similar in many ways to shazak society, though it has a much higher proportion of druids. Latecomers to civilisation, phanatons are just beginning to institute a central government and system of laws. They seem to be headed toward a collective tribal government with an advisory council of druids and shamans.
During the recent wars, the phanatons were attacked by manscorpions. Though a few villages were lost, most of the inhabitants escaped and were eventually able to drive back the manscorpions, who were unaccustomed to fighting in any kind of foliage.
The Enduks and the Ee'aar
The enduks are winged minotaurs; the ee'aar are winged elves. At one time, many centuries ago, the enduks had a budding civilisation on the western edge of the Orc's Head Peninsula. Their nation of Nimmur was a deeply religious society which had just opened communications with the other great local civilisations of the time wallaras, ee'aar, and Nithians. Unfortunately, the Nithians' arrival on the Savage Coast caused a mass migration of manscorpions, who eventually arrived in Nimmur.
The enduks welcomed the manscorpions, who eventually betrayed them, driving them out of their homeland. The ee'aar helped the enduks escape westward, to the long peninsula called the Arm of the Immortals. There, the enduks rebuilt their civilisation beside their friends the ee'aar. They continued with their peaceful religious ways but also established a strong military. The ee'aar already had a dichotomy of military types and mystic thinkers.
The enduks dreamed of recapturing Nimmur, and eventually, just within the last decade, an opportunity came. A combined force of enduks and ee'aar invaded the lands of Nimmur, but they met with limited success. While unable to destroy the manscorpions, whose numbers had grown tremendously, they were able to establish a foothold in the city of Um-Shedu and its surrounding territory.
The manscorpions are the rather brutal race which drove the enduks out of Nimmur, taking the land for themselves. When the enduks were driven away, the manscorpions were cursed by the Immortal Ixion, who caused them to burn in the light of the sun. They spent the next few centuries occupying the cities of Nimmur and constructing underground passages between them. Presently, the manscorpions are quiescent, but the opportunity for war may come again at any time. They are upset at the presence of the enduks and the ee'aar in Um-Shedu but have thus far been unable to come up with a strategy for retaking the city.
The Arm of the Immortals
West of the Orc's Head Peninsula, across the sea, lies a long finger of land called the Arm of the Immortals. As mentioned, the main civilisations of the ee'aar and the enduks reside on the Arm. A couple of colonies, sponsored by powers on the Savage Coast, sit on the eastern shores of the peninsula. The kingdoms of Eshu (the land of the enduks) and Aeryl (run by the ee'aar) are located inland on high plateaus in the mountain range that dominates the centre of the Arm of the Immortals. On the far side of the Arm at least according to the tales of seafarers lie several states dominated by "demi-ogres," huge humanoids said to be descended from the offspring of humans and ogres.
The rest of the Arm is mostly wild and unexplored. Vast expanses of forests, untouched by humanoids, cover the north, while huge jungles dominate in the south. The Arm covers several climates and numerous geographical features, with a wide variety of wildlife, including many sorts of monsters. In addition, rumours insist that ancient and powerful sites are hidden within the landscape of the Arm. It is even said that the Immortals themselves can be approached through secret portals high in the mountains of the Arm. However, few have explored the Arm and returned, so the facts of the matter are largely unknown at least for the present.
The Yazak Steppes
The Yazak Steppes run from Hule in the east to the region north of the Orc's Head Peninsula. These are actually several different, disconnected sets of steppes. Once home to rakastas and lupins, the steppes have been taken over by goblinoid tribes.
The five "great tribes" of goblinoids in the steppes are dangerous to the coastal lands only when they unite into massive hordes that sweep down to raid for food and treasures. The five tribes are the Hupkur, which consists of hobgoblins and ogres; the Huptai, composed of hobgoblins and goblins; the Dankut, mostly orcs with a few trolls; the Kuttai, which includes orcs and goblins; and the Gosluk, made up entirely of goblins. Many of the members of these tribes are Beast Riders. Like lupins, the hobgoblins of the steppes ride dire wolves; goblins ride worgs; and orcs and half-orcs ride specially-bred boars (which sometimes make tasty treats for the worg mounts).
The Hupkur tribe which occupies the lands north of Renardy, Bellayne, and Herath is the strongest and most well organized of the five tribes. A recent alliance between the Kuttai and the Dankut, the tribes closest to the Savage Baronies, provides a substantial threat.
Several small tribes are not allied with any of the larger groups. Of these, the most important is the Tai-luk tribe, a group of goblins occupying a small territory north of the Bayou. The Tai-luk goblins are important only because no other tribes inhabit that rather inhospitable area and because of their proximity to Cay, which could lead to a conflict if the goblins raid the caymas' aurochs.
To hobgoblins, the name for their race is hup, with the "u" sound pronounced the same as the "oo" in book. Orcs call themselves kut, with the same short "u" sound. The name goblins give themselves is gos, in which the "o" is long, rhyming with gross. Other goblinoid races refer to goblins as tai; this is pronounced tah-ee, though said more quickly, such as in tie. Ogres are kur, pronounced koor, both among themselves and by others.
Thus, the names of the five great tribes have the following compositions:
Hupkur: Hobgoblins (hup) and Ogres (kur).
Huptai: Hobgoblins (hup) and Goblins (tai).
Kuttai: Orcs (kut) and Goblins (tai).
Dankut: Orcs (kut).
Gosluk: Goblins (gos).
Note that dan (sounds like the "a" in want, with a nasal overtone) is the tribal name for orcs of the Yazaks (kut is the racial name). Similarly, luk, pronounced as the word look, is the tribal name for goblins of the Yazaks. The Tai-luk are using the hobgoblin/orc word for themselves, plus the goblin tribal name.
The names of goblinoid individuals follow the same styles as racial and tribal names, with short syllables and harsh, guttural sounds. Most names have only one or two syllables, as do most goblinoid words; they have an uncomplicated language. Several acceptable syllables are suggested in the following text, and the DM should feel free to come up with others as needed. These 50 syllables can be mixed or used alone to create goblinoid names, insults, and other words.
Table 10.1: GOBLINOID WORD COMPONENTS
History of Invasions
Goblins and their kin have lived in the Yazak Steppes for almost 3,000 years. Over 20 centuries ago, their hordes destroyed the elven and Oltec civilisations of the region, forcing both elves and humans back into a savage state. When the Red Curse was created, goblinoids took little notice, content in their raids and occasional wars against encroaching humans. When the tortle civilisation grew large enough to seem threatening, goblins swept down from the steppes once more. What few pockets of human and demihuman culture remained shrank to fortified, permanent settlements, but they were not vanquished.
Those fortifications remained and swelled, first with the arrival of Traldar colonists, then again with immigrants from Ylaruam, Yavdlom, and Thyatis. Surprisingly, the goblinoids seemed content to let these petty baronies be. After all, they fought among themselves first over territory, later over mining rights to cinnabryl.
Now, with the spread of the Red Curse and the Legacies tempered by cinnabryl, the goblinoids realise, too late, that the current coastal civilisations have become too powerful to be swept away as the ancient elves and tortles were. Nonetheless, among goblins, pride is greater than wisdom; one powerful leader could still lead them to ride down from the steppes once more.
Recently, a renegade Inheritor named Igor Balazar has been working to unite the tribes of the Yazaks; more about his efforts can be found in the adventure "Divided We Fall," the last chapter of this book.
There are also a few scattered tribes of goblinoids on the coast itself, notably near the Savage Baronies, and north of Robrenn. The coastal goblinoids are known collectively as the Yazi.
The easternmost Yazi are the gnolls of El Grande Carrascal. These are generally mounted nomadic warriors who ride the plains (on horses) and raid any outlying settlements. Surprisingly, the gnolls are relatively civilised compared to the other Yazi. They will negotiate, they engage in honest trade as well as raids, and they do not always attack on sight.
West of the gnolls are the southern goblins, such as the Black Bellies tribe. These warlike goblins cause many problems for the Savage Baronies. Some are mounted warriors (on wolves), but most are at their best when on foot. Fortunately, these goblins are not as numerous as the gnolls to the east. Also, because the most recent battles ended in clear victories for the Savage Baronies (notably Cimarron), the goblins are less inclined to attack outlying settlements.
Goblinoids north of Robrenn are referred to as the Carnax, Cassivellonis, and Pyctis. Only the Pyctis are goblins; the others are orcs. These goblinoids are very similar in mannerisms and philosophies to the Yazak goblinoids, except these Yazi are never mounted warriors. The Pyctis trade with the Yazak tribes, and through the Pyctis, the orcs trade with the Yazaks as well. While these goblinoids are a constant threat to Robrenn, they are currently making only disorganised raids because all of their strongest leaders were slain in the recent wars.