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Thunder Rift Almanac Entry

by Håvard

Thunder Rift
Location: Northeastern Darokin
Area: ca. 688 sq. miles
Population: ca 20,000 Humans and Demi-humans (ca 50% humans, 10% Dwarves, 15% Elves, 20% Halflings, 5% Rakasta, 1% Gnomes). Due to the valley’s violent history, only 10% of the population can be found in the major settlements. A large number of humanoids and other strange creatures also make their home within Thunder Rift.
Languages: Common (Riftspeak dialect), Dwarven (Rockhome dialect), Elven (Alfheim dialect), Myoshiman
Coinages: Quadrivial (Gold), Wand (Silver), Sword (cp)
Government Type: Varies by settlement.
Industries: Most people of Thunder Rift rely on agriculture and husbandry.

Thunder Rift has a history of greatness and power. But it is also a history of much hatred, violence and destruction. The once large towns and cities have been reduced to mere villages. Castles, built in ages of glory past lay in ruins. Old conflicts such as the hatred between warriors and wizards still haunts the valley.

Kleine (village)
population ca 150
Resting on the southern shore of Lake Ostrel, Kleine is a small village of fishermen and farmers. It is ruled by the Kleine Village Council and is home mainly to humans and a few gnomes. Dwarves from the Farolas hills are also often seen in the village. Councilman Baur (NM/Human Ari 2) is the main spokesman of the Village Council.

Melinir (city) population: ca 200
This walled city was once the capital of Thunder Rift. Humans and demihumans walk the streets of this village. Located in the northern shore of Lake Ganif is still be centre of trade in the valley. The Tower of Mage Isle is also technically part of the city. It remains the centre of the Quadrial. Mayor Valum (F9/Human Ftr9) is the ruler of the city.

Torlynn (abandoned town)
population: ca 50
Torlynn was once a large town, but now only a few people remain. After the pests that had taken over Barrik’s Tower had been driven out recently, the village is experiencing a slow growth once again. Burgomeister Gustovan (NM/Human Ari 3) is the ruler of Torlynn.

Edgewater (village)
population: ca 40
This tiny village was founded by a group of monks known as the Kohlorian Brotherhood. The library of Edgewater is the only thing left of this mystic order.
(see Dungeon #41)

Hearth-Home: (Village)
population: ca 300
This is the main Dwarven Settlement in Thunder Rift, and seat of the Farolas Clan. It is located deep in the mountains overseeing the Farolas hills. Lord Otaras Stoneson (D9, Dwarf Ftr9) is the ruler of Hearth-Home.

Silvercrest: (Village)
population: ca 500 Located in the southern part of the Gauntlin Forest, this Elven Clanhold is the only elven settlement of any size in the Valley. It is the home of the Silvercrest Clan which have been the rulers of the Gauntlin Elves for centuries. Lord Elladin Silvercrest (E9/Elf Ftr5, Wiz4) is the current ruler of Silvercrest. (See Curse of the Silver Sword)

Artarashai (New Ashai): (Village)
Population: ca. 200 This village is the only known Rakasta settlement in the Valley. It is located on the Wailing Plateau, and was founded only a few years back when the Rakasta first arrived in the valley as refugees from the Ashai region of Myoshima. Daymio Kamaggi (R5/Rakasta Ftr5) is the current ruler of New Ashai. (More details in Rage of the Rakasta)


Notable Sites
Here are some sites worth note within the valley.

Barrik’s Keep: Built upon the ruins of Duke Barrik’s Castle, which was destroyed back in the goblin wars, Barrik’s Keep itself now finds itself in shambles after the death of the wizard who made his home there. Recently, the keep has become the home of various sinister creatures, including a tribe of Ratlings. It is located just north of Torlynn. (See Curse of the Silver Sword)

Brichtwood: The Brichtwood is a lovely forest to the south of the Gloomfens. It is home to many sylvan creatures including the unicorn Bran ap Seamus (unicorn/unicorn Drd4). A tribe of Centaurs also work to protect the forest.

GauntlinForest: This vast wood covers nearly a quarter of Thunder Rift. The northern part of the Forest is claimed by Gnolls, Bugbears and other humanoids. The southern part is controlled by the Gauntlin elves under the leadership of the Silvercrest clan.

Grakken Wood: This dark sinister wood-realm is a dreadful contrast to the Brichtwoods. Many strange and terrible creatures dwell here. The master of the woods is Lord Grakken, a Gakkarak Druid (Gakkarak/Gakkarak Drd 2)

Avenal, the Keep of the Black Knight: Deep in the Southern Swamps lays the Keep of the Black Knight. It was founded by the only survivor of the massacre of Jameson’s Academy, a tormented soul who swore revenge on the world. It is the secret base of an Assassin's Guild, and home to various humanoids. Its ruler, the current Black Knight is Sir Argyl (F10/Human Ftr6/Black-guard 4). (See Sword and Shield)

Marshwoods: A wet marshland forest filled with ruins of old settlements and various failed attempts to farm the marshes. The Marshwoods are home to a large number of lizardmen and other swamp creatures. A large number of undead are also encountered in these marshlands under the leadership of Unchard Tonsha (Wight, HD4)

The Black Swamps: Bordering on the Marshwoods, the Black Swamp I filled with quagmires and other dangerous swamp-like terrain. Somewhere within the swamps lays the ruins of the legendary Castle Kraal. (See Knight of Newts)

The Bone Hills: A jagged, bleak landscape in the southwestern corner of Thunder Rift protects one of the lost exits from the valley. Unfortunately, the red dragon Scortch (Huge Red Dragon) has made it his home.

The Burning Hills: The hills of the northeastern part of Thunder Rift swarm with Goblins, Hobgoblins and Kobolds. Dire wolves are also frequently spotted in this dangerous area. The Bone Hills are also the home of the legendary Master Thief, Raven (T9/Human Rog9). The Burning hills is home to the few remaining Gnomes of Thunder Rift. Sadly, most of them have been enslaved by Goblins. (See Assault on Raven's Ruin and Goblin's Lair)

The Dark Pit:
Surrounded by humanoid settlements, this wide hole in the ground is the entrance to a vast network of caves guarded by powerful monsters. Secretly, it is an entrance to the Hollow World, leading directly to the Valley of the Eternal Sun. (See the "Warriors of the Eternal Sun" Video Game)

The Gloomfens: This was once the location of Sir Jameson’s Academy of Combat (AKA The Fighters’ Academy), but has been turned into a cursed poisonous swampland. Terrible undead are said to reside within the ruins of the Academy. (See Haunted Tower)

The Horned Hills: These hills guards one of the few known entrances and exits to the valley. The Horned Hills are controlled by a tribe of Minotaurs who extract some toll from caravans travelling through the area on their way to or from Melinir.

The Monolith: Another mystery of the valley is the huge black monolith. This is actually the Monolith of Ashai, a rock from Mystara’s invisible moon, which lends some of its light bending magic to keeping the valley a secret to outsiders.

Wizardspire: This mountainous fortress was once the centre of magical learning of Thunder Rift. After the tragic conflict with the warriors of Jameson’s Academy, it was believed that all of the Wizardspire mages had been killed. However, there are now rumours of a survivor, known as the Mad Mage (Lich/Lich Wiz13) who is said to be able to control armies of undead.

The Wailing Plateau: This huge piece of rock rests within Gnoll controlled parts of Thunder Rift. However, Gnolls keep away from this area, possibly due to the shrieking sounds emitting from the holes in the rock. The Wailing Plateau is now home to the Rakasta of Artarashai.

The Plunging Cataract: The Thunderous roar of the Plunging Cataract that can be heard throughout Thunder Rift is what gives its name to the valley. It is rumoured that the last King of Thunder Rift travelled across Lake Ostrel when his barged sailed too close to the Cataract and was sunk, it and its treasure still remaining below the waters.

Mage Island: Mage Island lays at the centre of Lake Ganif. It is the original home of most of Thunder Rift’s magic-users. It is said that the great library there contains one of the greatest collections of arcane lore in the world. The Island is owned by Master Geoffrey (MU7/Human Wiz7), a centuries old wizard.

Raven’s Ruin:
In the Burning Hills lays the fortifications known as Raven’s Ruin, home to the legendary Master Thief, Raven. (See Assault on Raven's Ruin)

The Ruins of Kraal: Deep in the Black Swamps lays the ruins of Castle Kraal. Humans have abandoned the area since the Castle mysteriously sank into the swamps. The Ruins have become home to the lizard-like race of Newts. (See Knight of Newts)

Melinir Mines: The hills surrounding Melinir contain a large number of mines originally built by dwarves. These mines have now become taken over by brigands. Legends of the area say that the mines are also home to a race of supernatural beings whose eternal sleep has been undisturbed until now.

The Whistling Cave: Miners have always stayed away from this part of the Melinir Hills. The wind blowing through the numerous entrances of the cave creates an eerie whistling sound, giving the Cave its name. To this day, no one knows what horrors the Cave really holds.

The Haunted Tower: The spirit of Sir Jameson the Defender remains in the ruins of his old Academy, deep within the Gloomfens. Other undead are also said to dwell in this area. Recently, a vampire named Lord Ursus Longmane has also been said to have moved into the Haunted Tower.

Drake River:
This river running through winding through almost every corner of Thunder Rift is frequented by a haunted ship manned by a phantom captain named Henrik Van Decken. (See In the Phantom's Wake)