WORLDS OF HURT
Daniel S. Wall
© Crunch-Waffle Enterprises
Block-Insert: The Western Clash at a Glance
Major Value Conflict: Solitary versus Sociable. Anyone taking bonuses for affinity or opposition based upon these traits may add 1 to the bonus of each.
Major Geographic Features:
Predominant Languages: Bjoric, Riefellen, Strodi, Sylvan, Foul Tongue.
Kingdoms and Powers: Bjornsricket, Riefelter.
THE WESTERN CLASH
(As Related by Rue Heimstedt, Warrior Priestess of Volsh)
Do not let the name fool you, the Western Clash is actually quite calm. It is not like the old days when the three kingdoms vied with each other for control of the island. Indeed, the founding of the Sunset Confederacy put an end to the wars that gave the island its name. Oh yes, the occasional skirmish does happen, but only very rarely, and not so as to find its way into the histories. Even the monsters of the wastelands have been rather quiet of late, and the residents of the sylvan forest are content to keep others out. It has been 3 human generations since the Western Clash has seen true warfare. This is a peaceful land.
The Clash rests on the far western side of the Sunset Islands, rather near to the ice islands. Perhaps owing to the warring nations of the island’s past, the Western Clash has always seen a good number of foreigners. For a far-edge settlement, the island sees rather a lot of visitors. Most complete their trade by early fall and soon depart for warmer waters.
The history of this land is no complex tale. In the days of yore when humans contested with one another for the pretense of rule, three separate kingdoms laid claim to this island, Bjornsricket, Riefelter and Stroddenheim. The real power on this island rests of course in the forests of the Faerie Fae, and perhaps under the earth. The round eared fools are afraid to venture into either region, so they have never came to know any better than that they might rule this place themselves.
There really is not much to say about the war as no clear winner emerged from it. If one were to name a loser it would be the Kingdom of Stroddenheim which had all but lost its last claims to the island when the fighting ceased. Whether or not any part of the Western Clash still remains loyal to Stroddenheim is a matter of much speculation.
At any rate, the fighting ceased 3 human generations past when all three kingdoms joined the Sunset Confederacy. Peace between them was of course a condition of joining, one that the sages of the Library Philosophic have enforced with great diligence. Each kingdom pulled its armies from the Western Clash, leaving behind a small port city. The cities of Pflorendrine and Kaenesdovl remain loyal to the kingdoms of Riefelter and Bjornsricket, but the city of Rappakaliaden is now quite independent.
It is an odd twist in the tale that neither kingdom will trade with the other. This is of course the best that each kingdom can do to hurt its rival, though in truth the policy does little more than inconvenience what own vassals each has living upon the island. As the ships from either kingdom will never be seen in the ports of the other, trade continues by another route, the great Weeping Way. The road is so named because it is exceedingly dangerous. What violence occurs in the Western Clash generally takes place somewhere along this route.
Cave of the Leftward Dragon: Long before the humans came to this island it is said that a great white dragon made this his lair. The cavern takes its name from the crippled nature of the old wyrm, a weak left wing, as it were, a defect which could apparently be seen in its flight. I’ll wager the old beast is there now, lying somewhere deep in that mountain, jut waiting for some fool to wake him.
Deer Keepers: The Island has great herds of reindeer, some of which have been domesticated by nomadic peoples who keep well to themselves. Three separate herds are known to fall under the watch of men. Each is estimated to have a population of roughly 500 people.
I should also say that these humans have been upon the island for many generations. Though it is customary to speak of humans has living upon the island for some three of their generations, no-one (myself included) thinks to include these communities in that reference. The reason is of course that no-one thinks of the deer herders as intruders, and no-one resents their presents upon this island.
Elf-Sushie Hollow: This is a small village of orcs and Hobgoblins. Its name is a terrible joke, told in the tongue of a foreign people, but it is not without truth. Strangely, the Inhabitants of this small community do little to molest those around them. Since the end of the great war, at least would-be heroes have led expeditionary forces against this community. None have returned, neither humans nor elves.
The Faerie Fae: I grew up in one of the elven villages along the western edge of this forest. I know little of its interior. What little I know is not for human eyes to read. Most folk with any sense will leave this region alone. You, my reader, had best do the same.
The Gnome Warrens: Gnomes are mysterious folk. Most would say that about a thousand gnomes live in this hilly region. Most would also say it is best to leave them alone. It is not that the Gnomes have any great armies, but so much magic in one place is always a cause for concern.
Grunder’s Hall: This is a community of dwarves numbering roughly 3,000 strong. They keep to themselves mostly, emerging only to trade weapons and other iron works with the city of Pflorendrine or the Port of Giants. Whether they receive any trouble from the monsters of the Wasted Mountains I cannot say. That an orc should pitch up against a dwarf puts a smile in my future regardless of the particulars.
The Halfling Half Mile: This valley is of course far larger than a half mile wide, and it is home to a sprawling population of halflings. Most would number its population at about 5,000, almost all of them farmers. What contact these folks have with the outside world is limited to trade with the Gnome warrens to the East and the city of Kaenesdovl to the West, both of which these Halflings look to for protection.
Kaenesdovl: The City of Kaenesdovl is loyal to the Kingdom of Bjornsricket. Its population is roughly 6,000 strong with another 1,500 living in the hinterlands. Owing to an overabundance of men, this gives the colony 4,500 total spears if they are needed. The city is ruled by Lord Hormfolk, a strong warrior with a loyal following of chieftains.
The city of Kaenesdovle receives an overabundance of textiles from its own hinterlands, and they get a lot of vegetables in trade from the Halflings to the East. But this colony is always short on iron. What few black smithies can maintain themselves here often run short of material with which to make weapons or tools.
The Pass of Sorrow: This is the sight of a great battle between the forces of Riefelter and those of Stroddenheim. Few would say that the dead rest in peace, and fewer still venture close enough to learn what this means.
Pflorendrine: The city of Pflorendrine is loyal to the Kingdom of Riefelter. Its population is about 7,000 strong with another 3,000 living in the hinterlands. The ratio of men to women is a little more balanced here, so the colony of Pflorendrine is capable of fielding just 4,000 spears in times of war. The colony falls under two rulers; Lord’s Methgar and Hroth Bilgen. Lord Methgar is a powerful merchant who handles all matters of trade and the management of infrastructure. Hroth Bilgen enforces the law and maintains a small force of warriors dedicated to the safety of the colony. In times of war, it is Hroth Bilgen who will manage the local armies of Pflorendrine.
The city of Pflorendrine imports large quantities of iron, some from its home kingdom and others from the Dwarves in Grunder’s Hall. Not surprisingly, Riefelter manufactures a great variety of weapons and tools. Its finest weapons are of course imported from Grunder’s Hall. The people of Pflorendrine have never had sufficient cloth. All attempts to establish sheep herds have been thwarted by orc raids from the Wasted Mountains. Plenty of grains are grown in the hinterlands around this city, but what garden vegetables they wish to eat will generally come to them through the Weeping Way.
Port of Giants: This is a colony of Sea Giants. It is about 300 strong. They do little to disturb others, and few would be so foolish as to disturb them.
Rappakaliaden: This is an independent port city formed from the remnants of Stroddenheim’s colonial army. Its permanent residents number close to 3,000, but the city always has at least 1,000 visitors from various kingdoms throughout the Sunset Islands, and occasionally from lands still further distant. The residents of Rappakaliaden are not welcome to trade with the cities of Pflorendrine or Kaenesdovl, and so no roads have ever been built linking this city to the rest of the island.
The Skraeling Camp: It is said that folks from the Ice islands camp here from time to time. No-one knows why, and none have approached them to ask. Colonists from the Turtle Island tell terrible tales of thee strange men. I fear their interest in the Western Clash will prove a great challenge to us one day.
Thieves Cove: Pirate ships have been known to drop anchor in this harbor. Whether or not they trade with any dark forces in the Faerie Fae is a matter of much speculation.
Valley of the Ligen: This is a small isolated community of Ligen. No-one knows how many live there, nor anything else about their resources or interests. If they have friendly relations with anyone on the island it is with the dwarves in Grunder’s Hall.
The Wasted Mountains: These mountains are home to a variety of wretched creatures; orcs, goblins, giants, kobalds, and what not. Few could reckon their numbers. Their interests are as obvious as you might imagine. One never sees such creatures but that they are not intent on theft or war, usually both. Raiding parties from this region are, however, quite rare, and what harms they inflict seem rather modest. Here too, there is peace in the Western Clash, though it is a peace held in place with blades but half-sheathed.
Rumor has it an opening to the Great Caverns lies somewhere in these mountains. If that is true, then these creatures could overrun the island with armies of unimagined proportions. For myself, I do not believe it. The old Hobgoblin Lord Malice would not have suffered the humans to war upon his doorstep. If any fair-skinned and round eared princes failed to find their way into his stew pot, it can only be because the great general had not the force to silence the humans once and for all. What forces now rule in this region, no-one presently knows. One can only hope that any leadership in this horrid place has either the full wisdom of Lord Malice or but half his skills in warfare.
The Wilding Marsh: Solid ground is scarce on this peninsula. Eight separate tribes of Vek call it home. It is said that each of the tribes numbers around 600 strong, giving the territory a total population just shy of 5,000.
i: Strodden’s Wall.
ii: The Wyrm Mountains.
iii: The Half Hills.
iv: The Gnome Warrens.
v: The Lonely Peaks.
vi: Reindeer Hills.
vii: The Upper Weeping Range.
viii: The Hills of Folly.
ix: The Lower Weeping Range.
x: Lookout Point.
A: Volsh’s Relief.
B: The Northern Drainage.
C: The Half Water.
D: Wyrd Lake.
E: Upper Weeping River (Includes the great Faerie Rapids).
F: Riefelter’s Hope.
G: Skald Lake (Upper and Lower).
H: Middle Weeping River.
I: Gretta’s Waters.
J: Lower Weeping River.
K: Tear Lake.
L: Commerce lake.
M: Farmer’s Lake.
N: Last Tear lake.
O: Prison lake.
P: Iron Waters.
Q: Smithies Stream.
R: Effinthistle’s Tears.
1: Grandpappy Happy’s Inn. Grandpappy Hapswitch, known as “Happy” operates near the protection of Kaenesdovl. His runs a small inn. His only staff are his two young sons and his wife.
2: Egil’s Stables. Egil Hammarson runs a comfortable inn. He has no family, but he employs 6-10 employees, at least 4 of which will be capably fighters. Egil himself is known for his skill with a crossbow. He is also an accomplished breeder of horses, keeping upwards of 2 dozen horses at his inn at all times.
3: Halfdan’s Keep. A small operation run by Halfdan, his wife, three young sons and one teenage daughter. Halfdan typically employs 3-5 assistants, at least two of which will know how to fight. Halfdan is known to serve the best alcoholic refreshments on the island. Whether it be an ale or a brandy, Halfdan’s stock is the best to be had. Halfdan carries a great axe which is rumored to carry a powerful enchantment.
4: Hrolf’s Bend. Hrolf’s great grandson (Ulfre Thurmisgaard) runs this operation. It is the largest of the roadside inns along the Weeping Way. Ulfre’s brother and his cousin Hamli and his wife Gretchen serve as the resident cooks. Hrolf employs 8 regular servants and 6 guards. Rumor has it that Hrolf’s Bend generates insufficient profit to keep going, surviving on the basis of its namesake, Hrolf, a pioneer who blazed the trail which would become the Weeping Way.
5: Snorri’s Station. Snorri and his wife Herdis run a simple operation under the protection of Pflorendrine. They employ 2-3 workers, at least one of which will be a capable combatant. Snorri himself is not known to fight, though his wife once slew the leader of an orc raiding party.