Hidden Valley Setting, Part II
Places in the Hidden Valley
This is a large, trackless swamp that is claimed by neither the Girwyllan Empire nor the Irillion City-State, although it has been claimed by both in times past. It is the home of the barbaric “Swamp Folk”, a tribe of human cannibals, lizardmen, and many strange creatures and monsters — most of whom fortunately seldom stray beyond its borders. A few legends claim that a dry island in the midst of the Arlynn Fens is the home of an impossibly ancient and powerful mage who remembers the First Wars.
Hundreds of years ago, the Black Forest was a pleasant wood. Now it is haunted by all manner of creatures who survived the Great Exodus (from the Doompit) lead by the Shadow-Queen. Shortly after her demise, the Shade appeared and took over her residence in an ancient volcano in the southwestern part of the Black Forest. Some scholars believe that the Shade is actually one of the five Wraithlords. It is also called the “Doom Woods”.
This is a palace built into the mountainside high over the Doompit by the Archmage Irisinholm to take advantage of a small area of extremely high mana. It can only be reached by flight, magic, or a narrow, dangerous trail cut into the mountainside. Until the time of the Kinstrife when the line died out, it was the residence of Irisinholm’s descendants. For a few years after that, it was “owned” by a small band of adventurers. After their disappearance, the palace was abandoned until Megan. There are constant rumors that someone, or some thing, lives there now. Scholars are doubtful than anything truly evil could reside there due to the magics cast upon the locat by Irisinholm when he created it.
Cloaked from above (except for the area over Unknown Lake) by thick clouds of mist, this area is still largely unknown. The upper portion, called “the Shelf” in Irillion) has been partially explored and mapped by adventurous men and women who worked for the great merchant houses of Irillion in the city’s heyday some two hundred years ago and were seeking their fortunes in herbs, gems, and rare woods. The terrain of the Shelf is jungle-like and the temperature is much higher than in the main part of the valley. The Shelf is separated from the rest of the valley by a sheer cliff nearly half a mile high, only a few dangerous trails are known to lead all the way down. The lower area is completely unknown, other than as the home of orcs, goblins, headhunters, and other monsters. According to legend, the Wraithhold, the lair of the five Wraithlords is hidden somewhere in the lower portion of the Doompit. Large numbers of “flying mountains” appear to be floating on the mists covering the Doompit and the towering slopes of Skydeath Mountain rise out of the mists like an island at sea.