The Scablands

Overview

To the west of Rekkar-Sarrat, separated from it by the mountains known as the Wall of Karsuss, lie the Scablands. A dusty, rugged region littered with crags, clefts, craters, and canyons, the Scablands earn their name through the many blemishes and earthen wounds that scar their surface. A long history of battle has shaped the Scablands, which has only exacerbated the desolate, cracked, and rocky terrain. Though dry and rough, the Scablands are not inhospitable. Small lakes and underground water reservoirs can be found throughout the region, and certain breeds of resilient plant life have acclimated to the environment, growing up through the cracks in the earth. Some areas have even overgrown with scrubland, offering fair amounts of sustainment locally. There is precious little soil in the Scablands, however, without floodplains or rivers to nourish the earth. Agriculture is nonexistent for most of the denizens of the Scablands, who must rely on hunting, foraging, and raiding for survival. It is certainly not a lifeless place, but it is a place that makes life hard.

Geography

Much of the Scablands are flat, barren plains of bone-dry earth and rock. The central region is the flattest, the reddish-brown earth serving as a great basin in the middle of the land’s other features. The cracks in the ground spiderweb across nearly all of the flatlands, making the land look almost tiled and mosaic. Certain areas show patches of growth where brownish-green plant life is able to survive. These small fields are uncommon, but their existence marks the locations where underground waters are, so these scrublands are often fought over.

The southern reaches of the land are home to two separate mountain ranges surrounded by dry barrens. The western range is known as Hellspine Ridge, and the stone that forms the tall, lean spires is a deep red-brown, the color of dried blood. The tallest spire of this range towers at twenty-five hundred feet and is known as Bloodspear. The passages within the Ridge are narrow canyons that serpentine and coil through the bases of the spires and rise on crests between them, making the range a multilayered system. It is in Hellspine Ridge that the Hellspine Orcs make their home. The eastern range is comprised of shorter, broader mountains than the pinnacles of Hellspine, but still retain a spire-like presence. These grey and brown mountains are called the Bonepierce Clefts, named after the Bonepierce Orcs that reside there. Riphook is the grandest of these mountains, topped with a curling growth of rock that gives the peak its moniker. Networks of caves and subterranean tunnels connect the mountains of the Bonepierce Clefts beneath the surface.

The area between the two mountain ranges is a bloodstained field of ruin known as Korgol’s Maw. This site is an eternal battlefield that hosts the wars between the Hellspine and Bonepierce Orcs. The site of a thousand such wars, Korgol’s Maw has drunk the blood of ten times that many Orcs.

Beyond those mountains and the slash of barrens south of them is a bulwark of near-impassable rocky hills called the Fangs of Betrayal that separate the Scablands from the Dead Wastes. These hills are sharp, covered in mangled, stony, tooth-like edges that seek to shred any who would dare try to navigate them. A single canyon forms a passage through them that connects the Scablands with the Dead wastes.

The northernmost part of the Scablands, where they border Ghitu Azrak, a great swath of land is riddled with canyons, craters, and fissures that were not formed by natural means. This is a treacherous area, with the earth constantly caving in and falling in sinkholes and creating new wounds. This region is called Warscar, and it is the product of a catastrophic war fought three hundred years ago between the Orc clans and the Azrak – a war so destructive that the land keeps waging it against itself. Lingering magic works here beneath the earth, chaotic and dangerous, and the earth itself churns and heaves because of it.
A most notable feature in the western reaches of the land is a gargantuan red-brown plateau that can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction. This great mesa is known as the Seat of the Wind God, and it rises as the highest point in all of the Scablands, dwarfing even the mountains to the south. Caves bore into the sides of the plateau at lofty heights, serving as the homes and roosts for the Raperean who dwell there. In the east, in the shadow of the Wall of Karsuss, there are pockets of land that show green – the only such places in all of the Scablands. These areas are product of the efforts of the Testudin people who have started using earth magic to terraform their territory to allow for such growth and foster more sustainability.

Demographics

Orcs make up the largest sentient population of the Scablands. They roam throughout most of the region in warbands, seeking to secure resources and engage in battle with both one another and anyone else they come across. The strongest Orc clans are headquartered in the Hellspine Ridge and Bonepierce Clefts, but smaller clans operate throughout the barrens as well. It is the warmongering nature of the Orcs that make the Scablands such a brutal and dangerous land.

The avian Raperean people live in the western reaches of the Scablands, primarily atop and within the Seat of the Wind God. Having originally come from the western stretch of Rekkar-Sarrat and the Wall of Karsuss, the Raperean relocated to the Scablands almost two thousand years ago. They claim the Seat of the Wind God as theirs by divine right, much to the chagrin of the Orcs who claim the Scablands as their own. This has led them into constant skirmishes with the Hellspine Orcs in particular, and the Raperean have spread their occupation to also include the highest reaches of Hellspine Ridge.

In the stretch of land beneath the Wall of Karsuss, the reptilian Testudin do their best to eke out a life for themselves. Native to the Scablands, the Testudin have always been trodden upon by the Orcs and the mountainous Hobgoblins, constantly raided and pillaged by them. Normally a peaceful people, the Testudin have finally begun to make a stand and have started to utilize their ancient shamanistic magic to make a place all their own.

Though the Wall of Karsuss is technically a region all its own, the goblinoids who live within it are generally considered a part of the Scablands since most of their interactions occur with the peoples and places there. These goblinoids, comprised of mostly Hobgoblins, used to focus their raids on Rekkar-Sarrat during the Vagrant Age, but ever since the Pharosi took over that land they have instead favored forays into the Scablands. The Hobgoblins regularly do battle with Orcs and raid Testudin villages, preferring these days to trade with the humans more often than raiding them.

Biodiversity

Despite its dry, barren, and rocky characteristics, the Scablands support several species of beasts. Dinosaurs and lesser lizards are perhaps the most common non-sentient creatures and thunder across the central flatlands. Herbivorous species dwell in the central region primarily, having adapted to be able to live off of the dry vegetation of the scrubland that manages to grow there. Due to such adaptation, these Scablands herbivores are actually smaller than similar species in other regions of the world, as their statures evolved to require less food. Hornshields (triceratops), Clubtails (ankylosaurs), Stonescales (scelidosaurs), Spikeclaws (iguanodons), and Skullcrowns (parasaurolophus), gather in small herds to graze the scrublands. Pterosaurs roost in the mountainous regions, though their numbers are few. Giant eagles and rocs are both known to nest in the peaks. Rocs prove to be the main predators of the dinosaurs, though hyaenodons and dimetrodons are common terrestrial predators. Beetles and scorpions, both of regular and monstrous varieties, skitter across the barrens, and lizards and snakes are common. Few mammals dwell in the Scablands. Manticores rank among the most numerous of sentient non-humanoids.

There is little plant life in the Scablands. Small, woody shrubs with dry brown leaves crop up throughout the central scrublands, and some forms of cacti dot the rest of the region. The Testudin have had varying degrees of success in growing new forms of flora, but their efforts are nearly always quashed by their enemies.

The Scablands

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