The Underlands Land of the TROGS

The Underlands

The Underlands of the South include some of the most inhospitable areas of the known world. The Western plateau is a barren, unforgiving wasteland. The South is an endless cruel desert, and is only inhabited by small mining communities intent on exploiting its natural riches: onyx, gold, and gemstones in the small central mountain range, salt and bitumen near the coast.

In the North, the alluvional plain of Murnogh is blessed by a large river, which enables agriculture, farming, and sustains a considerable population. At the mouth of the river lays the great commercial harbour city of Varas, garrisoned by ex-republican forces now under Murgard officers. The fertile alluvional plain of the Murnogh extends Northwest to Southeast between the Moon Mountains and the coast; it is separated by the Kadachian Hills from the great desert to the South. Once a swampy, malarial lowland, a substantial portion of the Murnogh has been drained and turned into one of the Empire's most fertile and densely populated regions. A great variety of crops are produced there in abundance.

Since ancient times, the plain has been a battleground between the farming communities and raiders from the desert, especially around the fortress of Unum-Stosslik, built on the main route to and from the desert, along the coast. On the fringes of this civilized area and along the coast lives a mixed population of nomads organized into clans ruled by tribal leaders, who live off of plunder and trade, and bands of scavengers and outlaws that will happily loot anything not guarded well enough. These bands are tolerated, however, and often even protected by Imperial forces, as they are the only ones who know how to survive in the desert, and are instrumental in supporting the activities of a number of private enterprises. These generally take the form of small mining settlements in the desert and large explorative expeditions, owned and paid for by powerful Barons of the New Order, and backed by complacent army officers. The Barons are making small fortunes for themselves by exploiting the riches of the desert mountain mines, and are quite happy to keep their business going by maintaining private mercenary armies and paying tributes for protection to the nomad warlords or corrupted Murgard officers, whenever convenient... But, as these expeditions pushed deeper in search of new rich deposits to exploit, they encountered a ferocious population of savage Orcs, who just seem to hate everything that lives, and are bent on killing anything that they can get their claws on - preferably in a very slow and painful way.

The Underlands are surrounded by the deadly waters of the Southern Seas, full of ever-shifting shallows, plagued by sudden currents and tidal waves, and infested by savage pirates known as Galaan Ichthyophagae. In the market city of Varas, everyone can tell you stories about the Galaan pirates, but very few people have ever actually seen any - Seen any and lived to tell about it, that is. Their fast and agile pirogue fleets appear, as if by magic, from the mists that often cover the inaccessible archipelago along the coasts of the Underlands in order to attack isolated ships, and then immediately disappear back into their unseen reef refuges. They are the masters of these treacherous waters, and are a serious danger for any merchant ship that works the trade routes of the Underlands. Many times, there have been talks of punitive expeditions to free the sea from these raiders - sometimes, someone even tried. So far, however, none have ever returned...

From the Imperial Archives:
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