The Elemental Wilds Edit
Geography and Climate Edit
Known throughout Nyrondie as the Cracked Lands, or the Elemental Wilds, the Scalelands is a barren desert, spotted with rocky crags and cliffs. Large stretches of the Scalelands consist in sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see. Firestorms rage across the surface of the desert, while, in the few places where water flows, noxious gasses and poisonous fumes ensure that easy access is impossible. Elemental magic is unleashed in the Scalelands. Lightning storms are common, as are the huge elementals which wander the wastes, seemingly driven on by the elements themselves, which follow behind them.
Political System Edit
The Scalelands has no government of any kind. Those who live here, primarily Dragonborn and kobolds that can bear the harsh elements, divide into small tribes, loosely affiliated with other tribes that share a bloodline. These various clans war with one another over the few sources of water and resources available in the desert landscape. There are only a handful of permanent settlements, and most of these are in the Southern Crags, a series of cliffs which line the Aerie Mountains, the impossibly high peaks that divide the Scalelands from the rest of Nyrondie. The coast has no natural ports, and so major trade via water is nearly impossible. The trickle of commerce that is done in the Scalelands comes through the small paths that can be found through the mountains.
The permanent settlements of the Scalelands are as follows:
- Ishix - Little more than a trading post, Ishix stands on the only viable path open to larger carts and caravans that leads into the Scalelands. For the few traders and merchants who want to enter the Scalelands, they must pass through Ishix, unless they want to brave one of the several Underdark Passages.
- Vazakiel - Known as the City of the Dead, Vazakiel is a sacred ruin, a place of spirits, where violence is forbidden. The Clanless (Dragonborn who have been exiled or driven out of their tribes) often make their home here, among the ruined temples and broken columns, as they are killed without mercy anywhere else. Priests and shamans make this place their dwelling as well.
- Braviss - The only major city north of the Sinking Dunes, Braviss is home to the great red dragon Ashax. The city consists of adobe stone structures built into a the cliffs of a huge mound of stone which seems to rise up out of the dunes like an island. The Dragonborn who live here mostly belong to the Calixthrassis clan, but slaves from other clans, as well as several tribes of kobolds are kept alongside their masters here.
History of the Realm Edit
The history of the Scalelands is a short one, at least to those who live outside the desert itself. From the earliest records, the Dragonborn have lived among the harsh elements, and they alone seem capable of (somewhat) thriving in the hot sands and broken crags. When the humans from the west landed on the shores of Nyrondie, they did so in the Scalelands, but swiftly fled further south, due to the inhospitable nature of the place.
The Dragonborn have no written records, aside from pictographs found on the walls of the ancient tombs and pyramids uncovered from time to time beneath the shifting sands of the deserts. However, Dragonborn oral tradition tells of the land blessed by the Great Dragon himself, flowing with water and green as the jungles of the Summer Isles. Great cities and mighty works were done by the Dragonborn in those days. However, when the Dragon was split, the land too was split, and the water flowed through the cracks into the earth. This left the Scalelands a barren wasteland, burned by the sun.
The scant archaeology accomplished mostly by Averistran explorers and Qualinosti scholars reveals that at least some of the Dragonborn tale is true. Signs of vast cities have been found beneath the sands, and the size of Vazakiel, and the depths of some of its burial vaults hint at the ancient grandeur that must have been the Dragonborn's distant past. The few dragons alive in the Scalelands are no more than a few hundred years old, and so have no more clear idea of what the ancient Scalelands were like than any of their subjects.
The People of the Scalelands Edit
The vast majority of the intelligent creatures in the Scalelands are Dragonborn and kobolds. These races live in small tribal units, affiliated with a larger clan. In all, there are five major Dragonborn clans in the Scalelands, with each divided into (in some cases) dozens of smaller tribes. The kobolds generally serve the Dragonborn as slave labor, or, in the more benevolent tribes, servants and vassals. Rarely will a kobold tribe get large enough to threaten their overlords, but it has happened, and there are several independent kobold tribes wandering the desert sands.
The people of the Scalelands are nomadic, traveling from well to well, hoping to find enough potable water to survive until the "rainy" season, which lasts no more than a month. The northeastern section of the Scalelands is covered in thick bog-like oases, but the water is poisonous, and undrinkable for most denizens of the desert. Still, some creatures have developed in and around the swamps, and these share in the poisonous nature of the land they inhabit.
The few humans who dwell in the Scalelands either do so in Ishix, or they set out in small expeditions. These expeditions rarely return to civilized lands, but those that do tell of ancient sand creatures, so large that they can consume entire tribes, magnificent ruins, and endless oceans of sand.