The Tawaren Basin
The Tawaren Basin is a large lowland basin bounded by the Uzuid mountain range to the south, the Halidberg and Valhvoska ranges to the north, and the Jaiyat Highlands to the east. To the west are the Groam Uplands, to the north is the Klastin Plain, and to the south is the Boroughs. The area was once densely populated, with several large city-states and countless towns and villages, all loosely affiliated in a cooperative confederation. The coming of plague devastated Tawaren, wiping out entire cities and driving many refugees westward into Upper Groam.
Life & Society
What was once a free and safe society has degenerated into paranoia and lawlessness. Only a few towns of significant size remain, and those are comprised mostly of the sick and dying. There is no longer any unified culture.
Government & Power
The few remaining settlements have maintained their autonomous status, and forms of government vary from town to town.
Lately, a rag-tag military force has arisen in the west and begun demanding tribute. The origin of this new army is unclear, but a significant portion of it is made up of former members of the so-called "Grey Watch" of Groam. The Watch's familiar grey standards now bear the charge of a mailed fist.
The eastern border of the Blackwater, between the mouths of the Gyaan and Vai rivers, is controlled by the clerics of Yranna at the Alder Temple.
The region was formerly responsible for the export of large quantities of silver and tin. The lakes also formed the major east-west trade route between Orvaelos and the kingdoms of the Central Sea. Since the coming of the plague, these have been severely impeded by fear both of the disease itself and of the resultant breakdown of social order.
The eastward trade route, part of the Silver Road, formerly passed up the Gyaan River, across the Heriyat Pass, and thence down the Irren and Hawksfoot to the Central Sea.
However, in the years following the outbreak of the plague, a series of landslides at the foot of the Vahlvoska Mountains blocked the passand rendered the Heriyat route unusable, as well as creating a large shallow region at the mouth of the Gyaan. Any eastward trade now must pass up the canyon of the Vai, past the checkpoint at Plaguefort erected by the Order of the Gryphon, across Rams' Pass and down the entire length of the Upper Hawksfoot River before reaching Keepers Lake. This route is both longer and rougher than the Heriyat route.
Lake Medre, Lake Ollea, and the Blackwater
The Basin's most significant features are a chain of three large lakes: Medre, the Blackwater, and Ollea. These are fed by numerous rivers and streams which spring from sources in the surrounding mountains and carry all of the rainfall of the region. Due to the large number of navigable rivers, travel by boat is very popular, and the lakes are very important to what trade still takes place.
At the mouth of the Kliss River, these are inhabited (as is most of the Kliss) by lizardfolk. These communities are immune to the plague and severely xenophobic, possibly due to previous aggression from city-states of the Tawaren Basin.
Sour Reeds Marsh
The marsh at the mouth of the Gyaan River more than doubled in size in the year of the landslides. Due to its continued ecological uproar, it is largely composed of bacterial mats and has a foul sulfurous smell. Consequently, it is largely uninhabited.
There are several small communities of plague-resistant people. Each is a rare haven of safety in the plaguelands, and access to them is carefully guarded. Some defend themselves with secrecy and others with walls, but most try to maintain tenuous contact with the others in spite of the dangers of travel.
On the border of what was once Groam, Huir is one of the largest remaining towns in the region. It controls most of the remaining trade in tin from the southern mines.
The only remaining significant port on Lake Medre, Dockve is an important center of commerce. Unfortunately, it is also rife with bandits and pirates, many of whom have been waging a steady but largely unsuccessful war on the Medre Isle Hallow for years.
A hidden community of plague survivors and hillfolk, Mennin's Hallow was founded at the headwaters of a major tributary of the River Allein. The villagers rely on their remote location to remain hidden and safe from bandits and plague-ridden refugees. Their economy is almost entirely self-contained, supported by goat herding and farming.
Medre Isle Hallow
A small community adjacent to the Alder Temple on the northern rim of the Vai River Canyon. The region between the Gyaan and Vai rivers is kept plague-free by the ceaseless efforts of the clerics of the Radiant Mother, and this small town of refugees, survivors, and hillfolk is under their direct protection. The community owes its safety from plague and bandits to the eminently defensible position of the Temple on the 75-meter cliff that forms the northern rim of the Vai Canyon overlooking the Blackwater. The clerics of the Alder Temple are said to be researching the cause of the plague, but no tales of a cure have yet been heard.