The Witchlight Strand
The Witchlight Strand is a collection of independent city-states along the southeast coast of Ansium, ranging from Jaston in the south to the city of Khoal in the north. The area is named for an aurora generating from a forest east of Hammerfall. Both the forest and the aurora are commonly known as The Witchlights.
Lands east of the coastal settlements are overrun with monstrous humanoids. Griznog's Pass and the northern portion of the Bloodspires are under orcish control, while goblin tribes make their home in the Blackblade Forest. An epic engagement known as the Savage War has been ongoing for over a century between the two factions, their battles often taking place in the southern Bloodspires and The Bonehills. Legend has it that the war has been going on for so long that neither side knows what it is they're fighting for.
Government & Power Groups
Cult of the Black Flame
(Main Article: Port Magalie)
Ages past saw control of what was to become Port Magalie shift from orc to goblin to human, and occasionally even elven. The humans and elves eventually united to push the savage humanoids back into the Bloodspires, and though the elves have since retreated into the nearby Liaglades, the two factions present a united front to maintain control to this day.
Lord Weers is Port Magalie's current highest authority. He is thought to be a brilliant tactician and manager, though his iron-fist techniques strike fear in those whom he rules. With the help of his adviser, High Counselor Colm Theron, his firm grasp on the affairs of the city has served to gain great prosperity and avoid open confrontations with the savages still in the Bloodspires.
(Main article: Callie's Thicket)
Callie's Thicket is comprised of a number of halfling villages nestled in the northern protrusion of The Old Woods. The halflings have been there almost as long as the woods themselves, and despite occasional invasions of gnolls from the Laughing Hills, still maintain a quiet and peaceful existence.
(Main Article: Hammerfall)
The Hammerfall region is comprised of three large towns, known as the Municipal Triad, and a number of smaller villages. The region is named for the hammer-head shaped peninsula on which it resides.
Because of its close proximity to the Witchlights, Hammerfall is largely self-sufficient; so many superstitions surround the Witchlights that only the bravest, or most well-paid captains will sail their ships within a hundred miles.
(Main Article: Jaston)
The small town of Jaston is rumored to have been founded over a millennium ago by a group of elves after having been exiled from the Old Woods, this making the town one of the oldest in all of Ansium. Despite its age, Jaston is sparsely built; its minimal structures are meticulously well-kept. Methodically groomed parks and sprawling green fields are an integral part of even the most developed areas of Jaston.
The people of Jaston are content and happy; never was an ill word spoken against the city or its governors. Passing adventurer's have suggested that there may be a less-than-natural for the contentedness of the population.
Laradell is an elven treetop city in the Liaglades near Port Magalie. It has been debated for decades whether or not the city really exists or if it is simply a legend passed down for generations.
Population 5000 Orcs
(Main Article: Qwinyon Shai)
Sometimes referred to as simply The City of Ruins, Qwinyon Shai is a desolate region nestled in a secluded valley in the Bloodspires, in the northern region of the Witchlight Strand. The city is in ruins and is nearly uninhabitable to all but the growing tribe of orcs currently residing in the crumbling buildings.
Control of Qwinyon Shai is a key element in the Savage War, a centuries long struggle between the orcs of the Bloodspires and the hordes of goblinoid in the southern Blackblade Forest. Control of the city has shifted between the two factions numerous times throughout the decades, but the orcs have it now firmly in their grasp and show no sign of loosening their grip.
As the orcs seek to further secure their control of Qwinyon Shai, pushing the goblins back into the Blackblades and out of the Bloodspires, it is only a matter of time before the epic Savage War comes to an end and both sides turn their attention elsewhere.
(Main Article: Hania)
Hania is a small village located on the Crescent River at the western edge of the Liaglades. The village is largely self-sufficient, with talented farmers and craftsmen. As such, there is no official ruler, though the villagers look to the guidance of Deeson Voss, a retired soldier and strategist.
As the boundaries of the Savage War expanded during the last Witchlight phenomena, Hania was sacked by a raiding band of orcs. Nearly the entire village was slaughtered, but those who survived, under the guidance of Deeson Voss, somehow managed to defeat the remaining orcs and bring peace back to Hania. They are currently in the process of rebuilding.
The Witchlights is a forest located on the coast of The Witchlight Strand, and is in fact the namesake of the entire region. The forest itself is known for being the source of a naturally occurring light display that is visible for hundreds of miles. Activity of savage humanoid tribes increases during the phenomenon, as most believe the lights to have some sort of religious significance. Legend has it that dark magicians have found a way to harvest the energies of the Witchlights to fuel their own foul deeds.
The last few decades have seen the Witchlights grow to nearly twice their original size, encompassing nearly the entire forest and stretching out to the Isle of the Forsaken. Rumors abound that the lights are a living thing and are feeding on something.
The Old Woods
The Old Woods are the oldest and largest woods in the area. The woods are said to be magical and teeming with life; there have been numerous sightings of magical creatures including treants, dryads, and unicorns. There are many small humanoid communities scattered throughout the Old Woods, the most significant of which is the halfling region of Callie's Thicket.
The Bloodspire Mountains
The orc and goblinoid hordes in the Bloodspires have waged perhaps the longest and bloodiest war in Ansium's history, each vying for control of the mountains and their resources.
The Bonehills are named such because legend has it that the hills are made not of the earth, but of the bones of generations of orc and goblinoid tribes. The area is now inhabited primarily by goblinoid forces, with an occasional band of orc raiders. Rumor has it that an even darker force has invaded the heart of the Bonehills, and that long-dead ancestors of the warring tribes have risen again for a new purpose.
Griznog's Pass is named for a great orc king believed to have fallen in battle generations ago, and is the only passable route through the Bloodspires to Qwinyon Shai and the Riverlands. It is said that whoever controls the pass controls the mountains, and is therefor the main focus of the savage war between the orcs and the goblins. The pass is currently under orcish control.