Iskar Vale 5e
Iskar Vale Geography
The Iskar Vale is located on the continent of Kharis and is surrounded by the Roespine Mountain Ridge, which feeds the beautiful Lake Ios, which then drains into the River Ios and its two tributaries, the River Fenth, and the Kharai River. There are a few settlements in the Iskar Vale, but only three major cities: Aatondale, Vicsberg, and Ocklan. Just outside the Vale, a trade city called Grejtak serves as a hub for all kinds of merchandise, but the recent warring has left this Aeithian city to fend for itself.
Two major kingdoms shoulder the Iskar Vale, and the Aaton family has managed to keep peace with both for several centuries. The Kingdoms of Aeith and Urgath M’tal are close neighbors to the Iskar Vale, and these two kingdoms are currently at war, causing Lord Aaton to take action to keep peace in his isolated lands.
Aeith is ruled by King Aeith XIII, and moved along as a moderately peaceful nation until about three years ago when the king surged into a grab for more land and more power. Aeith is about a week and a half travel southwest from Aatondale, and only a few major obstacles lie in the way. A great forest, wide canyon, and the raging river that runs through it. The capital of Aeith is Falcon Ridge, and the king lives in Falcon Ridge Castle. It’s common knowledge that Iskar Aaton had a good relationship with the Kingdom of Aeith, but the current Lord Aaton is unable to call on the favors of their fathers to protect the Vale.
Urgath M’Tal is ruled by The Grand M’Tal, and is a nation of greenskins. Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins, and more make up the vast majority of the population. For several hundred years, the Urgathi have been content to stay in their land which is rich with game, minerals, precious stones, and magic. The Prime M’Tal settled the land to the southeast of the Iskar Vale long before it was the Iskar Vale, and so long ago that very few even know his name. The Prime M’Tal held a vision uncommon to other greenskin leaders, and though he valued war and bloodshed, he did not agree with killing for the sake of killing. The inhabitants of Urgath M’Tal are fierce, brave, and well-trained warriors, but they use their martial prowess to protect their lands, not take others. The kingdom has prospered in ways that no other greenskin kingdom has before, and many of the fairer races have been welcomed as citizens.
Aatondale is the capital city of The Iskar Vale. It’s currently ruled by the eldest Aaton with his two sons, Garran and Nemic as heirs. The Aatons have never showed an outward desire to rule as kings, but have been happy managing The Vale as a representative of its people. Currently, Aatondale finds itself in a precarious position between two warring kingdoms and recently issued a call to arms with considerable success. Even kingdoms across ocens sent representatives. Aatondale seves as a hub for The Vale and many wares are available as well as access to martial training, magical study, and major temples. Lord Aaton is assisted in running The Vale by his council of High Advisers: General Gabriel, Sammael, the High Arcanist, and Uriel the High Priest along with his sons.
Grejtak is part of the Kingdom of Aeith, but it is so close to the land claimed by the kingdom of Urgath M’Tal that many of its customs and a large amount of its business crosses the line between the two kingdoms.
As a result of the proximity, and in some ways assimilation, there is a strong Greenskin population in the city, and they trade their wares with the best of Elven merchants, and human swindlers alike.
Aeith has always protected Grejtak, but it seems that in recent years, and more specifically, recent months, the kingdom of Aeith is willing to sacrifice this bustling outpost city to the war in an effort to cut off supplies to the Urgath M’Tal who rely on it.
Though, the city is highly capitalistic, it has, until recently, followed the monarchy’s rule without much trouble. The king must surely be feeling the weakness in his coffers with the taxes from Grejtak all but drying up. Most of the military presence has been killed off or recalled, and the city is now in a state of reckless autonomy.
The prices for staples have risen ridiculously as people struggle to exist, but the black market has overflowed since there is no one to regulate it or keep it in check. If it’s illegal, or questionable, there is a strong chance that you’ll find it in Grejtak.
Currently, the city is being governed by the merchant houses, with one at the head: the house of Renquist. The Renquists have been in Grejtak since its fouding under the rule of Aeith, and they know more about the city than any others. The other merchant houses know that their profits will be looked after under the house of Renquist, but they are being taxed more heavily and getting less representation and less security than Aeith previously provided.
Many houses have taken to employing their own mercenary guards and have issued a type of martial law, or police state where they own and dictate the law as long as it doesn’t create waves for the house of Renquist.
The Roewood forest is just south of Ocklan and is relatively uninhabited by humanoid races. There are many different variety of beasts in the Roewood Forest, though, and it is a popular place among humans from all over the Iskar Vale and the elves of the Roean Plains for hunting.
Krennwood is a part of the Iskar vale only by proximity. It lies just to the northeast of the Roespine Mountains, and little is really known about it. There are feral elves who inhabit parts of the Krennwood, but they are tall and lanky with the ability to run at amazing speeds for incredible distances. There are rumors that Lord Aaton retains a few Krennari Elves as messengers.
The Silverlight Forest is east and south of Aatondale and Lake Ios. It provides a natural buffer between the lake and the eastern ridge of the Roespine Mountains. A city that predates Aatondale and the arrival of Iskar Aaton lies in ruins between the foothills of the eastern ridge and the forest. Once known as Roeth, it is haunted now by dark and vile things. Several small communes of High Elves live in the Silverlight Forest, and a few of them have devoted their lives to the study of the Ruins of Roeth. These scholars are experts in the history of the Vale before Lord Aaton claimed it as his prize.
Urwood is just south of Aatondale, and it is a small forest, compared to the Krennwood and Silverlight forests. Some of the oldest and largest trees in the Vale are in the Urwood, but there are signs that this forest was once far mightier than it stands today. Many elves call the Urwood their home and they have made small settlements in the might boughs of the ancient oaks and the giant ur trees, indigenous to the Vale.
The Roean plans make the large bulk of the Iskar Vale, and they are littered with small towns and villages where people have found land to cultivate and farm. Most of the settlements are closest to Aatondale, Ocklan, and the Ios River for trade, but a few of them are self-sufficient. Many tribes of elves also inhabit the plains, and they revere the open skies and strong winds of the plains. Forest Elves are known to look upon theses tribes with disdain, but there is no open animosity.
This mountain range is comprised of three major ridges; the west ridge, the north ridge, and the east ridge. These mountains cradle the Iskar Vale and have served to provide safety and isolation for many years. Wars to the southwest and southeast spill into the vale and threaten the long-sustained peace. Many dwarf clans reside in the hills and under the mountains of the Roespine Mountain Range and most of them are content to stay in the hills and mountains, but there are a few who venture out into the Vale.
The Krennari Pass is a place of danger and darkness. It was once used for trade and travel out of the north end of the Iskar Vale. It separates the north ridge and the east ridge of the Roespine Mountains, and most every inch of it is soaked or coated in blood. Several hundred years ago, a rift opened in the mountains and demons and abominations of all sorts spilled into the surrounding lands. Elves from Krennwood, Dwarves from the Roespine Mountains, and the barbarian human tribes who occupied the land inside the Roespine Mountains’ protection raised mighty forces to quell the unnatural assault. Eventually, the rift was sealed, but at a cost that left populations thin and entire towns emptied. In a culminating battle, the earth shook, and the pass was closed off when giant boulders formed from breaking mountains filled it over. Until recently, a noble house of Tieflings had found a way through the pass, but their efforts were thwarted by war and they have lost their standing.