THE WILDLANDS - First Steps
None have returned alive from beyond the giant misty mountains of the North or of the humid and venomous jungle of the South. In between those and the thunderous seas is a land called The Wildlands.
A vast and wild land of danger and adventure.
A land that breathes under the light of its Sun and its two Sisters: Sinla, the Silver moon and Akhat, the Bad one, swallowing the stars and corrupting the mind by its ominous presence.
A land that was once the playground of fantastic creatures and giants called the "First Men", and where humans are building new empires and civilizations. They build their cities on the gigantic ruins left by the previous inhabitants of the land. They build upon the vestiges from a forgotten past of another scale. They build their cities to protect themselves from the wilderness and the dangers of the land.
A world forgotten by the gods
The gods are silent. They have neglected the people, no longer responding to their prayers and rituals. Some say they have deserted the Wildlands. While the Vaelkyr warriors are trying to catch the attention of Mother North by reviving the ancient traditions in blood and fire, the Avhoreans have grown weary of the prophecies of the Mad Druids. The Sabaah inhabitants witness the destruction of the statues and icons of the old gods, to see it replaced by representations of the One God and the Prophet.
From the small villages to the cities and capitals, men and women are left to fight for their survival. Their fate is in their own hands, and civilizations seem to collapse faster than they grow. The grim Cult of the Black Sun is spreading like the plague, preaching the Word of the One, and providing answers to the people in need of some, in exchange for their allegiance.
A world to explore
Untamed, the Wildlands call for heroes. Women and men chasing their own destiny. Adventurers courageous or crazy enough to take on the roads and uncover the dark secrets left behind in the ruins of a forgotten world.
Unexplored deserts, deep forests, inaccessible mountains lost in the misty horizon, the Wildlands are full of mysteries to discover.
Current civilizations are built on the remnants of the empires of the First Men, the giants who walked the Wildlands centuries ago. From these empires only ruins remain, massive blocks of sculpted rocks, vertiginous arches, and other architectural wonders rising to the sky as witnesses to the greatness of the past.
Stairs with gigantic steps leading down to dusty corridors, blocked by impenetrable doors engraved with esoteric signs. Towers built and abandoned between mountains, harassed by crows whose silence sounds like a warning to the most courageous travelers. Underground libraries containing impious knowledge. Tombs of exiled heroes, buried with their steel and their forgotten secrets. Graves containing manuscripts from Shamans and hermits whose prophetic words were lost between dementia and knowledge. Remote temples and altars dedicated to forgotten gods.
These are the mysteries of the Wildlands, the ones that shine the eyes and run the blood of the most reckless adventurers.
A brutal world
There are a thousand ways to die in the Wildlands.
Smothered by the coils of a giant python in the mangroves of the Mother. Impaled on the battlefield by a cold, anonymous spearhead. Sacrificed on a stone table, giving blood as an offering to buy a better future for their children. Gnawed by the bites of the cold, lost on the endless pack ice. Poisoned by a friend who had eyes only for the blade one carries at their side. Thrown over the guardrail of the hanging gardens of Sabaah for not being able to satisfy a picky master. Spiting black blood and chunks of lungs as a consequence of a strange disease one brought back from the swamps of the south. Trampled by the hooves of a steed even more terrifying than its rider ... In this violent world where nature expresses itself in all its brutality, and where women and men give free rein to their most primitive instincts, lucky are those who allow themselves the luxury of living. The others only survive.
Cartographers traditionally divide the Wildlands in three major regions.
The North, the East and the South.
The North is a cold land of mountains and forests, old tales told around the fireplaces during the long winter nights. The North is the land of the Vaelkyrs, the strong people from the mountains, with their horned helmets and armors of bones. By the forests and the fields is Avhorae, a modern and advanced feudal civilization, masters of warfare and commerce. Only the forgeons from the islands of Aon know the secret of the precious Black Steel.
The sunny plains of the East are home to the Empire and the city of Lux, ambitious and rising military civilization, expending everyday under the eye of the Cult of the Black Sun and its dogma. The plains of the East are also the playground of the Horde, an endless caravan of mercenaries and individuals living by the blood and the gold of the unfortunate travelers or villages who cross their path.
In the legendary South is Babel and the mythic city of Sabaah with its hanging garden, where the water is sacred and the sand is burning. To the south of the south stands the Mother, the primordial jungle. The Master necromancers of Ool and the Nine Cities have tamed the mangroves and the swamps bordering the edge of the forest. Where the sands meet the sea is Khalistan, a land of traditions and knowledge, keeping the Forbidden City protected as a precious jewel. Saeth is a place of blood, of sacrifice and death, built where the river Siirh meets the Gulf of Shadows and cursed by a mysterious disease.
The official map of the Wildlands is currently being crafted by an artist known for the quality of his work in the roleplaying field. This is only a sneak peek at Bastien's original draft: