Age of Ascension
South of the Heartlands, the Lowlands are also split by the flow of the Firewine River. The region is largely flat and overrun with swamps and bogs that go on for miles, in the floodplains that form the border with Kesh. A steep escarpment divides the Northern and Southern halves of the area, North of which is a rolling hill country, and to the South, bogs and fens that go on for miles. Warm winds from the sea cross over these fens to create an uncomfortable stickiness, as well as an odor non-natives will quickly notice. These wetlands are only suited for certain specialized farming, keeping most settlements small and squalid. Despite the Empire’s continued attempts to settle and civilize the region, it remains a wild and lawless wilderness, where there are more ruins than signs of life.
- The rolling hills and forests groves of County Freehurst give way to sheer cliffs as one travels South, below which lie miles of thick forests and bogs. The city of Freehurst itself is built into the cliffs between the awe-inspiring Falls of the Firewine… a drop of nearly one hundred seventy feet. To the West, the quarry town of Limecrag lies half abandoned; for many years, the town swelled with prospectors in the heat of a gold rush. Bardloch, in the lower Ambercliff mountains, is a fishing town on a crystal clear lake. Aside from its frequent rains, the county is known for its unnatural phenomena; missing people, magical deadzones, and cases of mass confusion.
- The forest of Wightlade is claimed by no man. Beneath its blue-grey canopy, the forest floor is bathed in darkness. Rightly, citizens of the empire stay well away from this haunted place, and even children have heard the stories. The mystery of Wightlade has attracted exorcists, clerics, and ill-fated treasure hunters… but the only living beings who stay are the residents of Waylar. It’s an ancient treetop village of elves now died out, the work of magic and master tree-shapers. Originally, it was discovered by ancient Naj’har travellers who took to the forests for shelter and remained. Reports since have claimed that magical energies are somehow amplified in Wightlade, attracting alchemists, scholars, and fugitive mages to make up the rest of the small population.
- The Southernmost territory of Avencia is collectively referred to as the Floodplains. Segmented by numerous rivers including the Firewine, the water levels raise seasonally, producing a layer of flat, spongey peat for about a third of the year. The rest of the time, the entire region is an endless marshland. Bendigo is the Southern most Avencian settlement; an overgrown, backwater village in the ruins of some lost civilization. North of that, Fort Napier is the Empire’s first line of defense of the Southern border, though its troops are stretched thin. Direwater Swamp, formed of the runoff from the low Ambercliff mountains, is the largest, most harsh, most troll-ridden of known wetlands. At it’s edge, Bolthold is a sprawling shanty-town on wooden walkways, as well as the birthplace of half the criminal activity in the Empire.