The Forest Lands are the western half of Threa's northern temperate zone. They're very humid, if not nearly as humid as the rainforest, and that's why many dense forests grow on them. They extend from the Great Savannah in the south all the way up to the Western Boreal Zones in the north and lie between the Endless Waves and the Eternal Sea. Also included in the term Forest Lands are the various islands that surround this region, even the Sunlit Island, despite having a more subtropical climate. Forests which teem with life cover the grand majority of the region. From small fewiggs over fierce wargs to mighty Trezkul, all kinds of creatures inhabit the woods. They're adapted to living among trees, because there's not a lot of naturally open areas. Steppes or shrublands are rare; glades are the most common type of natural open ground.
However, there's plenty of artificially created open areas, such as meadows and acres; the amazing fertility of the region has given rise to many civilizations. Many of them have fallen, were destroyed by those better than them or by catastrophes, but some of them still exist and lay claim to large swaths of land. The greatest civilizations that are still around have been founded by Trezlin. These are the Sokan Empire and the Gren Kingdom. These two are great civilizations that are able to rival most other realms, thanks to the large amount of fertile land they span across. Apart from these two gargantuan empires, there's also the Free City State of Treztown. It's tiny in comparison, but still worthy of note due to its place in the center of the region and the fact it holds rather liberal and democratic views compared to the other two. Also, Sozlin tribes and Wolshak packs have made a living here. The former live on the western shores, while the latter hides in the forests, avoiding the dominant Trezlin.
The Forest Lands could also be called the Mountain Lands, because it's the region with the most mountain ranges. Namely those are Threa's Spine, Sokan's Guard, Varhal's Ridge, Vandell Forest, and Shield Ridge. Their exact locations are noted in each individual subsection in the Natural Locations section. The most interesting of all these ridges is Threa's Spine. It separates west from east, splits the Forest Lands roughly in the middle. Naturally the lands around the various mountain ranges are uneven, feature formations like foothills, ravines, and gorges. Connections to Subterra, such as cracks in the ground, sinkholes and similar, can be found here as well, but they aren't as impressive as the Maws of the Starless Jungle. Overall the land is rather hilly and mountainous, due to an active tectonic history, having been squished between two plates for millennia. The Aezkul love these lands for their mountains; they feel right at home.
An abundance of water makes the region even more likable and habitable. It flows from the mountains, fills plenty of lakes and ponds, and eventually flows either into the Endless Waves or the Eternal Sea. On their path, the rivers create gorges, waterfalls, swamps, and more. There's even multiple lakes that are noteworthy on a continental scale, such as Kultooth Lake, the Verdant Lakes, and the Sheltered Lake. Kultooth Lake is located in Threa's Spine largest valley and isn't large, but it's still rather interesting. It has two drains, making it a bifurcation lake. In the west, it ends in the Endless Waves, while in the east it ends in the Eternal Sea. Kultooth Lake is also very important, because the rivers it feeds are crucial trade routes and connect the largest population centers. The Verdant Lakes and the Sheltered Lake are detailed in the sections of the Verdant Valley and Sheltered Basin respectively.
As expected the temperatures in the Forest Lands are rather temperate. It is very warm in the summer, bordering on hot, and very cold in the winter. Temperatures are higher in the south one is and lower in the north. The harshness of seasons follows the same pattern. In the northern half, which borders the taiga, winters can be brutal due to cold winds coming from the north, bringing ice and snow with them. Blizzards and massive amounts of snowfall aren't uncommon; the land is usually covered in a thick blanket of white during most of winter. Temperatures of fall and spring range from cold to warm. Especially early spring and late fall in the far north are still plagued by cold temperatures. During summer it becomes comfortably warm in northern reaches, but quite hot in the southern ones, which border the subtropical zone. Wolshaks are left panting and lin have to seek shade now and then.
The Forest Lands are humid throughout the entire year. Humidity peaks in winter and drops low in summer. On especially hot days the climate can be arid, but this is an extremely rare phenomenon and usually leads to droughts. During the more humid seasons, so winter, spring, and fall, precipitation is common. Of course not every day is a rainy day, but it can happen that it rains throughout multiple days in a row sometimes. During fall rainfall can be so plenty that rivers step over their shores and flood the surrounding land. Thunderstorms are also not unheard of, but they're more common in summer than the other seasons.
Unlike many other of Threa's major regions, the Forest Lands are not split into multiple ecosystems such as grasslands, shrublands, and forests. There's only the forests, the mountains, the swamps, and the bodies of water. However, they all have roughly the same climate and the flora and fauna are rather similar, hence they're not described in detail on this page.
Most of the region is utterly covered in trees. They grow wherever the soil allows it and the sun's light reaches them, even on the hangs of mountains. The great majority are deciduous trees, such as birches, oaks, and maple trees. Conifers only grow in the north, where mixed forests are prevalent. Palm trees can be found in the Forest Lands as well, but only near the southern edge and on the Sunlit Isles. Various other plants grow all over the land, from tall grasses over pretty flowers to lush bushes. However, the vegetation here is not as beautiful and flashy as that of the rainforest. It is also less deadly and much easier to tame, making agriculture easier.
Natural clearings are rare. They appear only where the ground isn't good enough for trees or where natural fires, caused by lightning for example, or other destructive influences destroyed large swaths of woods. Once a clearing has been created, it's rather difficult and time consuming for the forest to reclaim it. Immediately various herbivores will take over the open land; they eat saplings and offshoots, grasses, and the leafs of bushes. Clearings offer a lot of sustenance to plant eaters. This in turn attracts predators, who eat the herbivores and thus allow the trees to grow again. It's a natural cycle.
A cycle disturbed, not necessarily negatively so, by the agriculture various peoples that inhabit the Forest Lands practice. They cut down large amounts of forest, create acres and meadows. The edges between farmland and wild forest are a great habitat for herbivores for the same reasons the clearings are. This also makes these twilight zones profitable for humanoid hunters and predators.
Other clearings might have been created by the Trezkul. This apex predator of the region is smart. They know that their prey enjoys to graze on open patches so some Trezkul have begun creating their own clearings in their territories to attract said prey. Knocking over trees is no difficult task for the massive kul.
Trezkul aren't the only members of the kul family that inhabit the Forest Lands, even if they're the most dangerous one. Sozkul colonies dominate the shores and the Mazkul as well as River Azkul rule the inland waters. Plenty of fishers have been ended by Mazkul, pulled beneath the water's surface and devoured.
Apart from kul, all kinds of creatures live in the Forest Lands; tiny insects, giant insects, daebis, wargs, gryphons, forest wyverns, the wiggly fewiggs, the mighty yet peaceful tanzapos, and more. While the majority of creatures have avian or reptilian traits, giving them a saurian appearance, the Forest Lands and the Boreal Lands have a higher relative portion of mammalian creatures than the other major regions of Threa do. The reason for this, unbeknown to Threa's inhabitants, is the Lost Island. In past eons, something wiped out the saurian life that inhabited it and allowed mammals to thrive on the large island. An ice age came, the water level fell, and a land bridge between the Lost Island and the Forest Lands came into existence thus. The large mammals spread to the mainland, began competing with the life there. As a result large mammals exist in Threa nowadays and are especially common in the Forest Lands and Boreal Lands.
Independent from their biological class, most creatures of this region are tiny to medium in size, because being small and nimble is an advantage in the densely forested land. However, the land is not so thickly overgrown that large creatures cannot live here at all, hence huge herbivores like the armored and strong tanzapos do exist here. They're so powerful that they can even knock over trees with thin trunks or those with weak roots. Some clearings might actually be their fault.
Summed up, all parts of the the Forest Lands, its woods, mountains, swamps, shores, waters, all of it, are inhabited by all kinds of creatures in great amounts. Some are dangerous, most are harmless, the land's flora and fauna isn't nearly as hostile as that of the Starless Jungle, which is a benefit to the Trezlin, Sozlin, Wolshaks, and other humanoids that live in it.
This fungus can only be found in the Forest Lands. It has a short stem, merely a few inches long, and a large blue cap which edges curl inward. The mushrooms spores have a special property - they make those who eat them drowsy and sleepy. If a large enough doses is consumed, it can even cause the consumer to fall unconscious. It's a good defensive measure as it means that whenever an animal eats a bunch of these mushrooms it will directly fall asleep and can't harm other mushrooms for the duration. In the wilderness it's also pretty dangerous to just lie out in the open. Many animals have learned to avoid the knockout mushrooms due to this. The blue cap also doesn't look very appetizing.
Knockout mushrooms aren't very common, but can be found all over Forest Lands, primarily at the base of trees. The local lin like to use them as a sleeping aid. If one has trouble sleeping all it takes is one or two mushrooms either eaten raw, roasted, or in a stew and they should fall asleep soon enough. Capable poisoners can distill multiple mushrooms into a thick, white liquid that can be applied to blades, arrow tips, or mixed into food. Due to the much higher, purer doses it works much faster and will put even agitated people straight into the world of slumber. Quite useful for pacifying people or taking them out of a fight until they can be dealt with.
This small plant is among the most exotic looking plants one can find in the Forest Lands. It consists of a large rosette of long, frilly, fleshy leaves, which has a yellow flower in its center. What gives it its exotic appearance are the thin, yellow veins that cover the leaves. The flower is mildly toxic and gives people nausea, but the leaves can be eaten raw or dried and then used to brew prickle tea. Its name stems from the fact that the tea has energizing properties when consumed, akin to those of coffee and other substances that include caffeine, and that it leaves a softly prickling sensation on the consumer's tongue.
Prickle plant can be found commonly across the entirety of the temperate zone. Many communities even grow small fields of it to make sure they always have a steady supply to either make tea of it or chew it as they work. Extensive consumption can cause an addiction that leads to people not being truly awake until they got a cup of prickle tea. Since a pure prickle tea is too strong for many people, they often mix it in with other hot beverages, primarily other teas. Prickle tea on its own tastes rather sour and slightly sweet.
Varhal's flower looks pretty much like a bright yellow tulip, but its blossom is more open than that of the average tulip, it is pendulous instead of erect, and the base of the plant grows more leaves. Between the flower's petal lies a thick, hairy gynoecium, which constantly oozes a sweet, slightly yellow liquid. This liquid attracts insects, especially bees, who feed on it and cover themselves in the flower's pollen, which they then carry to the next Varhal's flower, fertilizing its fruit - a small globose capsule with a leathery covering. The plant naturally only grows in the western half of the Forest Lands, but it could potentially grow anywhere in the temperate zone; it simply hasn't spread everywhere yet.
The sweet, yellow nectar the flower produces is good for insects, but it has negative effects on most larger creatures. The majority just get a slight stomachache or headache after eating one of Varhal's flowers. Ironheads and kul are more adversely affected. They become horribly ill and throw up after eating the yellow flower, which irritates ironhead breeders and hence they usually eradicate the plant on their pastures.
Enough of the yellow nectar of Varhal's flower mixed in with a few other commonly available toxic herbs make for a potent poison known as Varhal's Wrath. It only works on kul, wyverns, and similar creatures. It causes their muscles to become very tired and slow, especially those in the chest area. This is where the wing muscles and the heart is located. They grow so tired that flight becomes almost impossible, lest they risk just falling out of the sky! It also makes running away on foot much more difficult, as the kul just can't reach high speeds in their exhausted state. Legendary kulslayer Varhal Scalecutter was the first to figure out how to create this poison, thus the name. Because of its anti-kul use it is extremely popular among Gren beastslayers, who grow it in large amounts in gardens near their guild houses.
Due to the plentiful woodlands and the various clearings, there is a lot of land for animals to thrive on, which means that hunting in the Forest Lands is very good. The animals here provide meat and hide for making clothes and even armor. No material is better to make leather armor than the scaled hide of a wyvern, Trezkul, Sozkul, or Mazkul. Their meat is also considered a delicacy, and some of their organs and body parts have health benefits when consumed. At least this is what many lin believe, but in most cases it isn't true.
The rivers and lakes of this region are full with fish. Off the eastern and western coasts it is rather easy to fill large nets with fish such as tuna or salmon. If one is ready for a more daring and much more dangerous fishing trip, they could attempt to hunt coastal or river Azkul. They, alongside with Sozkul and other large aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, provide a lot of blubber which can be used to fuel lamps or for salves.
Herbs and spices grow all over the place, but in not as great a variety as they do in the Starless Jungle. The spices of the Forest Lands are also not as intense and varied in their taste. Plants that can be utilized as medical or recreational drugs are rather rare as well.
After clearing a patch of land from trees, usually utilizing slash-and-burn, very fertile soil remains, which can be used to grow various crops on it. From wheat over corn and potatoes to hemp, nettle, and more rarely flax, all kinds of plants that can thrive in the temperate climate are grown by the Trezlin and, in a much smaller fashion, by the Sozlin of the Forest Lands. The Trezlin also use a lot of the cleared land as pastures. Plenty of formerly wild animals have been tamed by the witty Trezlin to become livestock and provide meat, hide, and in a few cases also other things, like eggs or milk. Some aren't raised to provide resources but to provide services. Ironheads and daebis for example aren't primarily bred for food. Ironheads are great beasts of burden as well as great mounts for heavy cavalry, and daebis are quick and thus perfect mounts for messengers.
Sturdy wood can be gathered in the Forest Lands, especially from Gren oaks. It can be used to make furniture, tools, or can be made into timber for construction. Given how densely forested the area is, none of local settlements ever have to worry about running out of wood. Clay and stone can also be found in large amounts. Due to how abundant and robust stones actually are, clay is more rarely used for construction and more commonly used to make pots and similar. The types of stone usually encountered in the north are granite, limestone, and slate. These can be found anywhere, especially in the mountains. Marble is most commonly found in the region known as Golden Woods, which are in Sokan hands.
Ores are a plentiful in the Forest Lands. Especially Threa's Spine contains many rich veins; it is in fact one of Threa's richest mountain ranges and certainly the richest of the region. Iron, copper, tin, gold, silver, lead, these lands have them all. However, they're not evenly distributed, with the exception of iron. Iron can be found almost anywhere and is most common in Threa's Northern Spine, Varhal's Ridge, and the mountains of Vandell Forest. Copper is most easily found in the eastern areas, but tin is more common in the northwest. Gold is naturally rare; the best mines can be found in Varhal's Ridge. Once Sokan's Guard was also famous for its gold mines, but the Sokans utterly exploited the easily accessed gold veins to make the Auric Towers truly auric. This has drained the mines fast and nowadays they aren't as profitable anymore. Coal, asphalt, and crude oil are also available. Most petroleum seeps can be found in the Bronzed Frontier. The Sokans commonly use it to fuel their oil lamps and to produce incendiary weapons.
Many beautiful places can be found in the Forest Lands, such as pretty ponds in small clearings, waterfalls that feed crystal clear rivers and lakes, meadows covered in colorful flowers, and deep dark caves that contain glowing crystals and intriguing rock formations. Plenty of deep caves, rifts in the crust, and sinkholes lead into the subterranean layer. They are quite dangerous because they are infested with predators. Trezkul, forest wyverns, and other beasts love to make these natural cavities their lairs.
Three advanced civilizations currently lay claim to the Forest Lands' surface, but the fertile region was the cradle of many, many more. Many of these have either been wiped out by their neighbors or natural disasters. The traces of their existence are still visible today. Some ruins are well known, such as abandoned castles or cities that were burnt to the ground and never rebuilt, but there are also plenty of ancient locations that can only be found by explorers who are willing to push deep into the wilderness. There's also a lot of uncharted islands; who knows what can be found on those?
The peoples that still inhabit the Forest Lands have created various points of interests and lasting sights as well as mere traces of their existence. While the Wolshak packs only have tents and the Sozlin only have wooden settlements, the imperial Sokans have built huge, sprawling cities as well as massive forts. The Gren have built similar structures but theirs are less impressive and less decorated. Depending on where one goes, it can be very difficult or rather easy to find a settlement or a fortified installation. The most densely populated areas are the coasts of the Golden Woods, the Sunlit Isles, Treztown's Valley, and the shores of the Great Bay and of the Verdant Lakes. The most sparsely populated areas are the Bronzed Frontier and the regions far from the Great Bay's shores.
The Bronzed Frontier is what the Sokans call the region between Sokan's Guard, Threa's Spine, and Shield Ridge. East of the Bronzed Frontier are the Golden Woods, northwest of it is the Sheltered Basin. Its name stems from the fact that most of the Great War was fought here and that the region has been only sparsely populated ever since the war ravaged and depopulated it. The Sokan Empire owns most of the land, but it doesn't have many large settlements there, preferring to live near the coast instead. Plenty of Wolshak packs inhabit it instead, making the region rather dangerous to traverse on foot.
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The Great Bay is located at the western coast of the Forest Lands and belongs to the Gren Kingdom. It's roughly oval in shape and huge at roughly 700 miles from west to east and about 600 miles from north to south. Its connection to the ocean lies between Varhal's Ridge and the Vandell Forest and is known as Moons' Strait. Despite being called a strait, the water connection is actually roughly 200 miles wide.
Many Sozlin tribes have made the shores of the Great Bay their home. It's filled with fish and offers good, flat beaches to settle on. One of the largest Gren cities is also located at the Great Bay's shores - Thirpofen. It's a huge, wealthy seaport and the only place where Firehorn merchants may exchange wares with the Gren.
The Golden Woods is the coastal region in the far east of the Forest Lands. It spans from the eastern coasts all the way to Sokan's Guard and blends into the Bronzed Frontier further west. South of the Golden Woods lie the Sunlit Isles. The entire region is firmly in the hands of the Sokan Empire and home to its greatest cities, all of which are located at the shore.
Most of this area consists of dense, leafy forests, which grow on mostly flat, fertile land. The Sokans named it the Golden Woods due to how good farming is here. Apart from the shore, the most important geographical feature are the three grand rivers that flow through the land. They're important trade routes, hence many settlements are located on their banks. One of the goods that's transported via the rivers and then the Eternal Sea is marble. There are many quarries in the Golden Woods.
The Sheltered Basin is located between the northern half of Threa's Spine and Shieldridge. The former is its western border, the latter is its eastern border. The Sheltered Basin itself is in fact a large basin which is roughly triangular in shape. Naturally the land in the basin is rather hilly. Its lowest point is right in its center, where the rivers that spring from the surrounding mountains merge, forming the Sheltered Lake. This lake lacks an obvious drain; it has no connection to the ocean. Its drain is a crack in the ground that leads into Subterra, which the inhabitants of the Basin aren't aware of. Many subterranean rivers are fed by the Sheltered Lake.
The easiest way to enter the Sheltered Basin is through three valleys. Each is only a few miles wide and hence easy to defend. One valley lies in the north, one in the east, and one in the south. If one wants to avoid them, they will have to make due with narrow, winding mountain passes or climbing. Overall, the Sheltered Basin's mountains make it easy to defend and keep it safe from most bad weather phenomenons, hence the name.
In time prior to the Great War of 467 ar, three Trezlin realms inhabited the Sheltered Basin. Each was rather primitive and ruled by a jarl. For many years these jarls fought over the entire basin, but none of the three managed to come out on top. When the Sokans invaded in 466 ar, the jarls were forced to ally and form the Coalition of the Basin. Otherwise they would have fallen to the Bronze Legions right away. Together they were strong enough to fend off the Sokans until the Western Alliance showed up. It supported the jarldoms and managed to ensure their continued existence.
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This mountain range is located northeast of the Sunlit Isles and separates the Bronzed Frontier's south from Golden Woods' south. It's a natural wall for the large Sokan cities that have settled between it and the eastern shores. Invading armies are forced to either go around it and fight their way through a lot of Sokan land or march through narrow mountain passes, which are easy to blockade and set up ambushes in. This also makes it more difficult for enemies to reach the islets and isles that connect the the Sunlit Isles with the mainland, which makes it harder to attack the Auric Towers - the imperial capital.
Beyond its value as a natural obstacle for invading forces, Sokan's Guard also has two other benefits for the Sokans. Number one being that many rivers spring from it that end up flowing into the Bronzed Frontier and into the Golden Woods. They are very important for transportation and irrigation. Number two is copper ore. Many copper mines have been dug at the foot of these mountains and yet they still find ever richer veins. The copper is very important to the Sokans, who use it to produce bronze. An alloy that they consider sacred and require for tools, weapons, and armor. In the past Sokan's Guard also had really rich ore mines, but they've already been exhausted because Empress Jalia had the gold rapidly excavated to make the Auric Towers actually golden.
Threa's Spine is the most massive mountain range of the Forest Lands. It stretches from the northern chunks of the Plains of Trees all the way to the Western Tundra, crossing through the Forest Lands and Boreal Lands, separating both into a western and an eastern half. The only way to pass through Threa's Spine, without using one of the treacherous mountain passes, is by going through Treztown's Valley. It's located in the southern half of Threa's Spine, roughly near the center of the Forest Lands. Due to its sheer size, numerous caves and vast tunnel systems it has been impossible to purge the wildlife that inhabits it. Most of the mountain range is untamed and wild. Despite that the Sokan Empire, the Gren Kingdom, and even the Free City State of Treztown lay claim to parts of it and Wolshak packs as well as Truzlin tribes have made it their home.
Rich in ores and in stones useful for construction, Threa's Spine is certainly a lucrative location to settle nearby. Iron can be found wherever in the spine and in especially large amounts in the areas north of Treztown. Copper and silver are more frequent in the southern parts. Suitable stones for building can be found anywhere within and along the ridge.
This cluster islets and islands consists of one large island, two small ones, and dozens of tiny ones. The largest island is called Empire's Home. The smaller island in the north is called Aerie Rock. The island between Empire's Home and the mainland is called Explorer's Step. A group of islets surrounds Explorer's Step. They're so close together that bridges have been build connecting a series of them together, creating a connection between the mainland and Empire's Home. Weren't the water in the straits as shallow as it is, it would've been impossible to build these bridges.
The climate on the Sunlit Isles is different from the climate of rest of the Forest Lands. It's warmer and drier, if still humid. Naturally this also affects what kind of vegetation lives there. Most of the large plants consist of palm trees and deciduous trees better adapted to mild winters and very warm, dry summers. Conifers, like cypresses, can are also native to the region.
A warmer overall climate also makes the isles more suitable for coldblooded beasts like lizards and snakes. They feel right at home between the sun warmed rocks. Some of the more exotic birds of the south have also set up nests here. An especially noteworthy species of bird are the so called sun callers. They are yellow, have long necks, and make a loud call when the sun rises. The Sokans believe they've been created by the Sun to announce its presence to its worshipers.
Given that the Sunlit Isles are the heart of the Sokan Empire, they're of course populated and quite densely so. Auric Towers - the imperial capital - is located on Empire's Home and sprawls across its northwestern tip, right where the Bronzebridges connect the island to the mainland. The rest of the main island is covered in various small towns and villages whose agricultural produce feeds the people of the capital. There's also plenty of mines. Most of them are located in the Sunlit Range, a mountain range at the eastern end of the island. They're the Sokan's main source of lead and tin, as well as other ores in lower amounts.
Explorer's Step isn't as densely populated, despite its size. It's dedicated to the Bronze Legions and the Emperor's Navy. Large barracks, fortifications and military ports have been erected on it. It is in fact the home of the First Legion, the Empire's best. Summed up, it serves as one large defensive installation to ensure that no foe crosses the Bronzebridges or uses ships to invade Empire's Home.
Aeria Rock has been dedicated to the Order of the Emperor's Wings. The Primary Aerie has been built on it. All future riders and their mounts are trained there, making it an extremely important facility. It's usually heavily garrisoned by multiple wings of the Order to ensure that nothing threatens Empire's Home from the skies. After all, if the heart of the centralized Empire falls, so would the entire Empire.
The Vandell Forest consists of a low mountain range and the surrounding, densely forested land. It's located west of the Great Bay, entirely on the arm of land that makes it a bay in the first place. Vandell in Gren means treacherous, crafty, and cunning. The dense, dark woods are certainly treacherous, but that could be said about most forests in the Forest Lands. It's the cunning of the locals and the rampant banditry of the land that has given the region its name.
Dukedom Vandell, formerly the Vandellarian Kingdom, owns the entire Vandell Forest. It is part of the Gren Kingdom and its inhabitants are known as Vandellarians. It's known for its amazing bowmen and hunters, but also for its bandits and rebels. Vandell has been forcefully made part of the Gren Kingdom and many haven't forgotten despite it having happened centuries ago. Many Vandellarians turn to an unlawful life in order to avoid the rule of the king and his nobles, to live a free life. In turn they make life for the other locals and travelers dangerous, and the woods all the more treacherous.
The mountain range isn't very noteworthy. It's old, it's mountains small and their peaks rounded by erosion. It at least provides iron, lead, and in lower amounts silver and other ores to the Vandellarians. Many rivers spring from it as well. Unfortunately it's also inhabited by plenty of Trezkul. They often make this land their retreat in winter, when it becomes too cold further up north. As a result, the area becomes even more dangerous, but it's a very lucrative time for beastslayers.
This mountain range sits right on the western coast of the Forest Lands and extends from the Great Bay all the way up north into the Frozen Wastes. It's the Verdant Valley's western border and was named after the legendary kulslayer and king Varhal Scalecutter, who was the very first king of the Suwehbens. In the proximity of the capital of the Gren Kingdom - Northorn - the mountain range is rather tame and safe, because Gren slayers regularly march into the mountains to cleanse it off Trezkul and other monsters. The rest of it is extremely dangerous and inhabited by many wild beasts.
Varhal's Ridge isn't only important to the Gren because it reminds them of their history and the most legendary member of their kind, but also because it provides iron and gold. The iron is necessary for tools and arms. The gold has made the royal family, the Scalecutters, extremely rich. The ridge provides other ores as well, just iron and gold are ores the Gren most commonly find where they mine.
Sozlin tribes also make good use of the mountains, or rather the coastal cliffs. They have built many settlements on outcroppings, in small bays, and on and in various other natural formations that are part of the range.
The Truzlin and Wolshaks of the Boreal Lands avoid the mountains usually. While it's easy to hide a settlement in them, they're difficult to navigate and there isn't as much prey to hunt as in the rest of the northern lands. They also can't use any of the ores due to their low technological progress, so there's even less reasons to be anywhere near Varhal's Ridge.
The Verdant Valley is a gigantic area located between Varhal's Ridge and Threa's Spine. It's so massive that it extends from the northern shores of the Great Bay all the way north to the border of the Western Tundra. Its southern half lies in the Forest Lands, its northern half in the Boreal Lands. Most of it is in the hands of the Gren Kingdom, but the realm's control doesn't extend far beyond the twilight zone between Boreal Lands and Forest Lands. Everything beyond that is in the hands of Wolshak packs and Truzlin tribes, so very wild and almost utterly untamed.
A series of lakes called the Verdant Lakes split the hilly valley in half from north to south. They are Threa's largest lakes. They're navigable, which is a blessing for the communities on their shores because ships are much quicker than carts and can carry larger loads. Unfortunately it's a blessing for pirates as well. There's a few crews out there that attack merchant vessels, but not so many as that trading across the Verdant Lakes isn't profitable anymore.
It's the lakes and the many rivers that feed them that make the valley as verdant as it is. Dense forests grow in its boreal and in its temperate half and make this area an amazing habitat for all kinds of animals. The Truzlin tribes that inhabit the north and the Wolshak packs that inhabit the entire valley benefit greatly from this. It's possible to keep all their mouths fed just by hunting and fishing. Naturally predators profit from this as well and in turn make the valley dangerous. Plenty of Truzkul live in its north and many Trezkul in its south. Yet the region remains attractive to the locals, being as fertile and bountiful as it is.
Disclaimer: This section is not a complete list of all cities, villages, etc. in this region. There may be more, despite not being mentioned here.
These settlements will be re-added after the pages of the various countries of the Forest Lands have been worked over.
These structures will be re-added after the appropriate nation pages have been worked over.