The Blasted Lands is a name given to the third, almost unknown of Tyren’s continents. The farthest south of the three, it is a three month voyage to reach this inhospitable locale, though there is little reason to do so for anyone not of a dark orientation. The land gets its name from the fact that there is no life whatsoever on the entire continent, with a single exception.
The continent is a wasteland, with dead, brown grass, lifeless husks of trees, and patches of charred ground. No animals run free, no plant survives. There are lakes, but be wary if thy party wishes to drink from these sources of water, for they’re poisoned in such a manner that the imbiber will suffer an agonizing death within a few hours: a horrible, itching pain advancing from his mouth down his throat and into his chest, spreading to the entire body within a matter of minutes.
However, don’t think that just because you brought your own food and water that you’re safe, for the air itself is saturated with Nether Energy. While not concentrated enough to kill you instantly, once you get about a hundred yards from the shore every exposed part of your flesh will begin to itch, getting worse and worse by the hour. After a day of breathing the tainted air, your mouth, throat, and lungs will all itch as well, and within no more than a week you’ll die the same agonizing death as those who were foolish enough to drink the water. Airborne dust abounds, thanks to arid soil at the mercy of unceasing winds.
There is no life here. Nature itself has been driven from this place, thanks to the history of the continent.
Long ago, in ages past, there was a War of Rebellion. This rebellion was that of creation versus Creator; the half that instigated the fighting was known as the Unifiers, a misnomer if ever there was one. The Unifiers were led by the Prince of Darkness himself, the Fallen Rhin L’ruhk, and their ranks were filled with not only humans, but other rhin who had decided that L’ruhk was going to win this war; even demons from beyond the Boundaries of Creation joined in to topple the Creator.
However, once the demons and L’ruhk taught their human followers how to harness the Nether Energy of Nothingness for nefarious purposes, even worse abominations occurred. The evil magicians who lived and worked under the Unification banner toiled and labored and discovered a working that even L’ruhk had not thought possible: the reanimation of a dead body. The body was soulless, as a soul cannot be recalled from beyond the grave, but that was all the better, because a body without a soul to assert independence was the perfect soldier.
Given the nature of Unifier rule, there were plenty of bodies available to be turned into undead soldiers, and after what would later be dubbed the Demon Wars began, there were countless more corpses to be used towards nefarious purposes; in fact, so many were slain that the Triguians (those who supported Trigu as rightful Creator) began to cremate bodies to prevent them from being reanimated to fight against them. Nothing was quite so surreal as watching a comrade die one day and fighting him blade to blade the next.
All of this leads into the explanation of the Blasted Lands, for those same lands were a gathering place for a massive necromantic working planned by Shaltier Grimtre. However, when his life hung in the balance after the final confrontation between the Five Armors and L’ruhk, all control of his magics were lost, and the Nether Energies he had summoned diffused throughout the now drifting continent. Due to the effect of Nether Energy upon living creatures, life was rapidly wiped out within the Blasted Lands, and thus it remains lifeless to this day.
The Nether Energy
The effect of the ambient Nether Energy is such that while life can survive within the Blasted Land for a short span of time, the Energy is enough that it will begin to eat away at your health, for the Nothingness is canceling out the Life Force that gives you strength. Within an hour or two of setting foot on the continent, the skin of someone unprotected will be red and irritated, much like poison ivy rashes. After a day, skin color begins to fade, until after a week, when the unfortunate soul is completely gray and keels over, his life force completely gone.
While the Nothingness is not concentrated nor focused enough to make undead out of the corpses it claims, such bodies are in fact saturated with the energy, becoming the perfect vessels for necromantic works. An army of such undead would be far stronger than the usual skeleton or zombies that are created. On the whole, Shadow Magic in general is increased ten-fold when performed in the Blasted Lands thanks to this ambient Nether Energy.
The Clean Spot
The Tear of Trigu
You don’t need no stinkin’ plot hooks…