The Odaneimo Mountains
The Odaneimo Mountains are mild in terms of mountains. The peaks are low enough that they are almost completely forested. Temperatures in the higher elevations are low enough to permit snow to last well into the spring and most locals don't consider it summer until the mountains shed their winter snows. The mountains are heavily forested, with typical forests in the foothills and slowly switching over to mostly coniferous forests once the higher elevations are reached. The range is rich with local wildlife, including bears, large cats, as well as several more fantastic species. The canopy of trees is home to squirrel sized wyverns noted for their bright green color. The mountain tops are roosting areas for grey spotted griffins, and their typical prey, Banded Cloud Goats. The Banded cloud goats are known for their seeming ability to float and avoid injury no matter how long the fall may be. In the deeper valleys and vales, dire species of common creatures are more encountered such as dire swine, giant forest bears, and raccoons and possom the size of medium to large dogs. Dire wolves are also common, but tend to keep to the wetter valleys and their territories are easy to notice and avoid.
The preponderonce of wildlife, mundane and exceptional have prevented any large scale settlements in the area. There are a number of forest villages mainly involved in harvesting lumber from the forest. There are three major townships/villages in the Odaneimo region, though none are actually in the forested region. Oshen is a military outpost and trading station guarding the southern pass through the mountains. This pass remains open year round, but travel in the rainy season is treacherous due to mud, landslides in the pass, and increased animal activity. Zoran is a military outpost in the northern reaches of the mountains, and guards the Zoran pass, though mostly only in the summer and early autumn. seasonal snowfall and blizzards are heavy in the winter and dangerously sporadic in the spring. The pass there is only open safely for about 5 months, through the summer and entering into autumn.
Traffic across the mountains is restricted to these two passes. The northern pass, being closed more than half the year can leave caravans stranded for months waiting for the thaw. As such, only non-perishable goods cross the northern pass, and then only things that have high value compared to their weight. The southern Oshen pass is regularly congested by heavy traffic in the spring, summer, and fall. Bulk goods travel across the spine of the mountains, exporting food goods from one side for textiles and luxury goods from the other. This route is can quickly be shut down during times of hostility, and banditry is a major problem in the less traveled winter season.
Sayene, the City of Forks
Despite being called the city of Forks, there is really only one fork in Sayene, the trade road splits north to Zoran Pass and south to Oshen Pass. Somewhat closer to Oshen, Sayene still has a stark winter, but not as cold or severe as Zoran and blizzards are rare, usually hitting once every decade or two. Sayene is the last major trade city for repairs and resupply before caravans head out to cross the Odaniemo range. During the summer and fall it is a place of constant bustle as trade flows heavily through the city and its common market. Spring is a time of bold merchants, those who try to get a head start on the spring melts. Winter is a time of boredom, as there is little activity beyond the slow trickle of trade running south across Oshen.
The Merchant's Guilds, specifically the Teamsters Guild and the Weaver's Guild are strong in the city. The teamsters handle most of the traffic in the city, and non-guild wagoneers and cartsmen can expect to be shunted to lower quality facilities on the edge of town. The Weaver's guild is the main importer of textiles and finished cloth, and most of the goods the guild exports are finished clothing and other fabric goods.
"The name is Lingbeak, mountain guide and forestal in these areas. Come close, bring a round of ale, I've got business for your sort. don't look at me like that, I know an Adventurer-upon-return when I see one, or more than one in your case. I've found something, but I can't make it alone. I need a Compagnia to clear the pass I've found. That's right, I've found a third pass across Odaneimo. That's why I've kept my lips closed till now. The pass, it's not empty, there are some old buildings up there, and some critters guarding 'em. I don't give a lick for treasure pulled from the ground. More trouble than it's worth, but I'd say you folk aren't so put off by a little danger. Come, help me clear out the pass, I'll give you a cut of the toll to cross for a bit, a year's tolls, 10%, interested? All those ruins? Well, I reckon I don't care too much one way or another for 'em. Unless they are keeping the pass closed, then I'd give a penny or two to see 'em fall in."
The journey to Zoran, 11 days, to Oshen 7, the distance to Lingbeak's Pass is only 2. Traveling to the general location of the pass is relatively easy going, terrain wise. The land rises up, as the foothills give way to the mountains themselves. There is evidence that there was once a road that passed through Lingbeak's pass. There canny travelers might notice hints of shaped stone at crossings, or stele that might have been distance markers centuries before.
The area Lingbeak leads the party to has a reputation, as does Lingbeak himself. The area has bad vibes and sinister magic all over it, and most locals agree that the area is best left alone. There are no farms there, and no other signs of habitation anytime in the last few hundred years.
If pressed, or research is done into the area, it was formerly associated with a group of people who have been the target of complete annihilation. Records that deal with them or the area have been expunged, leaving holes cut in scrolls, and even carvings and stonework records of them being obliterated with hammer and chisel.
Expected date of completion: unavailable.
I can remember bits of where I was wanting to go with this, but I've lost the creative thread on it, so I am going to post the details that I can recall and out the door this goes, incomplete and all.
The Lingbeak Pass was the final stand of a previous culture that was deeply involved in necromancy and blood magic, which made them very unpopular with their neighbors. There is a fortress that controls the pass about a day's travel into the mountains, and access to the fortress is blocked by a massive stone golem, 40' tall, which initially appears as part of the castle. The golem is fueled by death energy, and can raise zombies and skeletons to fight for it. Most of these are ceremonial dead who were consecrated to serve as immortal defenders, but others are adventurers and explorers who sought the pass in the past and were slain. They function as greater undead and are dangerous foes, and don't shuffle and moan, but rather use weapons, fight viciously, and retain a good portion of their combat skills.
The golem could be destroyed, but it would eventually repair itself. Alternately, there is a control stone in the fortress that can be used to control the golem, causing it to stand down, or directing it's actions in battle. The control stone and the golem are blood magic artifacts, and unless the stone is wet with blood, it will not function for the PCs. Destroying the stone would disable the golem permanently.
The area would remain tainted by negative energy unless it was purified, and the undead all destroyed and blessed, and theirs bodies interred. Once this was done, the fortress at Lingbeak could be repaired, and the pass would make whomever controlled the fortress wealthy, as well as making enemies in the two trade cities sitting at the other passes.