My first mission was one that most elves would not want to be subjected to, hunt down and destroy a banshee. Not one of the regular missions assigned to a collector but one in which they felt would benefit me due to how young I was. For those of you that do not know what a banshee is then allow me to inform you. A banshee is created when a female elf dies and her spirit lives on. They are the dirtiest little secret of the elven community and sought out for destruction as soon as they are located.
This particular banshee had been spotted nearly a full day's hard ride to the south. However at my father's request, I went west first, in order to procure a weapon which could destroy this particular fell beast. A banshee can only be harmed by magic and enchanted weaponry. While I had magic on my side, my skills and capacity were far from capable of this particular task. He sent a carrier pigeon ahead of me to make contact with a bugbear shaman, Ruge of the Silvered Fang Tribe.
Ruge resided several days away in the Sundered Fields with the rest of his tribe. This particular tribe had moved into the Sundered Fields nearly forty years earlier and had resisted every single attempt to dislodge them that had been thrown at them. Countless elves, dwarves, and humans had died trying to get rid of the growing bugbear menace. My father was the first to approach them in any form of diplomatic gesture, and was the person chiefly responsible for the end of the bloodshed. I personally think it with the amount of wine that he had brought with him to the bartering table that helped secure the treaty. The Silver Fang Tribe has kept to itself for the most part but occasionally has been known to negotiate for weapons and alcohol. It was this latter that I was going to use for my bartering chips. But the story of Ruge will have to wait for another time, this is about the Sundered Fields.
I traveled for three days on foot to reach the Sundered Fields. You are able to tell the instant that you enter the fields. Nearly all of the grass is burnt away leaving only charred dirt and rock. The trees that remain are charred and twisted, dead husks. The Sundered Fields received its name in the year 2,062. A plague swept through the area in the year 2,060. The plague decimated the human villages, destroying entire crops and herds. The bodies of the dead were so thick that instead of building a single burn pit the entire region was set to the flame, nothing was allowed to escape. The fires lasted for nearly two years before the smoke began to clear. The ground was so charred that no grass or tree has grown back in the eight hundred twenty three years since the fire subsided. Nothing grew or lived within the sundered fields except for the Silvered Fang Tribe.
The tribe has settled in the western portions of the area, near the Ash River, the only source of water that runs through the fields. The ash river got its name at the same time as the fields due to the amount of ash that clogged the river. Further north it is still called by its original name, the Azgak, from when it was the main sluice of the copper mines of the dwarven Elarr Clan. To the south of the fields it is known as the Blood Ward due to the severely red tinged waters that come from the copper.
Most of the tribe lives in a ravine that was created during the burning of the plague victims. The ground cracked due to the intense heat and baked the soil to create a semi-permanent cliff face. The members of the tribe have carved their homes into this cliff-like ravine and have thrived.
Not all of the tribe lives within the ravine, some of them have decided to settle in small groups away from the ravine. The largest group is that of Ruge and his guards. Consisting of mainly huts built from hides and the few sticks they have scavenged together, Ruge commands a sizable chunk of the bugbears that have left the ravine. It is in this settlement that one can find the most agreeable of the bugbears. Ruge has seen that outsiders are welcomed as long as they bring a small gift and plenty of material to barter with. Wine and wood, weapons and ore are always welcome for Ruge also has a brisk trade in weapons of bugbear make.
The goblinoid races are not known for beauty or fashion, but for function. The weapons and armor rival that of the dwarves when it comes to functionality, though even the dwarves are known to add beauty to their craftwork. The goblinoid metalsmithing is devoid of any embellishment except for spikes. I traded away the casks of wine, and wood for the longsword that Ruge had waiting for me.
I made my way south of his encampment towards the border of the fields before I turned to head east and towards the swamp that housed the banshee.
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? Responses (6)
A memorable location, though there are some nit-picky logistical details that spring out at me. I'm not sure how there could be enough fuel to burn for two years, unless it was an exposed coal seam or a tire dump :)
I'm also curious on what the goblins eat that they would thrive in such a region, where no live trees are. Did the massive deposits of ash provide fertile soil?
The fact that they have any desire to obtain ore implies they have a good source of some type of fuel, for carting firewood to smelt ore would be rather expensive. This points to the coal seam as being possible.
AHA... someone is thinking. There is an undiscovered coal stream, undiscovered as far as the civilized world knows of anyways, and the bugbears are exploiting that fact to create and sell weapons to make the tribe richer and stronger.
As for the food, I just realized I never actually mentioned how large the fields are. From the tribe's location it is only a hop, skip, and jump to the Ash River, which is once again habitable by fish and therefore the main source of their diet. To the north it is about a days travel to reach the grasslands again, where the tribe's hunters try their luck at gathering meat and some roots. South requires nearly four days of travel to reach the grasslands. Three days to travel east to the grasslands.
This makes the Sundered Fields roughly 48 miles north to south by 36 miles east to west.
by AD&D 2e standards that is :D
Well, this really could use expanding with notable landmarks of the fields (e.g. a burned temple, some anomaly that may have been the source of the plague) and notable NPCs or monsters.
You also could add the explanations you provided in the comment to the main text.
Also, plot hooks!
Explanations and plot hooks... what is this? I want my editor