A Watchful Eye
The Scavenger Lands
The most populous hub of the East, consisting mainly of the River Leagues members, the most notable members of which are the city-states of Lookshy, Nexus, and Great Forks. The landscape is dominated by the major rivers of the Yanaze, the Yellow River, the Grey River, and the River of Tears. The Rolling River and the Avarice River are two other ‘minor’ rivers in the region, though each is competitive with the largest rivers on Earth.
The Scavenger Lands are so named because of their many ruins, filled with treasures of a past age, such as Denandsor, the Empty City, giving rise to an entire scavenging profession. This profession is made up of professional adventurer-archaeologists and flat-out treasure-hunters, all seeking relics of the Shogunate and First Age with which to enrich themselves.
The Confederation of Rivers
The Confederation of Rivers – sometimes also called the Rivers League, or the League of Rivers – is a political and trade council made up of the major powers and most of the minor powers in the Scavenger Lands. Generally speaking, most of the locations in the Scavenger Lands have representatives on the Confederation council, and those that don’t tend to be those with stated antipathy for the Confederation: Thorns, Greyfalls, Joraba and similar locales.
The Lords of the Rivers
These nations and city-states are easily the most powerful of all the nations and cities in the Scavenger Lands. Each of them holds a position of tremendous importance in the Confederation of Rivers, and is a force to be reckoned with.
- Nexus: The largest city in the Scavenger Lands, Nexus is ruled by a shadowy council known as the Council of Entities, and serves as the headquarters for the Guild. A genuine hive of scum and villainy, Nexus has many laws and edicts, but only one real rule: nothing may obstruct trade.
- Lookshy: The severe and disciplined city-state of Lookshy is the most potent military force in the Scavenger Lands. Ruled by a handful of Dragon-Blooded houses referred to by the First Age term “Gentes,” the Dragon-Blooded of Lookshy do not serve the Scarlet Empire. Instead, they are the last remaining elements of the old Shogunate, and have defied the power of the Scarlet Empress on many occasions. Their ability to do this is due to two things: the pervading military culture that defines citizenship in Lookshy, and the potent store of First Age artifacts and magical technology the Dragon-Blooded population of Lookshy have at their disposal.
- Great Forks: Considered a city of wonders, Great Forks is known for its overt hedonism and party atmosphere. It is also known for the large population of gods that dwell there, for Great Forks is also called the City of Temples. It is ruled over by a triumvirate of gods, and its laws tend to favor divinities.
- Sijan: The Funeral City is more than simply a necropolis – it is a culture and civilization based around funereal practices and the propitiation of the dead. Distinctly neutral in disputes between mortal states, Sijan has acted as mediators between the nations of the living and the nations of the dead in the past. It is ruled by the Mortician’s Guild, an elite gathering of embalmists, necromancers and ancestor cult priests.
The Range Towns of Marukan
The range-towns established long ago by the Marukani tribes for trading, the Range Towns have formed a government among themselves that is separate from the lives of the tribal horsemen.
- Celeren: Capital city of the Marukan Alliance, and set of power of the Mayhiros clan.
- Mishaka: A small walled town where the Battle of Mishaka was fought, driving back the Dragon-Blooded led armies of Thorns. Known for its hatred of mercenaries and Nexus.
- Deren’s Ford: The smallest of the Marukan Range Towns.
The Calin Shogunate
Though once a satrapy of the Realm 400 years ago, Calinti legend has that when the Scarlet Empress was particularly pleased with a Calinti lover and she sought to reward him, he asked for freedom for his people, and she gave it to them. Organized into a variety of noble Houses, all vying for the seat of Shogun and influence with the Council, the Calinti love nothing so much as their Great Game of politics.
- Port Calin: The capital of the Calin Shogunate.
- Goodharbor: The only other large city of Calin, where the Yanaze meets the Inland Sea.
- Centak: A fairly small Calin settlement, Centak is well-known as a resort town that attracts wealthy Lookshyans interested in relaxation.
The Grey Kingdoms
A series of small city-states and tiny nations along the length of the Grey River, the majority of those nations that make up the Grey Kingdoms were once client states of Lookshy. Though the days of the uprising is long past, there is still some lingering cultural resentment in many of the people in these nations against Lookshy’s military superiority.
- Helz: Practically torn apart by feuding martial arts societies, Helz is well known as a center of the martial arts world. Helz is ruled by the Eight Silver Coins Clan, and its elder, a Water-Aspected Dragon Blooded who hosts the annual Eight Silver Coins Gathering, the biggest martial arts tournament in the Scavenger Lands.
- Lugwaal: A small city-state, Lugwaal was recently invaded by the organized military state of Varsi. Though most of the populace has been pacified, there is still something of an organized resistance, referred to as the Sons of Thunder.
- Melevhil: Destroyed during the Realm Invasion of RY 88, Melevhil is a popular site for Scavenger Lords, thanks to the old relics and artifacts that remain from the climactic battle between Imperial forces and the Seventh Legion there. Over the years, it has been all but stripped clean, though rumors indicate that there is still a large haul still awaiting discovery there.
- Mugadesh: Mugadesh is a minor kingdom in the Western reaches of the Hundred Kingdoms region of the Confederation of Rivers. Mugadesh was once a client state of the Seventh Legion until it joined an alliance of other kingdoms in waging a short war against Lookshy in the year RY 111. Afterwards Mugadesh was granted its freedom and became a trade partner of Lookshy.
- Starshalla: Formerly a Marukan range-town, Starshalla’s excellent placement along Guild trading routes led to an impressive boom in both population and prosperity in the area. It is still in the middle of a power struggle between the native moneyed ranchers (many of whom have dramatically expanded their family holdings and businesses) and the Guild.
- Varsi: A military state in the tradition of Lookshy, Varsi has recently expanded its holdings to include Lugwaal. Strangely, this has drawn little or no comment from Lookshy, at least in the public arena.
- Werendut: A small unremarkable city-state, Lugwaal is in a state of near-emergency, having been assailed by an unheard-of infestation of Fire Ants over the past decade.
The Hundred Kingdoms
The eastern half of the Scavenger Lands, the Hundred Kingdoms is a huge swathe of territory in which have risen and fallen hundreds upon hundreds of various nations, territories, city-states and other political formations in the years since the Contagion. To this day, it is a seething morass of political aspirations, petty warlords, alliances and betrayals, made up primarily of kingdoms and domains a week or two across at most – the majority of the “kingdoms” in the Hundred Kingdoms are made up of singular cities, with a few outlying settlements in every direction that look to that city for protection.
The Hundred Kingdoms region of the River Province is the largest unified region in Creation that is not part of the Realm. The exact number of nation and city-states in this region is constantly changing, but they are nearly all member-states of the Confederation of Rivers.
The Hundred Kingdoms are generally looked down upon by the Realm and the superpowers of the River Province because they do not wield much power individually, and are a constant political and military nuisance. Hundred Kingdoms nations lining the Yellow, Meander, and Maruto Rivers are often thought of as little more than pirate states for the taxes and tariffs that they impose on travel and trade, while at the same time thy contribute little.
However, at several times in the past the Hundred Kingdoms have proven to be the deciding factor in military and political conflicts throughout the East. Military contingents assembled from the region, for example, were crucial in turning away several Realm invasions, including helping in the most recent Realm invasion via the city of Thorns. The southern Hundred Kingdoms, with the aid of the Seventh Legion, have proved to be an effective shield against the hordes of the warlord Ma-Ha-Suchi, while the northern Kingdoms have proved effective in that same role against the Linowan.
- Aryvyras: Ruled by the hooded Despot of Aryvyras and his secret police, Aryvyras is a place of paranoia and fear, where everyone is careful to follow the Despot’s Code, lest he be turned in by a neighbor.
- Bourbon: A small city-state in the midst of a massive bayou, Bourbon is best-known for the incredible decadent carnivales it throws every Calibration. Bourbon is almost perpetually at war with its neighbor across the river, Rana.
- Cho-Holuth: A city ruled by the Salinan Sodality, the council of headmasters of the Academy of Cho-Huluth, one of the largest thaumaturgical academies in the Eastern Hundred Kingdoms, based out of Cho-Huluth.
*Darangin: The matriarichal culture of Darangin is ruled by a traditional grandmother-mother-daughter triad: the Dowager, the Queen Mother and the Royal Maiden, all of whom act as the brides to the god of Darangin.
- The Girian Protectorate: A nation made up of four sizeable cities, the Girian Protectorate is less than a century old. In its short existence it has made a name for itself as a home to mercenaries, and is ruled by the Council of Armsmen, a ruling council made up of the leaders of all the member mercenary companies.
- Kalishar: The Kalishari people are a small nation made up of a single large city a number of smaller towns between the Keldin City-States and the Sandy River. A culture based on the principles of enlightened geomancy, they are ruled by the Fang Shih, the hereditary master geomancer who governs the nation’s growth and development.
- The Keldin Cliff-Cities: A nation of ancient settlements dug into the cliffs that overlook the Yellow River, the Keldin Cliff-Cities are known for their fine statuary work and stone craftsmanship. The Keldin Cliff-Cities are ruled by the Ivory Star Dynasty, a lineage of kings descended from Soaring Majestic Father, the god of the Keldin Cliffs range.
- Laris: Dramatically reduced from its Shogunate splendor, Laris entered into a vicious conflict with Velen that left both of them nearly crippled.
Mahanaga: A small agricultural center, Mahanaga is known for its large numbers of serpents (and the products thereby), and the impressive Monastery of the Serpent King which overlooks the town.
- Marita: An otherwise unremarkable city-state of little influence, Marita’s central location has made it the headquarters for the Confederation.
*Matetha: Called the Gate of Chaya, Matetha acts as the border between the Hundred Kingdoms and the kingdom of Chaya.
- Meresh: The center of a large number of baronies, Meresh is the oft-fought over crown jewel of the Mereshi Houses, none of whom quite have the power to proclaim themselves the Kings of Meresh.
- Nathir: A major Guild stopping-point, Nathir is ruled by the Otamijo Dynasty, rivals of the Keldin nation’s Ivory Star Dynasty.
- Nechara: The site of a major battle between Guild mercenaries and the Seventh Legion against the Arzhecki Horde that turned back the Horde the last time they came rampaging through the Scavenger Lands, sacking several cities along the way.
- Perfected Brotherhood of Illuminated Kingdoms: Comprised of the once independent city kingdoms of Westpoint, Nethertown, and Shiny Cove who had been bitter enemies. Five years ago they entered into a joining federation under the guidance of a group of Solars and the Cult of the Illuminated
- Rana: The bayou-nation of Rana is made up of thieves, river pirates and cut-throats, and is nearly impossible to get to save by air. Rana is almost perpetually at war with its neighbor across the river, Bourbon.
- Scab: A den of iniquity just south of Greyfalls.
Velen: Dramatically reduced from its Shogunate splendor, Velen entered into a vicious conflict with Laris that left both of them nearly crippled.
Villages & Other Small Settlements
- Still Sky: A tiny village near a bamboo grove that houses a potent Wood-aspected Demesne. Ten days west of Mahanaga.
The Last Vestiges of the Realm
Though the Realm is all but ousted from the Scavenger Lands, particularly in the wake of the Scarlet Empress’ disappearance, there are only two places that are yet under the thumb of the Blessed Isle’s Great Houses: the far-off nation of Greyfalls, and the southern jungle-kingdom of Joraba.
- Greyfalls: A satrapy of the Realm, Greyfalls is a sizeable nation, with quite a Dragon-Blooded population (including a Cathak Legion) and several Immaculate monasteries.
- Joraba: A nation once heavily segregated by a divinely-mandated caste system, Golden Joraba was “liberated” by the Legions nearly fifty years ago. Now one of the few strongholds of the Cathak Legions away from the Blessed Isle, Joraba is one of the few places in the Scavenger Lands still fulfilling its duties as a satrapy of the Realm.
The Republic of Chaya
A peaceful, friendly republic that experiences a strange annual madness.
- Larjyn: Larjyn is the capital of the Chayan Republic.
Lands of the Dead
The Scavenger Lands suffer from not one but several massive Shadowlands. Into these places, the dead always rise up from the Underworld, and in at least two cases, a Deathlord – one of the mighty and ancient dead lieges of ghosts – have arisen as well, and built their black citadels in the heart of these fell places.
- Walker’s Realm: An ancient Shadowlands south of Great Forks, this Shadowlands is rulled by the Walker in Darkness from his citadel, the Ebon Spires of Pyrron.
- Thorns: The youngest Shadowlands in the River Province, Thorns was once a thriving city of the Confederation of Rivers. Then, its royalty ceded power to the Scarlet Empire, and war broke out between Thorns and the rest of the Confederation of Rivers. Thanks to the overwhelming numbers of Hundred Kingdom soldiers, and the advanced tactics and weaponry of Lookshy’s Seventh Legion, they were beaten back and the Dragon-Blooded put to flight. Thorns was weak and vulnerable, however, and it didn’t stand a chance when the Mask of Winters came with his terrible undead army and his citadel atop the massive animated behemoth corpse known as Juggernaut. Now, it is a land of the dead.
Scavenger Lands Barbarians
The tribal folk of the Scavenger Lands range from the quite savage to the nearly civilized. Even the wildest of them, however, know that they stand to benefit from trade with the stinking cities, and so tend to limit their attempts to raid the greatest of settlements. Still, this doesn’t quite protect the outlying villages and traveling caravans of the area from falling victim to the occasional barbarian raid.
- The Hill Folk: Barbarian tribes to the east of Great Forks.
- The Riverlin: Small groups of river-boat nomads, known as gypsy-like tinkers, fortune tellers and petty thieves.
- The Marukani Alliance: The nomadic horselords and herdsmen of the western Scavenger Lands.
- The Karala: A tribe of semi-civilized herders on the savannahs outside of the Republic of Chaya, known for their connections to Lookshy’s Seventh Legion and the annual raids they wage on the Kingdom of Joraba.
Criminal Syndicates of the Scavenger Lands
- The Five Shades Association: A rough collection of various gangs and local crime syndicates, the Five Shades are notorious for their powerful fighting skills, and their flair for revenge. They are known to organize themselves into a variety of clans, and identify themselves with a system of coded tattoos.
- The Grass Spiders: A shadowy organization of assassins purported to take great pride in ironic or whimsical deaths and avoiding the harm of anyone save those they are contracted for, the Grass Spiders traditionally leave a warning sign to those they are contracted to kill: a grass spider in their beds.
- The Harbingers of the Final Breath: A guild of assassins thought to be based out of one or both of the bayou cities along the eastern Yellow River, the Harbingers specialize in quick, simple deaths, usually by garotte or throat-cutting. They are also master kidnappers.
- The Grey Mist Clan