Without a ruler or central authority, the Lawless Lands are a collection of independent city-states and isolated villages. Some are protected by local militia or dominated by a powerful local figure, while others rely on mercenaries or natural defenses. Bandits, raiders and monsters are common in region and it is often unsafe in the lengthy wilds between towns.
The Lawless Lands is loosely defined as the broad region north and west of Grigor but south of the Last Mountains. It is bordered by the Endless Sands desert on the west and the Hronthian Peaks to the east. Much of the Lawless Lands is rough plains. Formerly seabed, the hills and ridges are unusually shaped and sculpted. Many areas are still flat, water-smoothed rock or rough patches of dried coral reef. The soil is often thin, easily blown away or infertile and much of the area is scrubland or near-desert.
Bleak Plain – A higher elevation and wind currents batter this stretch of plain resulting in hot desert. The Bleak Plains are dry and rocky with little sand or soil. The ground is dry and cracking with little vegetation.
The Edge – This long stretch of plain is where the shaded and cooler grassland slowly gives way to the dunes of the Endless Sands desert. Its name comes from the common assumption it is the end of the livable land. Flatlands– These long, flat fields were once seabed and are curiously sculpted by millennium of ocean currents. Even covered with grass and topsoil it is curiously sloped.
Green Fields – A cool, grassy dale tucked in a long, deep valley where three mountain ranges meet. The Feywild is strong in these glens and settlers have been known to vanish.
Hillrise – The steep lowlands from the Dune Range. Once a stony shore below cliffs, the hills still look like surf-pounded rocks more cracked and battered than eroded.
Last Forest – Possibly the northernmost woods in the Beltway, the Last Forest is light wood used for lumber by the surrounding villages.
Northmarch – A wide stretch of rugged, rocky grassland used by ranchers and horsemen and grazing land.
Rough Land – Rough hills that stretch from the tip of the Dune Range to wards the Last Mountains. This area with its valleys and canyons is a common ambush area for bandits and rustlers.
Rough Pass – A thin, dangerous pass through the Dune Range, prone to avalanche and falling rocks. Despite this, it is still the safest and most commonly used trail through the mountains.
Sandwatch Fields – The wide stretch of grassland north of the Bleak Plains. This area is populated by small cattle and horse ranches and small, hidden villages. The soil is too thin for most crops and tends to become dusty and dry during the hot summer months.
Even uncivilized and unwelcome races such as orcs, hobgoblins and minotaurs are common in the Lawless Lands. The strong survive in this uncivilized region and few races are stronger than those.
The folk of the Lawless Lands swear allegiance to no crown or lord or god. They survive from moment-to-moment, living off the land. Ranching is common, with herds of branded cattle penned into wide stretches of land.
In the Lawless Lands the adage “might makes right” is all too familiar with the strong and powerful controlling villages, and bandit gangs taking what they want. People hold their land as long as they can defend it and towns struggle to defend their scraps.
There are few real cities in the region and large towns rare. Most of the population is poor, rural folk who have never seen a settlement of larger than a couple thousand folk.
The Lawless Lands have little history. Much of the region was underwater or isolated islands prior to the Catastrophe. As vegetation slowly spread across the rolling plains, humans, tieflings and others moved north and established settlements. With slavery common in Hronth and Freeland’s early days, the initial settlers were tieflings. They quickly claimed the region to avoid enslavement and have their own homeland. Many of the original towns were established by tieflings.
The first wave of human settlers was prompted by the slave trade. After only a few centuries, the humans began spreading northward, capturing and enslaving whole villages then selling them to Freeland.
The establishment of the Dwarven Cliffs also prompted humans to come north, seeking the lucrative trade with the stout folk.
Recently, gold and mithril were discovered in the Last Mountains, with large veins found in formerly unreachable areas that were underwater prior to the Catastrophe. A number of boom communities have sprung-up in these foothills and valleys.
Shadow – (town, pop. 1,500) A valley town that survives in the endless shade of a large mountain. It sees little sunlight but is warmed from constant breezes and the long northern days. It is home to a sizable number of rangers and woodsmen who frequent the wide plains to the south. There are a large number of ranchers live near Shadow, mostly raising horses for trade.
Outpost – (town, pop. 2,620) Thi sandy desert town is built near a number of thin gulches. Dusty and dirty, it survives as a drinking hole on the edge of the Bleak Plains desert. The town has its own substantial brewery and buys much rye and barley from neighboring farms. It sees many dragonborn travelers passing through from their homes in the dune to the south.
Hillside – (town, pop. 2,570) Simple mining town, full of blue-collar folk that dig into the earth, hauling up common metals. They make their money on iron and occasional silver veins. Drink is common in the town and much money is spent importing ale. It sees many travellers expecting a gold town, but most leave disappointed.
Grayfast – (town, pop. 3,430) The junkyard town, it is built atop an ancient trash heap that is being scavenged for valuables. Gnomes, at their peak, seldom repaired or even recycled magical machines or golems, they simply replaced them and tossed away the old and worn. This area was used as a massive dumping ground: a deep gully leading to sea where trash could be dumped from the cliffs above. Formerly on a peninsula, natural currents also attracted trash and jetsam to its shores and shallow lagoon, so it was a natural choice for a junkyard.
Grimhaven – (town, pop. 1,970) Once a massive jail, built on a rocky, storm-battered island, it now rests near rough plains. The prisoners survived and founded a town based around their former prison that acted as the perfect fortress. Now populated by descendants of the worst criminals of the Old Order, mostly mad and psychotic (incurable even with magic), the growing city has a dark reputation and attracts the worst outlaws and scoundrels in the region. It is a town built on a foundation on needlessly violent raids, smuggling and the slave trade.
Edgeville – (city, pop. 12,540) Popularly described as the northernmost settlement in world, although the younger town of Shadows is now farther north. The city was built as a trading post with the dwarves where humans could buy dwarven goods. For over a generation, Edgeville cornered the market for dwarven goods, shipping them to Freeland and Hronth. Most of the profits went to human hands prompting a large city to grow, leeching off the dwarves’ hard work. In response, the dwarves eventually built their own trading post, Dwarf Post, where they could make the money and trade with whomever they wanted. Edgeville has been slowly dying since, with people leaving to seek their fortune elsewhere. Despite this, Edgeville is the largest settlement in the Lawless Lands, although it is rapidly losing people and most of the remaining folk are those too poor to leave. Smugglers have moved in, using it as a base while they sneak contraband in and out of the Dwarven Cliffs.
Waylaid – (town, pop. 3,850) This rancher town was built for cattle: wide streets, corals, and plenty of land for grazing. Large herds of cattle are a frequent sight, but rustlers are a common problem. The town itself is vacant half of the time, filling when ranchers come with cattle drives.
Market – (city, pop. 11,960) A sizable prostitution and slaver town. Market is known as the place where anything of flesh is for rent or sale. Hunters from the north make a living rounding up captured slaves (or making them appear to be runaways) then selling them here. There are a couple businesses that specialize in “breaking” or “training” slaves and use a number of methods ranging from mundane to magical. There is also a hidden anti-slavery guild that works to free slaves and smuggle them north or through to Cellinia.
Good Fortunes – (city, pop. 10, 650) Gold rush town. Large veins of the mineral were found in the formerly submerged hills. It is really a collection of smaller boom towns that spread together, centered on this hub city. There is a large population of dragonborn and warforged, brought in guard the vaults. The dragonborn bought their families and have established a large neighborhood here.
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