The peninsula north of the Chaddamar Theocracy is known as the Desolation of Shidar. This region is a vast wilderness area which is shunned by all civilized people of Chaddamar. The entire region is considered cursed. The Church of Chaddamar teaches that all living things are warped and twisted in the Desolation. Unnatural beasts and plants have evolved. Disease is rampant. Monsters roam unchecked. Those who die arise as walking abominations who feast on the living. Legend and superstition are heaped upon the Desolation. The locals even fear to make maps of the Desolation for fear that the parchment itself would somehow be cursed and bring ruin to them.
In order to protect the great nation of Chaddamar, a great wall was built ages ago. This wall is known as Garreon's Wall and it separates the peninsula from the rest of the continent, effectively isolating the Desolation. The Church of Chaddamar has declared all lands beyond the Wall forbidden. No one is allowed enter the Desolation of Shidar. This law applies to everyone - foreign dignitaries, visiting merchants, hired mercenaries, wandering pilgrims, soldiers, children... it doesn't matter. No one is allowed beyond the Wall.
This doesn't stop people from trying. The Desolation holds a certain fascination for some. There are resistance groups that oppose the Church and believe that the Church is hiding secrets out in the Desolation. Every year, thrill seekers, resistance fighters and others attempt to get through the Wall. Most fail. They are either apprehended or killed. Those who do make it into the Desolation are never allowed to return.
The most terrifying of all things beyond the Wall is the Horde. The peninsula is filled with unnatural beasts and monsters all year round. But once each year, in late summer, the Desolation is filled with millions of creatures which are collectively called simply "the Horde". The Horde rages for 3-4 weeks, devouring everything in their path. In their wake, the region is left a desolate wasteland. Many of the plants and animals in the Desolation have developed remarkable adaptations to deal with this hostile environment and specifically the Horde. A few of the more interesting ones are listed below.
Garreon's Wall is the proper name of the great wall that separates the Desolation of Shidar from the rest of the Chaddamar Theocracy. It completely isolates the peninsula and keeps the Horde at bay.
The wall is 40 meters tall, 20 meters thick and stretches for about 300 kilometers. There is a guard tower built into the wall at regular intervals each within sight of the next. Each tower has a huge stair case going against the back side of the wall, on the outside, like a buttress. This staircase extends up to the top of the wall. These ramp like staircases serve as buttresses to further strengthen the wall. These huge towers serve as garrisons and fortress and supply houses. Each tower is responsible for protected the walls on either side of it.
During non-Horde season, each tower is manned by 10 soldiers and one captain. All soldiers are equipped with bows, hammers and Wrath Cannons. During Horde season, several thousand troops roam the wall and move about as needed (depending on where the Horde is attacking).
Because some of the non-Horde creatures which roam the desolation year round can fly, each tower is mounted with a large multi-shot rocket launcher. A low tech device that can hold and launch four primitive rockets. Other tower weapons include vats of boiling oil, armories with many weapon types, medical supplies, etc. Towers usually have arrow launchers and spear launchers as well.
This wall is the ONLY line of defense shielding the Theocracy from the Horde.
There are rumors that one of the thieves guilds in Chaddamar has a secret tunnel running underneath the wall that leads into the Desolation. If the rumors are to be believed, the thieves guild smuggles people into the Desolation if they wish it.
Since the Theocracy has strict laws against anyone going into the Desolation, they have to deal with the possibility of citizens trying to get into the Desolation by approaching one of the peninsula coasts by boat. To prevent this, they have set up a perimeter around the peninsula which consists of "bell towers" spaced every 2-3 kilometers around the entire peninsula. The coastline of the peninsula is much too large to monitor with ships and soldiers. Therefore, they have created a more "automated" perimeter with stone and spell.
Each bell tower sits about 200 meters off the coast on a small island of rock. A bell tower is square, about 30 meters tall and made of large stone blocks. It has a small iron door in the base and a spiral stair case running up to the top chamber which is open to the sky. A huge central copper bell hangs in the top chamber.
The bell towers were created by the Church to prevent anyone from approaching the peninsula coast by boat. Little is known about the bell towers, their construction or the spells employed in their use. Any vessel or humanoid swimmer which approaches too close to the towers or attempts to pass between two bell towers will set off some unseen, intangible spell and the bells in the closest towers will begin to ring. That much, at least, is know. Beyond that, it is speculation. No one who has ever heard the bell towers ring has returned to tell the tale. There are those who believe that sound of the bells causes death. Others believe the bells stir up monsters from the deep that attack and sink the boats. No one knows for sure. Except the Church. And they seem content to let fear and rumors work their magic.
The town of Soleth is the town located directly next to Garreon's Wall. Soleth has hundreds of huge kiln houses where millions of bricks were baked to build the wall. These massive kilns still operate to produce bricks for regular maintenance and repairs to the wall and city. These exceptionally strong bricks are made from a mixture of 2 types of stone and rice flour (grown locally in the farms and fields around the town). Soleth is charged with the maintenance of the wall and it is a charge that Soleth's mayor and military take very seriously. Because of its duties and responsibilities, Soleth holds a position of power and authority among the other Chaddamarian towns.
A heavily armored quadraped with immense claws and powerful muscles. The head is dominated by a symmetrical four part jaw. The saliva of this creature is highly acidic. Acid jaws are dangerou opponents and their massive jaws can crush an armored knight. Their strong claws are specialized in digging up horde egg clusters. Their highly specialized saliva allows them to penetrate the thick outer shell of the egg cluster. Acid jaws stand five feet tall at the shoulder and weigh 800 pounds.
A truly immense creature, some 80 feet tall and 200 tons. On occasion, these monstrosities will wonder out of the Desolation and batter the Wall.
A large snake that squirts poison laced blood from its eyes. The poison causes paralysis. Blood vipers are black snakes with red markings. They grow to be 10 feet long and move very quickly.
Parasitic worms that infest corpses in great numbers and work together to magically re-animate them. Corpse worms spread like an infection from corpse to corpse, attacking new victims and killing them to form new hosts.
A large, powerful metallic centipede with the ability to generate a powerful electrical jolt as a form of attack and a means of defense.
A strange leech like creature which the native omarin tribes use as a form of living bandage.
Without a doubt, the most fearsome creature in the Desolation. Legends and stories are
Iron Roller Beetle
A large insectoid herbivore with an armored shell. Named after its tendency to roll up in a tight, iron-like sphere as a defensive mechanism. It's armor is so tough that it can withstand the horde.
A quadruped omnivore that roams the Desolation in herds. This animal is capable of galloping for long periods of time and covering great distance at speed.
A dangerous species of bat with razor sharp edges on highly adapted wings. They swarm, cutting opponents to pieces.
An oversized predatory scorpion with a nasty poison and tough exoskeleton.
A dangerous undead-like creature that appears as walking corpse. These things have ashen skin drawn tight over lean bodies, claws, fangs and milky white eyes. They roam the Desolation in groups, prowling and feeding at night. The Shidaran Wights are the victims of the Shidaran plague... humans and humanoids that have fallen to the sickness and arisen as wights. The Desolation is full of these creatures.
A dangerous predator with an appetite for magical energy. Appears as a vaguely crab-like creature that can fly. Attaches to the head of humanoid mages and drains all spells and magic from them, eventually killing them.
An invisible creature that can fly and pass through solid walls. Spiritwraiths attack with an icy touch and can freeze opponents hearts in their chest. Spiritwraiths are completely invisible and do not even show up under detect invisibility spells. They are non-corporeal creatures of energy. They can only be seen and fought with very special, very specific magic items.
A species of large, tough cockroaches with hard black shells.
The plants of the Desolation have been forced to adapt to extremely hostile conditions... most notably, the Horde, which ravages the vegetation of the Desolation once each year. To survive, most plants have developed clever tricks to evade, escape or recover. Some of the more interesting plants are listed below.
A vine that grows at a startling pace, sprouting hundreds of leaves and growing several feet every day. Seeds of this plant pass through the digestive systems of animals and are deposited back on the ground in fecal matter where they immediately sprout and grow. This plant literally grows and reproduces as fast as it is eaten.
Deeproots have a complex root system with hundreds of branching filaments. The plant is very segmented and pieces break off easily at every joint. In this way, the plant can easily sacrifice its upper portions, branches, leaves, flowers and protect as much as possible. The root system is difficult to dig up, for even the most tenacious predator. If too many roots are dug up, the remaining roots will physically dig their way deeper into the ground, contracting and expanding like worms, moving mindlessly.
The cloaking bush is a huge plant with enormous rigid petals that splay out on the ground. The outer petals are silvery and metallic. When disturbed or attacked, the outer rigid petals fold up, enclosing the plant in a tightly sealed, armored cocoon. The plant will wait out predators for days if necessary before opening again.
A plant that has two sections, a leafy ground rooted section and an inflatable upper section. When threatened or attacked, the upper section detaches like a balloon suspending the core of the plant and floats away. The bottom part and roots are sacrificed. Later on, the plant lands and reroots itself.
A plant that has long flexible tendrils with spikes. This plant has a large, underground and central shaft composed of a fibrous tissue that can contract like a muscle. Through "muscular" contraction, it can spin the shaft around and the whip vines become a whirling dance of death. It can only spin in one direction for about 12 rotations. Then the muscles contract in the other direction and the spin is reversed. It takes a second to get up to speed. Smaller fibrous "muscles" in the whips contract and make the whips semi-rigid and get up to speed faster.
A huge tree with thick bark. Not quite a plant, and not quite an animal, the deathmauler can uproot itself and move under its own power. Using fibrous muscle tissue, much like the Whip Vine, the deathmauler stalks the region on as many as ten twisted limbs. When moving, it's "legs" move very much like a spider. It's upper branches can flex and sway, swatting out at prey with spike laden branches.
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.