"Be careful when you tread the Marshes of the
Sorcerer-King. He does not take kindly to sorcery not of his own making. During
his reign, others who showed talent in the Craft were hunted down. They say that
nothing in the Marshes goes unnoticed by him."
- Kaelig, Master Thief of the Seven Sabres
The Kalanos Marshes are a vast maze of bogs, marshlands and swamps. Different regions will exhibit different types of terrain and vegetation. The borderlands surrounding the Kalanos Marshes are barren and little more than cracked, dried mud. As one gets closer to the Marshes, the ground becomes increasingly wetter and the vegetation becomes thicker. Dozens of creeks and brooks crisscross the region. Several areas are like shallow lakes of putrid bog water dotted with hundreds of tiny islands. A perpetual mist hangs in the air. The water rarely is more than chest deep. However, deep holes under the water can swallow the unwary. The heart of the region is a dense, tangled forest of vegetation and muddy pools. A network of rivers flow through the Marshes, merging and splitting in a web of waterways.
Travel through the Kalanos Marshes is generally unpleasant. The atmosphere is thick, humid and cold. The heavy mist obscures vision, permeates cloth and soaks through to the skin making garments uncomfortably cold and heavy. The ground underfoot is soft and unstable. Thick mud will suck at boots.
The Kalanos Marshes fill a large portion of the region between the borders of the Aukarian Republic and the Chaddamar Theocracy. There are 3 main roads and numerous trails through the Kalanos Marshes. Most traffic between Aukaria and Chaddamar uses one of these three roads.
1. The Old Road - The main road between the Aukarian Republic and the Chaddamar Theocracy. It was made over 1000 years ago. Rebuilt from the ruins of a Kytohan imperial road. The original Aukarian Republic rebuilt the ruined road as a pathway to the east. However, since the rise and fall of the Sorcerer King Lothiramar, it has fallen into disrepair. Despite its poor condition, this is still the best route. The Old Road is wide, level and paved with ancient stones in many stretches. It spans several rivers with stout stone bridges. It is, by far, preferable to the hunting trails out in the wetlands.
2. The North Marsh Road. A very wide dirt road which meanders through the northern half of the Marshes. It's origins are unknown. It is believed that several tribes of boglings utilize this road and keep it clear.
3. The South Marsh Road - This ancient trail is narrow and windy. It is little more than a hunting trail or walking path. Numerous other small trails branch off of it at various points. Several of these trails criss-cross throughout the southern half of the Kalanos Marshes. Many of them are choked with vegetation and overgrown, making them almost impassable. The soldiers of Lothiramar use many of these trails now, especially in the southern half of the Marshes. The main trail, however, the South Marsh Road, links them all.
The Village of Braga is a small pig farming village at the edge of the Kalanos Marshes on the west side. When traveling from west to east, this village is the last shred of civilization before plunging into the Marshes. Braga has about one hundred families, mostly farmers. They have swampboats for navigating the small rivers in the swamp. The village is walled by a palisade of logs, but still the tiny militia of this small community is hard pressed to turn back raids from Lothiramar's hordes. Needless to say, the people of this tiny village are a hardy lot who refuse to give in to adversity. These villagers can warn travelers of the dangers of the swamp.
Centuries ago, a powerful and evil wizard took control of the Aukarian Republic and enslaved its people. He ruled for over two centuries. After more than two centuries of oppression, the people united against the Sorcerer King in a great civil war. When he was finally overthrown, he was driven from the lands and, it was believed by many, killed. The peoples of the realm returned to the ways of the Aukarian Republic which had existed before his reign.
Ten years ago, in 2705 CY, it was discovered that the Sorcerer King is alive and dwelling in the Kalanos Marshes to the east. Here, the once mighty Sorcerer-King bids his time. He is amassing power, expanding the Marshes and enslaving the native boglings, bending them to his will. There are others who flock to his banner as well... bandits, brigands, traitors and thieves. The extent of his forces is not known, but the Aukarian Republic and the Chaddamar Theocracy are both patrolling the borders of the Marshes and waging war against his minions.
Several noble houses in the Aukarian Republic are secretly allied with Lothiramar. From time to time, Lothiramar sends an incorporeal apparition to these traitorous houses to make contact with them. In exchange for information and favors, Lothiramar provides them with training in dark sorcery. Through these corrupt nobles, Lothiramar acts against Aukaria. His eventual goal is to re-conquer the Republic. Each of these corrupted nobles is required to maintain a shrine in his house to Lothiramar. These forbidden shrines are usually hidden away in the catacombs beneath the house. Other members of the house are usually unaware that some members of the noble family are in league with the Sorcerer King.
The Sorcerer King has claimed (and is rebuilding) the ruins of a once great Kytohan imperial castle deep in the swamp. Several enslaved bogling tribes are being used for this massive project. Lothiramar now dwells in and rules from this great fortress even as the slaves still toil to rebuild it.
In addition to this great and terrible fortress, Lothiramar maintains several fortified towers scattered throughout the Marshes. Each of these is a short, squat tower typically boasting five levels. A single tower is manned by roughly four dozen of his minions. Each tower is typically the home base for a specific groupd - a tribe of boglings, a bandit group or some other evil creature. The boglings often scout out the Marshes and report, by drum, back to the nearest tower.
Lost in the mists of the Kalanos Marshes are twelve great obelisks. These 20 foot tall pillars are crafted from a dense black rock. Each of the four faces of an obelisk is covered in gold inlaid runes. These obelisks are silent, enchanted sentinels made by Lothiramar. In the vicinity of an obelisk, Lothiramar knows everything. He can see, hear and smell the area. He can cast spells through the obelisk. It is even rumored that the obelisks act as magical gateways and Lothiramar can send his minions through them to distant parts of the marshes.
The obelisks are especially dangerous because you never know where you will find them. This is because the obelisks change locations. At dusk each night, each obelisk will slowly sink into the swampy waters and vanish, only to slowly and ominously rise from the mud in a new location. Therefore, it is useless to map the locations of the obelisks. Lothiramar created the obelisks as a way to keep the Dark Watch renegade soldiers under surveillance.
The Stalker is three meters tall and fashioned from the same black stone as the obelisks. Runes and glyphs of gold are inlaid on the surface of the golem's chest, arms and legs. It's construction and appearance is very similar to the obelisks. It's face is featureless... its eyeless gaze disconcerting. This walking terror was fashioned by Lothiramar himself. It is sent out into the Marshes from time to time to strike fear into his enemies and minions alike. The stalker is enchanted such that anything it touches is instantly teleported into specially prepared prison cells in Lothiramar's dungeons beneath his fortress.
In combat, the stalker is a feared adversary. Tales of the stalker have come from those who have seen it in battle and fled. Weapons struck upon it vanish instantly leaving the attacker weaponless. Arrows fired at the golem will teleport the instance they touch it causing no damage. Anyone touching, or touched by, the stalker will vanish in a sickening flash of green light.
Spells fired directly at the golem are reflected and scattered, sometimes harming bystanders with fragments of the original spell which may have similar, but lessened, effects.
The Boglings - A primitive race of amphibious humanoids that live in tribes and dwell in the swamps of Aggradar.
The Gonjara Mushroom Trees - Huge mushroom like trees which emit the gonjara spore that causes weakness, respiratory problems, prevents healing and causes food to rot quickly. These trees grow by the hundred in the Kalanos Marshes.
Lothiramar has bent many creatures and even plants in the Marshes to his will. Through the power of his magic, they now serve him. Though they are poor dumb beasts, they are driven by instinct which the Sorcerer King now controls. Many such beasts are fitted with an "eye collar". An eye collar is a thick iron band fitted around the neck of a beast. Situated in the center of the band is a large eye, surgically grafted to the metal with wire and tubes. This is a living eye torn from the head of some poor creature. These eyes swivel and focus from within their metallic mounts in the collars. Whatever the eye sees, Lothiramar sees. Because they are strapped to the necks of winged or walking beasts, they are mobile and survey much of the Marshes.
Organization of guerilla warriors that fight against the Sorcerer-King. Neither Aukarian nor Chaddamarian, the Dark Watch soldiers are independent. They owe allegiance to no one. They live by hunting and gathering in the Marshes. Their camps are well hidden and relocate often.
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.