Great Barrier Mountains
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Beyond the relatively fertile valley system housing the major human colonies on Surtus lies a vast mountain range named the Great Barrier Mountains which shields these lands from the harsher climate of a vast plateau to the northwest. Rumors abound that this plateau was once the home of a lost alien empire, and there are indeed some archaeological hints that support this, but the plateau seems to be permanently wreathed in sandstorms which make an aerial approach difficult.

Regardless, few explorers have dared to cross these mountains, and fewer have returned. Native legends tell of an entity called the "Watcher In The Wastes" that bars the passage through the mountains, only allowing the worthy to proceed. What precisely makes a traveler "worthy" is unknown, but many who have traveled through the mountains have reported a powerful, otherworldly presence watching them, often manifesting itself as small dust clouds of disturbing shape. Most who have encountered this being show no desire at all to return there, yet a small number feel that there is something calling to them from the plateau.

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