Great Southern Chaos
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"…My companions were gone, and in my fever I was unable to steer the course of my canoe in any way. Thus, I lay helpless, clutching that strange medallion I had inherited in my left hand, and waited for the release of death as the boat floated on the slow drifts passing through this part of the never-ending swamp.
And then I saw them - strange, cylopean buildings too tall to ever have been crafted by human hands slowly appearing out of the mists. As I passed by, the angles of these buildings changed, as if parts of them slowly shifted in and out of this dimension. I saw murals showing the strange, prehuman inhabitants of this city engaging in various incomprehensible activities.
[…] When I woke up, I found myself back in Torrino. Fishermen had found me drifting down the river and brought me there. Apparently, I had survived in my boat for an entire week without food and water, a miracle in itself. When I later told others of the city I had seen, it was generally considered to be a hallucination brought on by fever and exhaustion, since no one had ever heard anything like it.
But I know that this city is out there, somewhere. And I swear by the gods that I will find it one day - unless the swamp swallows me first…"
- Antonio Ligurotti: Memories of an Explorer, Avane Street Publishing (1412)

Population: 12,368,700 (humans 52%, kobolds 22%, gnomes 11%, goblin 6%, orcs 5%, halflings 3%, elves 2%)
Government: Varies by locale
Imports: Food, stolen goods, weapons
Exports: Diseases, herbs, oil, slaves, spices, ritual components

The Great Southern Chaos was originally a bountiful and pleasant land, where the Tarnoth Empire, one of the early city-building civilizations, flourished. This ended, however, when these cities turned to warfare and used mighty spells to destroy each other until the very earth was sundered. Today, the Great Southern Chaos is a jumble of lakes, swamps, and rough terrain that still shows the scars of that bygone age in some places. The magical fields are still in disarray in some parts, and casting spells is risky there. Human and gnomish settlements eke their livelihood out of the swamps, and they have to fight constantly against the marauding kobolds and goblins to survive.

Small rivers and canals criss-cross the land, so that it is possible to travel by ship to almost any location in the region - and indeed, water travel is the favorite form of transport. But this is hardly safe, since numerous pirates - both humans and of other races - lie in ambush for unwary travelers.



Life and Society

Most people live in small, isolated communities that barely generate enough food to feed them. Larger towns are rare, since drinkable water is uncommon in the fetid swamps. Diseases are rampant, and mortality rates in communities without a trained healer is high. These settlers are constantly on the alert for raiders, who plunder the farms and carry off the inhabitants as slaves. Each settlement has to be close to self-sufficient out of sheer necessity, since the next oasis of civilization is often far away, and traders only visit infrequently.

The larger towns and settlements have a well deserved reputation for being hives of villainy. Refugees from other regions often gather here, and they have little to loose. Out here, it is every man for himself, and nobody cares if you vanish. Stolen objects from a dozen lands are for sale here, and it is unwise to ask where they came from.

Government and Politics

Groups and Organizations


Important NPCs

Major Geographical Features

Most of the "surface" of the Great Southern Chaos is actually swamp - the parts that aren't covered by lakes and rivers, that is. For the most part, the terrain is flat, broken only by a few hills that haven't been worn down by the frequent rains yet. However, in many regions there are spires of rock that look similar to the splashes of water arising when a rock is thrown into a lake - frozen before they can collapse, and turned to stone and preserved for eternity. Smaller spires are usually around 10 yards or so in height, while the few largest ones have reached a height of 200 yards. Colonies of birds as well as other flying animals, including wyverns and griffons nest on them, using their high vantage points to spot prey far below. Others have been colonized by intelligent beings, such as humans, gnomes and kobolds, who hollow out habitations from the spires and use a system of pulleys to gain access to them. A pillar settlement has a powerful defensive advantage over ground-based attackers, as long as food and water hold out, and many inhabitants also appreciate the respite from the muck and humidity below.

Important Towns and Cities

Important Sites

Regional History

See Also

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources


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Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.