Khorlann Steppes

The Khorlann Steppes are a geographic region of the North; made up of arctic tundra, tall grasslands, rocky hills, and conifer forests.

The geographic borders of the Steppes are: the Sea of Adar on the north, Olgara River on the south, the Direwood on the east, and the Shadow Mountains on the west.

The human population of this region have allegiances and roots in both the cultures of East and West, and are a mixture of ethnic groups of Amari, Adari, Gauth, and even some Daroon.

There is no single governing structure, rather a series of city-states and independent baronies rule the lands. The steppes are plagued by orcs bands that raid small settlements for food and slaves, as well as Hüornen raiders who come across the Sea of Adar from the Northern Wastes.

The two largest political entities in this region are the City-states of Khorlanis and Sarkosa. Both are wealthy and influential in the region, but are starkly different in their cultures. Khorlanis is a mercantile center interested in wealth and trade. Sarkosa is a dark spiritual center, interested in harmony with the various Dark Gods of Corwyn. Although the two are not at war, they are nevertheless hostile toward each other.

Life & Society

Most people of the Steppes are simple farmers, traders, and nomadic herders of livestock. Life here has always been treacherous, because of the proximity of evil priests of Sarkosa and marauding orc bands from Morgoth. Great herds of sheep, goats, and oxen are the primary wealth of the Steppes folk. Grains and other foodstuffs are grown and sold to Morgoth and both city-states, who in return give special crafted goods, silver, and gold to the rural peasants.

Major Geographic Features

Adar Road: this road leads south from the city of Khorlanis past the border fortress of Sol-Merazad, then south to the city of Sirilath, then south again past Sol-Arkalad and its junction with the road west to the dead city of Adarond, then it continues south to the crossroads of Gol-Gathad and its first junction with the Sorcerer’s Road, then it continues southeast to the city of Kurûl. The road then continues east across the northern part of the Kûrloth Marshes, past the junction with the Ansilay Road, until it finally joins the Sorcerer’s Road again, on its path to the fortress of Erôn-Mored.

Erenath Valley: small region in the far northern region of eastern Corwyn, north and east of the Shadow Mountains. In this valley lies the large city-state of Khorlanis. The valley has step ravines, and other natural obstacles that have been used by the defenders of Khorlanis on more than one occasion.

Gloomwood: dark and mysterious forest located south of the Olgan Hills in East Corwyn. This forest is much smaller than the Direwood, but equally dangerous. It is heavily overgrown with moss and thick brush. The forest also lies on marshy ground, which gives off thick mists, adding to the impenetrable gloom. Few humans enter this place willingly. The Pentamundë Road skirts this forest to the west.

Seltar Isle: scarcely populated and desolate island of arctic tundra, conifer forests, and windswept glaciers. There are no major cities on the island, only scattered coastal villages along the southern coast, populated by both Hüornen tribes and Adari traders. It is rumored that deep with the center of the island is a civilization of Dark-Elves, but this is not confirmed. Although the island is technically independent, most of its villages pay taxes to the City-State of Khorlanis for protection and security. Because of the climate, the island is inaccessible from the continent during the winter because the waters of the Nürn Myr and Sea of Adar freeze completely solid.

Olgan Hills: hilly region north of the River Olgara in eastern Corwyn. At the far northern edge of the hills, near the coast of Sea of Adar are the small Hlethvar Valley and the city-state of Sarkosa. In the southern region of the Olgan Hills is the fortress of Darkstone Keep. The Pentamundë Road crosses these hills on its route between Sarkosa and the junction with the Kurand Road.

Shadow Mountains: large mountain range located north of the Saugreth-Muir and east of Mystwood in the Pale. The range merges with the larger Saugreth east of the Mystwood forest. The mountain range is made up of steep slopes and deep valleys, which cast the gaps between them is constant shadow, and within these shadowy valleys are many small secluded settlements of human, dwarves, and demi-humans.

Important Sites

Darkstone Keep: strong military outpost of the city-state of Sarkosa, located in the Olgan Hills south of the city along the Pentamundë Road. The keep guards the southern approaches to the city and the Hlethvar valley north of it. The keep was built by an ancient order of monks who also built the city of Sarkosa. It is garrisoned by a heavily armed contingent of mercenary soldiers from the Steelfist Regiment.

Local History

The Khorlann Steppes were originally populated by the Adari pilgrims who came east from the realm of Amar in the Fourth Age. Those pilgrims founded the city of Khorlanis as a stopover point between the western city of Derilath and the eastern city of Sirilath. Over the centuries, the peoples here attempted to remain neutral between the hostile kingdoms of the West and East. But ambitious and unscrupulous leaders of the Steppes baronies and twin city-states have allied themselves with Morgoth on several occasions, most notably the War of the Melanthir in the Third Age and the War of the Pretender in the Fourth Age. Between 521-524/5, this region was ravaged by the terrible Arctic War, in which the city of Khorlanis was destroyed and many of the folk of the Steppes perished. The city and the region recovered, and there has not been another catastrophe of that type in this region since. As of the late Sixth Age, an alliance with Morgoth has arisen again recently, as the local barons and margraves have thrown in their lot with Sorimmar.