Sunday, November 13, 2005

Harrowers of The Vale - Humanoids in the Valley of Baryn

The Valley of Baryn is surrounded on all sides save the South by the lofty peaks of the Dragon's Claw Mountains. These mighty, volcanic peaks are home to dwarves, trolls, giants and all manner of ill-blooded ilk. Most notable among these, however are what are known as the Unman Tribes - savage bands of orcs, goblins and bugbears who, though native to the region have been pushed to the fringes by men and dwarves alike.

The Unman Tribes once populated the entire valley, breaking themselves into territorial bands and tribes and squabbling and warring with one another. Nobody is sure if they are originally from the isolated valley, but it seems obvious they were the first to settle there and may have been in place for several thousand years before the coming of the dwarves. Now, the Unman Tribes are cut back and reduced from their once great mastery of the valley and the mountains that coddle it.

First to combat the Unman Tribes were the dwarves, who upon finding the Dragon's Claw Mountains rich in metals, precious stones and useful minerals, drove the orcs, goblins and others as far out of the mountains as possible. After the dwarves had finished with the work of evicting the Unman Tribes, the western peaks of the Dragon's Claw Mountains were nearly devoid of any major humanoid presence. All that remained were scattered, desperate, but particularly savage bands, the rest either having been eliminated or moving into the surrounding peaks and the valley itself.

Those that moved into the surrounding peaks become the most savage and desperate, having to eke out an existence on the windy, cold cliffs and crags of the Dragon's Claws. These went on to become such noted tribes as the Grim Skull and Mangled Hand orcs as well as the Goblins of Terror Peak. Those that joined their brethren in the eastern peaks of the Dragon's Claws were forced into conflict with those tribes and clans that already made those mountains their home and either were withered to shrunken bands or joined forces with the existing bands to make even stronger bands.

Those creatures that took refuge in the thick, dark forests of the valley itself were quite successful, taking advantage of plentiful food and changing to a new above-ground existence. Such creatures became bolder, less bothered by the rays of the sun, though they never became accustomed to direct sunlight. With more food and more room to move, they were less pressured by the limited resources of their mountain brethren and grew stronger with larger tribes. These large clans, mostly goblins, were the first contacts the early human settlers would face.

The initial conflicts between the humans and the goblins were much more in favor of the goblins. Their numbers, knowledge of the area and simple-minded cunning made the goblins of such clans as Broken Tusk, Wormwood, Toadstool, and Night Wolves and Dire Moon a daunting opponent to the human settlers. If not for a strong spirit and some late assistance from the dwarves and a traveling band of elves, visiting their ancient Shrine of Imin Thiel, the struggling settlers surely would have been put down by the vicious goblins and their allies.

But the humans did survive and once more the Unman Tribes of the Valley of Baryn were reduced to the fringes, scuttling back up into the mountains and into the tunnels of the eastern peaks of the Dragon's Claws and the dark parts of the valley's forests. They are not to be forgotten however.

To this day, the Unman Tribes of the valley and the mountains make their presence known, constantly raiding and predating the people of the region be they man, dwarf, or elf. Several of the tribes are still quite strong, especially in the fringe lands of the North on the borders of the Gully Downs. In that place the orcs of the Grim Skull and Mangled Hand clans still find their numbers swelling. In the valley proper, the Wormwood and Dire Moon goblins have bolstered into two large bands, carving out a crude nomadic lifestyle, always keeping themselves two steps ahead of any rangers and wardens who might seek their undoing.


Kid Goth said...

Sorry about that, didn't copy over as well as I was hoping

Anyway, I really like how its developing so far, and the travelers guide feel is a nice touch. I'm curious as to which group was in the Valley first though. Both the Elves and the Unman were there "thousands of years ago" so does that mean they were there together? Perhaps it depends on which one of them you ask... or are the Unman that which the Elves don't speak of?

Regarless of the answer, keep at it... I'm looking forawrd to reading more

Star Emu said...

You have managed to point out one of the great "mysteries" of the Valley. I won't answer it here, because my players will be reading, but there is an answer.