The Sweltering Plains

The Sweltering Plains

History
Deadly temperatures, vastly higher than those of surrounding areas, ravage these plains, rendering them incapable of sustaining normal life. Numerous unnatural beasts have adapted to the heat, making the place even more hazardous. While fables speak of the intact ruins of ancient cultures, preserved by the dry heat, unfortunate treasure seekers have instead found mirages, heat stroke, and violent death.

Geography

The plains are bordered by the Mounds of Man and the Festering Fields to the north, the Broadreach River and Lake Zath to the east, the Blossoming Sea to the south and the Ukrudan Desert and Swamps of Kan Thet to the west. 

Dotted throughout the plains are the remnants of the Elzan empire, the crumbling, sand-blasted and fire-scorched remains of its six great cities. 
The Scar: Even in this most inhospitable realm can be found refuge and life. Deep within the plains lies a valley known as the Scar, extending nearly halfway from the Mounds of Man to the city of Shelzar. At its widest the scar is only 10 miles or so across. Its depth varies, but at its deepest the bottom is more than a mile down. Shielded from the heat of the plains, and with access to the water that lies locked below the surface, life flourishes in the Scar, most notably the Urkhadi. 

Flora and Fauna

Few creatures can stand the ungodly heat of the plains, and those that can are dangerous in the extreme. The presence of creatures such as salamanders and magmin suggests an opening to the elemental plane of fire exists somewhere on the plains – an opening that may be unknown even to the gods, who supposedly closed all access to the elemental realms during the Divine War. The Urkhadi are uniquely adapted to the Sweltering Plains and can easily endure its unbearable heat.
Numerous plants and animals thrive in the Scar. Pools teem with fish and the banks are lined with berries and edible plants, while small rodents, lagomorphs and a few ungulates make their living here. Predators are rare, for there is only enough prey to sustain a very small population. It is said that a number of dire lions are the region’s top predators, but no one has been able to confirm this.

The Urkhadi are a unique tribe of orcs and half-orcs – dark skinned and black-haired – who through some unknown magic or other phenomenon breed true and have become a wholly distinctive people. Culturally they draw much from their Elzan heritage but are much more like the fierce Albadian barbarians of the north in temperament. In combat they favor double weapons such as the spiked chain and their own version of the dwarven urgrosh. Until recently the Urkhadi were entirely unique to the plains, but as their numbers have grown, some have braved the hazardous journey from the Scar to experience the outside world.
Urkhadi legend relates that the plains were the forge of Corean during the Divine War, and that the Scar valley is the wound caused by Vangal‘s axes when the god clove Corean’s anvil in two in a fit of anger. Those few non-Urkhadi who have heard this legend dismiss it as foolishness, claiming that Vangal and Corean never came to blows during the Divine War, but if the history of Scarn has proven one thing, it is that truth is often stranger than any fantasy.

The Urkhadi worship a number of local nature spirits and tribal deities, but they ultimately pay homage to Denev the earth-mother, whom they call the Mother of Spirits.

The Sweltering Plains

Corean's City of the Mithril Golem WiHa05