Sections / Areas
General information on the Keal area is given below. Detailed information on locations found within the Keal area is given below under Area Descriptions. The intent of giving this information is two fold. First, it supplies you with the information you require to run adventures set in the area and second, it gives you the basic information required to build your own adventures in the area.
The area shown on the Keal map can be described in one of several ways.
- Hills and Mountains
- Forest Covered Hills and Mountains.
- As you approach the mountains, you go from fairly flat to hills and then finally to mountains. This transition starts about 100 miles out from the mountains (in this area). The cities are fairly small between 2 - 5 thousand people (more on this below).
There are a fair number of humans spread throughout the area. Unfortunately, their number is small when compared to the number of monsters and magical creatures that may be found in this region of Panjere. In this section of Panjere the monsters hold the upper hand and humanity (along with the other player character races) are the invaders.
Many of the mystical and magical creatures a group may find are the results of the Gods of Places and Things. Others are the result of the creation magic that has swept through the area.
People are coming into the area for one reason; money (why else). The area is rich in natural resources, including metals and gems. Trappers are finding an abundance of fur bearing animals as well as animals whose parts are needed by magic uses. The city of Shirken is the base of lucrative mining operations (caravans go into the mountains to bring back gold, silver and gems). Despite the ever present risk and the high death rate of trappers, explorers, minors and traders, more people come into the area every day to take the place of those who die. All hope against hope to earn a fortune and be able to retire in more civilized areas.
The trade routs all end at the cites of Alard, Merton and Van-Tol. Caravans travel inland with goods and supplies to return to these port cities laden with gold, silver gems and furs. Ships sail around the edge of Lake Sargasso, bringing outside supplies to the cities and towns that dot the lakes shore, taking back trade goods to the larger centers found to the east end of the Lake (the lake is about 800 miles long... it is huge!).
The mountain range running along the west edge of the map is known as the Kanit mountain range. The Kanit range is actually the eastern edge of the Samira Mountains. The Kanit mountain range is a very tall range and a very young range. Parts of the range are still littered with active volcanoes., although the area around Keal has settled down and is fairly inactive.
The Marksman pass represents the line between a lot of monsters and vast numbers of monsters. In any real war against Monsterkind, huge numbers of monsters will pour through the pass and on into the lands. This has been the case for literally thousands of years and was the original reason why the Marksman Pass Guard Towers were built. Monsterkinds invasion will not take place in the near future but will one day happen.
The cities in this area are tiny and are only really referred to as cities by those that where actually born and raised here. Thus, the locals refer to a1200+ as a city, 500-1200 as a town and smaller communities as either villages or forts. Anyone from a real city (25,000+ with a temple) would laugh at the idea that these 'villages' are considered cities by the locals. All of the cities are fortified (have walls running around the outer perimeter) and are garrisoned.
Inn and Keeps
All the inns and keeps are small and fortified. Anything inland from the coast is wilderness. Even the coastal cities are walled enclosures (Hopewell is an exception to this). The walls are there to protect the inhabitants from the inland areas. This is savage frontier. Where there are people they live fortified against the monsters that are in the area: little beacons of safety in a sea of dark death.
When the characters ask for directions relate everything to the locations of Inns and / or the cities of Alard, Merton and Van-Tol. People will say it is north of the Safe Haven Inn or the first inn up river of Alard. Generally the inns are spaced so that it is anywhere from about 2 to 7 days travel on foot; about half this time on horseback.
Distance Traveled per day.
The Adventure sequence document will have information regarding travel. Travel through the area is not that easy. There are no paved roads, just trails through the bush (meaning that ambush is likely and easy).
Characters with the ability to fly will be fairly disappointed. Flying character's are in danger of being chased (and eaten) by other (larger) things that fly. In addition, the forest is basically everywhere. The ruins are covered by trees / bush and shrub making them hard to see from the air. None tower ruins can only be seen from about a half mile away (5 miles for a Rac). Tower and keep ruins may be seen from about a mile away (5 miles for a Rac) and town and city ruins may be seen from about 2 miles away (10 miles if you are a Rac). Remember, any character who flies high enough to see things may be hunted and attacked by other creatures that fly. Fairies do not fly high enough to see beyond the tree they are in.
If you do not have the ability to fly, then you will have to have some reference to the location of these areas or ruins, so you can get close enough to find them on foot.
The areas listed on the map are described briefly below. This gives you an overview of things. If an adventure has been written about an area then that fact is listed below and is cross linked to the adventures section of the web site. A lot of the information here is bare bones, just enough to give you an idea of what is going on and what is what. It should give you enough background to allow you to create your own adventures.
This coastal city is one of the largest in the area. It houses about 3500 people. It has grown to the size it has since the inland trading routs service more area than the other cities / towns in the area. The largest fighting force in the area is garrisoned here. The town is build on ancient ruins, using many of the stones of past cities. Ancient dungeons and tombs exist in the city, ready to be re-discovered and re-explored.
A small fishing village that has been built beside the ruins of a coastal town. As with most of the coastal villages, A–Tol is basically a fortified farming / fishing community.
Attin City Ruins
This city is on the edge of Barrier Lake. There is an ancient dock here that has existed since the last purging. This dock has an air ship that still floats above the water of the lake. The air ship will only work over the waters of the lake, not over land. The ship is capable of sailing to the Ghost Port, but it is a one way journey, it will not make it back. The storms will nearly tear it to pieces on the voyage to Ghost Port and will finish the job should the group be foolish enough to try and fly her back to these ruins.
Attin City was a fairly large city. Trees and bush have virtually overgrown the entire place although there are ruins of a castle, temples and such, as well as many underground area's ripe for adventure. Monsters roam the area but have not set up a permanent settlement in the ruins.
Bailers Inn is run by Jerry Bailer, a fighter mage that is hard working and honest. He has heard lots of stories (all of them bad) about Harper's Inn and will recommend to anyone who asks, that they not spend a night there. Bailer's Inn is a fairly large establishment and has a good sturdy barracks full of men (about 200). He also has a daughter that he would like to see married to anyone but an adventurer (doesn't want her back in a week as a widow). Bailer's Daughter, Christeen is actually very competent with a sword (much better than her father wants to admit to himself) and she longs for adventure; something else her father is unable to see.
Banff City Ruins
An ancient city situated just inside the mouth of the pass. The original city was perhaps 20-25 thousand. It contains a large castle and is now completely controlled by Monsterkind.
Barrier Lake has a very appropriate name. The lake's surface ripples like fire and nothing floats on the waters of this lake (wood sinks to the bottom of the lake). Any type of water walking magic fails. Anything that flies over the surface of the lake is hit by high winds and as you approach the mid section of the lake huge storms break out. These storms will hit whatever is in the air over the lake and knock it into the lake. The lake's water is near freezing so anyone that walks under the surface of the lake (anything in the water will sink to the bottom) must have protection from the cold. In addition, the lake does not give up its dead. Anything that is in the lake is now undead and still exists in that form (even the minnows at the shore of the lake are undead). Undead fish can still swim in the lakes waters, but anything living sinks to the bottom of the lake.
As you go around the lake you will find that the mountains go to the very edge of the lake. These mountains form vertical cliffs of huge heights, making it impossible to go around the lake via the mountains. The only ways past barrier lake is by going through the GorKor caves or by finding the ancient air ship in the Attin City Ruins. The adventure sequence section of the web page gives information on how Barrier Lake came to be.
(SW of Shanley's keep)
There area actually three separate burial mounds. The only ones who can get into the areas beneath these mounds have found information on how to do so. A description of the first and smallest of the three mounds is included in the adventure section of this web sight.
(SE of Shanley's Keep)
A small fortified Inn. I have included this location in the adventure section of the web sight. Berk's Inn is not an adventure by itself, it represents a safe haven the group can go to between adventures (as do all the inns).
(West of Alard, past Sandpoint, just north of Chafe's Inn)
These ancient ruins belong to a powerful magic user named Eudel Bolyn. It was a fairly large keep, complete with a magic user tower (still basically intact). It has been controlled by Monsterkind for a very long time. Although Monsterkind has control of the towers upper levels, they have never been able to breach its lower levels. Unknown to them Bolyn still exists in stasis within his towers lowest level.
The river that travels inland from the city of Merton.
Bridge Point Inn
Another safe haven for the group as it goes about its adventures. Bridge point inn gets its name from the rope bridge that spans the Bow River. The rope bridge is not very safe or secure but does save a lot of time for travelers going to Sandpoint (assuming they do not have horses to worry about).
Bryant River runs North of Alard to the Ste-Foy city ruins. Although parts of it are choppy, it is (on the whole) a fairly calm river.
Cay City Ruins and Druid Circle
Cay city was build where it is because there was a center of power very close by (i.e., a source of magic power). The circle of power is built in the center of a vast temple. The site is the exact spot where a mighty Ben Sidy (a messenger for the gods) fell in body, on a quest from his god. The god blessed the spot where he fell. The spot and the temple hold incredible power (the city of Cay was literally a city of priests).
The Underground temple is huge and is full of very strange magic and creatures.
Another safe haven as the group makes its way through the area. Chafe and his wife run the inn. Chafe is a very large man. He is very friendly towards the group but seems to hate monsters. He turns red with anger any time someone talks of one. His wife is a little more calm in this regards, but not by much. Their prices are fair and reasonable considering their isolation. These two people should easily strike up friendships with group members. They are that type of people.
The lake is given its name because of its crystal clear water. From anywhere on the lakes bank you can see the ruins of Kal Tar.
Deep Cut Dwarf City
This is an ancient dwarf city and mining community. The city and area is controlled by monsters. It is huge and has areas that are still unexplored by Monsterkind.
This valley complex is filled with dwarf communities. They have been shut off from the outside world for a long time and may not react well to strangers. They have been fighting with the Orcs that inhabit the GorKor caves for centuries. They know about the Ghost Port and avoid it like a death itself (after all, it is haunted). There are multiple cave and cavern complexes, some ancient and many inhabited by the strangest of beasts.
Small little community. Fortified. Probably the only community that has not been discovered by (or at least suffered a raid from) the Orcs in the area.
This ancient tower is butted right up against the mountains. The group will not be able to see it (even from the air) until they are very close to it. It is owned by an ancient Vampire that is literally thousands of years old. Although he preys mostly on the monsters in the area he longs for blood closer to that which he had in life.
One of the stranger temples in the area. The Frog temple is dedicated to a very strange god of frogs. It is on the edge of Barrier Lake and has gotten some of its strangeness from the magic that went into making the lake so terrible and strange.
Gak (Orc City)
This is the largest Orc community east of the Marksman Pass. It is at the head of the Stag Point River (in the Stag Point Valley). It has been built by the GorKor caves. All in all there are about 3,500 Orcs living in this community. Orc communities that are found inside the pass can have much larger numbers of creatures present.
As is normal with this size of community, the Orcs have these following monsters present.
These types of monsters tend to live in small isolated groups that ring the main Orc area. They interact with the Orcs, trade and go on raiding parties and such. The Closest Human City is Shirken, which survives because of its large garrison.
This ancient set of city ruins has been named ghost port by the Dwarves found in the Deepdale valley complex. The dwarves know that the port is haunted and should never be entered at night (during the day its not so bad... well, not as bad).
Another safe haven as the group adventures through the area.
The GorKor Caves are named by the Orcs that live at the head of the Stag Point River. The caves connect the Stag Valley with the Deep Dale Valley complex. The Orcs control both ends of the GorKor caves. The caves represent a cavern complex that is about 60 miles long (we are talking big). The Orcs control the very ends of the complex, but know nothing to little of what is between the ends. To the Orcs, GorKor caves means the Caves of Death. Expeditions sent into the caves tend not to return. The caves contain a world unto themselves, filled with monsters and creatures. They were originally built by the dwarves, or at the least, the natural caverns that where present were connected by the dwarves to give access to the Deep Dale Valley complex. Since that time, all manner of beast has moved into the caves, even beasts that the Orcs have learned to fear and dread.
One area of the GorKor caves should be mentioned. It is a valley found near the middle of the cavern complex, at the end of a long narrow passage that is literally miles in length. A small entrance leaves the caves and enters a small sheltered valley that is quite literally protected or cut off from the outside world by the huge mountains on all sides. There is only one way into or out of this valley (the cave). Teleports will not work and nothing can fly when the sun is up (teleports will not work when it is dark). The valley looks serene and beautiful by day, filled with trees and animals. Once the sun goes down, it is not such a nice place to be...
This lake is up by Highmore Tower (west of Alard, way up the Raging River). The lake is cold, crisp, clear and full of fish.
A (relatively) short cavern complex that joins the Grimlock Valley to the Highlands Valley. Good for an adventure or three and is used in the adventure sequence.
A very nice valley except for all the monsters. But then what can you expect west of the Marksman Pass. Grimlock Valley plays into the adventure sequence.
NW of Alard. This small inn is the most northerly inn on the map. Harcourt Inn is a stop over if you want to make use of the Ste-Foy city ruins.
Charles Harper is a jerk and a crook. Many travelers will stay at his inn once and then decide they would rather risk sleeping in the woods than sleep at his inn. Everything is expensive and of poor quality. The food is barely edible and the group will come out of the inn (without exception) with crabs or some other insect infestation (they will need a cure disease to be rid of them) . Harper keeps a huge number of 'body guards' around to make sure his guests pay up. Harper just loves it when his customers refuse to pay. This allows his 'body guards' to extract the money at their leisure. After a severe pounding they will take everything a customer has (as payment owing) and throw him out the front gates of the Inn.
A fairly isolated valley. The adventure sequence makes use of this area.
Bryle Highmore is the magic user that had this tower made. He wanted isolation and has gotten it (sort of). A small compound is built at the base of the tower and acts as a trading post / inn. See the Adventure Sequence section of the web page for an adventure set here.
High Point Rac City Ruins
This is an ancient city built by the Rac's. It was a very small community. The hardest thing about this adventure location is getting to it. It is built at the top of very high cliffs.
Hopewell is a small fishing village. It is the only village on the west shore of Lake Sargasso that does not have a wall built around it. The village was built around a small spring, the founder having had a vision when first drinking the springs water. The town has never suffered an attack from Monsterkind or from the Kraken (see Lake Sargasso). The town has in fact been built on the site of an ancient set of ruins; the spring bubbles up from a pool of blood found in those ruins...
The owner of this Inn loves ivory and will pay handsomely for any piece of ivory brought to him. He takes the Ivory and makes small statures out of them. The entire inn is decorated with his work. He will be reluctant to sell but will for a price. Should the group take a few pieces to Merton or Van-Tol, they will make a 50 percent profit on their purchases.
Kal Tar City Ruins
This is an ancient city that was built on the island found in the Crystal Lake. There is a land bridge connecting this island to the surrounding lands. The city has been overrun by all manner of monster. The original city was huge, originally being built in sections, each section being controlled by a single family. Each section of the city has its own castle and was walled off from other city sections. Monsterkind now has the same problems that the original inhabitants had. Each section acts like a small independent kingdom that is trying to exert its power and influence on the other sections.
Kelp Temple Ruins
This is the ruins of an ancient god, who has all but been forgotten by the character's time.
There is a lake Sargasso Monster. It is a Kraken. Luckily, it only comes out to play once every few dozen years or so. When it wakes it moves around the lake (the fishermen will notice a decline in the fish) chow down on a few of the larger sailing ships, utterly destroy a coastal village or two then go back to sleep for another few dozen or so years. The Kraken is a huge beast, literally miles long. It cannot be killed by conventional means or even by a group using magic. It lives in a huge underwater complex that is as old as the world (and of coarse, there can be other things besides the Kraken in this complex...). The best the group can do, is to destroy the creatures offspring. This will, of coarse, enrage the beast which will mean that it will go on a rampage and destroy a few more coastal villages and perhaps a city or two. This does not matter since the beast only ever gives birth once before it dies (unisex is the safest sex). It will die in about a thousand years, at which time its three offspring will fight until only one survives to carry on the family tradition. Oh, and don't think of the babies as helpless... think "Ohhhhhh, look at the live T-Rex mummy brought us for a snack!" If you keep that in mind, your group will crap and you'll have a ball.
The Kraken was an original creation of one of the place Gods. The god fashioned the Kraken's home, a vast underground network of caves that is tens of miles wide and hundreds of miles long. For a long time (in the distant past) the Kraken was itself worshipped as a God. It is not a God, but the followers did manage to find it lair. Within this lair the followers dug out multiple temples and places of worship (and even a community or two to go along with them). The temples and areas are abandoned now and are ripe for adventure).
A small coastal village that relies on fishing and (to a smaller extent) farming to survive. It is far enough from the frontier to be safe from pillaging monsters (although this may change).
This is the start of a pass that will eventually lead through the mountain range.
Merton is a small trading city (town). It has a population of about 1500 people. It boasts a fort, a castle and a large wood wall. Trade goods are channeled through this area on their way to Van-Tol.
No Jack Inn
The inn Keeper is a gambler. His name is Daniel Weston. He won the inn in a poker game when the original owner failed to draw a jack for an inside straight. He renamed the Inn and swore to himself that he would never use it to cover a bet. It has been his for 15 years.
Pass Guard Towers
These ancient towers were erected in the far past. Outwardly, they are no more than 100 feet tall and about 50 feet wide. Inwardly, they are huge. At the top of each tower is a huge Aegis stone. When the towers magic is activated, a beam of fire extends between the two towers, Aegis stone to Aegis stone. The beam drips millions of tiny fiery particles towards the ground. The particles form a barrier, that will kill anything trying to walk beneath the beam (the particles land on you and burn through you to the ground). Although you could fly over the beam or tunnel under the ground, the beam forms a very effective barrier for what it is.
The towers have lain dormant for a very long time, even though they have been taken over by Monsterkind. The magic within the towers still exists. The towers could be reactivated to give the land a first line of defense between the continents inner lands and the monster populations that lie within the pass.
This river is apply named. It is large and long sections of it are very violent.
Red Ale Inn
Another safe haven for groups as they travel through the land. Has the best Ale in the area.
Red Heart Keep Ruins
These ruins are haunted (more than most). Anyone near the area dreams of a hand clenching a still beating heart. There is a curse that must be removed.
Red Wood Inn
Red Wood inn gets its name from the stand of Red Wood Trees that surround the inn. There is only one way into the inn, through a narrow trail that winds through these woods. Anyone stepping from the trail wanders about for a (very) long time to finally exit the woods at the start of the trail. The inn within the center of the trees is maintained by a Druid (druids can own inns). The Inn is completely natural (i.e., hammocks are strung between trees for sleep, a pot hangs over a small cooking fire in the middle of the area... the fire never seems to consume wood and never goes out). Payment for use of the inn is always the agreement that the character will plant a Red Wood seed in the character's travels...
Reyk City Ruins
An ancient city, now overrun by monsters. It is large and comes with castle and several magic user towers.
Safe Haven Inn
A comfortable way point in the journey up the Bow River.
If using the adventure sequence, the group will start its adventuring career in Sandpoint. Sandpoint is a fairly small town of about 500 people. It has a small keep built on a hill. The town itself is spread out around the keep. A separate wall is built around the town. Sandpoint is a trading outpost, meaning it has all the basic structures, including a magic users tower, town hall, permanent city garrison, shops, stores and even 4 or five inns and taverns. A good deal of area around the town is clear, although very little farming takes place here since there is still to much potential for attacks by Monsterkind. A more complete write-up is given in the adventure section of the web sight.
If you are going to follow the adventure sequence given elsewhere in this web site, then everything will revolve around Shanley's Keep. Shanley is the power in the area. Shanley's Keep is described in detail in the modules area of the web site.
This city / town is the closest the humans have built to a large Orc community (in this case the Orc city of Gak, located in Stag Point Valley). In an all out war, this will be the first city to be attacked by the Orcs. Shirken survives because of its large standing garrison. Groups of people leave Shirken to mine the mountains (these are very dangerous trips). The rewards have been such that the city still exists and can afford the garrison it needs to survive.
Stag Point River
A long river that starts at the stag point valley. The river literally bubbles up out of the ground. The Orc city of Gak has been built around the starting point of the Stag Point River.
Stag Point Valley
A very small valley (as valleys go). The Orc city of Gak is found in this location.
A human city built a little further back (closer to the mouth) of the Stag Point River. Like the other human cities in this area, it is not very large (less than 1200 people) but it is relatively safe due to the fact that most of Monsterkinds efforts are directed at Shirken (a much closer target of opportunity).
Another short river of no account (at least to this point in time).
Sword Point Lookout Inn
This is a very strange Inn. It is a building built on the top of a very narrow, very tall piece of rock. There is a small set of stairs that spiral up the rock to the trap door in the bottom level of the inn. It looks very unsafe but has stood and serviced its customers for more than a dozen years.
The inn is run by a magic user who calls himself Deep Knife (no one knows why or what his real name is). Deep knife is crazy as a loon but is the best source of information in the entire area. He steps out onto the inns balconies at night to let fly with all manner of spell; "keeps the rift raft at bay", he will say (which it does). Deep Knife would never hurt one of the inns patrons or allow one of them to come to harm (unless they happened to be approaching the inn at the time he was letting fly with his spells).
Gaining entrance to the inn can be difficult the first time. You have to climb up to a trap door and bang on it until Deep Knife himself comes. You must then convince him that you are not Orcs, Trolls, Goblins, etc. in disguise. Once convinced that the group is not a disguised group of monsters, Deep Knife will remember the members and allow entrance (he remembers forever anyone he meets, sees or talks to). Deep Knife is not fooled by any type of disguise. He can even tell who you are even if you are polymorphed. He can even instantly spot a doppleganger. In addition, his mind or aura cannot be read in any way or by any means.
If you feel that a group member has gotten friendly with Deep Knife, have Deep Knife take him/her aside and in a low voice whisper to the character 'my friends call me Knife In the Back. But don't call me that in front of people okay (wink wink, nudge nudge).
Temple of Fire
This ancient temple has survived for thousands of years. Sections of the temple are actually made of fire (giving new meaning to 'do not touch'. Monsters avoid the temple due to its (dare I say it) fiery nature.
Temple of Ice
The exact opposite of the Temple of Fire. The entire temple is made of ice. Great for those who hate the cold. Monsterkind does not go near the place.
The mosque is a small burial / worship area for an ancient religious sect. A old monastery sites very close to the Mosque, although the group will have to find some reference to the monastery before being able to find it (it is that overgrown). The mosque is included in the adventures found in the adventure area of this web site.
This river was named when a mule fell to its death. I guess the prospector liked the mule...
This is a very odd geographic formation. It is a huge rock set about 30 miles from the mountains. The rock measures nearly a mile long and is hundreds of feet wide and high in areas. The Rock will contain three separate adventures, the first being named 'The Rock'. This adventure is included in the adventure area of this web site.
Another small trade city. The cities population is about 2500. Like all the cities in this area, it only considered a city by the locals. Anyone from a real city (25,000+) would call this a town. Such is prospective.
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