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Vaasa (pronounced: /ˈvɑːsɑːVAH-sah[10]) was an isolated and untamed land located in the Cold Lands of northeast Faerûn.[2] It was the seat of power for the famed Zhengyi the Witch-King in the mid 14th century DR, and it was ruled by the Warlock Knights of Vaasa as of the late 15th century DR.[11]

Description[]

Vaasa was an empty and inhospitable land of rolling hills, frozen wastes, meager grasslands, and open tundra with sporadic farms and the occasional wandering monster.[2][12][13] It was always cold, with icy and dry winds blowing off the Great Glacier to the north. The winters brought deep freezes,[13][14] and in the summers, fog blanketed the land[15][16] and frigid waters from melting ice turned much of the tundra into boggy mud that was better traversed with sleds than wagons.[2][14] As a result of the harsh environment, the Vaasan people were known to be a tough and close-knit folk who were unashamed to rely on everything and everyone they could to help them survive.[9]

Geography[]

Vaasa was the westernmost realm of the so-called Cold Lands. It was bordered to the north by the Great Glacier and surrounded to the south by the arc of the Galena and West Galena Mountains.[2][17] Bloodstone Pass allowed access through the Galenas to Damara in the east, and these two nations were collectively known as the Bloodstone Lands.[18] The West Galenas separated Vaasa from the lands of the Moonsea North to the west and from the Moonsea itself to the south.[17]

Most folk who settled in Vaasa did so in the Sunderland region in the southeast where they had access to both the gem- and metal-rich Galena Mountains as well as rare workable soil for raising crops and livestock.[9][19] This region was dominated by the towns of Darmshall and Maur-Eturo.[17] As of the late 15th century DR, much of the remainder of the population lived in the city of Palischuk in the Ostraland region to the northeast or in the city of Telos in the central highlands.[1]

Geographical Features[]

An orc navigates the snowy tundra of Vaasa.

Vaasa was a realm of tundra, taking the form of moorlands in the west, wasteland in the north, and plains in the south.[17][20][21]

Every summer, the Great Glacier continued its retreat, inundating the tundra with icemelt and turning the land into mud—deep enough to reach a horse's stomach and treacherous enough that it could trap and drown unwary travelers[22][23]—especially in the western moors where the Bottomless Bogs formed.[14][24] This morass of muddy swampland was seasonal during the 14th century DR, but over the decades it became a permanent feature of the landscape.[20][25] What icemelt did not seep into the mud found its way into the Beaumaris River,[26] which meandered from the Bogs through the central highlands at the bottom of a great gorge, known as the Clefts of Razack, before arriving in the eastern lowlands and exiting Vaasa through Bloodstone Pass. The river bisected the realm, with the arid badlands of the Cinnabar Wastes in the north and the shortgrass steppes of Haatar-Baen and the Sunderland in the south.[17][20][21] The one positive benefit of all this melting ice was that Vaasa was one of a relatively few lands with consistent access to pure and safe drinking water.[27]

Because the Great Glacier kept melting, the northern border of Vaasa kept shifting northward. Between the 14th and 15th centuries DR, the Ice Run—labyrinthine ice formations in the Glacier’s edge—had melted away, thus adding the Lugsaas Chain Mountains to the landscape.[17][21][28]

Flora & Fauna[]

Little grew naturally in Vaasa save for the grasses of the southern steppes. There were no forests, and what few clumps of trees could be found were as often dead as alive.[19] The grassy plain of the Sunderland in the southeast was decently fertile and could support agriculture and ranching,[9][29] and Vaasan farmers cultivated a type of maize known as moon corn.[30] However, the southwestern grasslands along the West Galena Mountains were locally known as the "Bleak Steppes" of Haatar-Baen because the soil was tainted and everything that grew in the area was inevitably poisonous.[20] In the marshlands formed by the summer icemelt, the vegetation would rot and fill the air with its foul stench.[15] These bogs were also home to the dangerous semi-intelligent giant sundew plant.[31]

The land was inhospitable to all but the most hardy creatures and monsters.[24] Local animals included boars,[31] caribou,[2] carrion birds (namely crows and vultures),[32] elk,[33] giant insects (including boring beetles, leeches, ticks, and wasps),[31][32] giant rats, hairy spiders,[34] moon dogs,[35] rothé (both brown and ghost)[24][36], snakes (including glacier snakes,[37] venomous black snakes,[31] and white-furred snakes[35]), swamp deer, and wolves.[31] Giantkin were common all across Vaasa, as were orcs, goblinoids, and yeti.[14][35] Near the mountains and the Glacier to the north, it was not uncommon to encounter white dragons,[29] whitespawn iceskidders,[38] white puddings, winter wolves, and polar bears, not to mention remorhaz, so much so that hunting and killing a remorhaz was considered a right of passage among the White Worm barbarian tribe.[35][39] The eastern and central badlands were home to chromatic dragons, bulettes, and other similarly foul creatures.[9][35][21][40] In the south, leucrotta stalked the steppes[20] while blue dragons,[41] cave trolls,[42] and owlbears haunted the mountains.[43] Vaasans were known to tame the local griffons as mounts.[44] In the bogs to the west, trolls[34] and so-called bog people made their homes in the mud, dragonkin watched from the mountains,[16] behirs hunted in the undergrowth, and the occasional wight roamed the land.[31] In the summer months, the droning and biting of mosquitoes and horseflies was constant.[15]

Government[]

For much of its existence, Vaasa was largely unclaimed and lawless outside of a few close-knit communities, and even when controlled by one kingdom or another, much of the land was devoid of civilization[2] save for scattered frontier towns occasionally defended by a keep or abbey.[44]

The realm was conquered and ruled for a decade in the mid 14th century DR by the tyrannical Zhengyi the Witch-King before returning to its frontier status through the rest of the mid-to-late 14th century DR.[24]

From the late 14th century DR through the mid–15th century DR, Vaasa was a barony[45] of the Kingdom of Bloodstone, ruled by King Gareth Dragonsbane and his heirs.[7][8]

The Warlock Knights[]

As of the late 15th century DR, Vaasa was a feudal society in which all power rested with the Warlock Knights. Anyone who was not a member of the Knights was considered a lowly serf or a slave. All landowning nobility were members of the Knights called Fellthanes, who exercised total control over their fiefdoms and the people living within them. These fellthanes in turn were vassals of more powerful Knights known as Vindicators.[7][8] At the top of the hierarchy were the twelve most powerful Vindicators who made up the Ironfell Council along with the Voice of Telos, the leader of the Warlock Knights and thus the de facto ruler of Vaasa.[8][3]

The seat of the Warlock Knights' power was Telos City, where the Ironfell Council deliberated on matters of state within the grand Citadel of the Iron Sky. As these councilors had to journey from their holdings across Vaasa, they held court infrequently and often for no more than a total of five days out of each month.[3]

Trade[]

Vaasa was a land rich in mineral resources. The Galenas were full of iron, silver, and copper as well as gemstones, including emerald and ruby but especially bloodstone.[2][18][24] These made up the bulk of Vaasa's exports along with a comparatively minor business in trapping and fur trading.[2][46]

14th Century

A map of Vaasa circa 1368 DR.

As much of the land remained unclaimed, there were many prospectors who came to Vaasa seeking its natural treasures in the mid-to-late 14th century DR.[2] Trade was almost exclusively conducted through the Vaasan Gate of Bloodstone Pass, where the Kingdom of Damara had ensured that merchants would pay fair market prices for Vaasan goods and gems.[47] Barter was also extremely common as the tools and supplies for survival could be far more valuable than gold to the average Vaasan.[35] While some trade also occurred across the West Galenas to the Moonsea via Garumn's Climb, more often than not this route was seldom used unless there were problems with the usual trade routes through Damara.[22] Behind mining, the most profitable business in Vaasa at this time was likely bounty hunting.[48]

Vaasa's major imports were weapons and food.[2] Vaasan farming was limited,[22] and so grain was imported from Impiltur.[46] However, some farmers did sell their produce to the Damarans at the Vaasan Gate.[47] Vaasan farmers made use of reavers as well as scythes,[49] and their workhorses came from both the Nars and Sosser breeds.[50][51]

15th Century

A map of Vaasa and the Moonsea North circa 1479 DR.

By the late 15th century DR, the Warlock Knights had transformed the Vaasan Gate into the "Iron Divide," completely sealing the Pass and using the Gate solely as a military fortification.[21][29] With Bloodstone Pass no longer a viable trade route, the Knights had to look elsewhere, not only to export Vaasan goods but also to import the basic necessities that the harsh landscape of Vaasa was not able to produce, such as food and lumber. The route through Garumn's Climb remained available, and soon a great deal of wealth moved through it and along the road to Ilinvur.[52] However, this was seen as too long and too dangerous to be sustainable, even after incorporating the Beaumaris River between Moortown and Kond as part of the imports route.[7][21] To solve the problem of losing the eastern route through the Galenas, the High Walk was the shortest option,[17] and Palischuk became the biggest trade hub in the realm.[3] Despite hostilities between the two realms, at least some trade continued between Damara and merchant guilds in Vaasa.[53] To solve the need for a faster route to the Moonsea, the Knights opened Gramble's Climb in the spring of 1480 DR for a direct link between southeastern Vaasa and Hulburg.[7]

During this time, farming and ranching flourished in Darmshall[29] and Maur-Eturo. Meat and milk were produced from large herds of rothé and krotter.[3]

The Warlock Knights minted their own currency in Telos City using alloys of traditional precious metals with ironfell. The copper-based coins were called nubs, the silver-based coins were called dirks, and the gold-based coins were called anvils. Platinum was not minted into coins but was instead exchanged in thin ingots worth 50 anvils.[7]

Culture[]

Vaasan people had a bad reputation for ruthlessness,[54] and while it was certainly true that their culture was largely informed by the harshness of their environment, it was tempered by the influence of Damaran culture from the east.[19] Vaasans viewed themselves as frontierspeople who prioritized adapting and surviving. They were hardy and wary of dangers, but also supportive of each other and happy to welcome good-intentioned new members to their communities, such as when they embraced the half-orc settlers of Palischuk in the mid-to-late 14th century.[9][55]

As with most nations in the so-called Demonlands, Vaasa used the Impilturan Calendar,[19] wrote with the Dethek alphabet, and spoke the Damaran language,[35][56][57] although in particular they spoke a guttural[16] creole language unique to Vaasa based in Damaran, Dwarvish, and Common.[6] Many Vaasans also spoke some Dwarvish, Orcish, Chondathan, or Uluik,[58] and knowing Goblin, Giant, or even Abyssal was not unheard of.[59]

Arcane magic was mistrusted but not unfamiliar to the people of Vaasa.[16][60] With the rise of the Warlock Knights, however, the the practice of magic became strictly regulated as the Knights feared it could be used against them. Thus, any who wished to study magic had to first swear lifelong loyalty to the Knights as a nishaadhri (meaning "bound one").[7][61]

Feudal Hierarchy[]

During the latter half of the 15th century, the frontier-like spirit of Vaasa would be overshadowed by the oppressive class system put in place by the Warlock Knights. Only high-ranking Knights were entitled to own land,[7] and all others served them as lower-ranking Knights, serfs, or slaves.[29] Lower-ranking Knights ranged from the equivalent of landless nobility to conscripted serfs, and even these lowliest of indentured infantry saw the benefits of membership with the Knights as compared to being a serf.[19] Any who did not aspire to join the Knights instead aspired to avoid attracting their attention at all costs.[8]

Anyone not associated with the Knights was automatically considered a serf in the eyes of the law, and even the lowliest of Warlock Knights had the right to kill a serf on the spot. These serfs toiled on the Knights' land, barely scraping by, and lived in much worse conditions than most common folk across Faerûn.[7][8] The serfs themselves were further stratified by race. Nearly all of the Warlock Knights were human, and non-human serfs were considered lesser than human ones in their eyes.[29] This predominantly included the dwarves, half-orcs, and orcs of Vaasa,[7] as well as the "scamps," a derogatory term for any of the more diminutive races, including goblins, kobolds, and halflings.[62]

Finally, the lowest rung on the ladder were the slaves. Most non-human inhabitants of Vaasa were enslaved, although there was nothing stopping the Knights from enslaving whomever they wished within their domain.[29][62] Slave labor was the driving force behind the mining operations that generated most of Vaasa's wealth[7] and slaves were used as the bulk of the Warlock Knights' armies.[29]

Religion[]

In general, Vaasans cared little for the religion of their neighbors, which allowed many faiths to flourish in the 14th century DR, even less reputable ones.[35] Gods like Talos,[59] Tiamat,[63] Auril, Bane, and Cyric had notable followings,[4] and one of the legacies of Zhengyi the Witch-King was an enduring population of Orcus worshipers led by the Cult of the Goat's Head.[35][54][64][65] As for good or lawful deities, Tyr had a following[66] as did Ilmater, who was particularly popular given that hardship and suffering were endemic to life in Vaasa. The Ilmatari faith was further encouraged by Gareth Dragonsbane and the Order of the Golden Cup.[20][67]

Thanks to the large populations of orcs and half-orcs, worship of the orc pantheon was quite common, and likewise the longtime presence of the dwarves meant that the Morndinsamman were popular as well.[2] Worship of the stone giant god Skoraeus Stonebones was unusually common among the goblinoids and giantkin of the Galenas,[35] and Tempus was popular among the barbarians and nomads nearer to the Great Glacier.[54]

With the rise of the Warlock Knights came a crackdown on religion, and worship of gods like Ilmater was banned among the serfs.[20] In places like Telos City, no temples were permitted and no worship of any deities was allowed. These faiths were replaced with a state religion that venerated Telos, the entity from which the Warlock Knights drew their powers.[3] This quasi-religion was led by the Voice of Telos, and was presided over by a sect of warlock priests called the Luminaries, who held services and maintained shrines to Telos, such as in the Citadel of the Iron Sky in Telos City.[19][3] Despite the suppression of other religions, worship of some gods continued in secret. Ilmater remained popular among the serfs,[20] Bane had a following among the Warlock Knights,[29] and a priest of Auril named Amgrel Vlorund plotted to spread the religious and political power of his goddess's church in Vaasa by corrupting members of the Knights.[68]

Defenses[]

Vaasa's strongest defensive asset was the land itself. Winters were harsh enough to destroy an army outright[69] and summers brought on sucking mud that made marches arduous.[22] The region was protected by the Galena mountains, making the passes through those mountains strategically important to the land's defense (although more often these served to defend Vaasa's neighbors from Vaasa’s monstrous inhabitants). The most strategically important site was the Vaasan Gate, a massive military instillation at the entrance to Bloodstone Pass.[47] Vaasan cities tended to be fortresses built to keep out the land's monsters and outlast the long winters.[24] Owing to the ever present dangers, most Vaasans in the 14th century DR had some training as fighters[70] and were familiar with the use of splint mail and the heavy or light mace.[59] During the mid-to-late 14th century DR, the lands were well patrolled by Gareth Dragonsbane’s Damaran soldiers and mercenaries.[71]

During the reign of the Warlock Knights in the 15th century DR, Vaasa was defended by their fearsome standing armies bolstered by conscripted infantry, slave soldiers,[7] and all manner of monsters.[29] They maintained large garrisons at the Vaasan Gate (then called the Iron Divide),[29] Telos City,[3] Darmshall,[21] and the ruins of Bloodstone City.[20] The Knights led these forces themselves, and were fearsome individual combatants.[72]

History[]

Early History[]

In the mythic past, the lands that would one day be Vaasa were part of the giant empire of Ostoria.[73] The area was always known to be rich in gemstones, and the dwarves established mining settlements in the region, including the twin mines of Delhalls and Talagbar.[24] In the year −2475 DR, the continual expansion southwards of the Great Glacier covered Vaasa and its neighbors with thick ice, driving out the inhabitants.[74] It wasn’t until the Year of Spreading Spring, 1038 DR, that the Glacier began steadily melting, starting a centuries-long retreat northward that freed Vaasa, Damara, and Narfell from the ice for the first time in millennia.[75]

At this time, the edges of the Glacier were inhabited by tribes of nomadic humans, including the White Worm tribe, and as the ice melted they were followed by dwarven clans who settled the Galena Mountains.[76][25][9] They were followed by a migration of humans of Netherese and Chondathan descent, mostly from the Moonsea.[77] These waves of settlers swiftly pushed Vaasa's native herds of mammoth further and further east until there were no more left.[78]

For the first two centuries after the Glacier began retreating, Vaasa had little contact with or relevance to the rest of the Realms aside from serving as an inhospitable northern route for Damaran caravans to reach the Moonsea. Vaasa was often ignored by scholars and assumed by most to be an uncivilized frozen wasteland.[79][22] During this time, Vaasa was inhabited mostly by hunters, trappers, subsistence farmers, Dwarven miners, and nomadic tribes of humanoids.[22][24][13] That said, there was a culture of arcane if not scholarly tradition in Vaasa. In 1141 DR, a cabal of Vaasan wizards raised the Ice Castle in the Lugsaas Mountains where they experimented with creating a new school of magic based on cold. The wizards and their castle disappeared in 1148 DR when a massive earthquake rocked northern Vaasa,[75] thought to have been caused by the slumbering god Ulutiu.[80] Additionally, Vaasa was home to the great explorer Palus Frohm, who launched a 20 year expedition to the Great Glacier starting in the Year of the Wall, 1227 DR. Based on this experience, he wrote the definitive guide to arctic regions, 'Blood and Ice: Survival in the Great Glacier'.[75]

The 14th Century DR[]

Castle Perilous on the Vaasan tundra, circa 1359 DR.

Evil began arising in Vaasa in the early-to-mid 14th century DR,[81] and Vaasa's reputation would be forever changed in the Year of the Bright Blade, 1347 DR when the lich Zhengyi the Witch-King appeared.[24][note 1] He raised Castle Perilous over the course of a single night, immediately claimed sovereignty of his new "Kingdom of Vaasa", and began recruiting an army of mercenaries, bandits, evil Vaasans, giants, monstrous humanoids, magical beasts[12][82][83]—including many chromatic dragons[84]—as well as raising a host of undead towards his cause of conquest. Within a year, he had full control of the region and had invaded neighboring Damara in what would come to be known as the Vaasan War.[82] In the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR, after ten years of war, he slew the Damaran king, Virdin Bloodfeathers, and seized control of northern Damara.[85] During this time, the Kingdom of Vaasa became feared as one of the most powerful realms in Faerûn.[86] Within the Kingdom, evil religious practices flourished, and the locals were soon outnumbered by foreign mercenaries in service to the reclusive and evil Zhengyi,[83] who held court with evil dragons[84] and wizards.[87]

Zhengyi would be defeated two years later in the Bloodstone Wars of the Year of the Serpent, 1359 DR, when Gareth Dragonsbane and a company of adventurers stormed Castle Perilous and severed Zhengyi's link to Orcus, thus breaking the power of his undead armies.[82][88] Despite his defeat and the destruction of Castle Perilous, Zhengyi's legacy and fears of his possible return continued to pollute the area for over a century.[11][1][89][90][48]

With the defeat of the Witch-King, Vaasa returned to a land of independent settlers,[76] but next two decades were a period of explosive growth. The Great Glacier continued to recede, revealing the ancient dwarven mines of Delhalls and Talagbar,[24] and the land became known as a destination for prospectors looking for mineral wealth,[2] leading the population to spike from about 8,000 in 1359 DR[9] to over 140,000 in 1372 DR.[2] All the while, Vaasa was known to be dangerous and full of monsters and threats, including remnants of the Witch-King's armies, an evil priest claiming to be the "son and heir" of Zhengyi,[12] frost giants raiders from beyond the Great Glacier,[91] and a growing presence of worshipers of Tiamat at Castle Perilous.[92] Gareth Dragonsbane, who had become King of Damara, made great efforts to fortify Bloodstone Pass against future incursions from Vaasa, including building the Vaasan Gate, offering huge bounties for evil humanoids and bandits from the region,[90][47] and seeking alliances with the White Worm[9] and other barbarians to the north.[76] Much of this effort was in service to pacifying the region in order to add it to his Kingdom of Bloodstone,[93] the creation of which had been a goal of his since he united Damara.[94][95] This began to bear fruit when Palischuk all but swore fealty to his kingdom outright circa the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, when he defeated a rival claim to the area from Bregan D'aerthe.[96]

The most serious threat to Gareth Dragonsbane's growing power in Vaasa came in the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, when Sammaster, leader of the Cult of the Dragon, unleashed the Rage of Dragons and began masquerading as a returned Zhengyi.[97] This false Witch-King rallied an army of monstrous humanoids, giants, and raging dragons, and his horde seized the Vaasan and Damaran Gates in a single night on Mirtul 3, then invaded Damara. While this Witch-King was defeated fairly quickly, it took many months to rout the remains of his army and to reclaim the Vaasan Gate,[89][97] and Vaasa ended up being one of the lands hardest hit by Sammaster's use of the Dracorage mythal.[98] Even after the Cult of the Dragon's defeat, it maintained cells in Vaasa[99] and their agents would remain active near Moortown for over a century.[3]

Soon after, Gareth Dragonsbane annexed the region into his kingdom as the Barony of Vaasa[45] to create the unified Kingdom of Bloodstone.[29][100]

At some point in the early 1370s DR, Gareth Dragonsbane appointed Rannek of Nesmé, Zhai of Cedarleaf, and Illius of Silverymoon as the first rulers of Vaasa.[101]

The 15th Century DR[]

During the rule of the Dragonsbanes, Vaasa was a peaceful if still largely inhospitable land. It continued to draw immigrants, especially from Impiltur.[19] The Great Glacier would continue its retreat northwards to beyond the Lugsaas Chain Mountains, freeing the ruins of the ancient giant kingdom of Kultaakarr from the ice.[17][21]

This relatively peaceful time in Vaasa began to change after a shooting star landed in the tundra sometime after the Spellplague, which led to the formation of the Warlock Knights.[29] The Knights were patient,[100] but began subjugating small settlements of peasants while conscripting evil humanoids, ultimately marshalling an army of conscripts, slaves, and monsters by the Year of the Forged Sigil, 1459 DR. As the Kingdom of Bloodstone was distracted by political infighting, the Knights declared open rebellion in the Year of the Malachite Shadows, 1460 DR.[29][7]

Over the next decade of war, the Warlock Knights would brutally conquer Vaasa,[29] culminating in the Year of Splendors Burning, 1469 DR, when they captured the Bloodstone capital city and razed it to the ground.[102][note 2] With this, they sealed Bloodstone Pass[21] and declared independence, thus splintering the Kingdom of Bloodstone back into Vaasa and Damara.[7] However, this did not end the Knights' violence, and in the Year of the Second Circle, 1470 DR, they attacked the dwarves of the Galena Mountains, forcing them to abandon Bloodstone Mines and to barricade Hillsafar Hall.[62] By this point, their conquests had driven thousands of Vaasan people and humanoids from their homes, and with Bloodstone Pass closed, these refugees gathered in tent cities or sought refuge in the Knights' own capital of Telos.[21][3]

Under the Warlock Knights, Vaasa was structured as a feudal system with all nobles and landowning lords belonging to the Knights. The majority of the human population became trapped in serfdom and much of the non-human population was forced into slavery or indentured servitude.[7][29][62]

In the Year of the Purloined Statue, 1477 DR, a large earthquake struck Vaasa, causing the mines at Delhalls to collapse and leading the ruins of Castle Perilous to rejuvenate mysteriously into an imposing dark fortress. This heralded a fracturing in the Knights' ruling Ironfell Council when one member, Mansard Kanaoth, began opposing the ruling Voice of Telos and secretly declared himself to be the new Witch-King.[1]

By the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, the Warlock Knights had turned an expansionist eye toward their neighbors, all of whom viewed the Knights as among the greatest threats in Faerûn.[29] By the Year of the Warrior Princess, 1489 DR, tensions between Vaasa and neighboring Damara were nearing a boiling point.[11]

Inhabitants[]

The only thing that separates a man from a yeti is his sword.
— Old Vaasan saying[103]

Vaasa was a land with two distinct populations. The first were the more civilized folk, including Vaasan and Damaran humans in the Sunderland and southern cities, half-orcs and Sossrim humans in Palischuk to the north,[9][5][104][105] and shield dwarves in the Galena mountains.[9][106][107] These folk were largely farmers, trappers, and miners. The second population consisted of the nomadic tribes who inhabited the mountains and the wilds, mostly consisting of grey orcs,[108] goblinoids,[109] giants, and human barbarians. These tribal humanoids vastly outnumbered the civilized folk as much as 25-to-1 in the mid-to-late 14th century DR,[13][9] although their numbers dwindled dramatically during the reign of Gareth Dragonsbane,[71] and many more were subsequently killed or enslaved under the Warlock Knights.[19] Notable tribes of this time were the Ring-nose orcs,[15] the goblinoids of the Garuk One Ears, and the humans of the White Worm tribe, the latter of whom continually moved north out of Vaasa following the retreating Great Glacier.[110][62][111] Some nomadic tribes were known to turn to cannibalism when food was scarce.[2]

Vaasa was also home to smaller pockets of more isolated groups, such as arctic dwarves.[112] The Underdark beneath Vaasa, particularly beneath the Galena mountains, was home to drow[113] and duergar.[114][115]

The humans who called themselves Vaasans were not a particularly honorable people, but they tended to honor their promises. They were persistent and sly hagglers with little sense of etiquette.[16][116] Folk wore their hair and beards long,[4] and often dressed in heavy furs. Owing to the harshness of their environment, they tended to be quite big and strong, and did not make much distinction between gender norms or roles. Vaasans took their romantic commitments very seriously, and interracial couplings were not uncommon.[16][116][117] Marriages were referred to as "life pledges."[116]

Notable Locations[]

Cities
  • Telos City, the capital of Vaasa and its largest city under the rule of the Warlock Knights.[1]
  • Palischuk, a once-destroyed city rebuilt and occupied by half-orcs[24] which had grown to be Vaasa's wealthiest and second largest city as a trade hub under the Warlock Knights.[3]
  • Darmshall, a small fortress-village founded by the Tenblades adventuring company[24] which grew to become Vaasa's third largest city under the Warlock Knights.[21]
Settlements
  • Avang, a trade stopover on the western edge of Vaasa.[21]
  • Fugue, a tent city of refugees trying to escape through Bloodstone Pass.[21]
  • Hillsafar Hall, a heavily fortified Dwarven fortress that sat at the entrance to the mines of Clan Hillsafar.[25]
  • Ishe, an outpost in Vaasa's far north.[21]
  • Kond, a town and trade outpost built into the cliffs above the Beaumaris River.[21]
  • Maur-Eturo, a ranching town located at the intersection of the main trade routes through Vaasa.[3]
  • Modurt, a town inhabited largely by goblins.[3]
  • Moortown, a settlement in the Bottomless Bogs located on the Beaumaris River.[3]
Points of interest
Roads, passes, and waterways

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. The Forgotten Realms campaign sets for both the 1st edition (set 1357 DR) and 2nd edition (set 1368 DR) give Zhengyi's appearance as happening "20 years ago." The 3rd edition onward continued from the date established in the 2nd edition, and uses the year 1347 DR.
  2. Canon material does not provide a precise date for the razing of Bloodstone City in the 15th century DR. The article "Realmslore: Vaasa" in Dungeon #177 states that the event occurred "a decade past" (p. 80) as of 1480 DR (p. 78). This is generally assumed to be Year of Splendors Burning, 1469 DR, given its name.

Appearances[]

Adventures
The Bloodstone WarsThe Throne of BloodstoneThe Bloodstone LandsThe Great Glacier: "Snow Baby" • Dungeon #53: "Steelheart"
Referenced only
Bloodstone PassThe Mines of Bloodstone
Novels
The RitePromise of the Witch-KingRoad of the Patriarch
Referenced only
The SummoningThe SiegeThe SorcererSentinelspireSwordmageCorsairAvengerHero
Short Stories
Realms of Shadow: "Darksword" • "If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair"
Referenced only
"That Curious Sword" • "Comrades at Odds"
Video Games
Referenced only
Pools of DarknessNeverwinter Nights: Hordes of the UnderdarkForgotten Realms: Demon StoneBaldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Further reading[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 189. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
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