The Nether

Capital: None

Notable Settlements: Bilal, Osell

Ruler: Town Mayors

Government: Civic, ad hoc.

Languages: Common, Trollish

Religion: Casual, Animistic

It is astounding that anyone should chose to live in the Nether at all. It is miles upon miles upon miles of swamp land and marsh, bounded by the lush fields of Lutetia to the south, and the snow-bound tracts of Norga to the north. At its heart lies the Nether Reach, a thin inlet that reaches like a long tendril deep into Midgard, and the only two trades of note to be had are fishing, and boating. No structure reaches much over two stories high, and on a clear day (of which there are few), the colossus of western Rauer can be seen, pointing an accusing finger deep into the foetid boundary-lands. Tales tell that once the Nether was a bustling country in its own right, to rival even modern Dalriada, with a trade empire that spanned the seas. Now only broken fragments and ruins hint at that past, and those are precious few. The earth here is soft and welcoming, and hungrily sucks all traces of history beneath the surface.

The people of the Nether seem almost cowed in their habitation of the swamp, almost as if it is their duty to suffer the insects and monsters that live there with them. Their villages are simple affairs, mostly made of imported wood, their trades unassuming, their lives neither long, nor dramatic. You might expect that the local Trollish population would cause tension and political dynamism, but in the main the Human and Goblinoid populations leave each other alone except to trade. Osell is the sole point of embarrassment, a now trollish village, once human. But starvation and plague will do strange things to anyone, and seasons have passed, and the people of the Nether know when to hold a grudge against a clan, and not against a people. Half orcs are perhaps more common in the Nether than anywhere else, and racism against them is almost unheard of. Local halflings, on the other hand, with their dependence on wading stilts to ply almost any kind of semi-rural trade, are often the butt of unfortunate ridicule.

Land-bound travellers between Lutetia and Norga must cross the Nether as a matter of course, and guides and boatmen exact relatively heavy fees to aid the crossing. Almost all travel then goes via the Rocksfall Inn on the southern side of the Reach, and the Dyer’s Arms on the north. The two public houses are expensive, but welcoming, and despite occasional outbreaks of violence, maintain reputations as safehouses against the occasional storms that spin down from the north, and the Gnollish tribesfolk that prey on unprotected pilgrims.

The Nether

Unnatural 20 umbriel