The Crusade of the Southern Reaches
After seemingly ages of beatings and degradation by the goblin slavers are you are free.
Ship-wrecked, penniless, bruised and beaten, but, but by the gods, you are free.
Your new-found companions are a rag-tag lot. Unlucky souls like you, thrown into chains and put under the goblinâ€™s whip. â€œUnlucky?â€ Time to make your own luck.
Amongst the ruckage [CK note: fuck yeah, I used â€œruckage.â€ Itâ€™s now official Wilderlands jargon.]
, youâ€™ve found a map of this region. Something called â€œthe Southern Reaches.â€ You donâ€™t know where that is, but, by the groins of the gods, it is hot.
Your band lays out the map and ponders. Where to? Where do we go in this land? You know not. But looking down at your broken manacles, you do know one thing: youâ€™ll be damned if you end up under the whip again.
Time to carve out your fortune. Time to take life by the throat and make it serve you, rather than the other way around.
(paraphrased from the Player's Guide to the Wilderlands)
The lands of the Wilderlands compose a region slightly smaller than the Mediterranean sea and surrounding lands. The Wilderlands are largely unexplored and overland travel is dangerous. There are few â€œnations.â€ Instead, the lands are dominated by â€œcity states,â€ principle among them being the City State of the Invincible Overlord and Viridistan, the City of Spicesâ€”also known as the City State of the World Emperor.
Though the civilization of the Wilderlands centers mostly on the largest city states, these locations are small in comparison to the vast forests, expansive plains, open seas, trackless deserts, imposing mountains and wild rivers. The light of civilization in the Wilderlands is a dim spark against the dark wilds.
The Wilderlands is a setting in decline. Long ago empires covered the region. But great wars, with the gods themselves fighting alongside men, has reduced the splendor of those past civilizations, leaving them in ruins. Cities that do exist today are generally built on the sites of ancient cities, some among the ruins themselves. Broken roads, crumbled walls, sunken buildings and half-ruined towers dot the landscape, a constant reminder of the faded past.
Life in the Wilderlands can be summed up for the average commoner as follows: Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. The average life expectancy is twenty years unless one lives in a walled city or town, in which it is only a little higher. In the wilderness villages, wandering monsters and the raids of nomads, brigands and various humanoid species which are inherently evil are the bane of many. Rampant, unchecked disease is common to both walled city and wilderness village; so is infant mortality. The dangers of wandering monsters are lessened in a walled city or town, but the concentration of people in a small area leads to a high crime rate and poor sanitation; therefore, instead of being slain by a marauding dragon, a city dweller may have his throat slit for the contents of his purse.Welcome to the Wilderlands, where life is cheap, travel is dangerous and a strong sword arm is worth more than a purse full of gold!