The Wound
The the heart of the world lies jagged, blasted expanse of The Wound. These badlands bore the brunt of the first coming of the Invaders, and witnessed the extinction of more than two dozen entire races. It is a land of blasted wastes, or dangerous magical anomalies, of forgotten ruins, not just of buildings, but of cities and even entire civilizations, and of terrible perversions of the natural law of the world. But it is also a land rich in powerful magic, lost by the invaders and the tyrants, and of secrets once held by those lost races of Manus. And it is also a land where dangerous, desperate men, cast from their homes, rub shoulders with the ambitious and the power hungry and the greedy, all pulled together in this no man's land to seek their fortune, be it for good or ill.

The Land


The Wound has a reputation for being a blasted ruin, and in no way is this reputation undeserved. Ash wastes, full of poisoned rivers, and prone to burning wind, lightening storms, and worse - or more bizarre - are the norm here. And foetid marshes and ruined cities break the monotony. The southern reaches of the Grim Towers rise up in the east, but the mountains are almost comically bent in places, leaning away from the bulk of the wound as if in disgust or fear. Great gorges in the earth, seemingly bottomless pits of black, are common in the mountain regions, and even for days around them, except to the south, where the massive Slaadmarsh that is the bullywug homeland floods the plains between the mountains and the sea. While it is not affected by the perverse conditions that the rest of the Wound suffer from, it is considered part of the desolate no man's land, primarily because it as equally inhospitable to any but its 'wug natives.

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Climate

The Wound is a strange place, and its climate and weather are major contributing factors to just how annual the blasted core of the world is. Overall, the Wound's climate varies greatly from west to east. The west was probably once temperate, with moderate summers and winters, and a much drier semi-arid climate would have prevailed east of the southern end of the Grim Towers. Prevailing winds still tend to blow from the northwest, bringing relatively cool air and a predictably dry season in the summer. In the autumn and winter, winds are often strong, and hurricanes and tornadoes through the heartlands were regular hazards. Despite its northerly climes, snow and frost were almost unknown in lowland regions, but rain was extremely common.

But all of that changed when the invaders came. It is said that the creatures literally poisoned the skies, tainting them as they passed through the gaping holes through which they stretched their infinitely horrific appendages. Now poisoned rain taints the ground water, and pits stone. While the rain is not strong enough to burn flesh, things that are exposed to its occasional squalls are singed, meaning that many building materials are useless in heartland and mountain regions, and most plant life is easily killed, except for the hardiest grasses, meaning agriculture on any kind of scale is futile. More terrible are the burning winds. Whipping up around ancient ruins, these terrible air currents sting the eyes, and cause severe fatigue for those breathing it. Eventually, after long exposure, the winds leave sores and burns over exposed skin, burn the throat, and even blind the eyes. Travellers in the Wound might brave the poison rain, careful to drink only from underground springs, but only the true fool leaves shelter in the burning winds.

Wildlife

Because of the burning winds and poison rain, the flora and fauna of the Wound are virtually of another world to those of the bordering lands. chaos beasts are common here, as are otyugh feeding on the rotting ruins, and hardy bullette. Gibbering mouthers slide south from Peria, and all manner of oozes, slimes and jellies are native, given sentience by weird and alien forces. Below the ground ankheg and purple worms succeed thanks to the shelter of the earth, and shallower dwelling brain moles also present a threat to sleeping travellers, while massive osquip replace rats in ruins and outside settlements. In the north kreshar roam the land, but go to ground in the bad weather. But the undisputed king of the predators in the Wound is the savage and terrifying grey render. Rarer and more exotic, but equally dangerous are the phasms, belkers and vampiric mists, while ethereal marauders replace renders as the greatest threat in the region around Fu. Ethereal filchers are much rarer, but not unknown, especially in ruins.

Plant life is predominantly fungus and flax, but travellers would do well to beware places of lush greenery, for tendriculos, assassin vines, hangman trees, obliviax, shambling mounds,and other sentient, man-eating plants dwell in these places. Equally dangerous, but not intelligent, are the choke creepers, mantraps, sapper saws and thornslingers found amongst ruins and in sheltered valleys where a traveller might seek clean water. Huntsmen in the Wound have chosen a dangerous profession indeed, with so little natural animal life remaining, but osquip proves a common enough meal, and large monitor lizards make up the bulk of the meat eaten in the Wound, with carrion gathered opportunistically from larger fare adding some variety. The flavour of both is foul, but with cannibalism being the best alternative for meat, most settle for what they can get. Most.Yams, potatoes and other underground crops also tend to grow reasonably well in settled regions, especially where the water is plentiful and fresh, and are made into food and distilled into wicked spirits that burn the throat and upset the stomach.

The People


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The major settlements of the Wound are Crater City, Badwell, Knifetown, Brack, Littletown, Bridgetown, Fu, Swamptown, and Fellpoint. Because scavenging is a way of life, and poison rain precludes many building materials, as well as permanency not being a high priority in the Wound, settlements tend to have a ramshackle, haphazard feel to them. Buildings are made out of materials scavenged locally, and usually settlements are sited based on the nearby availability of goods. Also thanks to the dangerous weather and worse wildlife, settlements tend to be fortified as best locals can manage, and sited in a defensible position. Many settlements are not so prudently situated, but those that last more than a year almost universally are. Because building materials vary so wildly, and the cultures of the Wound were once many and diverse, every settlement is very distinct, from the strange pitted metal and staining rust of Crater City, to the dense uncut timber of Brack, or the shaded mud brick huts of Badwell, each is dramatically different in its aspect, government, society and material assets.

Peoples and Cultures

The settlements of the Wound are made up from people of all races, colours, creeds, philosophies, and backgrounds, all forced to rub shoulders as relative equals in close proximity. Races who might be enemies, or who would fall victim to cultural stereotypes elsewhere are free to be nothing but individuals here. The community to which an individual belongs is far more formative than his shape or his ancestry in shaping who and what he is. The denizens who scrounge and eke a life out from the cruelty of the Wound have only strength and wealth to tell one another apart.

Languages

The Wound is a melting post of a number of cultures, races, and backgrounds. And so it should come as no surprise that at least a dozen tongues see common parlance here. Many small settlements, especially those off the beaten track, speak languages from lands hundreds of leagues distant, or even the tongues of long-dead races. However in the major settlements most people are conversational in both Peri and Mulhandi, though few are literate. Of course, there is a preference for Peri in the northern lands, and Mulhandi in the south, and regional dialects are frequently made up of a bastardized mix of these two, coupled with colourful and distinctive slang. Along the eastern coast, and through the mountains Bullywi is also seeing a resurgence, as 'wug communities become more and more attractive trading partners.

Politics

The political scene of the Wound could not be more chaotic or less clear. Any man can set himself up as a king, and be lord over as far as his might can reach, and any other man might see what the first has gained, and determine to take it for his own. That is the way of the Wound. The leaders of some communities, such as Fellpoint, change almost daily. But this does not mean that great powers of do not arise in the Wound, merely that they do not compare to those of the great nations of Manus. At the moment the most influential individuals in the Wound are the self-proclaimed Scavvy King, Yolt Dagis, who is based in Crater City, and the ever-present and enigmatic sorcerer Eric, whose tendrils spread from one coast to the other - or so he tells people. Both have resources and agents aplenty, but neither could really claim much more than a tiny slice of the massive wasteland, even by expending every asset at his disposal.

Economy

The economy of the Wound is salvage, and while the wealthy may appear paupers to outsiders, the division between wealthy and poor is immense, and the poor are little better than animals, especially when they make their living outside the walls of settlements. There is little real trade, except the cottage industries, three or four people strong, that spring up to meet demands in the major settlements. Travelling traders and of course scavvies, with adequate protection, can make a good living out in the wilds of the wastes. But as often as not, men who set forth to make a name for themselves never hear their names spoken again, for it is the wastes and not the people the rule this land. Enterprising individuals like the Scavvy King have made themselves a modest fortune by trading with Peria, but by and large the denizens of the wastes are automatically considered criminals by the people of the mage nation, and are more likely to die than earn a coin taking their goods to the heavily patrolled Perian border. Still, such contacts are invaluable, to both Peria and the scavengers, and when they can be had they often prove to be the making of both parties. Still, a fresh well and a strong roof seem like they will always be the greatest assets to which one can aspire in the Wound, and far too few even have these luxuries.

Government: None
Predominant Religions: Atheism, various invader cults.
Major Industry: Scavenging ruins.
Usual Climate: Cool and often stormy, with frequent 'freak' weather conditions, including poison rain, burning winds, and frogs.
Predominant Terrains: Moorland, bogs and badland with occasional mud-flats and ash deserts.
Predominant Language: Peri, Mulhandi, Bullywi.

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