THE MALICE LANDS
WHEN DANOR HAD ITS MAGIC STRIPPED away during the Great Malice, these lands were at the edge of the effect’s radius. The magic there was left fractured and unstable. While Danor was able to restore itself in the relative stability of its dead magic zone, the wild magic of the Malice Lands has led to irregular catastrophes and small cataclysms that tend to wipe out any nation that tries to establish itself there.
Most people in the Malice Lands live in small villages or as nomads in order to avoid the more deadly manifestations of this wild magic. These war-torn lands tend to become havens for criminals who cross into their neighboring lands to pillage and plunder.
Noteworthy exception are the city-state of Orithea, which has managed to prosper in a small pocket of stable, albeit weakened magic; and Xephanan , the subterranean kingdom of the xephs, which lies in the shadowy crevasses of the Eastern Piscene mountains. Tales are told of a savage gearman community somewhere in these blighted lands as well.
A dead-gray mist hugs the borders of the Malice Lands, creating a barrier that only occasionally offers a glimpse of the desolation and devastation inside. Beyond the mist, this scarred region remains a grim memory of the Great Malice and the holy wars that preceded it, cloaked in perpetual twilight. Like a wound that will not heal, the land is broken and blasted. In some places the ground has fused into jagged glass. In others, it is cracked and burned and gouged. Broken bodies litter the landscape—people whose corpses refuse to decompose. The Malice Lands are, quite literally, a vast open grave.
In the Malice Lands vile magical effects linger and monsters mutate into even more foul and horrible creatures. Arcane effects continue to rain upon the land like magical storms that never dissipate. Malformed by the unnatural forces present across the region, monsters rage and hunt as they struggle to survive. Sometimes even some of the dead, animated by strange powers radiating from the blasted ground, rise up to continue fighting a war that ended five centuries ago.
Life and Society
Those Danorans who weren’t killed in the disaster that mutated the region ﬂed to safer locales and now live in other lands. Other than the folk of Orithea, the xeph, and possibly the renegade gearmen, few sentient beings live within the borders of the Malice Lands, and no survivors of the old order can be found in this shattered realm. The arcane force that destroyed the realm killed or mutated most living things, so survival itself is a near-impossible struggle. Now monsters roam the land, preying on each other and grazing on the stubborn weeds that alone seem to thrive in the blasted land. These wretched creatures live by being smarter, stronger, luckier, or more cunning than those around them. Some laws of nature have been bent or broken here, but the ultimate law remains in effect—the fit and strong survive while the weak, slow, stupid, and unlucky die. Of course, even death might not be the end in this place.
Scavenger bands brave the ruins of the Malice Lands, looking for art objects and artifacts to sell. Though Crisillyir and Danor attempt to keep such outlaws from operating out of their environs, Drakr encourages this kind of activity and offers tempting bounties to those who recover items of worth or power.