Nor-Du-Mag
“Here the world lived, here the world dreamed, here the world bled, and here the world died.” - Travelogue of Muir Zim the Mad

Capital: None
Settlements: Dulguald (5000), Camp Trajere (1000+)
Ruler: None
Government: Anarchy; clans within dwarf holds
Races: Dwarf, Half-orc, Human, Squole, Zendiqi
Faiths: Elemental Lords (any)
Resources: Metal (copper, gold, iron, nickel, silver), porphyrite
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Giant, Old Porphyran, Orc
Border Conditions: Limited (A porphyrite border surrounds the Middle Kingdoms to the east).
Magic Conditions: A palpable ‘jolt’ is felt by those who can cast spells when they enter Nor-
Du-Mag. Magic items with continuous effects will immediately fail. There is a full porphyrite border
to the east with the Middle Kingdoms. Magic items and spells that bypass porphyrite borders will work only to enter Nor-Du-Mag; they will not facilitate leaving. Neither divine nor arcane magic works within the borders.

History
In prehistory the Cloven Lands had another name; what it was, or the origins of the kingdoms that were born and died there are lost now even to the oldest of archives. What does survive is the tale of how that realm became known as the Dead Lands. In the Chronicles of Nox it is recorded that Gormalgungrir, the Scaled King, the Dreaming Serpent, came to power when he threw down the Witchlord of the Cyclopes, Mo’ult, and devoured the titan’s heart.

Gormalgungrir fell into a deep slumber. At next day’s dawn, a massive coliseum had appeared around the Dragonlord. As time went on, the coliseum expanded, and grand galleries, towering spires and sprawling verandas would appear. Pilgrims began to visit the resting place of the venerable worm, for it was said that those who spent time in contemplation within the Grand Coliseum were gifted insight and inspiration. As the City of the Dreaming Serpent filled, it grew, in spontaneous response to the needs of its inhabitants. Artists, scholars, sages, and practitioners of the arcane arts all came to reside within the ever growing city. Towers of wizardry formed, that spewed gouts of raw magic given liquid reality. Libraries the size of city states held the collected knowledge of the ancient world, defiant of the elemental lords, and there resided the histories unnumbered in arcane vaults designed to protect against the eons.

As years passed, all that was once part of the realm around the Grand Coliseum had been incorporated or supplanted by the Living Arcology of Gormalgungrir, until the land that existed beneath the vast structure was remembered only in the Eldritch Vaults of the Obscure, in tomes lost to the dusts of time. Rivaled in cataclysmic scale only by the later The Calling and the NewGod Wars, the Breaking would forever change the face of ancient Porphyra. The why is lost, only that one who bore a silver spear came to the Grand Coliseum not to learn or seek quiet contemplation. Rather, to speak a challenge. In the tongue of ancient Draconic, the flameeyed stranger spoke words painful to all that heard. Such were the power of the words that his jaw broke, and the Ancient One, Gormalgungrir stirred.

For the first time in strange eons the World Dragon opened his eyes. The stranger staggered, his bones cracking under the weight of the serpentine gaze - yet he staggered forward and, in a blinding flash, drove the Spear of Ul into the heart of the risen dragon lord. An observant librarian who teleported from the scene gives us this fragment, and only accounts from neighboring kingdoms tells of what followed. A keening was heard half a world away, and the sky whales of Tuthon
moaned in unison. The pitch rose until all that inhabited the Living Realm were struck dead, if not outright vaporized. The whine was followed by a nova of light and fire that rose into the sky to set the very heavens ablaze. Those who looked upon the maelstrom for too long were struck blind. In a heartbeat, it was gone. The catastrophic eruption was over, the fire and light were gone, the ear-splitting tintinnabulation was gone, and the Living City was gone, everything that was once the Gleaming Arcology of Gormalgungrir, and all who were within were gone.

Some of the most desperate campaigns of the elementalists, during the NewGod Wars, were held within the borders of Nor-Du-Mag, but determined phalanxes of Middlelanders ventured forth across the border to scatter them, bloody skirmishes devoid of magical healing and leadership. Many Middlelanders still call Nor-Du-Mag, “The Bloodlands”. Small but ancient clans of zendiqi hide in the canyons and wadis, and they, too, remember.

Current Events
Today the Cloven Lands are called Nor-Du-Mag, an archaic elven word for ‘loss’. To look upon Nor-Du-Mag, it would appear to be a lifeless land, the world has healed at least in part. Magic of any kind will not function within the borders of the deadlands. Even after The Calling and the coming of divine magic, Nor-Du-Mag holds no succor for priest or faithful; a few charlatans lead pseudo-cults to invoke the Elemental Lords, and the shadows of deific memory. Yet even so, there are bastions within the broken land that offer shelter for those desperate or foolish enough. Large deposits of shattered porphyrite have lured many into the blasted landscape in hopes of making a fortune. Remnants of giant tribes make that hope rather faint, however.

Dwarven mines and camps such as Whitehole and Purplestone can be found scattered around the edges of the edges of the realm, heavily fortified holds welcome none but their own. Orc wargangs from their own squalid tunnels prey on those too eager and unprepared, or that venture too far alone, Still, only the giant clans and intrepid squole brave the far reaches and heart of the dead lands and they welcome none to their dim fires, not even their former leaders, the zendiqi. Ironically, these northern peoples are less xenophobic than their erstwhile southern brothers, probably due to the removal of the deist irritant. Nor-Du-Mag has also become a haven for brigands and outlaws, those that nothing to lose, or have nowhere else to run, especially from ecclesiastic law. It is a land of lawlessness, where one can have what one can take and has the strength to keep. Nothing is given in Nor-Du-Mag, only taken. That is the law of the Cloven Lands.

Settlements
The major settlements of Nor-Du-Mag are:

  • Dulguald is the largest city within Nor-Du-Mag is the dwarven mine-city of Dulguald. The heart of the hold lies deep in the border mountains of the Cloven Lands, yet the dwarves have tunneled a trade gate near the edge of the dead lands. Dulguald is ruled by the Gold Council, rigidly legalistic in outlook, a far cry from the rest of the dead lands.
  • Several mercenary leaders have set up semi-permanent camps within the gravel shallows of southern Nor-Du-Mag; the largest of these is Camp Trajere, which can trace its history to the NewGod Wars. As such, it bears a sturdy keep and many siege engines to discourage giantish incursion.

Intrigues

  • A mercenary captain is claiming to possess the Spear of Ul and is gathering a large number of followers. What his target and goal is unknown, but the Middlelanders are interested enough to put out a call for adventurers.
  • A druidic conclave seeks to establish a bastion within the heart of Nor-Du-Mag, with restorative magical plans. They seek aid in reaching their destination.
  • Rumors abound that a great dragon, with iridescent scales, has been seen in the twilight skies above the kingdom, near Blix.

See Also