Cool ideas Sturm, thanks for starting this thread off!
I'll post the excerpt from the Campaign Setting Overview below (for ease of reference) before jumping into the conversation:
Location: Continent of Brun, between Mogreth and Taymora.
Area: XXX sq. ft. (XXX sq. m.); additional notes if any
Population: Estimated XXX (X% humans, X% lizardfolk, X% troglodytes, X% giantkin, X% other).
Languages: Taymoran, Mogrethian are the most common languages spoken here, although several other human dialects exist as well (those spoken by Mogrethian slave races).
Coinage: No national standard is set, though coins from neighboring countries are common. Whendealing in coins many folk trade based on coin weight, however more often a system of pure barter is used.
Taxes: No national tax exists, but local communities may tax their inhabitants anywhere from 10% to 50% of all goods produced in order to support and defend the settlement. Merchants are typically not taxed (providing incentive to visit these lands), although adventurers and thrill seekers may be.
Government Type: Non-centralized Cooperatives
Industries: Lumber, textiles, furs
The wilderness between Mogreth and Taymor is a land of forested hills, swift-flowing rivers, and frightful storms coming in from the Sea of Dawn, but the land is rich and highly coveted. Both Mogreth and Taymor have tried to settle it over the centuries, but doing so brought the two nations too close to each other, prompting a swift reaction from the other. Too equally matched for the time being, the territory is now a bitterly contested no man’s land, where secret bases and colonies are established to watch the enemy, and proxy wars are fought amongst the locals. Every few years, one side musters enough strength to launch an offensive, and the cycle continues.
Lush, fertile valleys bisected by strong flowing rivers dominate the landscape of the Frontierlands. Rolling hills, covered by thickly grown forests, make their way from the XXX Mounts to the base of the southern Kuuromaresha. The XXX river runs the entire length of the Frontierlands, from the northern XXX to the Sea of Dawn.
Flora and Fauna
Some of the oldest forests on southern Brun exist in the Frontierlands, and as such they contain some of the darkest secrets. Pine forests in higher altitudes give way to those of birch and maple and oak, while the coastal areas are filled with giant redwoods.
Wolves and bears are the most common predators, while hippogriffs and manticores often duel each other in the air. Many stories also abound of saurian horrors that have crept out of Mogreth, or of restless undead set loose by minions of Taymora.
This region coalesced into being after many years of battle between Taymora and Mogreth, with occasional periods of occupation from the giants of Grondheim as well. One nation or another has claimed control over portions of this land over the past century, but that control is always fleeting, insured by the wild and rugged nature of the territory.
The land bears many signs of past battles – ruined fortresses and colonies (some half-completed), partly completed (or deteriorating) roads, vast swaths of burnt countryside and churned earth, abandoned quarries and lumber camps, small mountains of skeletons in rusting armor, and of course the dead. There are other signs as well, including those which continue to claim lives. The woods are inhabited by roving bands of undead, minions let loose after their masters fell in battle, and nightmarish creatures summoned by the sorcerers of Mogreth and left behind to roam.
Indigents and outcasts from across Brun have found their way to the Frontierlands, with humans being the most populous. Many of those hail from Taymora, or are descendants of one of the human states that Mogreth has consumed over the years.
Giants and fey folk can be found in the mountains, as well as in the deep places of some of the oldest forests. Troglodytes and frogfolk are also common, especially in the eastern portion of the country. Most have either fled or been driven from Mogreth for some crime, perceived or not.
Small pockets of elves also exist, mainly along the shores where their traveling kin frequent. Even small groups of beastmen and other related creatures roam about the countryside, either as scouts of Urzud, or as some claim escaped (or released) from some holding pit on the Isle of Teknuria.
Life is at the community level, with few locals venturing too far from the safety of their villages or strongholds. Most communities in the Frontierlands are self-sufficient, and can grow, hunt, or scrounge for everything that they need.
Folk living in these wild lands rarely trust outsiders, especially those with a different cultural heritage than their own. Most settlements form along racial lines. Communities of former human slaves, escaped from Mogreth, would have very little love for any neighboring troglodytes, regardless of where their loyalties lay. Likewise, troglodytes living in the area probably have very little reason to trust folk with a Taymoran cultural background.
Few lasting alliances between settlements in the Frontierlands exist, although even communities that hate each other will band together if the threat is great enough. Just such occurrences have happened on many occasions when one of the major powers has tried to invade the area, which plays a large factor in the continued independence of the area.
Some villages may be semi-nomadic, with entire communities moving from one location to the next throughout the year. Such migrations may follow the cycles of native wildlife, or might be driven by the aggressive nature of their neighbors.
As with customs, religious practice varies from community to community. Immortal patrons from Taymora, Mogreth, and Grondheim have all found purchase here. Ninfangle is also worshiped throughout the land as a patron of self reliance and fortitude.
Darker forces exist in the realm as well, though only rarely will their ranks swell with worshipers. Ancient temples, lost even before the rise of Blackmoor, still dot the land waiting to be found by brave explorers.
Settlements of Note
Aresh (pop. XXX): Mysteriously abandoned by Taymoran forces several years ago, the stronghold of Aresh was quickly seized by locals and repurposed for their needs. The stone walls of the fortress have enabled defenders to repel Taymoran forces intent on reclaiming their lost stronghold several times. In return for keeping the Taymorans at bay, several neighboring villages routinely bring food and supplies to the beleaguered residents.
Naskwa (pop. XXX): The troglodyte settlement of Naskwa constantly vanishes and reappears, not by any magical means, but because the residents are constantly on the move. Every structure in the village is designed to be easily collapsible and moved, and the troglodytes do so for multiple reasons. Whether to avoid attack from Mogreth, or to follow migrating animal populations, the folk of Naskwa are ready to pack up and move their village at a moment’s notice.
Appearance and Dress
Dress is utilitarian in this temperate region, with humans and their ilk generally wearing more clothing than their saurian counterparts. Furs and wool are the most common materials used in clothing, with others finding use only with the most affluent individuals. Men tend to dress in a long sleeved tunic with breeches, while women substitute in an ankle length skirt.
Other dress styles, especially those conforming to Taymoran or Mogrethian standards, are commonplace, though often subtle differences exist.
Weapons and Armor
Although many settlements have their own established smithies, there is very little organized industry for the creation of weapons and armor. Much of what the folk of this land possess comes from their native lands, or is acquired through trade.
Utilitarian weapons such as hammers, picks, axes, and scythes are favored over others, since many of those have a dual use as tools in daily life. Spears and bows are also common, as they see use in hunting as well as in warfare.
Most folk of the Frontierlands would prefer to be left alone, but when an army marches through many flee their homes only to rebuild afterwards. They hate Mogreth because they know all too well the fate that would await them if the sorcerer kings gained control, but they have little love for the Taymorans, who would use them just as quickly.
Coastal villages in the Frontierlands have dealings with the Dawn Corsairs, elven traders from afar, and even some contact with the Makers. Dealings with the elves and Makers are almost always mutually beneficial, although contact with the Corsairs is more problematic. Depending on the group of Corsairs being dealt with they are just as likely to demand some form of tribute as they are to conduct real trade.
Adhuza takes little notice of the Frontierlands considering them to be little more than unruly rabble, and for that the folk of this area can be thankful. The underwater city of Suthus is nearby however, and conflicts between Adhuzans and the Dawn Corsairs sometimes spill over on an unsuspecting village.
With others there is very little contact. The occasional dwarven traveler or group of beastmen moves through these parts often enough that folks know of their existence. Antalians are far enough removed from the nearby waters that they are unknown.
Names from any of the neighboring lands may be found here. See entries on the Dawn Corsairs, Mogreth, and Taymora for specific examples.
The folk living in the Frontierlands come from varied backgrounds, and thus their languages are also varied. Many speak the language of Mogreth and Taymor.
The independence and self reliance bred in the Froontierlands lends itself well to those making a living as woodsmen or hunters of all sorts. Most villages are concerned enough about attacks from their neighbors or threats from denizens of the dark forests, that they maintain a standing militia.
The lifestyle and tedium of everyday living is not conducive to those who practice the arcane arts, however the odd wizard hermit can be found secluded away in the wilds of this land. In contrast, those who devote their lives to an immortal patron, or to nature in general, find a genuine need for their services.
Less savory individuals also make the Frontierlands their home, whether they are escaped slaves desperate for their next meal, or bands of brigands driven from more civilized areas. These people become adept at moving over the land unseen, ready to pounce on any unwary traveler unlucky enough to pass nearby.
After 2300 BC
The Frontierlands will slowly disappear as portions of the area are consumed by neighboring empires over the next several centuries. By BC 2000 most of it will either be claimed by Taymora or Mogreth, but with the downfall of the lizard’s empire after the glacial flood, most of the land will be conquered by Taymora. Some portion of the populace will return east, to reclaim lost kingdoms from the crumbled empire of Mogreth, and these folk will become the progenitors of Nithia. Others will go on to create the Kingdom of Cynidicea.
By BC 1750 little trace will be left of the cultures that once lived here. With the sinking of Taymora and the changing of the local climate, most folk in this area will turn to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Receding forests will be replaced by rolling grasslands, upon which herds of bison migrate throughout the year.