The Split Lands
Until the Shattering, the history of The Split Lands was, if not uneventful, at least consistent. In the fertile and verdant lands of the South, the human and eladrin city of Grenchise arose from forgotten ashes and soon spread its influence across all lands south of the Broken Tooth mountains. The royal line of Grenchise stretched back unbroken out of memory and record, and apart from the quickly-settled squabbles of minor lordlings the kingdom lived in peace and prosperity, with just laws enforced by the King’s Army. North of the Teeth the land is harsher and more barren, and the countryside lived under the iron fist of Bael Turoth, ruled by a succession of strong-arm tiefling warlocks separated by bloody coups and purges. Peasants were driven to harsh labor as little more than disposable slaves to feed the nobility and fund the military that oppressed them.
Occasional forays by Turothian forces into the territories of Grenchise were quickly and efficiently rebuffed, but the growing discontent of the rulers of Bael Turoth spurred them into riskier gambits, until the final Turothian High Lord fell under the influence of the high priest of Asmodeus, who promised him unlimited power in exchange for domination over the lives of his subjects. An army of devils was quickly summoned, strengthened on the bodies and spirits of hapless Turothian peasants, and mustered for total war. In response to this threat, the king of Grenchise assembled his army, augmented by every able-bodied man who could be conscripted, poured the entire treasury into the equipment for his army, and led his force of forty thousand into the Teeth to meet the devil army head-on before they could lay waste to his people’s lands. Little is known of the battle after it was joined, for few messengers emerged, but after five days of silence the earth suddenly shook violently, the sky turned violet and then deep red, and a deafening roar rolled across the land and was heard to the farthest reaches of the kingdom. The diabolic force was stopped, but at terrible cost; of those forty thousand men, none ever returned to Grenchise.
the Shattering left little unchanged. Although the countryside of Grenchise was largely untouched by the war, the loss of the King’s Army and so many men was devastating to both society and economy. The city of Grenchise itself and much of the royal family remained for a short time, but in the absence of defenders the city was quickly sacked by roving bands of orcs and gnolls, and the inhabitants, common and royal alike, were dispersed among the general populace to survive as best they could. Small duchies have sprung up, centered around those few families with the economic means to defend themselves and their people, but no political figure, of royal blood or otherwise, has yet emerged to fill the power vacuum left by the fall of Grenchise. Meanwhile, the land of Bael Turoth is still a forbidding and mysterious place, shunned by most. Few attempt to enter this accursed land, and even fewer of these return; those who do tell wild tales of lawless and utterly devastated lands. Bards being what they are, wild rumors fly of great wealth and power for those who dare to test the unknowns of Bael Turoth, but also of the great dangers lurking in dark and abandoned places. Although the occasional secretive tiefling vagabond emerges, they are invariably tight-lipped and the fate of the Turothian elite is still unknown. The site of the climactic battle itself has proven itself inaccessible to all who have investigated, due to the actions of the local earth and storm giants who have thus far prevented anyone from entering their territory.
Only the merchant city-state of Arrowcove has remained largely untouched. Steadfastly neutral, the Council of Merchants maintained steady trade with both Bael Turoth and Grenchise via its network of trade ships and land caravans, while fending off potential competitors with the efficient use of privateers and occasional brazen piracy. Now less affluent due to the loss of its two best customers, Arrowcove has maintained a level of business by emphasizing its land-based trade and concentrating on local markets. For now they appear to be content with their role and have shown no interest in the responsibility that comes with the seizure of political power. Arrowcove merchants are now the only ones with regular contact with the remains of the Turothian power structure, and they have contact only with an identical set of masked representatives calling themselves the Nameless. Although unsettling to deal with, the Nameless pay well in gold for their goods, which goes far in settling the qualms of the ships’ captains. An upstart in the southlands is the mining and manufacturing center at Phylos, settled in the foothills of the Broken Teeth inside the partially-rebuilt walls of Grenchise’s northernmost fortress, the Keep of Phylos. Straddling the main east-west highway and situated at the northernmost point of Grenchise, Phylos is in an ideal location to service land-based traders, and in an easily-defended location as well. Though his city is still provincial, the mayor of Phylos has grandiose plans for its expansion.
An interesting coincidence, if coincidence it is, is the sudden emergence of the psionic classes in the years following the Shattering. No one yet knows if the two are linked, but the timing is suspicious