The Split Lands
The city of Torvesen is the oldest in Bael Turoth and has a long and illustrious history. Long before the rise of the tiefling Turothian empire, the Stoneheart dwarf clan settled here. Although responsible for carving out many of its labyrinthine streets, buildings and halls, legend has it that much of the city was already complete when the Stonehearts arrived, and none could say by whom.
As generation after generation expanded and improved the city, it became a teeming and cosmopolitan metropolis, the greatest city of the North. The Stoneheart leadership grew soft and decadent, but when the Turothian empire arose and marched in force upon Torvesen, the city’s natural defensability kept even those powerful warlocks at bay. But what Turoth could not take by force it took by stealth and treachery, sneaking a small elite force into the city through its many unmapped passages while bribing guards into silence. The gates opened, the city fell, and the populace was put to the sword. Only a few of the Stoneheart nobles escaped, making their way in secret through the very passages the caused their downfall; these eventually made their way south to the foothills of the Teeth, where they were assimilated into the independent dwarven enclave of Hammerfall.
The remaining inhabitants of Torvesen never forgot their former might, but neither did the Turothian elite, who kept the citizens under a heavy yoke of tax and tribute. Mysteriously, only a small garrison was kept in the city to keep the peace, yet any insurrection was quickly detected and brutally put down. It was only in the aftermath of the Shattering that the truth was revealed: Torvesen was in fact ruled by the dead. Formerly operating in secret with the tacit support of Bael Turoth, with the decapitation of the empire the undead masters of Torvesen revealed themselves and took official control of their city and the lands surrounding it. In the thirty years since, they have only strengthened and consolidated their position, extending their control outward to many of the nearby towns, villages, and farms. The breathing population now lives in fear of zombie patrols, rampaging ghoul pogroms, and the cruel whims of vampire lords who hold their lives in crushing grips. The city is ruled by the Bleak Cadre, a group of powerful undead overlords who are never seen but whose eyes and ears are everywhere.
Despite the danger, there are some who resist, meeting in nondescript farmhouses and making their way in secret through the depths of the city in passages even the city lords don’t seem to know. This nameless force is sworn to the overthrow and destruction of the Bleak Cadre, the liberation of the living, and the return of Torvesen to its rightful glory.