What is Tel Zohar?
Within this page you will find the basic information about the region in which your PCs will be interacting, the people, environment, important places and common monsters and beasts. It will also provide you with important OOC information about particular rules or scenarios that are unique to our chapter.
We welcome your input for our world and encourage every player to create detailed characters with a rich background/history, and submit them to the Plot team. When you submit this please send an email to us so we can apply your 50 goblin point character profile bonus!
We welcome any suggestions or creative contributions you have to help flesh out our game, you are encouraged to write up histories, cultures, events, as well as offer plot suggestions or ideas for NPCs, events, or monsters from our players. These ideas can be submitted in writing to the Chapter GM’s and owners; Billy Clark & Jessica Oortman, can be contacted at email@example.com.
We’ll add more in-play information in the near future. We’re a small team of content creators, so please bear with us while we grow at our own speed. Head over to the Facebook page and ask to join.
Please keep in mind this is a living document so it will evolve as we grow as a group.
The first law of Tel Zohar, is to never interrupt the flow of business.
The Surmad Desert makes up the southern region of Tel Zohar. Here shade is a luxury, and water can be a type of currency. Its sandy landscape is dotted with scraggly low trees and raged brush mixed with proud cactus. Rises of craggy hills break up the otherwise flat monotony of the land and offer the best options for travelers looking for relief from the unforgiving sun. Somehow among this harsh and unforgiving land the people have found ways to thrive, their art and clothing bright with color and adorned with elegant stones and precious metals.
The desert summer storms are sudden with violent winds that whip up the sand into great billowing waves of darkness. These storms are accompanied by lightning followed by short torrential downpours of muddy rain. Those who do not seek refuge in the mountains or foothills hunker down for the summer staying close to protective structures. This time of year is more deadly than the blistering sun and lack of water.
Note, as of 619ER the Elemental Storms have subsided, which has apparently led to an increase in Faerie Folk population.
North of the Nephgrim’s Way is known as The Montin. The desert gives way to grasslands, foothills, and eventually mountains. The majority of edible game can be found in the north. The lush woodlands is home to many creatures and businesses alike. Logging companies, trappers, tanners, and craftsman of all types have found fortunate beginnings in these lands.
The Shajara Mountains run all the way across the northernmost border of Tel Zohar, and cut south creating a natural barrier to the east. This makes the Shemdar Road the easiest method of travel to central Tel Zohar. The mountain folk of the north are tribal in nature, their nature to stay in one place is quickly establishing larger communities. Most of the people there are settlers from other lands. Trading posts become hamlets, hamlets become full settlements, and before you know it you’re the head of a small mountain town. The largest and most predominant settlement was the Logging Camp on Furu Ridge. Until recently the camp was run by Jabal Arth. Arth’s final death in 619ER is still felt through the community.
Tel Zohar is not the first name for these lands, but it has been the name given since the last resurgence of trade through the area. Near the center of Tel Zohar are the crossroads of the two major trade routes, and the best place to restock on supplies before you venture on the long road. They call the trade settlement near the crossroads Arim’s Well, which everyone has just assume was some famous person that they’ve long since forgotten.
The Northern pass
North from Arim’s well runs the Winter Run Road that leads to the Northern pass. Along this path you will find the Furu Logging Camp which overlooks Katen Lake. You will pass the O’Conner family Silver mines. By “Pass” they mean stopping will be considered claim-jumping, and they have no hospitality towards unannounced visitors. They pay well, but you better have a contract from Furu or you’ll leave by way of the Earth Circle. Further north will lead you directly into the Inorian Empire.
To the North-East of Furu is the Fern Shadow Forest. This would be a logger’s paradise if it wasn’t already claimed by a group of elusive tree-dwelling Elves. The Loggers keep away from the Elves, and are careful to fell trees far away from the contested territory. On occasion an Elf will come to Furu to greet the leaders, and break bread. While this is rare, the Fern Shadow Elves are not only polite, but seem to understand the rules of social graces wherever they go.
The Eastern Traderoute
Shemdar Road stretches from Tel Zohar’s Eastern Border, curving north over the City of Astoria before passing through the Shajara Mountains and arriving at Arim’s Well. This is the most common path people take into these lands, as it’s the only trade route that is not governed by an adjoining nation. Being able to bring goods in without local authorities causing a ruckus is commonly desired by more “open-minded” individuals.
The Southern Route
The Kantar pass is not an easy one to take. While the first leg is very short, the area has been home to Orc raiders, and the Goblin Sand Tribes. If you’re taking this path to the border town of Shem, you had better bring some guards.
Shem is a place of strange, yet endearing, hospitality. No weapons are allowed inside the town. There has never been so much as a fight between brothers inside its limits, and even the Goblins show respect when trading here.
The Western road
Nephgrim’s Way is an incredibly dangerous route. Spanning nearly two-thirds of Tel Zohar and full of creatures you do not wish to meet, this path has claimed more lives than any town butcher you can name. This road leads all the way to the ocean ports, but you won’t make it without a large stock of provisions, or a stop at the Nimbus Oasis.
A carriage can make it to the oasis by following the dried up riverbed called Dead Trolls Drink. It wasn’t always called that, but nobody can remember the name for the waters that once lived there. Legend has it that the river itself refused to quench the thirst of the northern inhabitants who polluted her shore. One night she kissed her love, The Great River, one more time before she solemnly slithered away like a serpent. She traveled as far as she could before before coming to rest to form the Nimbus Oasis. People who pollute the oasis are cursed, as tragedy often strikes soon after they leave.
Further West, across the Great River, you will come into the welcoming arms of the denizens of the Port of Prince VonDale. Nobody seems to recall who this Prince is, but he had a city named after them and that’s good enough for most people to think highly of him. This is the only man-made port in Tel Zohar, and both imports and exports were taxed heavily by Queen Eriba until her disappearance. Since then trade has gone up steeply as port fees are still reasonable.
Arim’s well is a small freshwater spring located in the middle of the wastes. While too small to support a large settlement, it has become the main stop for caravans coming through the crossroads. The well is considered neutral area, and has been the negotiating table for disputes since it was discovered. Even Queen Eriba refused to claim the well as a part of her nation, as she recognized the importance of having a common ground with everyone coming through Tel Zohar.
Neighboring the well is the Crosswinds Bazaar. This area often acts as the trading post of the crossroads, this area is owned and run by the Four Wind Mercantile family. While any merchant is allowed to set up a stall here, there is always a member of the family nearby ready to buy, sell, or trade.
The City of Astoria
Astoria has been traditionally the largest settlement of people in Tel Zohar, and often referred to as the Jewel of Surmad. Once the home of Queen Eriba’s Elven tribe, The Elves that lived there created a vast series of irrigation channels that not only supplied the inner city with gorgeous gardens, but also helped farmlands close to the high walls that kept the city safe from invasion. Every summer Queen Eriba would take in as many people as they could find nearby and close them in the gates to keep them safe from the seasonal Elemental Monsoons.
The largest body of water in the south, the legends says that the water of the Oasis glow with a mystical light, however, no one has ever seen evidence to support this. The most popular theory is that the first people to find the oasis and live to tell about it was so near death from thirst and exposure they hallucinated the glow. This theory is also used to dismiss other strange tales of the oasis and its surrounding territory. The Oasis is often disputed territory many insist that it should be considered neutral and open to any but only a fool would not seek to try and control the largest source of water in the area as well as the only land that has the potential for farming.
The people of the Montin believe the oasis is where the wife of the great river chose to hide from those who abused her shores. Recent trips to the oasis have brought back statements of magical creatures hidden beneath the surface.
The lake is situated in a large cradle of the mountains just below Furu Ridge. Its particular shape, the lay of the trees and the lands creates a whispering sound when the wind: which seems to always be present, blows through the area and over the water. An excellent source of fish and watering hole of choice for the other mountain wildlife it was an ideal place to set up the logging camp. There are a number of legends about the lake, most of which revolve around a woman searching for someone or something, the whispering sound that the wind makes is said to be her voice. Weak willed individuals are believed to be lured by the voice to the water and either drowned or die of exposure especially in the winter.
Originally a logging camp Furu has grown until it might qualify as a town if a large number of
the inhabitants were not seasonal workers. The influence of the northern tribe from which Arth was born is evident in the building construction and décor. The town holds a few dozen A-frame simple cabins and a large central lodge which has become a bustling tavern and inn over the years. Many of the seasonal loggers and hunters still live in campsites outside the town others have built cabins which they reside in when at Furu to work or hunt.
People of Interest
Queen Eriba Abyad
Queen Eriba Abyad was the daughter of the most powerful warlord of the Surmad. His sudden and suspicious demise was followed by a long lasting peace in area. Eriba had since united many of the people in the Surmad region under a flag of peace. The Astorian Empire lasted until late 618, when Queen Eriba disappeared, and is presumed dead. The great Orc Gutworm’s armies laid siege on the walls, and after several months starved the inhabitants who refused to join the invaders as battle thralls. The Astorian Empire is now only a memory.
Arth is a man of means in the north, big and strong, skilled warrior, hunter, trapper and
now runs the largest Logging camp turned town of Furu Ridge. He is well aware of the
desires of Queen Eriba and knows that when she finishes uniting the Surmad people she
will turn her greedy eyes north to his mountain home. Arth wants most of all to be left in
peace to run his business with his children and watch his grandchildren grow.
Like most of the mountain folk he is fiercely independent but he also knows that their
only hope may lie in banding under one leader and the perks of being King are pretty nice
too. Arth’s followers are usual those who he has earned the respect of through business or his skills as a hunter and possibly because he has killed a bear by himself, he has the skin to prove it. .
Arth’s final breath was drawn in 619 due to a mysterious incident near Arim’s Well. His loss is felt throughout the Montin people, who hope to live up to the standard of goodwill and justice that Arth instilled upon them.
Karich Asud al Zohar
Head of the Crosswinds Mercantile family sits Karich Asud. While he appears middle-aged, his closest friends and family will tell you that he was considered elderly since they were children. While he spent a great deal of time over the past few decades locked in a bitter trade-war with Queen Eriba, his family can still be found trading in every corner of Tel Zohar.
The Crosswinds Mercantile is all about making money, they are against anyone or anything that will demand taxes, tariffs, or put regulations on their trade. Queen Eriba’s disappearance has greatly increased the hold the Mercantile has on the realm, as she was the most prominent person to tax the mercantile family,
While over-taxation or price-gouging have been a problem in the past, the family may threaten to pull all of their trade for a region if they aren’t given special dispensation. Entire towns have all but disappeared without the heavily traded posts from the Crosswinds. A good leader would seek to make them comfortable.
Arim’s story is a long one with many tendrils and rumors. Court mage, mischievous enchanter, problem, solution; Whatever you call him you at least remember who he was. Sometimes. Many times people meet him several times and always seem to forget the details of the previous encounter. Arim died stopping the cataclysm that eventually formed Tel Zohar, ending the era of the Tel Yarin. Aided by Gutworm, and Orc and only survivor of this horrid event.