Dark Tide Over Cormyr
The Tunlands is an appellation given by many Cormytes to the area between the Storm Horns and the Sunset Mountains. Claimed as part of Cormyr due to its proximity to that nation, the region was more accurately owned by various tribes of humans and humanoids.
Dominated by the Farsea Marshes and the Tun Marshes, the Tunlands are wet and humid with very few settlements of any significant size.
The Tunlands were once part of the massive forest of Arcorar, in particular the area was known by the elves as the Gods’ Theater due the shape of the surrounding mountains. It was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of all the Crown wars – the Battle of the Gods’ Theater wherein over 70,000 elves were killed when the forces of Aryvandaar and Shantel Othreier were both attacked by a massive orc horde.
After the fall of Shanatar, the Tunlands (or at least the tunnels underneath it) were the location of the relatively short-lived dwarven realm of Oghrann.
Evidence exists of an ancient civilization/civilizations that predates elven recorded history in the area. The marsh drovers of the Farsea Marshes told tales of an encounter with an evil lich from this realm who claimed to be “Lord of the Eight Thrones” but they jealously guarded actual artefacts from the realm that they had recovered from the swamp.
Legends of this ancient realm varied with the teller but the most common and easily believed tale told of two factions who wiped each other out on the advice of a mysterious female advisor thought to be Talona. The tale was evidenced by the glass ruins and undead creatures that periodically rose up from the swamps and the insects which carried diseases that even those normally immune to disease were infected by. The truth, unfortunately, was incredibly difficult to verify as the ruins often sank back beneath the swamp and all those sent to recover their histories never returned.
As briefly mentioned, the Tunlands are currently the home of various tribes of humans, lizardfolk, bullywugs, orcs, as well as a small group of trolls and a black dragon called Skurge.
Eagle Peak on the western slopes of the Storm Horns was the only Cormyrean settlement of appreciable size nearby and it was here that the marsh drovers sold their famous catoblepas products such as death cheese and deadeye butter which found its way into the wider Realms from there.
Despite the lawlessness of the Tunlands, Cormyr never made a concerted effort to civilise the region despite the threat from the Tun bandits and Skurge, preferring to concentrate on ridding the Stonelands of monsters instead.
Inhabitants of the Tunlands
The Tun Bandits
Led loosely by (insert name), a Gnome of unknown origin. Word amongst the bandit group is that he came to the Tunlands hundreds of years ago with a small troop of very unique and talented individuals, including some monstrous races. He came to the Tunlands and made his way amongst the various bandit camps, orc tribes, bullywug camps, lizardfolk conclaves and even to Skurge in an attempt to unite the tribes to common purpose.
A charming fellow who seems to understand others and works his way into the leadership of other groups, befriending them and turning them to purpose for mutual gain. Over the years of playing unification between the different people of the Tunlands he has never expanded upon his own group, keeping his companions that he entered into the Tunlands with intact and seemingly ageless.
Skurge and the Black Blades
The Black Dragon Skurge has been known among the Tunlands and by the military of Cormyr for ages, however the Dragon has seemed content to lord over it’s hordes deep within the swamps and use it’s own personal army of selectively bred lizerdfolk to fortify himself, making the marshes exceedingly dangerous. It wasn’t until Skurge agreed to work with the bulk of the Tun Bandits a few decades ago that any were allowed through the tract of marshes that Skurge calls home. Even now, one can be sure that dozens of Black Blade Lizardfolk watch when setting foot through the Tun Marshes.
At the head of the Black Blades stands a creature that was bred over generations by Skurge. A Lizardfolk burning with acidic black dragon blood in his veins. He is known as the Black Death and leads his vile group of murdering brethren at the whim of Skurge.
A savage bunch of humans that live in the southernmost area of the Tunlands. Living a life of nomadic wandering, following herds of pret over the vast plains. Many are also sent to tradeways in the south to accost those who might be found on the road. They are said to also eat those they slay in battle, believing that the spirit of their enemies is held within the flesh and will make them stronger.
The leader, named simply Bolag the Mighty is a simple sort, easily enough swayed with the promise of murder or power. The thought of marching with a band numbering in the hundreds of thousands was always appealing, leaving his group solidly entrenched in the Tub Bandits ranks.
Palalou “People of the Marshes”
The leader of the Palalou, named Carsith, is a rather intelligent individual. Having come to power through the custom of the Palalou he inherited his place at the top by returning from his coming of age journey with a powerful artifact. As the Palalou come to age they are sent out to bring back something of value for the greater whole. Carsith brought with him tools and knowledge, having sojourned to Cormyr itself and studied for years before returning to his people.
He also wears a headband at all times that most believe gives him special insight into problems. He propelled his people over less than a decade from lawless marauders and bandits to a thriving community that has quadrupled it’s population and seen living standards increased. It is worth mentioning however, that the Palalou have always had a culture rife with slavery, seeing females as possession and any that the tribe captures in battle or on the road as laborers or tools to be exploited. While the male population of the Palalou has expanded tremendously, assimilating a number of other nearby tribes and absorbing them to their ranks, they keep slaves in numbers that are staggering, living in terrible conditions.
Grodush Krul is the name of a mighty Orc chief who holds a massive tribe of his kin, lesser goblins and even a number of bugbears. His stronghold is held up within the caves of the Sunset Mountains but his influence reigns in various small Orc encampments throughout the Tunlands. Making up the single largest unified Orc or goblinoid army shy of Obould Many Arrows, Grodush Krul is eager to continue expansion.
Grodush Krul agreed to enter into the group known as the Tun Bandits after being convinced that it would eventually lead to the conquest of Cormyr and that he would be given the city of Suzail in payment for his aid. His temperment is unpredictable and his anger fierce, however he can be reasoned with if there is advantage in it for him.
The Orc chief Malak Bul of the Stormhorn Mountains has seen better days. With the horde of powerful shadow monsters that infested the mountains a number of months ago, his people have been slowly disappearing, only to reappear as shadow infused creatures that return to attempt to lure even more of his tribe away.
This advent led him to make a move out of the Stormhorns and into the Tunlands, a move many of his people did not accompany him on. His numbers are likely less than half of what they were within the Stormhorns. He has the smallest band of warriors to contribute to the Tun Bandits, but likely the most passionate about fighting in Cormyr in an attempt to reclaim their home.
Every day brings more power to the Tun Bandits as individual monstrous creatures see the massive army gathering and come to join the bloodthirsty group. In addition are various groups of Bullywugs and smaller Lizardfolk tribes that lend themselves to the cause, many of which seek to see what is beyond the mountains, dreaming of populating the Dragonmere and raising cities along it’s coasts.