The Centauri Wilds is a rugged and fertile land north of Leonen. They are aptly named as it is a truly wild and untamed region. It is here that the nomadic centaur tribes make their home, though there are also some nomadic tribes of humans and wild elves that also live in these wilds, despite the name. In the more isolated regions of the Centauri Wilds, it is even possible to encounter tribes of orcs and half-orcs, believed to be the descendants of orcish raiders from the Darklands who became stranded in the wilds by departing or defeated raiding parties. There are few permanent residences in the Centauri Wilds, though some centaurs have been influenced by the culture of nearby Leonen and have settled in various places throughout. The largest of these settlements is called Centauri City: a multicultural hub of trade for the region. While it operates with a loose form of government, its reach and influence are no more than local.
Current Governor of Centauri City: Lord Governor Oakem Plainsrunner
Most centaurs, and other tribes that call the wilds home, continue to look to their tribal elders for leadership. The conflict between various tribes is not uncommon but is usually restricted to small skirmishes. The centaur people learned long ago that if they fought each other with too much enthusiasm they run the risk of falling prey to the warlike minotaurs of Minocea. The border between the Centauri Wilds and the Dominion of Minocea is ever fluctuating; the centaur tribes quickly forgetting their differences when their ancient minotaur enemies come to threaten their way of life.
Settlements of Note
more info coming soon…
The description of Helmsbridge has been adapted from the “Knightlord’s Campaign”, a top tier backer reward from the 2014 Realm of Strife Kickstarter Campaign
As one travels on the south road from Centauri city they must remain vigilant, particularly as the Forest of Silent Whispers draws into view in the distance. It is a dark and foreboding place, a twisted mass of green trees and gray mists, justly earning its superstitious reputation as haunt of foul creatures and lost souls. Though the road skirts the eastern edge of the forest, thankfully it steers clear of the perpetual mists that cling to the trees. None stop for long on this section of road, and certainly none choose to settle here, even among the centaur tribes.
The sole exception is the peculiar people of Helmsbridge. Here the road crosses the wild rushing waters of the River Helms. An ancient stone bridge spans its turbid waters, wearing a thick coat of emerald green moss that has fed off the spray of the rushing river below for time beyond remembering. Perched upon the southern bank is a sizable town comprised of squat mud huts and thatched roofs. Its buildings, like its people, huddle close together in a feeble attempt to provide comfort from the ever-present shadow cast by the nearby forest. Seeing the bridge and the river itself as a natural defense against whatever evil stirs in the Forest of Silent Whispers, it is a common resting point for those passing by the forest on their trip to more civilized lands in the South. Many a traveler pushes on past sunset, if only to reach the relative warmth and safety of Helmsbridge rather than camp beside the ghostly trees and clinging mists.
To understand why anyone would choose to live here is simple enough, for as the bridge leads into the town there is a toll gate, extracting a modest but insistent fee for every person and wagon of cargo that would traverse the bridge. Some would choose to avoid the toll and make their own way across the treacherous waters of the River Helms. But the toll keepers are wise enough to charge only a single piece of silver to balance against the risk of slipping on the wet moss encrusted rocks and plummeting to one’s death. Worse yet would be to spend the night on the north side of the river.
Modest though it’s business may be, the town of Helmsbridge grew up around the toll gate. Like any settlement in the Centauri Wilds, Helmsbridge is left to govern itself. Though not civilized by any stretch of the imagination, the toll gate funds a local force of guards that keep the peace and enforce the will of the toll keepers. Under their protection (and further tax collection) local merchants provide a variety of shops and services for travelers passing though. The prominent Inn of the Last Light provides a warm bed and hearty meal to those weary of the road. And it is here that passing adventurers find rest, like so many others before, with twilight on their heels.
Places of Interest
The Ruined Tower of Azmindar
The Ruined Tower of Azmindar is the blasted remains of an isolated tower once belonging to a powerful Renegade mage in the Centauri Wilds. It is known locally as a nexus of magical energy; however, the chaotic nature of the loose magic surrounding the site makes it extremely dangerous.
The concept for the Ruined Tower of Azmindar was created in part by Shawn Rotchford (Calgary, Alberta) as part of his ‘Foot Knight package’ backer reward from the 2014 Realm of Strife Kickstarter Campaign.
In the wake of the violent end of the Mage Rebellion in Leonen over a hundred years ago, Mages and other practitioners of the Spiritual arts throughout Norlanin fled to the relative safety of Volanthia. During the years that followed, there was an unprecedented rise in Renegade mages and other outlaws as the Mage Colleges lacked the resources to enforce the Laws of Magic. One such Renegade was an aging human named Azmindar. Exiled from Leonen after the Mage Rebellion, he choose to settle in Centauri City where he earned a small fortune as a mage for hire. With no active presence of the restrictive Mage Colleges in Centauri, it was not long before Azmindar began to realize how much power he truly possessed when not forced to study a singular School of Spirit Powers. He quickly fell to the allure of that power. Taking his wealth and magic with him, he constructed a tower in a lonely and uninhabited section of the the Running Plains.
Azmindar became a recluse, and locked within his tower he studied magic in all its facets for no other reason but an insatiable thirst for knowledge and power. So far from civilization, he cared not for the repercussions of his work. Unlike Mage towers built by the Colleges, Azmindar saw little need to place wards around his tower to contain the magic. As he threw himself into his studies with reckless abandon, his magic began to seep out of the tower. The surrounding area was transformed, its natural characteristics constantly in flux based upon whatever new powers Azmindar was experimenting with.
Though the Running Plains of the Centauri Wilds is among the most sparsely populated areas of Norlanin, what little civilization exists there is centered in Centauri City. Ever a gathering place for adventurers, sell-swords, and treasure hunters, it was not long before rumors of the Tower of Azmindar began to make their rounds in the taverns and drinking holes of the city. One brave and possibly foolish group of adventurers, whose names are all but forgotten, decided to seek out the tower and the wealth of magical artifacts that it was said to house. The loose magic surrounding the tower proved to be an effective defense against intruders and the adventurers dared not approach too close for fear of having to contend with angry elemental spirits, as well as other bizarre creatures and anomalies that seemed to flash in and out of existence around its grounds.
Though they were turned away at first, the adventurers kept a casual eye upon the tower, and so they discovered one day that the fluctuating magical energy enshrouding the tower had dissipated. After several days of the tower and surrounding area appearing “normal”, the adventurers decided to investigate, thinking that perhaps the elderly master of the tower had perished. Soaking themselves in liquid courage that night, they left their tavern with dreams of wealth and riches, convinced that the tower held innumerable magical artifacts and relics that would both make them rich and powerful beyond measure. One among them was even said to have forgone his claim to any loot, and instead would claim the tower itself for his own use.
Unfortunately, the adventurers were wrong. The Renegade Mage Azmindar was not dead, but simply resting between projects. When the intruders set foot within the tower Azmindar defended himself with his full fury. Knowing no bounds in his personal experiments with magic, he likewise held nothing back in his assault against the band of adventurers. Though none are alive who witnessed that battle, what is known is that the resulting explosion could be seen in the night sky all the way from Centauri City. When someone finally dared to go investigate they found the tower in ruins. The upper three-quarters of its walls had toppled, casting debris in a wide radius around a shattered stone stump of a tower. All that remained intact was an elevated stone floor, etched in runes of power and believed to have been Azmindar’s inner sanctum and the site of the final showdown between the Renegade mage and the intruders.
If loose magic had seeped out of the tower while Azmindar yet lived, with its walls shattered and master gone there was now nothing to contain it. The whole area was bathed on chaotic and conflicting spiritual energy. The very laws of nature, time, and magic seemed to not apply, and any who drew close to the ruins were never seen again.
Sixty years later, the Ruined Tower of Azmindar is now steeped in legend, and though still surrounded by unpredictable spiritual forces, it is said that those powers have slowly dissipated over the years. Though the dangers of the Ruined Tower of Azmindar are not what they once were, it is still not ground to be lightly trodden upon. Many have attempted to explore the ruins in search of items of power or ancient spellbooks, only to return driven half-mad by its magic. Some even say that the ruins are haunted by the spirit of Azmindar himself. Regardless of the dangers, it has become a nexus of magical energy. The ruins are rumored to be used as a ritual site for Shamans and Druids in the Centauri Wilds, and a place of pilgrimage whispered among the ranks of Runeweavers.
Burnt Ember Monument
The Burnt Ember Monument is a simple stone cairn found in the Centauri Wilds, constructed by unknown hands around a pile of burnt timber.
The concept for the Burnt Ember Monument was created in part by Mitchell Toth (Calgary, Alberta) as part of his ‘Knight Regular package’ backer reward from the 2014 Realm of Strife Kickstarter Campaign.
It marks the site of the ruins of a small Orcish settlement along the coast of the Running Plains in the Centauri Wilds. The Orcs that once lived there were thought to be a splinter group left behind from one of the countless raiding parties from the Darklands that have harassed the coastline throughout Norlanin for years beyond counting. Aside from that, not much is known about their tribe. Perhaps the only thing that makes their tribe noteworthy, is simply that someone mourned their passing at all. Ruined settlements and massacred tribes are all too common in the harsh vastness of the Centauri Wilds. Yet the presence of the mysterious stone cairn, known in these parts simply as the Burnt Ember Monument, is a testament to the fact that someone, somewhere, cared enough to mark the place where this tribe’s bloodline was extinguished.
In more recent years, the weathered stone has been defaced. Scrawled across the cairn is one word, freshly carved by a strong but untrained hand: “ABOLISH”.