Geography

View of northern Moraf, click to get larger version The game takes place in northwestern Moraf, with the outern edges of the haunted Glitterdark forest to the east, and the foothills of the mountain range ruled by the Orc Tribes of Sarnak to the west. To the south lies a wide river, and to the north is a low range of hills. The terrain is mostly flat, with some hills to the west and north, and a few lonely peaks scattered about.

Many small streams and rivers cross the land, flowing south to join the large river. To the west a larger stream, called Gnartrot, the river of rushing teeth, by the local orcs, run in a deep cut valley down from the mountains in the northwest to join the larger river on its way east and south.

Throughout the area small stands of mixed forest can be found. Forest creatures and game such as deer, rabbit and squirrel thrive in this woodland country. In the shallow valleys various fruit trees grow, protected from the cold northern winds. To the east the trees thicken gradually, and turn older. The leaf cover becomes dense, and the forests quiet and dark. The Glitterdark forest holds many dark secrets, and is jealous in guaring them. It is said that nameless and lifeless creatures wander around in the depths of the forest.


Overview map of the area where the Mason game will take place. Extracted from the map of Moraf.
The low hills to the north are covered mostly by pine and spruce, and are the hunting grounds of wolves. Their grass covered southern slopes provide good foraging for sheep, but any shepherd raising a flock there need to watch out for the wolves.
The western hills and mountain ranges are almost barren at the upper slopes, but deep gorges and river valleys support richer vegetation and life. The mountains are rich on various metals and gems. The swiftly flowing rivers are rumored to sometimes contain lumps of pure gold.

People

Until a few years ago this land was mostly empty of inhabitants. However, recently two groups of people have been moving into the area.

Humans

In the southern cities of Moraf the economy and technology are on an upswing again, as a result of the line of politics the new and widely loved monarchy has been pursuing. A wave of settlers have set out to populate the area north of the river, granted to them by the king. They are motivated by the promise of setting up their own farms and dwellings, away from the small lots and densely populated cities of the south. Some of the settlers are also members of some religious sects, that frown upon the free use of magic that the royal family has allowed. Other newcomers have been lured there by the rich mining, lumbering, fur trapping and hunting grounds. And a large part of the settlers are adventurers, seeking new opportunities, adventure, or chances to profit from the commerce.

The settlers bring with them the newest technological knowledge of Moraf. Engineers can design and build intricate devices like clocks and mechanical calculators, but also robust, water wheel powered workshops and machines for sawing lumber, extracting metals from ore, and automating item production.

The river has always had a certain amount of traffic between the major cities of Moraf to the south, and Draykin to the northwest. Now the trade barges are more frequent, and carry supplies and new settlers to the settlements, and trade goods from the settlements south, to the cities.

The climate in this northern corner of Moraf is rather cold, especially in winter, so warm homes and large stores of food are needed to survive the winter. The first task that the new settlers have is to build some warm shelters and gather a storage of food. They can group together in villages and communities, or live independently as hermits. In any case, all skills and crafts are useful, and many different items and services are needed by various people, so trading ones products for food or shelter should be possible.

Orcs

At the same time, small groups of orcs are beginning to populate the hills and mountains to the west and south, as the dens of the larger clans of the Orc Tribes of Sarnak are growing too crowded. They come mostly from the clans of the Split Tooth Tribe.
The orcs may not be the brightest of creatures, but they pride themselves with their adaptability. They are comfortable with technology, and will gladly put inventions learned from the humans to good use.
Some orcs trade with the river barges, but most commerce with the outside world is done with traders from the clans, and occasionally with the human settlements on the plain.

The banner of the Gnarpixal (Splith Tooth) tribe

At the south edge of the map, on the top of the last foothills of the Sarnac mountains, an orc stronghold of the Split Tooth tribe is located. Due to the long years of peace and prosperity for the orcs, its population has increased so much that orcs that aren't content with the meager shares are wandering down on the rich plains to the north, to find new places to live on. Still, the stronghold provides the orc settlers with a good place to buy basic suplies and tools.

Conflicts

Because the best timber is found to the east, where the human settlements are, and most ores and gems can be found in the mountains where the orcs make their dens, some conflicts happen when each group are trying to gather resources for building homes.

The Orcs speak lowspeak, while the humans speak the Moraf variant of the Ardmorian language, so the two groups do not easily understand each other when they meet.

History

TODO: Integrate the history of the game told by Bryce in this IRC log.


Some more information can be found in the background story discussion log and a discussion with JamGrrl, the Moraf developer.

--zzorn
3D Picture generated by zzorn in Terragen, with some paint program touch up.