Southern Claw Cities
The Southern Claw Alliance is a confederacy of city-states populated by humans and their allies. The military leaders of the Southern Claw are dedicated to protecting Alliance citizens and battling the ever-hostile vampires of the Ebon Cities. There are over two dozen cities that count themselves a part of the Southern Claw Alliance. Some of the more prominent include:
Fane: A southern city-state taxed with arms and armament production. Fane is the site of the recent massacre at Crucifix Point.
Glaive: A ruthless city-state of thieves and mercenaries. Glaive is a major recruiting point for new Southern Claw soldiers, as well as good place to find mercenaries for special missions.
Kalakkaii: A large trade city in isolation to the east. A bed of crime and illegal trade, Kalakkaii is reputed to be a haven for Ebon Cities spies.
Meldoar: A Gol-controlled city. Meldoar is a diseased place that also happens to house the largest stockpile of magical weaponry in the world.
Seraph: The capital of the Southern Claw. Seraph is a well-structured and protected city-state that houses the White Mother’s palace, The Scarab.
Thornn: The largest and most remote of the Southern Claw cities. The central command center of the Southern Claw Armies.
The Ebon Cities are an enclave of well-organized vampire city-states. The vampires are intent on wiping out humankind and its allies, and thus stage a constant military campaign against the Southern Claw from these necropolis strongholds. There are an unknown number of city-states in the Ebon Cities, but the Southern Claw knows of the following:
Ash: The capital of the Ebon Cities; a refined necropolis reserved for the vampire aristocracy.
Krul: A prison city where captured humans are slowly tortured and turned, or else forced to compete in gladiator games.
Rath: The seat of power of the Grim Father, Rath is the most densely populated vampire city-state known to exist.
Sethia: A haven of crime, poverty, and a large undead black market. This is the slums of the Ebon Cities. Some Southern Claw spies have managed to infiltrate Sethia’s small human population.
Skane: The Ebon Cities most fearsome military presence, Skane is essentially a fortress the size of an entire city.
Tanith: A monastery city controlled by an ancient and noble house, Tanith is where vampires of the Ebon Cities are trained in the arts of magic and war.
There are settlements that bear no affiliation with either the Southern Claw or the Ebon Cities. These include:
Black Scar: A dreaded prison complex run by the enigmatic mercenaries known as The Revengers. Formerly Meledrakkar, the subterranean city-state of the dark race of giants called the Cruj.
Dirge: A small city-state, formerly of the Southern Claw, that has effectively surrendered to the Ebon Cities in return for semi-independence.
Koth: A renegade necropolis populated by vampire defectors, lich, zombies, and other undead unaccepted by the Ebon Cities.
Rhaine: An independent and remote outpost city-state located north of the Bone March.
Blackmarsh: Blackmarsh is a fetid bog, a large expanse of swampy marshlands dotted with clusters of gangly trees that is filled with the shells of buildings and scraps of the world before The Black. Blackmarsh was once a favorite staging ground for Ebon Cities strike teams, but even they have difficulty navigating its foul waters.
Bleeding Straits: A dangerously narrow channel that leads into the Ebonsand Sea far to the south, the Straits are supposedly controlled by a cadre of half-mad vampires who defected from the Ebon Cities.
Bone March: The March is an inhospitable cold desert whose black soil is only occasionally dotted by stagnant pools of water, pale trees, and small clusters of dark rock. Mutated predators wander the blighted expanse of this gray wasteland.
Carrion Rift: An enormous canyon that stretches along the northern part of the known world, the Carrion Rift is the single largest physical evidence of the destruction wrought by The Black. Shadowy horrors reside deep in the Rift’s unknown depths, and little is known of what lies north of the massive scar in the land.
Ebonsand Sea: A dark sea far to the south, the Ebonsand’s shore is lined with ancient ruins and its waters teem with dangerous predators and aquatic undead. While the Southern Claw essentially controls Rimefang Loch, the Ebon Cities bear the stronger presence in the Ebonsand.
Ghostborne Island: A long and lonely island in the Loch, Wraithborne is the location of a large Southern Claw monument that honors all who died during The Black. The Island derives its name from the ghosts who populate and protect the island, the only variety of sentient undead that is friendly to the Southern Claw.
Razortooth Hills: A range of viciously barbed hills that serve as the traditionally observed boundary between the Southern Claw territories and those of the Ebon Cities. The Razortooth are replete with outlaws and wild creatures who battle both for and against both sides in the ongoing war.
The Reach: A vast winter wasteland east of Thornn, the Reach bears numerous hostile creatures, the most noted of which are the Gorgoloth: ebon-skinned, white-maned savages who thrive on the destruction of other life forms. The shells of cities from before The Black litter the Reach like bones, and lost ghosts are said to haunt the winter wastes.
Rimefang Loch: A massive freshwater sea southwest of Thornn. With a few notable exceptions, most of the Ebon Cities lie north and west of the Loch, which is why the Southern Claw erected a series of coastal watchtowers called The Thirteen that stand vigil against the vampires. The Ebon Cities countered The Thirteen with the dreaded Bonespires, fortified undead garrisons placed all along the frontier.
Skull Plains: A pale desert filled with broken stones and crooked canyons. The plains are heated by shallow reserves of magma that flow under the surface, rendering the plains unstable and dangerous to navigate.
Wolfland: A rugged cluster of hills and winter lowlands near the southeastern tip of the Reach. Per its namesake, Woflland is densely populated by massive Bloodwolves, the favored mounts of the Ebon Cities cavalry. The vampires send teams to capture Bloodwolf pups and return them to the Ebon Cities.
Wormwood: The Wormwood is a large and blighted forest. It is a dead and corrupted place filled with necrotic soil that is saturated with foul magical energies. Black blood flows through the Wormwood like water, giving rise to mutated creatures who roam the forest. Ancient ruins of worlds merged to Earth during The Black are rumored to lie within the dark forest.
When Earth was melded with other worlds during the cataclysm that came to be known as The Black, the populations of those worlds mixed. Suddenly, humans weren’t alone anymore, and we’ve had to learn to deal with (or fight against) our new inhuman neighbors. Here are some of the more prominent non-human races with whom we share our shattered world:
Cruj: A race of dark-skinned subterranean giants, the Cruj are as known for the incredible arcane machines they build as they are for their cruelty and hatred of all other races. Once much more powerful than they are now, the Cruj still supply the Ebon Cities with their deadly magical armaments.
Doj: A surface race of humanoids, Doj are about twice as large as humans. Years of oppression by the Cruj has left the race of Doj dwindling in population, but most of these giants are welcome allies of the Southern Claw and reside in or near the human cities.
Eidolos: This race of skeletally thin humanoids are psychics who dwell in the shadows. Not many Eidolos are thought to exist. These malevolent and evil creatures take hostages of all races for use as slaves in their mines, where they search for dark relics buried deep beneath the Earth.
Gol: The Gol are a diminutive race of diseased humanoids roughly half the size of humans. Masters of arcane engineering, the Gol are tenuous allies of the humans, and the Gol-populated city of Meldoar is the source of much of the Claw’s magical weapons reserve.
Gorgoloth: Dark-skinned humanoids with ivory manes of leonine hair and vicious claws and teeth, the barbaric Gorgoloth run rampant in the Reach, where they launch vicious raids and daring assaults on any creature they happen across. Only their lack of unity has prevented these destructive creatures from overrunning the Southern Claw.
Lith: Lith are pale-skinned nomads who lack mouths but possess powerful magical and psychic abilities. The Lith roam the wastelands, protecting travelers and exploring new locations. Distant but reliable allies of the Southern Claw, the Lith hold a particular hatred for the vampires of the Ebon Cities.
Sorn: Gray-skinned, one-eyed giants, the Sorn are a race bred for war. Armed with keen military minds and possessed of superior weapons technology, the Sorn roam the wastelands seeking sacrifices for their masters, malevolent and intelligent war machines called the Black Eggs.
Vampire: The most prominent and elite of the undead, the sadistic masters of the Ebon Cities are militaristic, cruel, and bloodthirsty. Vampires are tightly organized and viciously segregated within their own ranks, and they pride themselves on their ancient schools of elite warfare and dark magic. Since their appearance on Earth in the wake of The Black, the vampires of the Ebon Cities sole drive has been the utter subjugation or destruction of the human race. Whether they wage this brutal campaign out of malice or whether it is driven by some deeper motive remains to be seen.
Vuul: Pale-skinned humanoids with superhuman metabolism and temperaments that wildly jump from calm and stoic to suicidal and psychotic, the tight-lipped, broad-shouldered Vuul are a scarce people who eke out livings as soldiers, mercenaries, criminals and gladiators.