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Lost in an ancient myth and legend, the truth behind what happened those eons ago that brought the Tantalean Wastes to what they are today could only be surmised. At present it is a barren and hostile place; hot winds rack the land leaching the moisture like a ghoul divesting a bone of its marrow. Nothing living makes a home in this scorched desert. Not even the hardiest shrub graces the endless stretches of sand. However, the races of Alioth flock to Arkonis hoping to make a name for themselves or to find the riches that Demon Ore bestows upon those brave enough to seek it.

Since the Age of Pestilence almost every race of Alioth has shed some of its peoples blood upon the dead soil of the Wastes. During the tyranny of that age, the Vampyre kings ruled the enslaved peoples and forced them to labour there under their merciless whip of bondage. Men, Elves and Dwarves all toiled in the pits and tunnels, digging for their masters that most precious of metals. Those too weak to dig were staked out in the desert to let the cruel sun steal away what dwindling life force remained in them. Such were the amusements of the Vampyres when dealing with those their scourge had broken. In many years of servitude, they dredged many tons of stone and earth from the desert. Endless tunnels now reach increasingly under the Wastes like the twisting roots of some ancient tree. Great pits blemish the surface half filled from the ever-blowing tides of wind. These pits and tunnels are the only testament to that age of torment, are all that remain yet oddly are still a source of bloodshed and strife.

While many seasons passed the races enjoyed their hard won freedom and struggled to rebuild their lands. But greed once again drew their attention to the Wastes. In all of Alioth, there is no city like Arkonis. Resting amongst the ruin and decay of the Tantalean Wastes its shanties and towers defy the broken and lifeless desert that surrounds it. The only redeeming quality of this barren wilderness being the large deposits of Demon Ore that have been unearthed there. The Tantalean Wastes draw a growing tide of adventurers and other disreputable fortune seekers daily. Many find only tragedy. Yet those that are strong enough to survive in this deadly environment reap vast rewards for delivering that most precious metal from the ground to the greedy hands of their lords and employers.


The Vanir

Outsiders know little concerning the Vanir and their customs. The protective shroud of darkness that blankets their home stifles the prying eyes of all invaders. Few sages have sought knowledge of the Shadow Lands because of the dangers inherent in traveling there. Within this isolation the children of Kor live and prosper, protected from the warring races behind an eternal shield of night. A secretive and vigilant people, the Vanir, for the most part have maintained a neutral bearing in dealings with outsiders and focused their attentions on the final battle as described in their “Holy Book of Secrets”. Those who know of the god Kor are not fooled and painstakingly watch his children now more than before.

The Dwarves of the Flaming Forge

There are many Dwarven organizations seeking fame and fortune throughout the treacherous expanse of the Tantalean Wastelands. Both Fornburg and the Southern Kingdom (the two main dwarf nations) regularly issue writs of marque to hopeful companies intent on making their fortunes and finding glory in the tunnels and grottos of Arkonis. Both governments welcome the influx of wealth, information, and the possible discovery of lost artifacts, that these expeditions generate. There are also less tangible, but equally valuable benefits to sponsoring prospecting companies. Dwarves who sign up for these expeditions will hone their military and diplomatic abilities to a fine edge or die trying. Experience is constantly being added, so that when these veterans are again called to active service their skills remain sharp.

The rough, frontier atmosphere of Arkonis appeals strongly to certain types of Dwarves. These diverse individuals all find the lack of formal discipline and central authority very attractive. The readily available supply of intoxicants, gambling dens, and other pleasures and the frequent opportunities for committing acts of great mayhem, are nearly as strong a lure as the possibility for quick and enormous wealth. Such individuals have their uses, but these rarely coincide with the needs of polite society. The frontier uses them up voraciously, even as they seek to profit from it. There have been many hopeful expeditions from Fornburg and the Southern Kingdom some of which have been successful. Here is your opportunity to lead a group of dwarves in search of wealth, fame and magic. Will you dare the Mines?




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