Dark Cleft Canyon

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Formal Name: United Cities of the Dark Cleft
Ruler:  None
Government:  Tribal
Capital: Grathang
Major Settlements: Emalgug, Morgulaz & Barathang
Resources: Boars, Copper & Slaves
Population: 165,000 ~ (50% Urban) 60% Orc, 20% Half-Orc,  
  10% Human, 10% Other (slaves)
Languages: Orcish & Common
Common Alignment: Evil
Major Religions: Gruumsh (Evil), Erythnul (CE) & Nerull (NE)
Allies:  None

The Dark Cleft is a deep canyon with steep sides and cliffs, from only a mile away on the surface it is impossible to tell it is there. The sun only shines fully on the bottom of the canyon for about 1 hour a day in the summer and it is here and in the sides of the canyon that the Orcs have built their holds. It was here that the Orc kingdom was ruled from and the riches of trade and war flowed, imposing palaces are built into the walls of the bottom of the canyon, most of which are now home to the extended families of the tribes which once ruled the region. The sides of the canyon are a mass of stairs and ladders with only a few major bridges spanning between them, the groups controlling these bridges demand tolls from all but the most powerful.

The Dark Cleft is in fact four cities separated by only a few miles inside the canyon, each city is ruled by one of the major tribes, with several smaller tribes having holds within the cities. The main tribes are the Obsidian Skulls (Grathang), Severed Hands (Ernalgug), Blood Fangs (Morgalaz) and the Drinkers of Blood (Barathang). These tribes maintain a fragile peace between themselves and between the smaller tribes, which is broken regularly on a small scale but have not for years moved to all-out war.

Few free humans every see the inside of the Dark Cleft and of those that only mercenary leaders ever seem to come out again, this is mostly because the tribes in the city are rabidly anti-human blaming most of their woes on them.


Grathang (Large City): Alignment: NE, Population 18,000 (75% Orcs, 10% Half-Orcs, 15% others (slaves). Authority Figure:- King Oragha (male Orc)

Grathang was the largest of the cities in the cleft but has lately been eclipsed by Margalaz and sits near the centre of the northern wall of the canyon. It was by far the wealthiest of the cities and still has some very impressive palaces and fortresses, from here the Orcs ruled the Kingdom of Gar’anash. The present King of Grathang Oragha dreams of uniting the old kingdom and sweeping across the continent looking and pillaging but has trouble keeping the smaller tribes of Grathang in line. He is a fearsome fighter but has almost no ability with diplomacy and trusts no one even in his own family. The tribe of Obsidian Skulls was always considered the noblest of the tribes when the kingdom existed but the last king and his descendants are now remembered for their in ability to adapt and useless attempts to regain the power which went with the crown. The Obsidian Skulls are renowned for their bravery still but it means less and less as their support continues to crumble.


Ernalgug (Small city): Alignment: CE, Population 11,000 (70% Orcs, 15% Half-orcs, 15% others (slaves). Authority Figure: - Chieftain Unglak (male Orc)

Ernlgug is situated at the eastern end of the Cleft nearest the plains between Tulka and Sanziberg the area where most of the herds for the Dark Cleft are farmed, the city grew strong on the back of these herds of humans and others and still controls a large number of them. The city itself is less well built than the other cities and houses massive pens for the slaves and other herds, so is always busy with the people of the other cities coming to Ernalgug to shop. The Severed Hands are a tribe losing power as it was them that founded Tulka and had the largest fleet there, the new push for the independence of Tulka will cripple the Severed Hands if it is successful. This has made King Unglak desperate and he is always pushing for the cities to send a joint force to destroy the rebels.


Morgalaz (Large City): Alignment: CE, Population 25,000 (80% Orcs, 10% Half-orcs. 10% others (slaves). Authority Figure: - Prince Balig (male Orc)

The Blood Fangs were once the tribe who ruled most of the southern kingdom but when Sanziberg revolted after the higher wars turned against the Orc Kingdom their power was broken. In the centuries since that moment they have gradually regained their power by making alliances with the smaller tribes and making the other major tribes fight each other. In the last 30 years the other tribes have finally caught on but it is too late, Magalaz is the largest city in the Cleft and the alliances that have been formed have held together. King Balig is the latest of a family of Orcs to secure the tribes power and expand where possible. There are rumours that he has an agreement with Herzag Bloodyhammer but neither of them is admitting anything. Morgalaz is a set into the southern side of the Cleft and almost rivals Grathang for imposing buildings and fotresses. The city has a large potion with is newly built to a lower standard than those of the past but they are functional and house the less important tribes.


Barathang (Small City): Alignment: N, Population 9500 (60% Orcs, 35% Half-0rcs, 5% others (slaves). Authority Figure: - Chieftain Granzak (male half-Orc)

Barathang is situated at the western end of the Dark Cleft, surrounding the old fortress of Rathang. The fortress was built soon after the Orcs arrival in Warlderia with the help of the Dwarves and Elves, a defence against the human savages that inhabited the area around Dark Cleft. In the years after a small town and then city has grown around the walls but everything for miles is dominated by the fortress with its massive walls and arched towers. In the last twenty years since Granzak took the leadership of the Drinkers of Blood things have become even less Orcish with more Half-orcs joining the tribe and herds of Giant Boars being bred on the plains to the west of the city. The tribe knows that it will be years before they can compete with the other tribes of the city but they are building up their power slowly. When a Half-orc became chieftain of the tribe several of the smaller tribes left to join other major tribes but Granzak’s success has meant that some of those tribe are coming back to his standard. The tribe was once renowned for its berserk fighters and still has a hard core of these but the new way of fighting is from the back of the giant boars that the tribe breads. Innovation and flexibility of thought are what the new chieftain has brought to the tribe and it is gaining in power under his leadership.