High Hinterlands

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The High Hinterlands are an expanse of tall and extremely rugged mountain ranges and plateaus in western Ruvera, which separate the Ensorian peninsula from the rest of the continent. Considered a wild and uncivilized realm by most, the land is sparsely inhabited and can be traversed only by winding footpaths and a few treacherous mountain passes.

Geography & Climate

Rather than consisting of a single mass of mountains, the High Hinterlands are formed from several distinct ranges separated by sharp valleys and elevated plateaus. Nevertheless the entire area is raised well above the lands to either side of it, especially the broad Ravenni Plain that lies to its east. The Hinterlands fall steeply into the Great Stormy Sea on their western edge, while transitioning more gently into the Highmoor of Ensor in their south-central regions. Throughout, soaring snow-covered peaks rise from the tangle of mountain chains, their stark aspects dominating the valleys and passes that wind beneath them. While the upper reaches of the mountains remain blanketed in snow year-round and winters are harsh everywhere, the late spring brings a vivid explosion of fresh growth and wildflowers, and the brief summers are seasons of lush serenity -- broken only by the fierce storms that sweep in unexpectedly off the heights. To those not accustomed to the Hinterlands' difficult terrain and unpredictable weather, they are a treacherous and often deadly realm.


As might be expected, the High Hinterlands support only a small and scattered population, yet the people who reside here have done so for time out of mind. It is said that this is the ancestral homeland of the Ilexi, and it is these people who almost exclusively make up the region's inhabitants even now. Much of their social structure is tribal, with various tribes and clans having laid claim to the same areas for centuries. However there are also a number of city-states scattered throughout the valleys, whose tightly-knit communities are engaged in ever-shifting alliances and rivalries with the other city-states around them.

The Hinterlands are generally a place of transhumant pastoralism where herders lead their flocks between lower and higher elevations with the seasons, following the best forage and weather. Agriculture is more limited, though the western regions overlooking the Great Stormy Sea are heavily terraced to grow crops in the slightly more temperate climate there. Odest, the only city of significant size in the Hinterlands, is supported by this style of agriculture.

Besides humans of Ilexi heritage, the Hinterlands are also inhabited by several tribes of Angrosh who tend to build their own villages at slightly higher elevations than their human neighbors. These are the most settled of the Angrosh tribes, and like the Ilexi their greatest rivalries are reserved for those of their own race. Legend additionally tells that the mountains were once one of the great strongholds of the Dwarves, while other stories tell of dryads who still dwell secretively among the ancient forests cloaking the lower slopes. As few people from civilized realms ever visit the Hinterlands, the truth of such tales is anyone's guess.