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Craniate Wastes

This area of central Drillian is reputed to be cursed. With no significant roads that traverse the area it has always been very lightly inhabited. In the extreme southeast corner of the Craniate Wastes the ranger Arahael Mosskin carved out the Jistille Estates. The Dragonslayers spent some time in the central portion of the Wastes during the Skull Church adventure, The Enemy of My Enemy and some of the Home Stories.

The Wastes cover an area of over 330 square miles and is considered to be bordered by the Farmers Turn road to the west and the Quellcon Estates to the north. They extend to the south past Redfern Lake and a border somewhere in the swamps to the east. The two most significant land features are the Valoris Wood along the southern edge of the Wastes and in the northwest portion a large hill with a very old church perched on top, given the name Skull Church for its appearance.

Queen Willimina Mosskin decided that the Wastes should be reclaimed and made more habitable. She gave a land grant to Branwyn in exchange for her service to the Crown during Diplomatic Entanglements. Dragon Fen Estate was created on the northern side of the Valoris Wood. Among the many adventures the group had here included Adventures in the Wastes.

Notable fauna and flora: loggerhead shrikes, hedgehogs, ocelots, peccary, burrowing owls, sage, thyme, prickly pears, living rocks, agave, yucca, juniper, cypress, acacia, scorpions, tarantulas. There are very few humans who were permanent residents of the Wastes until Dragon Fen was established. Almost all of the settlements are of Gnomes, Goblins and in the eastern and southern swampy portions Trolls, Bully Wugs, and Lizard Men.

Centers of Activity

Points of Interest

Time Line

-307 SKR William Drake declares the Kingdom of Drillian, William I
-122 SKR - Founding of Skull Church during the reign of King William III
-87 SKR - -89 SKR - Second Drillian Civil War - three significant battles are fought in the Craniate Wastes
66 SKR to 89 SKR - Rule of Queen Elina Quellcon, this is a time when the Kayugan church is in ascendance over the Suomi church. Skull Church is reduced to a small group of very devout followers.
98-102 SKR - The Grey Death sweeps through the Craniate Wastes. The Suomi priests of Kiputytto at Skull Church are despised for celebrating the results.
174 - 228 SKR Holy Mother Humlibart, the Princess of Kiputytto, the high priest at Skull Church, interred in the crypts when she died
179 SKR - Saint Tyrin, interred in the crypts beneath Skull Church after being burned in a fire and then crawling out to praise Kiputytto on the streets for a year and a day before he died.
187 SKR - Several battles are fought in the Craniate Wastes during the Third Drillian Civil War
298 SKR - The Mist begins to cross the Craniate Wastes
300 SKR - the ranger Arahael Mosskin takes advantage of confusion during the time of no Queen to take possession of the far southeastern corner of the Craniate Wastes. Being of the Kayugan faith he chooses to build on the south side of the Valoris Wood, to keep it between his lands and Skull Church.
9-4-339 SKR - The First time the Dragonslayers focus on Skull Church
2-12-343 SKR - The Second time the Dragonslayers focus on Skull Church - The Enemy of My Enemy
4-8-345 SKR Queen Willimina Mosskin grants Branwyn Dragon Fen Estate in the Craniate Wastes
1-9-345 SKR to 13-11-348 SKR - Building Dragon Fen
15-11-348 SKR - Third time the Dragonslayers focus on Skull Church - Third Time is Tradition
21-11-348 SKR - Death of Tiberius Branadarus in Skull Church

The Kingdom of Drillian has always been at war. At war with water. Flooding from direct rains is rare but with yearly floods from the Chandler Cowles River and the Baikal River. The first inhabitants of this part of the world were Humanoids, mostly Hobgoblins and goblins in the higher dryer areas and Lizard Men and Bully Wugs in the wetter swampier ones. Elves traveled through the marshes occasionally but the land was flourishing on its own with the Treants to guide growth.

Humans slowly grew as a presence and with the aid of the Treants large dikes were built to help control the flow of the flooding waters. These were not to drain the swamps but to guide it to separate the land into usable areas, the amount of water flowing into Drillian was unstoppable, but they hoped to guide it. Through these efforts the northern portion of the Kingdom became more suitable for farmland. Which encouraged more human settlements and conflict with the Hobgoblins, Lizard Men and the smaller races. Treants retreated towards the swampier heavier wooded areas.

Over a couple hundred years human settlements became organized into the Kingdom of Drillian and still the real opponent to the Kingdom remained water.

The Craniate Wastes are a small section of the Kingdom that reflects this back and forth.

When the first human settlements in the area of The Wastes grew they centered upon the largest hill in the area. It was already settled by hobgoblins who had carved caves into the hillside but the humans pushed them out. To help the area be better suited for farming a long dike was built approximately 10 miles to the southeast running roughly NE to SW to help guide the water to the south into the swamps. Another dike was built 10 miles north of the hill in a north south direction. It was thought that this would smooth the flow of water in the area. They did the job too well and exposed the land to much dryer conditions that was expected. Partially due to the deforestation that happened during the building of the dikes without the aid of Treants.

A large part of the guiding interest in the construction was the Suomi church. A darker sect of the church had the favor of King William III who granted them a charter to build a church on the central hill of the area. After many years of construction Skull Church was the religious center of the area. The Wastes had always been known as a rough hard wilderness to survive in. Now there was a large skull to stare out across the wastes to threaten those who would cross the wastes.

During the Second Drillian Civil War the Craniate Wastes was the site for three significant battles. It destroyed much of the land around the church, burning, sacking and destroying every village within a two days radius. It took decades for the area to recover and human population to return in small numbers. The Hobgoblins and goblins expanded much faster and controlled almost all of the Wastes for the next 150 years.

Humans did start moving into the Wastes again in significant numbers during the reign of Queen Elina Quellcon (66 SKR to 89 SKR) as the Quellcon Estates just to the north of the wastes were expanding. This is a time when the Kayugan church is in ascendance over the Suomi church. Skull Church was reduced to a small group of very devout followers.

When the Grey Death swept through Drillian hitting the dryer areas harder than the swampier ones for reasons unknown. The Wastes lost over ninety percent of their human population, a much higher death rate than most. The Suomi priests of Kiputytto at Skull Church are despised for celebrating the results (98-102 SKR).

Several decades later during the Third Drillian Civil War (187 SKR) The Wastes were the center of two more battles between the Eustace and Mosskin Estates. Again all human settlements are destroyed by both sides to prevent a foothold in this area between the fertile lands to the west and the fertile swamps to the east.

The Wastes fade from human use for the next 120 years as the Hobgoblins and Lizard Men tribes fight their own wars over the area in what they refer to as the third great age. Skull Church falls into disuse by the Suomi faith and becomes a solitary location for Necromancers to claim.

In 300 SKR the ranger Arahael Mosskin takes advantage of confusion during the time of no Queen to take possession of the far southeastern corner of the Craniate Wastes where he had adventured with his friends. Being of the Kayugan faith he choose to build on the south side of the Valoris Wood, to keep it between his lands and Skull Church. This means that the Jistille Estates are more swamp than farm-able which keeps the population small.

The Wastes highest point is Skull Church, built on top of the original Hobgoblin settlement in the northwest with a slope down towards the center then a slight rise towards the area of the Valoris Wood. The swamps to the east are mostly un-tracked channels of water. Now the east is guarded by the lighthouse at Foriso Town. The northern portion of the Wastes is cracked ravines with a maze of channels, rifts, valleys that form an area hard to navigate. Ruined from the many battles fought through the area and magical devastation from unscrupulous armies.

The only thing preventing the Craniate Wastes from being a true desert are the cool, moist winters. In the summer, to protect from the heat and dry winds, most plants drop their leaves or die back until cooler, wetter weather arrives. It is in these winter months that the Wastes start showing its true colors with a burst of blooming from the annual flora and increased activity from the fauna in response.

Due to the harsh conditions, the plants are often tough, leathery or waxy, thorn-covered, or odoriferous to protect themselves from predation and the general climate. Shrubs and grasses are the majority of what grows in the area, and what few trees can be found in the Wastes are small and unimpressive. What fauna can be found is a reflection of its habitat: birds who use thorns to impale its prey, mammals who've grown their own spikes, creatures that burrow to escape the sun, and felines who can only be found at night.

Craniate Wastes
The Craniate Wastes.