Rise of the Blades
The Demon Wastes
At the northwestern edge of Khorvaire, the blasted lands form a twisted window into the past. For here, where monsters roam and barbarian tribes eke out an existence amid the horrors, is the loudest echo of the Age of Demons, a land that hasn’t fully recovered even after thousands of years.
The majority of creatures native to the Demon Wastes are monsters, lesser demons and fiends who have slipped free from Khyber or monstrous humanoids who would d slaughter strangers rather than speak to them. Human and orc barbarian clans—called Carrion Tribes by outsiders – roam the badlands. Most tribes are as violent and twisted as the monsters that dwell here, and they devote themselves to demonic powers, but a rare few stand fast against the crushing evil, seeking to defeat it or at least to prevent it from spreading to the lands beyond. Foremost among these are the Ghaash’kala, a confederation of four clans of orcs that devote themselves to containing the malign influence of The Demon Wastes. Over the years, the clans have accepted half-orcs, humans, and sahkah, a rare mutation of human that shows demonic traits, as members.
Despite the dangers, adventurers and expeditions travel here, seeking to exploit the rich resources, both mineral and magical, that the Demon Wastes have to offer. Many such foolish explorers never return, but those who do become rich. House Tharashk is the only civilized entity to have a permanent enclave here—that anyone knows of, anyway.
The Demon Wastes consists of jagged mountains and foothills, cracked and blasted badlands, and shattered deserts. Volcanoes belch toxic smoke into the air, and parts of the land are poisonous.
Ashtakala: A great brass and basalt metropolis surrounded by a permanent, flesh ripping sandstorm, Ashtakala is said to be a city of demons and rakshasas left over from a prior age. It is a bastion of evil and violence, one of the worst places the world has to offer.
Blood Crescent: This small community is an outpost of House Tharask, which uses this location to launch expeditions to search for dragonshards and other wealth. Citizens hole up here against the occasional raids by Carrion Tribes and other, far more fearsome foes.
Festering Holt: One of the few surviving native communities in the Demon Wastes, Festering Holt is a common way station for adventurers seeking Ashtakala or other infamous (and supposedly wealthy) places of adventure. The people here are slightly more civilized that the Carrion Tribes, but travelers who stop here often vanish.
The Labyrinth: The Labyrinth is a two-hundred-mile maze of broken chasms, rocky outcroppings, sheer walls, and hazards such as geysers and rockslides. Bands of demons and savage humanoids hunt its passageways, barely held at bay by the Ghaash’Kala who dwell in and around the labyrinth.
The Lake of Fire: A great lake of lava in the bowl of a mighty volcano, the Lake of Fire is said to be home to an imprisioned fiend that attracts all manner of demons and savage cultists.
People of the Demon Wastes
Tribes of humans, orcs, half-orcs, tieflings, kobolds, and gnolls wander the Demon Wastes, consuming anything they encounter – including one another. Demons stalk the badlands as well, and even the most fearsome of tribes know to give these horrors wide berth.
Most of the Carrion Tribes worship a tribal spirit; many of these are fiendish powers from the Age of Demons. Even tribes that do not engage in evil activities still practice spirit worship and remain ignorant of the religions of Khorvaire. The Ghaash’kala worship a variant of the Silver Flame known as the Kalok Shash. The four clans of the Ghaash’kala are the Jaasakah, the Kastar, the Maruk, and the Vaanka.
Also of note are the Saarvalur, or the Dust Elves. Using a unique form of artifice, these nomads have constructed vehicles similar to elemental land carts to traverse the wastes, as well as arcane weapons known as demon fangs.