The Ashen Range
This north-to-south running mountain range is so named for the clouds of ash and smoke that it halted from the east after the first eruption of the Smokestack. Time and rain has since cleaned much of the mountain range, yet it is still remembered by its ashen denomination. Near the base of the range, when it rains, travelers claim to be able to smell that old sulfur and ash.
Cities & Settlements
Several small handfuls of orc communities call these mountains home, either in camps on the plateaus or small villages within the caves. Even fewer are the rare tribal human camps to the north of the range, which is considered as far south as many northern human barbarian natives prefer to travel. These small villages are unmarked on maps, and their names known only to those who have been there.
Orcish Military Fortress
This Orcish hold is built into the southernmost mountains of the Ashen Range. It was planned by an orc named Kort Gorrogash and built during his chieftainship of the Gorrogash clan. They hollowed out great halls in the granite using blasting powder and picks, and during its construction they made treaties with the raiding clans of the Ashen Range to pay for the capture of dwarves who were brought in and told to describe their homes and buildings. Kort, being a bright enough orc released cooperative prisoners, an act remembered by the Ulysses Dwarves, who participate less and less in the war against the orcs.
At any rate, the hold is grandiose in stature and boasts many large pieces of defensive artillery along the mountainous walls.
The current leader of Clan Gorrogash, and Chieftan of the Gorrogash Stronghold is the great grandson of Kort. He is not as bright as his great grandfather, and his own father Turk is growing old and forgetting his ways. Driven by loneliness and frustration, Rip is more brash than his forefathers, but is also more forward thinking.
Rip wonders why they continue the war on Eglin and Mglin, and since he is responsible for reporting the battle numbers back to King Hold, he often sends less of his own people than the other clans and misreports it as equal.
Some of his clan members admire his growth and stepping away from the war. Others are furious and view him as weak and cowardly, though none will step forward to fight him. Though he deals primarily with strategy, Rip Gorrogash is a more than capable warrior.
The tribes of this region carry little gold and silver for trading with outsiders, mostly bartering with neighboring tribes, or gathering what they need themselves. They are mostly small and self-sufficient. Clan Gorrogash has a fine treasury collected over the years of Kort's construction and expansion.
Leather, hides, dried meat, stone, ore, and gems.
The tribes of this region have little needs, though the orcs are known for marauding and pillaging travelers who stray from the pass. If anything, artisan goods such as wine, cheese, or ale could be used to barter for ones life. The Fort on the other hand often imports better quality lumber for war related goods, as well as artisan goods and other pleasantries.
The human tribes of this region are self-sufficient and strong. Having come down from northern barbarian lands, these humans tend to be tribal outsiders. Having different religious beliefs, or having been barred from the tribe for one reason or another. They get by, and ask little of others, not offering much to the world but not asking much either, mostly to be left alone.
The Orcish mountain tribes are also very capable at surviving and making new lives here. Some are banished from the badlands, while others are half-orcs living in exile. Still others are those who wished to escape the competitive politics of the King-land, or simply those who wished to dwell outside of the harshest of places. They are proud, tribal, and though they are in a way outsiders, they are still orcs.
The forces at the stronghold are militant orcs; generations of warriors passed down through the ages. They are seasoned and wise, an odd combination for orcs, yet they have spent the longest watching the battle fronts and spend the longest time away from the cacophony of the King Hold. These two factors have rendered these orcs a cut above the rest when it comes to intelligence and wisdom.
The tribal communities of the mountain pass are often forgotten, both human and orc. Occasionally, when either raids travelers or the other tribes, there is a bit of crossfire and communication and charisma are poor amongst these natives.
As far as the orcs at the stronghold, the other civilized races believe them (falsely) to be the most bloodthirsty and war-hungry of them all. The two towns of Eglin and Mglin, guarded by Humans, Dwarves, Elves and the rest have been under attack for nearly a decade. Rip wants to put and end to it, but has no support from the other clans. Diplomacy from him makes him the new target of the horde, and he would rather spill the blood of others than his own.
Points of Interest
A craggy and dry mountain pass leads the way for travelers between the Far West and the Far East Roadways through The Ashen Range. It is so named for the orcs who were slain in countless battles within the pass before they began attacking southwards to the War Fields. Humans and others say Orcblood as if the title of an achievement, while orcs say Orcblood to honor their fallen.
More often than not the pass is safe for those who would travel through it. On occasion, an orc raiding party, or on even rarer occasion, a human one, may accost travelers if they look like they may have worthwhile goods.
There are also stories told about the pass, and how the souls and blood of the slain orcs was given as an offering, or how all the bodies acted as a lure for some terrible creatures. Some travelers like to tell ghost stories about the spirits of the orcs haunting those who travel through. Others who frequent the pass claim to have seen wyverns carrying off mountain goats though these sightings are quite rare.
There may have been a dragon living in the range at one point or another. It's likely that travelers and tribes have driven it into hiding. Or perhaps a clan of orcs have slain the creature and laid claim to it's lair and treasure.