top of page

The Cauldron

Desert Region

Regional Summary

So named for blistering heat and curved mountain ranges to the east and west, The Cauldron contains an arid desert landscape, and an isolated people. It's a harsh wasteland with few locations worth staying in for long, if you're welcome at all. They say that dark magic is stirred within The Cauldron, brewed by witches who strayed from the cook books long ago. There is but one large lake in the center of the region which comes to the temperature of bathwater on the hottest days of summer, and is known in the history of the capital city of Bleakburn.

Around the mountains where some shade and moisture can be found there is sparse vegetation, and the occasional mountainside oasis. These most desirable places have been occupied by the small villages and towns that dot the edges of the region. To the south lies the ocean, accessed by Port Vepst, or anywhere else along the miles of winding beach that makes perfect berth for pirates and fugitives. For all of its danger comes some small flecks of beauty. There are cacti and desert plants which grow only here. In addition, those that risk camp in the open desert may enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the night sky in the land, at risk of disturbing which rests beneath it.

Cities & Settlements

The Cauldron is host to the Queendom of Bleakburn, named for the capital city which rests at the southern center edge of The Glass Lake. The Queendom contains the keep of Belfort, the village of Cannix, and Port Vepst. Beyond that is the witch lair of Crone's Watch, and the independent settlement of Shadowbend.

Bleakburn, The City of Glass

Cauldron Capital City, Queendom of Bleakburn

Bleakburn is a city, a monument, and a tomb. Prior to the last eruption of the Smokestack over 500 years

At the time, indigenous elves were living in adobe style sand homes. Though they lived near the lake, drinking the water without first boiling it would cause the people a terrible sickness. So they fished and laid crab pots and drew water with aqueducts made from their sandstone blocks to passably arable ground nearly 100 yards away from the lake.

As the spring blossomed into summer and the days grew warmer, one was to be the hottest in history. On the longest day of the year, there was a great heatwave of unknown origin that swept the lands and ravaged the city. Crops withered and died before 9am, and by noon the fires which burnt to boil water for drinking were extinguished in a feeble attempt to reduce the heat. Shortly thereafter several people going mad from dehydration and heat leapt into the lake, thinking it would save them. As the sun beamed down, the crystal clear water amplified the light reaching the bottom of the lake, more shallow this day than ever before. The sandy bottom began to glint and shimmer, and the water began to boil the people alive.

The wind died, clouds could not be seen, and the only respite the people had left was to cower in their homes and wait. As the sun passed its zenith, with reflections from the surface of the lake, the sand of the homes had begun to turn to glass as well. Many had fainted from heat exhaustion or died already, but with their homes turned into lenses, the very blood of each person boiled in their own bodies, burst, evaporated, and fused with the glass of the structures they died in.

The next day, when the sun rose as normal, the city had been turned to black glass. A beautiful yet horrific memorial to the people who first dared to settle in such a barren place. The boiling of the lake had rendered the water drinkable, though for many years chunks of glass were found longed in the bottom, preventing plant growth and other life. Over time some has been cleared and some life has returned to the lake, as well as new settlers to the city.

For about 300 years, Bleakburn has been home to new generations of proud cauldron-folk. The palace is the only structure to stand above three stories, and seems to loom darker over the city, giving it an ominous appearance. It's a hard life here, and the queen wishes more for her people.

Hera Lashmi, Queen of Bleakburn

A woman in her late thirties, black hair, tanned sun-wrinkled skin, standing slightly above average human height, who dresses in off-white gowns and robes, not extravagant but well made. Queen Lashmi is a cool and calculating leader who is willing to sacrifice and risk much to ensure her people have good lives. The last attempted ruler of the people of Bleakburn was pulled out into the streets and beaten to death by a large mob. Afterwards, it was Hera and her close friends who managed to pull things together.

She made relationships with other leaders, opened trade, and opened communications to try to get more arable land to grow into. Much of the cauldron is uninhabitable, and while she is aware of the history of the city, and of her people and culture, there is only so much future they will be able to have here.

Hera is forward thinking, always one step ahead of her advisors, who sometimes doubt her because of age, experience, and other reasons. The people generally adore her, having given them a sign of hope after the last reigning dynasty which worked people to the bone and hardly provided.

She is viewed by outsiders as being a vile temptress who consorts with witches and would bring about the conquest and destruction of the human kingdoms as they are known.


Fortress, Queendom of Bleakburn

The mountain keep of Belfort is built into a spire that rests at the edge of the northern lip of the eastern mountain range of The Cauldron. It is suspected that the spire was once home to a sort of genie, or perhaps even a dragon, though it was long left abandoned by the time it was discovered only about 200 years ago.

Since then Queen Lashmi has stationed a small military garrison in the base of the fort, to protect the northern entrance to the Cauldron, as well as the secrets and mysteries that are housed in the spire.

Within the upper floors are scholars and arcanists who seek to unlock the secrets left behind in mysterious hieroglyphs and fragments of records from the original inhabitant of the upper spire.


Village, Queendom of Bleakburn

Cannix is a small village of hopeful and simple desert-folk. The village is run by an administrator appointed by Queen Lashmi, who manages a small guard company and the well-being of the village.

The people live in simple rounded adobe clay style homes, dug into the sandy soil at the foothills of the western mountains, they're able to escape the heat that pervades the region in the afternoon, when the sun continues to beat on the rest of the lands but they are blessed with shadow.

The people help one another to build new homes, provide childcare and education services, and some will hunt in the mountains, or grow fungus and other food in mountain caves. There is one public well that is closely watched by the administrators guards, to ensure everyone receives an equal share, especially in times of drought.

The administrator and the queen get along well, and the queen does her best to support the village from afar.

Giacomo Orostan

A human originally from Brisbirne, studied at the academy in Prosperous for a short time then visited both the far eastern elves, and the northwest human capitals. A traveler and a scholar, Giacomo is particularly interested in linguistics and languages.

Though he is not an official member of the Explorer's League (he doesn't want the bureaucracy or the hubbub) he has contracted with them before to help decipher ancient elvish tablets and other discoveries requiring his rare services.

He is middle aged though acts a bit older and wiser than he appears. He dresses simply, has plain short dark hair in a friar cut and sparse scruffy facial hair, scruffy and slightly curly. He is friends with the gnome librarian in the city of Northtide.

Port Vepst