- Capital: None
- Population: 145,440 (humans 60%, dwarves 30%, orcs 9%)
- Government: None (formerly dictatorship)
- Religions: Dwarven pantheon, orc pantheon
Imports: Food, weapons
- Exports: Furs, gems
- Alignment: CE, LN, N
This untamed wasteland of frozen moors and tundra was the seat of power for the evil lich Zhengyi the Witch-King until his defeat by a band of adventurers. Vaasa is once again a lonely land dotted with scratch farms and inhabited by evil humanoids and other monsters. What the land lacks in hospitality it makes up for in untapped wealth, as the mountains of Vaasa are rich in metals and gems, particularly bloodstone. Miles of mountainside go unclaimed by any civilization, and many well-armed prospectors make the trip to Vaasa hoping to find gems as large as a grown man’s fist – and survive long enough to sell them.
Life and Society
Vaasa is a cold, dreary place with poor soil, inadequate, for large settlements without magical help. During the brief summer the frozen earth turns to thick mud, making travel more difficult than it is in the wintertime, when dogsleds and skis are a common sight. Numerous bands of humanoids hunt the plains and mountains in search of game; mainly caribou and small herbivores. Other humanoids resort to consuming the dead of enemy tribes.
Local settlements of humans are well protected or in isolated places where they are likely to go undiscovered. Life is hard and the people are tough, quiet) and stern. People of the flatlands speak a mixture of Common and Dwarven, while the inhabitants of remote mountain settlements (and those close to Palischuk) use many Orc words.
Major Geographic Features
Bordered by the Galena Mountains and the Great Glacier, Vaasa is virtually isolated from the rest of Faerûn.
These large, sometimes hard-to-spot areas of mud and rotting scrub plants are deadly traps for the unwary, for they can drag even a strong person down with a grip as powerful as a giant’s. A few form around hot springs, which some say are fed by a magical source. Water from these springs can reputedly enhance abilities, heal wounds, or grant even more powerful magic.
Formed from the magic ice necklace of the deity Ulutiu, this glacier has been consistently retreating for centuries. Until three hundred years ago, it covered Damara and Vaasa. Tribes of humans (Ulutians) live in the remote parts of the glacier, occasionally traveling to the “hot lands” for meat and iron weapons. Within the territory covered by the glacier is the Novularond mountain range, a region said to hold lost cities strangely free of the ice.
The Glacier is home to white dragons, remorhazes, snowflowers (edible plants that tumble about in icy winds), iceflowers, ice worms (white-furred things as long as a man’s arm that live on meltwater and snowflowers), “ghost” or White rothé, and even roaming gelugons. these are the “Icy Claws of Lyraclea,” servants of the ancient and mighty human priestess who styles herself “the Ice Queen.”
Despite its hazards, Castle Perilous is the most impressive and visited site in Vaasa, a land now largely empty.
Darmshall (Small City, 5,333): The Tenblades adventuring band founded this fortress-village in southwestern Vaasa, hard by the southern Galenas peaks. It withstood Zhengyi’s rise and fall, and today it is the center of a small but growing territory of farms and cattle ranches. Walled Darmshall boasts huge underground granaries, armories, and a weapons-muster of almost five hundred capable soldiers, under the rule of the a tireless warrior Gelgar Talonguard. Women are few in Darmshall, and Gelgar has sent recruiters to the Dragon Reach, Telflamm, and Impiltur, seeking wives for the men of Darmshall.
Delhalls and Talagbar: Recent melts along the edge of the Ice Run glacier have revealed these two longfrozen dwarven mines that hold rich bloodstone, emerald, and ruby deposits, as well as some work able iron and copper veins.
Palischuk (Small City, 9,211) This town to the east of Castle Perilous is a larger but less grand fortress, a ruined city rebuilt by half-orcs. The half orcs worked hard to befriend nearby settlements and succeeded. They trade peacefully and honorably with Bloodstone Gate, Darmshall, and neighboring dwarves, though humans continue to regard Palischuk warily.
For most of its existence, Vaasa has been a frozen land barely capable of supporting civilized folk. For centuries nothing more than humanoid tribes and scattered hunters, trappers, and farmers inhabited the land. The arrival of Zhengyi and the creation of his fortress in 1347 DR turned Vaasa into a military nation of goblinkin, orcs, giants, undead, demons, bandits, and skilled assassins, all intent on conquest.
The armies of Vaasa attacked and defeated the people of Damara, dividing that nation into petty baronies. The so called Witch-King disappeared for a time, and a group of heroes rose to defeat the demonic minions and eventually the lich himself, which caused Castle Perilous to collapse. The Vaasa of today has reverted to its old ways, with bands of monsters running loose and no central authority. However, bandits and assassins are still thought to be hiding somewhere in the country, plotting revenge.
Plots and Rumors
Monster Hunt: King Dragonsbane of Damara is concerned with the large numbers of humanoids that live in the mountains and plains of Vaasa. He has increased the bounty on goblins, bugbears, and giants to 5 gp, 15 gp, and 200 gp respectively in hopes of convincing adventurers to stake claims here. Increased numbers of these humanoids have been gathering around the ruins of Castle Perilous, perhaps in service to some newly rising evil power.