Swamp of Wydmoor
The Swamp of Wydmoor is a large expanse of wetlands east of Wydmoor Free City. The area has a dramatic, or perhaps even tragic, history, and it is widely regarded as cursed. It is a dangerous place full of terrible monsters, mysterious sites, and ancient magics, and is widely avoided by the people of Wydmoor.
The Wydmoor swamp came into being during the Prophets' War by the actions of Sorcerer Marrwyn Teldandilion using the power of one of the eight unlocked Obelisks. Prior to the war, the area was a province of Ubrekt and home to a massive lake system and a successful freshwater maritime community, including many small villages connected to a substantial hub city. However, as conflict between the armies of Alexandria and the Ubrekti Theocracy (ed: Check the records, we might have established what god it was that the temple was dedicated to. I want to say trade, obv. Ubrekt at the time, however, was run by a bunch of clerics of the goddess of peace and some other priesthoods, and so the area was pretty heavily aligned against Team Alexandria.) escalated, Marrwyn was forced to destroy the city. The magical cataclysm she summoned transformed the hub city and the surrounding lakes into the dense, cold swamp of today. The attack wiped out three-quarters of the province, including the hub city and most of the major communities. In addition, the offensive expedition being drawn together in the city was all but annihilated.
For centuries, this swamp remained largely uninhabited by most of the Goodly Races, and besides Lizardfolk, was home to little more than a few hardy fishing villages. The only significant exception was Wydmoor, at the time a minor Ubrekti city which in the years after the war grew in regional influence as Ubrekti folklore associated the area as the former location of the village of Tragidore, although the harsh conditions of the swamp discouraged a great deal of pilgrimage. During the Third Interregnum, however, Ubrekti heretics occupied Wydmoor and drained appreciable areas of the swamp's fringes for mining and agriculture. In the 700 years following the Interregnum, the swamp has become relatively safe and even profitable, albeit solely within a relatively tight perimeter near Wydmoor city.
There are a number of considerable dangers in the swamp that prevent the vast majority of the Wydmoor population from penetrating it. A significant number of these are mundane--quicksand, venomous snakes, carnivorous plans, flammable swamp gasses, and treacherous terrain. There is also a large population of Servitor Races. The most notable among these are many Orcish tribes that reside in the swamp and harass travelers, but these are generally kept in check due to tribal infighting and conflict with the Lizardfolk. Additionally, there are often incursions of Hobgoblins from the Jonvranth Canyon in the Bloodmane Hills.
Outside of these more mundane dangers, there are a significant number of fantastical dangers, many of which hail from pre-Alexandrian times. The Southern edge of the swamp has long been home to the Many-Headed Wyrm--a giant, cold-breathing hydra. In recent weeks, the swamp has also seen the return of several ancient Temple Guardians, monstrous turtles with powerful breath weapons, most likely related to the ruined Turtle Temple recently discovered Wydmoor Swamp Temple, home to a sinister elven spectre and a hanged corpse, both encased in a glass-steel dome.
Despite the fact that much of the swamp is too dangerous to traverse or explore, there are still a number of significant interactions between the people of Wydmoor and this geographic feature. The vast majority of these interactions are done with the support of the Bog Wraiths, a mercenary organization on joint retainer for the Alexandrian Church and the First Families of Wydmoor. The Wraiths are soldiers and naturalists trained specifically to operate in the swamp. Additionally, the Thieves' Guild of Wydmoor is known to operate smuggling trails and hidden safe routes through the swamp to facilitate their operations.
In the areas near Wydmoor, there are a number of important resources that the swamp provides to the city. First and foremost, drained swamplands are excellent for traditional agricultural use, and a wide range of crops are grown in the immediate vicinity of the city. In addition, a number of edible swamp fauna, like marshberries, are grown in inundated land. Finally, there are a small number of peat deposits near the city that are still productive, which provide fuel and fertilizer for Wydmoor industries.
Deeper in the swamp, where only a few hardy or well-funded organizations can afford to go, there are a number of other resources that can be gathered. The most common, by far, are wild animal pelts and valuable flora gathered by hunters and trappers that operate solo and are (usually) quick and stealthy enough to avoid the dangers. Larger organizations can also afford to sponsor mining operations, and often speculate and mine large peat or bog iron deposits quickly and efficiently, although not without sponsoring significant military and labor forces.
In the thousand-plus years since the creation of the swamp, a thriving and diverse ecosystem has taken root there. Sadly for the average wanderer, much of that ecosystem was created by hostile creatures and Servitors. In addition to the Servitors, harpies are a common danger in the swamp, as are swamp trolls and swamp-adapted displacer beasts. Additionally, the magicks that warped the landscape likewise transformed many mundane animals into Dire counterparts.