Campaign of the Month: September 2013
The long, winding Serpent River runs through the heart of Barsaive, dividing it in two. Home of the t’skrang and their villages, the river supports hundreds of tributaries and delivers fresh water to most of the people of Barsaive.
The river received its Name from the dwarfs of the ancient kingdom of Scytha. It begins in the northern mountains well beyond the borders of Barsaive, entering the province near the city of Iopos and winding through the land, passing just south of the Scol Mountains that feed spring water into the river. From the Scol foothills, the Serpent passes through Lake Vors and winds around the massive Throal Mountains, which also add to its strength with fresh water. The river then flows through Lake Ban before passing through Lake Pyros in the Servos Jungle. It then enters the Mist Swamps, where it meets the molten stone of Death’s Sea.
The Serpent is wide, nearly an hour’s crossing by riverboat at most points, and flows with a deceptively strong current. Once cannot cross the river and arrive at a specific place without either magical aid or a boat. Swimming across the Serpent is considered an amazing feat of strength; most t’skrang villages hold a yearly swimming contest for those brave (or foolish) enough to attempt such a crossing. According to t’skrang tales, only one or two persons have ever accomplished this deed.
The t’skrang villages that trade up and down the length of the Serpent River control the activities of all ships plying the river. Sections of the Serpent lie under the jurisdiction of the great t’skrang trading houses, or Aropagoi, formed by coalitions of several villages along each particular stretch of the river. The villages work together to manage trade and discourage piracy, joining their resources to create fleets of riverboats that can prevent pirate attacks along their portions of the river.
The strength of the Aropagoi deters pirates from excessive raiding along most of the Serpent. But along sparsely populated stretches, such as through the Servos Jungle, piracy poses a great danger to travelers still.