City of the Giants
The Warlock Lord: About thirty years ago, a mysterious magician calling himself the Warlock Lord emerged from the barren northern marches. He went alone into the high castle of Iridia. There before the king, he demanded that all the temples, both of old gods and new, be razed to the ground and all the priests hanged as traitors. When the royal court heard his ravings, King Aginot IV Havell – in those days a stern and pious man – ordered him dragged into the center of town and whipped for his blasphemy. The prisoner faced the lash unflinching – some say that when it struck him he did not bleed. When the lashes were done, the Warlock Lord unleashed an incredible display of magic, slaughtering hundreds of spectators. Leaving the city in flames behind him, he fled back to the wilderness.
Constantly wandering from one desolate lair to the next, the Warlock Lord spent the next several years binding the beastman tribes and creatures of the wastes to his service. Five years to the day after his rampage in the capitol, his hordes suddenly boiled forth upon the Iridian countryside. The Warlock Lord’s creatures were fought back to the border only with tremendous sacrifice and loss of life. There has never been an official peace since. Periodic monster attacks and beastman assaults continue to this day, and the Warlock Lord has only expanded their scope into other lands. The year is rare when his dark hordes do not conduct operations against five or six of the neighboring kingdoms, always bearing the same profane demands.
The Thirteen: Over the intervening years, the Warlock Lord has drawn to himself thirteen powerful apprentices to lead his monstrous hordes. While if they worked together, the Thirteen and their armies of monsters could probably topple any single kingdom in a month, they never seem to manage this level of cooperation. They constantly backstab each other, and a grudging alliance between several of the surrounding kingdoms regularly forces them into fighting unwinnable wars on multiple fronts – although no casualties ever seem to stem the tide of inhuman horrors. Most of them dabble in black magic that has made them incredibly difficult to kill. The Broken One’s body is mangled from so many crippling wounds that he’s barely recognizable as human, but it seems to cause him little real harm or discomfort. One time a whole squad of soldiers broke through to Coil, held him down and decapitated him. The severed head started laughing and belched a gout of fire that incinerated the lot. That’s your opposition.
The Waste of Anwin: The Warlock Lord himself never accompanies these invasions. For the last twenty years he has delivered his threats and demands through messengers, seldom venturing out of his dungeon lair in the Waste of Anwin. This vast stretch of stony hills and mountains lies northwest of Iridia. Said by some to be the first place where the Old Gods set foot on the Earth, folk stories claim that they hide a perfect garden of eternal beauty, crafted by the divines as a leisure paradise. Most people’s actual experience is that they hide desperadoes, outlaws, misshapen monsters, and gigantic wild beasts. If there weren’t frequent discoveries of gold in the hills, nobody would willingly live in this hellhole. In the last twenty-five years or so, whenever they have not been prosecuting one of his endless wars, the Warlock Lord’s armies of beastmen and monsters bivouac here.
City of the Giants: Deep in the Waste of Anwin lies one of the great mysteries of the ancient world. This mighty stone city is built to a titanic scale and predates recorded history. While the city’s enormous population of giant beasts and deadly monsters have historically thwarted any expedition to chart it, certain old records suggest that a massive underground system of tunnels and vaults lies beneath the mighty castle that crowns the city’s central hill. Some say it was built by the giants. Others, the gods. Others claim it was made by slaves by the order of the dragons. Ultimately, the true identity of the builders, along with whatever purpose the complex served, remain a mystery. In recent years, the central castle and the dungeon beneath it has been co-opted to serve as the Warlock Lord’s headquarters. No one has figured out yet exactly what he is doing in the deeps beneath the city, but everyone agrees it probably isn’t anything good.