Rise of the Runelords
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The northeastern half of Varisia is a landscape starkly contrasted to the rest of the region. Atop the thousand-foot-high Storval Rise rests the arid and desolate Storval Plateau. Much less populated and hospitable than the lush, fertile lowlands to the south and west, the Storval Plateau nonetheless provides a home to several tribes of nomadic Shoanti, as well as a large population of giants and varying wildlife.
The hellish Cinderlands are perhaps the most well-known of the Plateau’s features, but it contains a number of other dangers and mysteries including the Storval Deep, Lake Skotha, Guiltspur and the Mobhad Leigh. The only permanent settlements of note in the entirety of the Plateau are the orc city of Urglin, located in the northern reaches of the Cinderlands, and Kaer Maga, which sits precariously on the edge of the Stoval Rise at the Yondabakari River.
The Storval Rise is a cliff of immense proportions which stretches across the width of Varisia, dividing it in two like an unavoidable facial scar. Reaching heights of over a thousand feet in the south, the Rise begins as low as only a few hundred feet in the north, by the Velashu Uplands. It is here, at the cliff’s lowest point, that ancient giants built the Storval Stair, which still provides the easiest access from the fertile lowlands to the harsh Storval Plateau above. Much of the cliff face is filled with ancient statues and monoliths, relics from the long-lost empire of Thassilon. One such ruin is the mysterious hexagonal city of Kaer Maga, which sits atop the edge of the Rise at the falls created as the Yondabakari River plummets to the land below.
The Stovald stairs
Built thousands of years ago by the enslaved giants of the Thassilonian empire, the Storval Stairs are a set of stair-like tiers carved into the side of the western Storval Rise. Although sized for a gigantic creature, they are by far the easiest way to transverse the rise west of the Iron Peaks. It is not uncommon for the Storval Rise to reach heights of over 1,000 feet in many places, sharply delineating the fertile lowlands from the barren scrub land of the Storval Plateau. At the Storval Stairs, however, the Rise is only 400 feet in height with human-sized steps and ramps cut into the gargantuan ones, making the passage even easier. Immense statues of the runelord Karzoug flank the stairs, although the southern-most one is beginning to finally crumble due to erosion.
James L. Sutter. (2007). Varisia. The Hook Mountain Massacre, p. 62-69. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-038-4
Wolfgang Baur. (2007). Fortress of the Stone Giants. Fortress of the Stone Giants, p. 14. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-039-1