Expeditions of Amazing Adventure: The twisting trade route of the Tahnzabar jungle

Ohmeer and Ashure are the two major kingdoms which border the great jungle of Tahnzabar. The steaming jungle is teeming with lizardmen tribes and foul beasts. Legends speak of the great sorcerer, Hisham the Heretic, who resided deep within the rain forest. His wild magics infused the jungle with chaotic arcane energies such that trees and vegetation grew rampantly and unchecked.

Many claim this was the reason that no formal roads could be built within the jungle. Any effort to clear a path, or lay stone under the thick canopy of trees, was doomed for failure. Within a month the vegetation of the jungle would reclaim the land. Others whisper this was due to foul primal gods the lizardmen pray to, and their dark sacrificial rituals, that helped keep civilization at bay in this wild jungle.

Undeterred and driven by the desire of untapped markets, various trade guilds banded together to create a great stone road that would lie above the trees of the jungle. Such a massive undertaking was secured, when each kingdom offered to send troops to man the road if one was complete. It was rumored that each kingdom felt such a herculean effort would not be completed, and even if so, the flow of goods along the route would be a boon to each realm.

It was nearly 25 years in the making. Guilds of dwarven stonecutters offered their expertise to the design and construction. Arcane guilds charmed many great creatures to aid in the movement of massive loads of stone and mortar. The possibility of new markets for slaves was so tempting that even slavers from the southern deserts offered their stock as workers.

The result was the great stone route. A wall high enough to sit above the trees of the jungle and wide enough for a single cart to pass. The completion of such a monumental task was unthinkable to Ashure. The kingdom unwilling to commit the many troops needed to man the wall and only offered a pittance of men. Ohmeer saw this an opportunity to further extend their influence throughout the jungle of Tahnzabar, and quickly offered to make up the bulk of forces needed to serve as guardsmen.

To this day the trade route has stood for over 75 years. It serves as a lifeblood of trade, and become a somewhat of a border, between the kingdoms of Ashure and Ohmeer. It is nearly a two day journey along the wall and the sight of long caravans is not uncommon. Many sections of the route pass through various guard posts, manned by men-at-arms from Ohmeer. Still, the journey can be perilous, as bandits and lizardmen make efforts to raid merchants along the route.

Additionally, as this route was created by the different trade guilds no formal tolls can be collected from either kingdom. However as the route is rather narrow, money commonly changes hands where brokers charge for goods that are exchanged from section to section. One merchant may find his goods put aside as another competitor has his wares shuttled further towards its destination. Outsiders can find this process a chaotic tangle of carts and porters moving crates and barrels in a constant ebb and flow of material. However many quick tongued brokers manage to efficiently move the goods along this route.

Some adventurers might gain employ from merchants carrying more precious cargo as guards. The route is long, and the possibility of resting within a guardhouse is not always guaranteed midway.

Additionally, although the many trade guilds use the route freely, they are typically at each other’s throats midway along the route. It is a common occurrence for rival merchants to pay extra for their goods to get priority. Some have even had another’s goods set aside while theirs are transported ahead. Although it is rare, some merchants have employed men-at-arms to make sure their wares are moved freely. The Ohmeer guards frown on this, but usually stay out of the way if a melee erupts where the combatants stick to blows and avoid open bloodshed.

The jungle of Tahnzabar is also a relatively unexplored land. Midpoint along the road is an excellent starting location to gain access to the more remote regions of the jungle. The rumors of ruins and the ancient laboratory of Hisham the Heretic acts as enticing draws to many adventurers.

Lizardmen tribes are also a nuisance, constantly making attempts to raid the trade along the route, or damage the great stone road itself. Each kingdom has been known to fund the efforts of private mercenary companies to scout out and destroy any warbands seen within the deep jungle.

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