Climate/biome: Seasonal grassland to the west; savannah and desert to the north; rocky steppe to the east; swamp to the south.
Population density: Extremely low
Common Inhabitants: Equitarn, minotaurs, realm, abilen, natural beasts
Uncommon Inhabitants: Gnolls, elves, orcs
Rare Inhabitants: Humans, were-creatures
The Grasslands is a huge stretch of wilderness bridging western Alm, from Ashar in the north, all the way to the Southern coast. It contains no permanent settlements, but is home to many nomadic tribes who traverse its boundless plains according to the seasons.
While there are no permanent settlements on the Grasslands, it sheer size means most tribes have ranges rather than roaming the entire area. In general, there are five broad regional groups, within which many independent nomadic nations operate:
- The Highland tribes: Inhabiting the steppes west of Ikana
- The Lowland tribes: Occupying central Almish savannah
- The Mountain tribes: Inhabiting the mountains east of Okarthel
- The Desert tribes: Ranging between Ashar and the Lowland territories
- The Wetland tribes: Occupying the southern coastline and bordering on Kalyvas.
Grasslanders are mostly of peaceful beastkin races, especially equitarn. Many other creatures are found in much smaller numbers, even some gnoll families and savannah elves.
The oldest recorded occupants of western Alm, the Grasslanders lived here long before the War of Empires carved Alm into its current “permanent” territories. Indeed, the gnolls were once just another Grasslands tribe, before the began their quest for total dominance. As their neighbours, the other Grasslander tribes were the first to be subjugated, wiped out or forced into hiding. They fared little better after the Calans entered the fray; seeing as they were mostly beastkin, the eladrin considered them allies to the gnolls and enemy combatants. Today, those who remain remember many clans which are no more.
After Brayden Bloodmane and the Death of Empires, the Grasslanders who remained were prepared for another long and gruelling leg of the same old war. Nobody expected the Brands to pull back, ceding virtually all of Western Alm back to its traditional occupants. Although the damage suffered in the War of Empires could not be undone, the clans have worked tirelessly to restore their histories, cultures and land.
On the whole, Grasslanders appreciate the necessity of interdependence between their relatively small nations. Tribes are usually eager to trade when they cross paths, as are those who pass close by fixed settlements such as Ashar or Nasirah. Of course, not everybody gets along with everybody—some clans have grudges so powerful that they come to blows upon meeting—but everybody understands they need to get along with somebody.
Grasslanders are fairly neutral toward most fixed nations, though they tend to be swift and violent in defence of their own territory. Since they are united only in name, each has their own laws and opinions, and each must be negotiated with individually. The exception is conquest; keenly remembering the ascent of the gnolls, the clans are quick to rally in fierce opposition to any would-empire.
On the rare occasion that requires a unified stance, the clans have been known to call a grand meeting where their leaders can come together and argue their collective position before moving forward. Almish scholars believe that the practice of formal debate began with the Grasslanders.
Adventures in the Grasslands
Of all the Almish regions, the Grasslands is the most likely place for a group to travel long distances without encountering cities. Civilisation here quite literally follows the whims of nature, so it’s a great place to take your group if you want them to feel isolated in their travels.
It’s also a great place to encounter fantastic beasts on a scale that might be impossible in more populated areas. Traversing the Grasslands at low levels—before various travel and survival rituals are a trivial expense—calls upon characters to be efficient, resourceful and careful whose hunting grounds they wander into.