Rise of the Eldrosk
Region - The Radadune Steppes
A desolate place lacking in vegetation besides the fungus growing on the sides of cliffs above a silver river
Think of this, but on a much larger scale, with plateaus large enough for villages and no vegetation besides the fungus on the cliff side.
The Steppes are located in the southern half of Legia. It is a land completely full of plateaus and cliffs. You can reach the zone in any direction, but it is ringed completely by a cliff with just two land bridges connecting to the dotted plateaus within, which are not all connected. The zone is a few hundred miles in a roughly circular formation. Ringing the entire zone is a deep chasm filled with a silver liquid (called Suan) that flows like fast moving lava. It is completely contained within the zone. Within this space are pillars and plateaus of various sizes. In between all of them lies the silver liquid. The zone falls between the river deltas that feed into Zog and the forest region of Filo. Radadune is a war torn area, more so than any other place in Lagia. This is because the fungus that grows on the sides of the cliff edges that make up most of the zone can be processed into a powerfully addictive drug. The risk in collection can be low (and also very high) but, the profits are high and so is the feeling. Drug lords, ambitious entrepreneurs, junkies and goons galore populate pockets all over the valley.
This fungus can be processed into many other things as well. There is a device in the capital that can turn various strains of the fungus into all manner of potent healing and health salves. As such, there are a number of bustling, legitimate towns and cities in Radadune that foster this trade.
The trick is how to obtain the rarest variants of the fungus. The fungus only grows on the sides of the plateaus and the more potent variants are closest to the bottom, near the Suan. From the edge of the silver river to 300 feet up the cliff walls there can be fungus growing. It happens randomly and seems to constantly move through the zone. Most materials touching this fungus for any period of time longer than a few seconds starts to have varying and dastardly effects. To this end, “how” to harvest is the most important factor. Special vials of various shapes are created (exported from a facility in Zog and also from special region in the Filo forest) that can house the fungus without it degrading or causing harm to the container. After 10 minutes the caustic properties of the fungus fade, leaving only the “other” properties of the fungus. If not in these vials the fungus withers at the same rate as the acidic nature fades. Another issue arises in the harvesting as the Suan seems to have a mind of its own, defending the fungus. Great gouts of the liquid will shoot into the air, spraying the liquid up to the level of the top of where the fungus can grow. This liquid is insanely acidic (or it acts as acid would) and will melt away just about anything it comes into contact with. There are two exceptions. First, it seems to have no negative effect on the fungus and in fact seems to be the key to the incredible properties it possesses. Second, there are hundreds of known gliders (called Silver Gliders) that were discovered in the Steppes that seem to be immune to the liquid (and also anything in contact with the glider is likewise immune).
Harvesting effectively comes two ways: The Silver Gliders and a few species of flying creatures that can be tamed and trained. The gliders only function in direct sunlight, so harvesting happens mostly in a flurry during the hour’s right around noon, and only on clear days. There are two breeds of creature that seem to be somewhat suited for the endeavor. There is a fully reptilian creature that is extraordinarily mobile and harvests similarly to the gliders with fast passes and capture hooks, which scrape along the walls collecting prime samples. There is an insect-like creature that is able to hover in place, which makes it an ideal collector, especially of some of the more delicate strains, but the creature is small, and only children can ride them to harvest. These creatures (and their riders) are often lost to blasts of Suan, and it takes a knowledgeable and skilled rider to navigate the Silver River safely.
The single legitimate full sized city (there are many towns and even more pirate dens) in Radadune is just past the north eastern land bridge and connects about 17 different plateaus with man-made bridges to form Carboon. Carboon’s population is estimated at round 15,000 and has one of the most sophisticated alchemy labs outside of Zog. Trade is plentiful and just across the bridge is fertile land suitable for agriculture. The lab is owned and managed (though it’s operated by a much larger pool of people) by a single family. The size of the lab is such that there are divisions within it for specific roles. They have a security division, a collections division, a research division, an explorers division and a division dedicated to the creation of alchemical concoctions.
Each night the winds through the valleys pick up to gale force speeds and the Suan erupts continuously throughout the entire zone. Fungus hunting at night is a death sentence. With all this activity there is another strange phenomenon. It seems as if the core of the zone is constantly in flux. Each day different pieces of the zone seem to have moved, as if the whole area is actually sitting on a silver lake and moving with the changing winds. This has never been explained, for the plateaus never feel unstable, but it does make hunting for fungus all the more difficult as “sweet spots” never seem to be in the same place twice.