The majority of the locations Simosen described, such as the once great city of Zeran, have been destroyed. I have removed their references from the guide to discourage more would be treasure hunters intent on committing suicide. For those less foolhardy souls I mention some places of safety, as well as my knowledge of the immediate environs of Oringard. Founded shortly after the cataclysm Oringard has grown from a small collection of tents huddled against the walls of the old keep, to an almost respectable small city these past few years. It is ruled over by the Baron Orin Dekan, a man I must confess no particular liking for, though he has proven both an able leader and competent strategist.
The halflings have frequent trade with the city of Cor Naleth, a fey community a week’s journey upriver that has fallen partially through one of the many planar breaches, home to many eladrin and elves. They also report that Port Mervia, at the mouth of the El’Essen on the inland sea, has survived largely unscathed. Rumour holds that Karisar Mondaven, chief factor of the Trade Winds Cartel, had something to do with that, and continues to control the city from the background. Once or twice a season a Dwarven caravan from Kolinter arrives from the south, generally setting out east for Port Mervia when they leave.
West of Oringard, where the Pernan joins the El’Essen, an order dedicated to the Raven Queen has set up a small monastery, which they call Darkwatch. An ominous name, but I have been to visit Abbot Morvid on several occasions and find him and his monks to provide both friendly hospitality and intelligent conversation. The river captains distrust the monks however, and when pressed, one of them told me that they trade far too little to support such an establishment. Perhaps I should enquire the next time I see the Abbot.
On the north side of the river lie the blighted lands, an area where the geography and environment has been warped by the energies of the Maddening. Travel within such areas is particularly hazardous; I have heard tales of unnatural creatures and weather, travellers vanishing from the middle of caravans, and stranger things that I will not repeat for lack of collaborating stories.