Vale of the Spine
Vale of the Spine

Vale of the Spine

Vale of the Spine

Location: Outlands / Brinklands

Venture, if you dare, into the enigmatic Vale of the Spine, nestled in the ever-shifting landscape of the Outlands. Here, the mountains arch like the colossal ribs of a dark creature, casting long shadows and a sinister air over the valley below. At the heart of this skeletal cradle lies Ribcage, a burg named for its ominous stone guardians, which encircling the gatetown to the infernal layers of Baator

The Vale of the Spine’s mountains curve skyward in a macabre imitation of a giant beast’s ribcage. The atmosphere is thick with a sense of ancient power, and the air shivers with the echoes of distant conflict. The landscape is stark, the soil tainted by the creeping malice seeping from the gate to Baator, which has turned the flora into twisted parodies of their usual forms.

The burg of Ribcage itself is a study in resilience, opportunism, and desperation. The burg clings to life on the edge of damnation, surrounded by the bone-like peaks that give it its name. It’s a place where the desperate and the daring make their homes, ever vigilant against the corruption that seeks to engulf them, and the rich and powerful take every advantage they’re given. The town serves as a grim waypoint for travellers, traders, and those foolhardy or cunning enough to deal with the denizens of Baator.

The origins of the Vale’s distinctive landscape are shrouded in mystery. The chant goes the mountains are the remains of a gods-slain titan, a relic of the wars that once raged across the planes. Others whisper of a primordial beast that challenged the powers, only to be struck down and its remains left as a warning to those who would follow its path. These bones, infused with the creature’s residual power, act as a conduit that magnify the infernal energies of Baator, corrupting the land and influencing the vale’s denizens.

The Great Pass

The Great Pass isa treacherous stretch of no-man’s-land that lies between the burg of Ribcage and Rigus. It runs between towering mountains that claw at the sky like the gnarled fingers of a dead god, each peak a sentinel over a landscape wrought from nightmares.

The air’s thick with dust and volcanic ash, painting everything with a grey pall that chokes the spirit as much as it does the lungs. The ground underfoot is uneven, treacherous, and littered with the detritus of many a failed crossing. And the silence here cutter, the silence is a thing alive, broken only by the howl of the wind or the distant, echoing cry of some unseen predator.

Nestled within these jagged peaks are the lairs of demoted devils, those poor berks who fell from whatever grace they had in the infernal hierarchies. They’re a bitter lot, twisted by their falls, and they’ve got no love for anything that draws breath. They skulk in the shadows, driven by malice and the memory of power lost, eager to reclaim some shred of their former status by preying upon the unwary.

And then there’s the soldiers, deserters from the eternal battlegrounds of Acheron. They’ve pitched their remote camps amidst the desolation, forsaking the infinite conflict for a new kind of war. Their names are mud, their honour forsaken, and now they survive the only way they know how: By preying on those who dare the pass. They’re a hardy bunch, made ruthless by their circumstances, and they’ve got no qualms about relieving a traveller of their burdens, be it goods, jink, or life.

Travel Tips

  • Preparation is Key: Equip yourself against the infernal corruption with protective charms and wards.
  • Garnish a Good Guide: Seek out a knowledgeable guide in Ribcage; their expertise may spare you from the vale’s many perils.
  • Stay Vigilant: The corruption can warp not just the land but minds as well. Trust sparingly.
  • Explore with Respect: The Vale of the Spine is a place of ancient power. Tread lightly and honour the memories of whatever colossal being gave the vale its form. Or at least, don’t provoke them, berk!

Canonical References:

  • Fires of Dis [2e] p14,26 (Darkspine and the Vale)
  • Player’s Primer to the Outlands [2e] p22 (brief mention with Ribcage)
  • Planescape Campaign Setting: Sigil & Beyond [2e] p47-48 (mentioned in the context of Ribcage)
  • Planewalker’s Handbook [2e] p11 (mentioned in the context of Ribcage)
  • Manual of the Planes [5e] (the Great Pass)

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