THE CHARNEL VALLEY
The Charnel Valley is a wide pass of some hundred miles or so in the southern World's Edge Mountains. It is the only means, save a long and perilous voyage around the Southlands, by which anyone can reach the eastern half of the Land of the Dead. In the days of Nehekhara it used to be known as the Valley of the Kings and attracted pilgrims from all over the empire to pray at the statues and the holy palace of Quatar. Great monoliths of the gods and kings guard the entrance to the valley and are carved into the valley wall for its entire length. The Nehekharans believed that the monoliths would come alive if the gods were angered. Of course they never did actually come alive in those days but today no-one is so sure. The Athiopos nomads say that an evil priest lives in Quatar, Palace of Corpses, and has woven enchantments on the monoliths making them come alive at his command or should the valley be threatened. To them the valley is known as the Valley of the Dead because anyone who goes there is never seen again. They believe that the colossal statues come to life and crush all trespassers.
WFRP: The monoliths are indeed animate! thanks to Sehenesmet, the Grand Vizier of Quatar. Anyone managing to get as far as Quatar and then wish to enter the Charnel Valley might have to confront more than one monolith. These are carved into the likeness of the Nehekharan gods of old and also many of the empire's kings and one or two queens. The monoliths should all have the profiles of Giants (or better) and are immune to all non-magical weapons and psychology.
THE CRACKED LAND
On the southwestern border of the Land of the Dead lies a large area of hard, sun baked sand, broken only by the occasional rock. Huge Carrion birds endlessly circle in the heavens overhead, spying the ground for prey and giving the air a sense of fear as they eerily cry out. This is the place known as the Cracked Land by the desert dwellers. It is another place scorched and parched by Nagash's Ritual of Awakening, as it was never such an arid, infertile place. In the days of Nehekhara the Cracked Land grew bountiful crops surrounded by irrigation canals to aid fertility. All there is now apart from the sun baked sand are the skulls and bones of various creatures who wondered too far and became fodder for the Carrion.
WFRP: Large numbers of Carrion can be found in this area and will viciously attack any living souls they find.
CRATER OF THE WALKING DEAD
According to Nehekharan belief, the gods lived on the world for millions of years long before the emergence of man. The place known today as the Crater of Walking Dead was said to be the place where Ptra the Sun God first set foot on the mortal soil of the world and as he did so the earth shook and trembled until it opened to receive him. Ever afterwards the crater held a religious significance as the power of Ptra was said to still be strong in the place even after millions of years. Priests, scholars, and pilgrims made the journey to the crater to behold the power of Ptra, which they believed entered them, purifying their bodies.
Unfortunately it was a warpstone meteorite that hit the earth at the spot where it was claimed Ptra descended from the sky. What the people, who came here to behold the Rays of Ptra, were actually doing was absorbing harmful warpstone taint. Luckily for them not many were harmed although some did tend to die soon after a visit to the crater. Many ordinary people chose to be buried in the crater, believing that they would be close to Ptra. The warpstone wasn't powerful enough to animate the remains of the dead but come the spell of Awakening they are now animate and walk the crater in endless circles.
WFRP: Suffice to say anyone falling into the crater will be set upon by hordes of skeletons! Because they are suffused with warpstone all of the skeletons have at least champion profiles. Anyone who dies in the crater needless to say joins the other zombies in an eternity of walking its circumference.
DOOM GLADE SWAMP
Just south of the city of Lybaras lies the foetid Doom Glade Swamp. A miasma of pestilence hangs over the place like a cloud. Strange, snake-like creatures can be seen slithering in the shallows and have been known to wrap themselves around an unwary creature and then pull it down into the stinking waters. Other areas are perhaps more dangerous as there are many pools of sinking mud. A traveller could easily step into the sinking mud and be lost forever.
WFRP: Many Bog Octopi inhabit Doom Glade Swamp and will know when anything enters their home. The sinking mud will envelop anyone in as many rounds as a character is in feet, i.e. a six-foot character will take 6 rounds to sink. The character will then begin to drown as normal.
THE GREAT MORTIS RIVER
The polluted and bloody river Mortis flows into the Great Ocean on the north coast of the Land of the Dead on the the eastern bank of the city Zandri, from various springs in the World's Edge Mountains, making the lands near to it infertile and useless. But before He Who Shall Not Be Named used his black sorcery to despoil the land (warpstone charms were used to pollute the springs), the river Mortis used to be known as the Great Vitae River. Its life-giving waters flowed all the way from the Great Ocean and its gigantic length, much longer than the river Reik, ensured the well-being and livelihoods for countless people over countless generations. Traders used the river to export and import goods and the trade between Zandri, at the river's mouth, and Khemri, at the river's centre, was the most lucrative in the empire. Another river flowed into the tributary of the Vitae and this was the Golden River. It began in the fertile springs of the World's Edge Mountains and gave fishermen abundant supplies of fish and provided the lands around it with acres of fertile fields. Today, however, it is known as the Ash River and the only things that swim in it are dead things.
WFRP: Anyone foolish enough to think about drinking from the Great Mortis river can if they want. The water is the colour of blood and tastes absolutely disgusting. But even a little taste is enough to cause irreversible damage to the imbiber who must pass a Disease test (with a -20 penalty to a -40 penalty if the imbiber took a great gulp!) or contract the disease Tomb Rot (see WFRP p83.)
THE GULF OF FEAR
The Gulf of Fear, served by the Bitter Sea, lies by the port of Lybaras to the east of the Land of the Dead. In ancient times it was known as the Gulf of Kharpentharia and aside from carrying trading ships it also carried the pleasure boats of the nobility. Many pleasure galleys rowed by slaves and carrying large quantities of luxurious food and drink served to keep the nobles in the lap of luxury and they were kept cool with a host of slaves fanning them. The waters were rarely dangerous, being for the most part calm all year round with a warm temperature to match. Today, however, the pleasure barges have long gone and the waters are forever perilous: great rocks, like the spines of a hulking beast, stick out of the water ready to smash to pieces any boat which is unfortunate enough to come into contact with them.
WFRP: Unless anyone is approaching Lybaras by boat there is nothing to fear from the Gulf of Fear.
Located just south of Charnel Valley and in a canopy of thick jungle lies Mount Arachnos. It is a mountain honeycombed with dark tunnels and dotted with caves for it is here where some of the largest spiders in the world dwell. The smaller varieties tend to live in the jungles below where they feed on what ever foul creatures they can find (including each other) whereas the biggest ones live in the mountain proper. The mountain used to be a mine serving the stronghold of Rasetra but Nagash's spell needless to say ended production and even caused some of the spiders to expand in size over the years. Being so famished they consumed vast quantities of gold and precious stones and when these were exhausted they fed on each other. Now only a few remain to haunt the tunnels.
WFRP: Many, many spiders lurk here!
THE POOLS OF DESPAIR
The Pools of Despair, yet another byproduct of Dark Magic in the Land of the Dead, is in fact a region of strange mirages which have led many a weary traveller to their deaths. The region lies just a day or two's travel from the ruins of Bel-Aliad and the Malaluks desert nomads avoid the place like the plague. The mirages gradually convince the traveller that he has no water left and that he is parched beyond all measure and that only a swift drink will sway his supernatural thirst. Once the traveller is taken in by the mirages he is almost certainly doomed as he drains any last supplies of water he did have and begins to scoop large handfuls of sand into his canteen and mouth believing it to be cool water. Only the strong-willed and those who have come well-prepared can have a hope of making it through the Pools of Despair alive.
WFRP: After half an hour or so of anyone setting foot in this region they must pass a Will Power test. If successful then they are safe, just for the next hour at least before they must make another test. Failure indicates that the character feels a sudden thirst and drains, if no-one can stop him, the last remaining drops from his canteen. The character is then convinced that he sees an oasis in front of him full of cool water and does not hesitate to rush towards it in a state of manic excitement. Once at the imaginary oasis the character then begins to scoop at the sand, believing it to be water, and starts to fill his canteen and even "drinks" it. If no-one can stop this then the character will eventually die. Under the influence of the magic of the Pools of Despair it will be the equivalent of a character taking D6 doses of the deleriant Madman's Capevery round (WFRP p82.)
THE SPRINGS OF ETERNAL LIFE
A luscious oasis does indeed grow in the Land of the Dead a day's travel from the roads which lead to the necropolis of Bhagar to the south-west, Quatar to the south-east, and the looming site that is Khemri to the north. The oasis will be the most beautiful that any mortal traveller will have seen anywhere: palm trees that offer ample shade from the burning desert heat and of course the cool, blue water itself. In the glory days of Nehekhara the oasis held a religious significance. Pilgrims from miles around came here to bathe and drink from the waters and many nobles, including some kings and queens, also did the same believing that the liquid had magical powers and that drinking it would purify them. While the palm trees are real it is the water that hides a more sinister purpose. They do offer eternal life to any who drinks from it but not the one they may have had in mind.
When Nagash took flight after the fall of Khemri he cursed the holy springs in his last final act of spite. The true horror of the curse is only apparent when someone drinks the water. When a mortal imbibes the cool, clear water of the oasis he does for a few seconds feel utterly refreshed. However, it is then that the skies darken and all around him he sees the souls of the dead rise from the desert: victims of the poor fools who also sought to quench their thirst. The mortal then convulses in agony as his skin withers from his flesh, and his flesh rots from his bones until all that is left is a skeleton. It is said that the remains of those who died at the oasis rise from the dead and take the journey to Khemri...
WFRP: Anyone drinking from the Springs of Eternal Life must pass a Will Power test as if the level 4 Necromantic spell Curse of Undeath was cast upon them. If a character fails then he must spend a fate point or gradually transform into a skeleton! as shown in the spell's entry on page 178 of the WFRP rulebook. The water can be bottled but loses its potency when taken from the springs. For example, for each day the water is bottled a character gains a +10 bonus to the Will Power test to avoid the effects of the curse if drunk. When the bonus reaches +50 the water actually becomes harmless and quite drinkable. Since the Springs of Eternal Life are many days travel from anywhere it would be impossible to bottle it and take it back to the Old World hoping that if anyone there who drank it would become a skeleton for example.
THE SWAMP OF TERROR
The region in and around the delta of the Great Mortis River is known as the Swamp of Terror to most Old Worlders who have ever been there but it is also known as the Mire of Lost Souls and the Swamp of Death by various Arabian nomads. The mist shrouded swamp is the last resting place of all those who have ever died there. It is a place saturated in Dark Magic and all kinds of hideous entities have their home there. The swamp dwellers have a habit of reaching for a stranger's legs and pulling him under the foetid Mortis water where he is drowned and another soul joins the hideous Swamp of Terror.
WFRP: The Swamp of Terror is basically full of any Undead creature you, the GM, wishes to be there. Most of the time attacks on travellers will be confined to sneak tactics involving dragging a lone traveller under the water but you could have a random number of skeletons or zombies attack if you wish, combined with the odd champion as you see fit. Whatever happens anyone entering the Swamp of Terror must make a Coolcheck or lose half their Cool total until they are out of this dreadful place.