The Shady Dales are a hilly, densely forested stretch of coastline that extends before a cold tundra with massive mountain-chains further north. It’s climate and vegetation is similar to that of Scandinavia, with long, harsh winters and mild, dry summers.
There are three groups of original inhabitants:
The most numerous are the Ogre-kin, a primitive and violent race of humanoid predators. Their powerful physiques allow them to survive in the harsh climates of the northern hills and tundra, but groups of Ogre-kin are forever raiding the more fertile lands to the south. Ogre-kin do not farm or build. Because they can only craft the most primitive tools, they are all the more keen on acquiring such items.
Until recently, the different kinds of Elves lived as semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers in the wooded coastal lowlands. The largest group are the Wild Elves, who excelled in hunting and warfare. The more sedentary High Elves lived in tent-sites and practiced trade, the working of wood and leather, and the study of the druidic arts. The rare and elusive Drow specialized in the practice of sorcery. Almost all Elves now live on human run estates or settlements and work the land as peasants.
The clanholds of the Dwarves originated in the high mountains and spread from there onto many hills, in search of metal. Dwarves excel at mining and smithing. Since the war against the Elves and the coming of Men, many Dwarves have retreated again into the mountains and hardly ever mingle with Elves or Men, set apart by their longer life-span (up to 150 years) and lower rate of reproduction. They provide metal-ware to the High King in exchange for food and other items in an uneasy, unequal truce with the Empire.
Humans are the most recent arrivals to the Shady Dales. Their first settlements date back some three generations. Numerically inferior, they nonetheless command and control the area through their superior skill at arms and organisation. Most humans arrive as soldiers of the legions, but many have stayed in the Dales after their retirement, and an increasing number of farmers, craftsmen and merchants have been arriving. All humans are the law-abiding subjects of the High King, whom they worship as a living Deity. The humans are rapidly transforming the landscape of the Dales, turning forest into farmland, building roads and bridges, establishing plantations and farming estates, villages and fortified military camps.