The origin of SwampShadow Vale's name is unknown, much like the expansive marshland of which it makes up. It is tucked away in the east of Crownsrock and borders FrostFire, Landsdown and the Plains of Meridian. SwampShadow's lands are naturally made up of mostly swamps, lagoons and marshes from the rundown of precipitation from the northern mountains. This land makes for particularly unsuitable farming and is considered useless to most civilized folk.
SwampShadow is however home to many creatures and forms that take delight in its cool ponds and hidden rivers. Goblins, orcs and trolls have set up small camps within the Vale’s borders and are more than happy to live off the mukfish and crocodile that inhabit its waters. The territory is not simply for dim-witted creatures. There are far bigger dangers within SwampShadow. Witches, hags and powerful warlocks have chosen the land to practise their often forbidden magics. Most of the happenings within the Vale remain hidden from sight and are recorded only in whisper, such as the city of Nefar.
Nefar is known as a black market city. Adventurers and thieves who have been there talk of buildings of exquisite craftsmanship and detail, walls that would test any battle and streets that look as if they were just cleaned. The city itself won't appear on any map though. Few actually know that the city doesn't exist on the material plane at all, but its entrance lies somewhere within SwampShadow Vale. Merchants of all varieties venture here: Demon assassins, planetouched monks and even lowly mortal shopkeepers. If you have an addiction that needs tending to, a weapon prohibited anywhere else, or if you need someone to disappear, Nefar is the place to have it done. Besides its black market, Nefar is also known for its wizardry schools and temples. Both factions practise dark arts that are otherwise be banned. Practitioners are required to work one year for the city of Nefar for each year of schooling. These contracts often last decades, but help maintain the city's elegance and peace.
Also not found on any map is the infamous school of the Jade Shuriken. Said to be situated on Mount Glondus, found on the border of the Vale and FrostFire, it is where heroes learn to be ninjas and villains learn to be assassins. Not much else is known about the school. Its name rarely comes up, usually under the guide of a myth, but some dare use its name as a warning.
Slugdon is known as The City on Stilts and is a sprawling network of poorly constructed huts floating above the marshy wastes of SwampShadow Vale. The shacks, often built out of driftwood, are connected to each other by shoddy wood bridges. Slugdon could be considered the capitol city of SwampShadow, though neither the locals, nor geographers would care. Due to the wide array of unique alchemical ingredients found in the area, Slugdon has earned a reputation for its highly coveted alchemists and alchemy-related trades. Its folk are mostly hobgoblin or grimlock, and it's not uncommon to see an elderly grimlock whipping up a batch of invisibility potions. The seclusion of the swamp has offered a dark corner for certain types to thrive. It’s served as a haven for the oldest and most established underground crime networks, the most fearsome being the BlackHand. In fact, it’s said that the BlackHand gang's headquarters began in Slugdon before moving east.
DaggerBack was originally named by Rigo, the founder of The BlackHand, who lacked any real ingenuity when it came to anything other than crime. Rigo and his posse setup the imfamous gang, a group of criminals for hire, mostly known for acquiring expensive artifacts and selling them back to their rightful owners. Their other operations include illegal slavery, drugs, protection, trade, and paying top dollar for stolen goods. This has resulted in a shady market within DaggerBack, and though the majority of the town is associated with the guild, there are some that seek honourable work.
While searching through SwampShadow, do not be surprised to find other interesting landmarks. Empty portals built like giant stone doorways are hidden throughout the landscape. These have existed for millennia and most no longer function. One of these entryways must be avoided at all costs. The Bone Gate is a colossal arch built northeast of the region. Its winding stairs lead deep beneath the surface into the lair of an infamous necromancer, the Great Dread Knell. The old human was an alchemist who came across some great discovery lost to history, but all he’s remembered for now is the aura of madness that follows in his wake. His victims succomb to madness, then are cursed to serve the him in life and in death. Though necromancy is strictly banned across Crownsrock, none challenge The Great Dread Knell in fear of him approaching and cursing all who against them. Many adventurers and armies have tried to end the necromancer, but still his legions grow. The army of dread is often a political hot topic in Freawind Forest and Landsdown.