Humans in the Homed Lands
To be sure, some humans survive by livestock farming and as artisans and craftsmen in the cities of the land. However, this is not the stuff of adventuring campaigns. Of more interest are the bandit brigades and gangs which still maraud many of these lands and beyond, taking whatever booty they can. Some of these human bandits have become troops in the armies of Iuz. Others have taken to freelance banditry, pillaging whatever target presents itself, whether they be other humans, humanoids, or forces of Iuz. Such bandit groups tend to be highly mobile, usually on horseback, which they need to be in order to survive here. A few have fled into the Fellreev Forest and conduct guerilla strikes against Iuz’s forces from there. This is especially true of groups with blood ties to men from the Bandit Lands who have adopted a similar course. Finally, some of the most powerful have accepted service with Iuz. Such groups take Iuz’s coin and serve as his priests demand or permit. Of these, the infamous Free Reavers are the best-known.
Indeed, there are a handful of bandit chieftains who are powerful enough to be forces to reckon with. These men allied with the Hierarchs in the past in return for recognition of their land rights. Typically, these are lawful evil chieftains who withdrew from the more chaotic Bandit Kingdoms to rule across the Ritensa. Some of them suspect, or know, that Iuz has toppled the Hierarchs. The most obvious sign of this is the dispatch of Horned Lands humanoid troops into the Bandit Lands, the hunting of free bandits therein, the kazgund orcs patrolling the Stonewall Road, and the presence of Iuz’s orc troops in the southern Shield Lands, not far from these chieftain’s fiefs in many cases.
Their reactions to this realization differ. Again, some have allied with Iuz, but others effectively proclaim their lands as their own and defy Iuz or anyone else to dislodge them. Iuz’s priests adopt different strategies to deal with any problems which might arise from this. In some cases, chieftains have been given greater land grants in the Shield Lands, Horned Lands or Bandit Lands in order to keep them happy with Iuz’s rule. In other cases, magical compulsions and threats have been used to force a chieftain into submission. In a very few cases, Iuz’s commanders are forced to accept the independence of these powerful men or to battle with them. Several key locations in the Horned Lands illustrate the different, and complex, political relationships involved.