Rise of the Runelords
The Mushfens are a vast swamp on the southern coast of Varisia, and the largest marsh in all of Avistan. Despite being located in close proximity to both the cities of Magnimar and Korvosa, the Mushfens remain a trackless wilderness filled with many unpleasant creatures.
The Mushfens encompasses the land south of the Yondabakari River, from the south-westernmost tip of Varisia all the way to the aptly named Fenwall Mountains in the east. The Mushfens did not exist as a swamp until the earth-shattering cataclysm brought on by Earthfall over 10,000 years ago. Before this time the area was a land-locked part of the ancient Thassilonian realm of Eurythnia. The earthquakes and tidal waves caused by the impacts of the Starstone caused the majority of that kingdom to sink below the waters of the Varisian Gulf. Over the course of millennia, the drastic lowering of the countryside, combined with its new proximity to the sea turned the land into the swamp it is today.
Flora & Fauna
Unusual plants grow wild in the swamps of the Mushfens, many of them used by cooks to season local dishes. These include whiplily, frog’s eye, miresh, and fen pepper. Enterprising restaurateurs occasionally hire adventurers to brave the dangers of the Mushfens to harvest them.
The Mushfens are known to be home to a variety of unpleasant denizens, including the shape-changing faceless stalkers, goblins, black dragons, marsh giants, boggards, and their monstrous supposed ancestors, the mobogo. Undead in the form of incorporeal spectres have also been spotted among its fens and marshes. More mundane dangers include fang flies, dragonwasps, moss pigs, and swamp barracudas.
Being one of the largest swamp in all of Avistan, marsh-dwelling black dragons should be abundant in the Mushfens; strangely, the opposite is the case. These wyrms have avoided this part of Varisia for thousands of years, remembering a time when the runelords of Thassilon used powerful magic to enslave their ancestors, forcing them toil as guardians, or even worse, common laborers. When that ancient empire collapsed after Earthfall, the surviving black dragons fled, vowing never to return. The fact that the Mushfens didn’t exist as a swamp in those ancient days does not change their minds; in fact, reminding them of this fact will elicit a distinctly negative response from any black dragon.
Numerous powerful goblin tribes make their homes in Mushfens, often carving out ancient ruins to build their lairs. Three in particular stand out: the Breakbag, Houndgutter, and Wind Whisper tribes.