As the World Burns
Beyond the Ringing Mountains and the Forest Ridge, an unexplored region of flat plains seems to go on forever. This area, the Western Hinterlands, has no cities, no known villages, and few ruins or ancient sites – only a handful of shy and suspicious herding tribes, which stay out of the way of the similarly scarce packs of thri-kreen and vicious bands of gnolls. Like the desolate wastes beyond the Endless Sand Dunes to the south or the broken badlands of the Barrier Wastes to the north, little of the Western Hinterlands is occupied.
Although one might go days or weeks without encountering signs of permanent habitation in these lands, explorers are drawn into the remote region. Adventurers looking for undiscovered ruins and refugees seeking a haven beyond the grasp of the sorcerer-kings cross the Ringing Mountains and head westward. The boldest or most desperate dune traders lead caravans southwest around the mountains or north through the Barrier Wastes, searching for thri-kreen to do business with or new resources to exploit. Eventually, most traders abandon such notions and return to civilized lands.