Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
This strange rift in the floor of Oerth is over 180 miles in length and 10 to 30 miles in width. It is more than a mile deep in its most cavernous recesses, and is packed with caves and caverns.
Much of its length has been cleared of monsters over the centuries, although some still remain in the deeper cavern and tunnel systems.
The major importance of the Rift Canyon now is its home to some 4,000 bandits who have joined the self-styled Plar and his men, who originally occupied it. Some 6,000 humans now live in the Rift. They are a thorn in Iuz’s side, since the Rift is largely barren and the bandits must emerge and raid for whatever they can get. The tremendous natural defenses of the Rift are such that bandits with good knowledge of its passes, slopes, and screes have a great advantage over any pursuers. However, it is likely that the bandits here will squabble among themselves given the precariousness of their existence. Iuz’s servants will surely extract accounts of the place from captured bandits, and map key points of ingress for a final clean-out of these pests.
Rainwater drains into this cavernous fissure throughout its expanse, but no known crops are grown here. The canyon is marked by massive sheer faces of rock, scrub-covered screes, and paths on which only the most sure of foot would dare set foot. The Rift is honeycombed with warrens, caves, and caverns, and it is therefore very probable that the Rift contains passages to the Underdark. Dark things are said to slither in the canyon’s deepest recesses.
Rift Canyon contains a number of mines that provide silver to the region, mostly near Riftcrag. A jade deposit was also once discovered in the Rift, but has long since been exhausted
The inhabitants of the Rift often venture out of their domain to procure both food and weapons. Iuz’s commanders have tried, but are unable to block all of the exists from the Rift Canyon
The generally temperate weather of the Rift has been described by some as “bizarre.” Swirling, highly localized gales can sweep men from the canyon’s rock faces in an instant. Bitter frosts during the winter months make traversing the canyon’s rocky surfaces extremely dangerous. Drifting mists can also create slippery conditions on par with the ice and frost. Rockfalls commonly occur, and cave-ins somewhat less frequently.
Flora and fauna
Lizards, fish, and similar creatures can be found in the caves, springs, and pools of the Rift itself, while hardy goats can be found on the rocky surfaces of the ravine and the Rift Barrens beyond. Birds and small animals (such as hares) are sometimes caught by trappers.
In the deepest caves and on the Rift floor, carrion crawlers, behirs, giant lizards, gelatinous cubes, and cave fishers are among the more commonly encountered dangers, and some have reported dinosaur-like creatures and prehistoric beasts in a few of the very deep caves below the canyon.
Rift Canyon is populated by many of the former inhabitants of the bandit kingdom which once ruled the Rift Canyon and surrounding barrens from the town of Riftcrag. Known as the Men of the Rift, many of these bandits sought refuge in the Rift itself after abandoning the town to Iuz’s forces in 583 CY. Made up of chiefly humans, bugbears, gnolls, ogres, and orcs, these forces are supplemented by thousands of refugees from other bandit kingdoms (chiefly men from Reyhu, a bandit kingdom south of the canyon), who also fled here to escape Iuz’s forces during the Greyhawk Wars. In 585 CY, these bandits numbered some 6000 humans (2000 original settlers, plus some 4000 refugees). Many of these bandits are worshipers of Erythnul, and are quick to sacrifice any intruders into their realm to their evil god.
The Men of the Rift are led by Durand Grossman, Plar of the Rift, and plan a “dark revenge” against the Old One. The Plar is said to have a pair of trained hippogriffs, a number of hell hounds, and nearly a dozen displacer beasts at his service. In times of dire need, Durand is rumored to be able to call upon a “deep-laired gorgimera” for aid. The presence of such beasts in the Plar’s forces may be partially due to the services of Menfri Rauveen, an “ex-Aerdi mage,” who has been researching the Rift’s secrets for years.
A tribe of roughly one hundred ogres make their home in a cluster of caverns north of Sheerwatch (a keep located south of the Rift), and are brutally hostile to all who approach their domain. A beholder, a single annis, and (allegedly) a band of illithids are some of the rarer threats offered in the most inaccessible reaches of the Rift.
In addition, a powerful undead dragon, a dracolich named Dragotha, makes its home in the Wormcrawl Fissure located near the Rift Canyon.
The ruins of the ancient Flan city of Veralos (of the pre-migration era) sits on the northern edge of Rift Canyon, and the giant-occupied city of Kongen-Thulnir sits on the southern edge.