Greater Horned Empire
Excerpt from the World of the Wilderlands
Between the giant Volcanic Peaks and the Great Wurm Gap are the lands of the Greater Horned Empire and the Chaotic Horned Empire. The highlands of the Chaotic Horned Empire are a mix of burning wasteland and savage steppes, fertile only in the southwest along the banks of the River of Blood. The capital city of Baal-Aitor stands upon a vast hill at the center of the highlands, underneath which is the accursed source for the River of Woe, tributary to the River of Blood. The river drops from the highlands over the Crashing Falls into the vast Amotken Swamp, where live countless dark fey, demon nymphs, and hags. Each city of the Empire has as its patron a god of Chaos, as opposed to a devil or demon-god; thus, the Chaotic Horned Empire is considered the most heretical of all by the other demonic empires. Pluton, dedicated to Juno the Damned, stands to the north, in the Impish Highlands; her loyal servants have been given minotaurs as slaves. To the east stands Camazotztlan, the City of Bats, dedicated to the Tlanitlan god of Blood; it is a favorite haunt of vampires and demons alike. In the south, Tel Harmakhis is the domain of the Ghinorian God of Demons and Death; there his largest temple stands, and scores die weeping on his altars daily. To the west, in the Volcanic Peaks and upon the slopes of an ever-seething cinder cone, stands the dragon-demon city of Shashukauhale, dedicated to the Great Fire Dragon Shashuk, though all chromatic dragons and dragon-demons are welcome. Each of the dozens of other major cities similarly has its own patron god, but all are revered at the Great Temple of Chaos at the center of Baal-Aitor. The northern plains and wastes are dotted with huge, ancient monoliths, said to have been constructed by the Markabs; demonic sages who have sought to catalog all the monoliths are said to derive a pattern that drives them insane.
To the south, past the Werewolf Mountains and the Worg Hills, stands the Greater Horned Empire, which long ago ruled both the Lesser Horned Empire and the Chaotic Horned Empire. The Emperor rules from the City of 10,000 Horns, a city of countless horn-like towers, at the center of which stands the Tower of Lost Souls, wherein can be found the court and throne of the Emperor of All Demons. The basalt walls of the city are mortared in the blood of innocents and covered with bas-relief images of the patron devil-god of the empire, Lucifer himself. The vast moat of fire around the city is fed with recalcitrant slaves — the enchantment of the flames such that they burn for a thousand years — while the roads leading to the city are lined with the skulls of paladins and the impaled bodies of infants and virgins. The Fields of Blood along the River of Blood are worked by countless human, demihuman, humanoid, and demonbrood slaves commanded by the Queen of Pain, a terrible demoness who rules the fields from the City of Pain. The city of Coyotlan stands in the northern hills, held by Tlanitlans who fled south rather than north, and entered into the service of the Greater Horned Empire; today they train the great wolves of the hills as steeds and serve their dark emperor as shock troopers, while rebels still fight demonic rule under the aegis of Quetzalcoatl. To the east is the Great Wurm Gap, a vast scar in the land, 800 miles long, 100 miles wide, and a mile deep, wherein lives twisted forms of life alien and inimical even to the demons. Only in the southern portion, the Naga Delta, can anything resembling demonic or mortal life be found.