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Tabletop Game / The Hordelands

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The Hordelands are a setting for Dungeons & Dragons released in 1990 for the 2nd edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. They are a subsetting for the older Forgotten Realms, and occupy a niche as the Mongolia analogue for Toril.

Released in a boxed set titled "The Horde", the Hordelands are a vast and empty region of Faerun, the main continent of Toril, inhabited by myriad tribes of nomadic farmers and hunter-gatherers. This great swathe of cold, arid steppes, deserts, towering peaks, stands of birch forests and swamps, glacial fields and tundra divides the furthest eastern reaches of Faerun, the lands of Thay and Rasheman, from the distant lands of Kara Tur. Despite this, the famous Golden Way, a road that links the great waterholes of the wasteland, serves as an artery for trade between the outflung realms to either side of the Hordelands.

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After its initial release, the Hordelands mostly faded into obscurity, warranting little more than passing mention in the Forgotten Realms campaign guides for 3rd and 4th edition.

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  • A Load of Bull: One of the native monsters of the Hordelands is the Shatjan, a minotaur-like creature that is half-human (male or female) and half reindeer. These fey creatures pursue nomadic existences in the wilderness, where each individual family tends to and guards a single reindeer herd that it considers its own kin to protect. They aren't malevolent, but they also won't stand for their reindeer to be randomly slaughtered, either. They also have An Ice Person powers, including a freezing Breath Weapon, immunity to the cold, and the ability to lower the temperature around themselves to the point where flesh can flash-freeze.
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  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Hordelands are literally Medieval Central Asia, in particular Mongolia. The original sourcebook even has a Genghis Khan analogue, Yamun Kahan, who has recently united the once-squabbling clans of the vast Tuigan tribe into a conquering army with designs set on invading the richer lands to the east and west.
  • I Have Many Names: The Hordelands have many, many In-Universe monikers, including but not limited to: Taan, the Endless Wastes, the Plain of Horses, Al-Tirnaq, Solon, Ra-Khati, Semphar, Khazari, the Northern Desert and the Land of the Snow Demons.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Subverted. Whilst there are some nonhuman races living in the Waste—predominantly ogres, orcs, goblinoids, korobokuru, hengeyokai and centaurs—the Horde boxed set focuses its attention solely on playing the human residents of the Hordelands, who have somehow managed to proliferate and dominate the region.
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  • Our Centaurs Are Different: The Hordelands are home to their own distinctive subrace of centaurs, which pursue nomadic existences upon the steppes and more closely resemble both the faux-Mongolian human ethnicities and the shaggy steppes-dwelling horses that they live alongside. They are much more aggressive, warlike and, in many ways, coarse and unpleasant compared to their forest-dwelling "sylvan" cousins from the gentler lands of Faerun. In particular, they are master archers and females outnumber their menfolk two to one. That said, they are also surprisingly open to adopting heroic non-centaurs as respected leader figures, known as "Learned Ones".
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