Belkzen is a harsh region filled with badlands, thorny scrub, and dangerous peaks. Water is scarce and concentrated primarily in the seasonal Flood Road, which serves as a caravan route during the dry season, and in the vast, salty lake of quicksand known as the Dirt Sea.
The orcs who live in Belkzen don’t often call it by that name; if asked where he lives, a Belkzen orc generally just names his tribe. The name “Hold of Belkzen” is a human construct, and refers to the warlord Belkzen, the legendary orc who united the tribes in the area and conquered the Sky Citadel of Koldukar during the Age of Anguish. After his death, the term came to be applied to all the orc-held lands between Varisia and Ustalav, consisting mostly of a dry river valley bordered by the Kodar and Mindspin Mountains to the west and the Tusk Mountains to the east.
Belkzen sits high in a large, jagged, and isolated valley subject to tremendous yearly floods as the snowpack in the mountains above melts. Mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers, and other megafauna call the valley home, and wander where they will. Sites of incredible power and ancient age, such as the Cenotaph of the Whispering Tyrant and the Brimstone Haruspex, home of oracular orc priests, dot the harsh landscape as well, drawing adventurers seeking their secrets and would-be warlords hoping to control them.
The many orc tribes of the Hold of Belkzen live in peace with one another during the plentiful rainy season, but when the dry seasons begin, they fall naturally into savage competition again. The land’s resources are too meagre for them to unite for long under a single leader. A few human compounds, such as Trunau, exist here as well, standing against the enemies who throw themselves against their walls.