the southern half of the western pass is fairly lush and hospitable. at some point near the northern third though, the terrain abruptly becomes harsh and scrubbed. fissures and venting gases occur sporadically as the landscape gives way to dried lava flow and rocky outcroppings.
large numbers of gnolls have recently settled in the area. they are in a process of moving from the east, from foothills in the north-western vassagonian desert.