High Plateau

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Warning: This page concerns archaic world setting information from the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III. It is not canon in contemporary GemStone IV, nor is it canonical for Shadow World as the details may be specific to GemStone III. It is only historical context for certain very old parts of the game and these things should not be mixed.

The High Plateau is a region of badlands in the Quellbourne region of Jaiman in Shadow World. It is a point of ill-definition as it is still referenced in the game itself, and may even be physically present, but is not represented on the existing maps. In the I.C.E. Age it would have been located north of Blototh (Modern: Glatoph), and south of the Seolfar Strake (Modern: Lysierian Hills). In the source book material the Seolfar Strake extends into the northern rim around the Bay and it is unclear how far north the implemented part was relative to Blototh. This in itself is inconsistent with maps developed in the late 1990s.

The High Plateau is where the high quality granite was imported from for the crypt in The Graveyard. It is also the location of the ruined city of Quellburn, whose refugees included the founders of the Spider Temple. These details are no longer treated as official history. Quellburn was not an ordinarily accessible area in the I.C.E. Age, though its evil sorcerer Zenon was a known and established villain.

Geographical Ambiguity

The High Plateau was the northeastern boundary of the fief of Kestrel Etrevion in "The Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion" (1990), and the term "High Plateau" still exists in The Graveyard. The graveyard was built at this boundary in the story, as the burial mound was constructed near the battle field on "the northern marches." The Graveyard itself is consistent with this interpretation, depicting the burial mound as being on a vast "plateau." Thus, the High Plateau arguably exists in the game, but is not on any of the maps. The term would be copyrighted as an I.C.E. placename, but the terrain itself is not depicted.

I.C.E. Age Incompatibility

The High Plateau has a well-defined position on the maps of the Quellbourne (1989) source book. The subtle issue is that the travel through the forest maze to the Graveyard is deceptively fast, implicitly involving magical transport. The story and the terrain both suggest it is over one hundred miles east of Kelfour's Landing, and would not be far from the mountain Blototh (Modern: Glatoph).

The Legend
"Kestrel came to be rewarded for his service after a particularly hard fought campaign (actually pulled from the jaws of certain defeat by Bandur's sorcerous intervention) with a small territory carved out along the west coast of Jaiman, along the craggy shores of Claedesbrim Bay. This is part of the land that forms the windward edge of the High Plateau in the region now called Quellbourne."

"Before the dispute was resolved, an outbreak of hostilities along the land's northern marches called Kestrel and his still-loyal armies away to defend the borders. Demoralized and brokenhearted, Kestrel failed to vanquish the foes, and was beaten back to retreat with the few surviving weary and mutinous troops. ... As the new day dawned, he appeared before the remaining troops and announced that Lord Kestrel had died during the night of his battle wounds. He dismissed the pitiful remnants of Kestrel's army, who gladly scattered and returned to their homes without question. There, in a remote corner of the land, Bandur created several golems to build a burial mound to hold the remains of his brother along with some of his few cherished possessions." 

- Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion (1990)
The Graveyard

The Graveyard would have to be much further to the east of Kelfour's Landing than would be naively expected. There is no plateau anywhere near it in the source book. However, the burial mound can be seen from the Grandmaster's office in the Order of Voln monastery, which was added years later. This would seem to be another geographical ambiguity unless the monastery path or window is magical.

[Graveyard]
You pause inside the gates to survey the eerie scene.  A magnificently crafted granite crypt to the north inspires wonder and loathing.  The carvings on the facade are horrific, detailing the onslaughts of the Unlife throughout the chaotic history of Elanthia.  A gravel path wraps around the structure, while thorny brambles growing among the tombstones deter you from leaving the paved route.
Obvious paths: northeast, northwest

>look crypt
The crypt is built of the finest gray granite from the High Plateau.  Great magic and determination must have been expended to bring the ponderous blocks to this location.  The demonic aspect of the decorations on the face of the tomb make you uneasy.  Above the entry to the crypt, is an inscription.

[Graveyard]
The path girds the northern perimeter of the mound far enough away from it to grant a full view of the slopes.  The closecropped surface vegetation might offer handholds for scaling to the top to the adventurer who travels light.  To the north, the plateau continues off beyond the horizon, a trackless, windswept mesa of tall grass and thick sod that presents a hostile and formidable obstacle.
Obvious paths: east, southwest

[Graveyard, Top of Mound]
From the lofty perch atop the burial mound, you look out over the lowlands and marshes to the south and west and the desolate plateau to the north.  Facing southeast are the ominous graveyard, unquiet crypt, and the gates and cemetary walls beyond.  The ridge is narrow and uneven, with little room to maneuver.  Startled by the cawing of a nesting gorcrow, you realize that any distraction from keeping your balance would be courting to disaster.  You also see a pool of stinking mud and a narrow gully.
Obvious paths: down

Post-I.C.E. Age Incompatibility

Following the I.C.E. Age (maybe) there was terrain reminiscent of the High Plateau and potentially consistent with it introduced near Danjirland surrounding the Colossus. In the maps that were made after this, however, this is only a small patch of land situated south of Glatoph instead of north of it. The oldest part of the glacier is written to sound artificial, and does not exist in the source material for Blototh.

I.C.E. Age Glacier

The glacier was much smaller in 1990, and still consisted of only a handful of rooms in early 1996. The climate on the other side of the mountain is completely different. This in itself is no incompatibility.

[Glatoph, Glacier]
This side of the mountain is covered with ice.  The ice field is almost big enough to be called a glacier, except that the conditions are all wrong for a glacier.  You suspect some sort of magic at work, and wonder at the wizard powerful enough to freeze half a mountain.
Obvious paths: southwest

The rumors section on the Play.net website, and in turn the Wiki page for Glatoph, insinuate Melgorehn made the steel golems on Blototh. This suggests the "glacier" was originally artificial.

Colossus

The Colossus and its surroundings already existed in January 1996. Its precise timing relative to the De-ICE is unclear, and could actually be the High Plateau itself or even represent fallen Ugus Fost.

[Badlands, Hillock]
The hilltop, frequently blasted by cold winds and chill rain, is barren of all but the toughest shrubs.  A warren of canyons twists between the forlorn hills in every direction.  On the next hillock to the southeast, you spy a huge humanoid figure which blots out the stars.  It slumps motionless, perhaps a fearsome giant contemplating the wastelands.   You also see the sheer ravine wall.
Obvious paths: east

The glacier on what is now called Glatoph was expanded into a vast arctic ice sheet when Icemule Trace was created. This largely replaces where the High Plateau would have been on the map.

Quellburn

Quellburn was founded by refugees of Zor in the Wars of Dominion who were fleeing from forces of the Unlife. These were implicitly the messengers of the Order of Dansart, one of the six branches of The Iron Wind. Quellbourne ruled the region around Claedesbrim Bay for six thousand years. Quellburn was destroyed two hundred years ago by Zenon under the corruption of the Order of Athimurl.