The Southlands is a large, tropical continent located far to the south of the Old World, beyond the mysterious realm of Araby and the Land of the Dead. Its northern land mass is a barren wasteland of deserts, studded with dusty and deserted tomb-cities, while further south, it is a land of unspoiled jungle and swamp, isolated from the realms of Man, Elf and Dwarf for uncounted centuries.[1a]
Many brave or foolish explorers and treasure hunters — though the two are often indistinguishable — have attempted to penetrate the thick jungles that make up the majority of the southern region of this land, but almost all have never been seen or heard of again. Legends tell that the Southlands was once joined to the continent of Lustria, and this is borne out by the many identical species of flora and fauna indigenous to both.[1a]
In the remote age of the Old Ones, the continent of Lustria was physically joined to the continent of the Southlands. This is clear from the fact that the same kind of jungle vegetation and animals exist on both continents and also that on both sides of the World Pond there are Lizardmen. It is even possible that the hidden Lizardman city of Zlatlan which lies deep in the jungles of the South Lands had already been founded before the continents drifted apart.[1a]
The Elves of Ulthuan believe that it may have occurred at the time of the birth of their own land, which rose up from the sea and split the continents apart. The Slann Mage-Priests believe that the creation of the World Pond, as they call the Great Ocean, was a fundamental pan of the great world plan of the Old Ones.[1a]
Indeed the Old Ones brought about the sundering of continents in order to create conditions favourable for the rise of the new races of Elves, Dwarfs and Men. The continents may have been joined by a kind of land ridge which subsided beneath the waves. An alternative explanation might be that volcanic forces resulted in a narrow sea widening to become an ocean and in the midst of this ocean erupted the land mass of Ulthuan, pushing apart the continents and causing the rise of great mountain chains elsewhere on the globe. The Old Ones may have been able to use power derived from the movement of the sun, the moons and the stars as well as forces within the world itself, to change the shape of the continents and the oceans.[1a]
Ever since the Old Ones vanished, the Slann Mage-Priests have been trying to understand and even regain some of their mysterious knowledge. The Slann perhaps find it difficult to come to terms with the possibility that the Old Ones did not regard them as the pinnacle of creation, but a stage on the way to the evolution of the Elves, Dwarfs and Men. The collapse of the warp gates and the pollution of the world by Chaos has in a strange way given a cosmic purpose to the Slann. Whatever the Old Ones intended, they never accomplished. The catastrophe overtook them and they perished, leaving only enigmatic glyphs to hint at their intentions. The new races they had created, although evidently capable, lacked wisdom and were at risk from Chaos.[1a]
Rise of the New Races
Thus it was that the Slann felt themselves to be entrusted with the ancient task of continuing the plans of the Old Ones. They seek to protect the world while the new races continue to evolve and mature. Ultimately, and perhaps according to the vision of the Old Ones, the new races will triumph over the forces of Chaos. For the Slann believe that these forces were the enemies of the Old Ones even before they appeared upon the world, part of a cosmic struggle beyond comprehension. The Old Ones were engaged in no less a task upon the world than the creation of offspring which over countless millennia — perhaps not such a long time in the time scale of the Old Ones — would evolve to the point where they would rise up, contain and overpower Chaos forever, returning equilibrium to the entire universe. The Slann envisage the world as a great pond MI of tadpoles which must be guarded until the tadpoles can emerge full grown to fulfill their destiny.[1a]
The new ones are understandably too ignorant and primitive to know that they shouldn't disturb the tranquillity of the Mage-Priests or subvert their sacred task by pillaging the sacred plaques. Many of the new ones are already victims of Chaos, like the Dark Elves and the Chaos Dwarfs. Then there are the strange races, never intended by the Old Ones, which were spawned by Chaos or which just evolved in the changed circumstances after the collapse of the warp gate, such as the Skaven, the Undead, the Orcs and Goblins and others. It is thus the task of the Saurus and Skinks to protect the cities of the Slann. Meanwhile, the Slann sometimes succeed in their efforts to adjust the shape of the world using what they know of the arcane powers of the Old Ones. Though this may cause floods, earthquakes and Dwarf, Elf or Human cities to disappear beneath the waves from time to time, the Slann know that this is for the ultimate good of all creation. Indeed, many of their own cities are ruined by the same process. Could it be thanks to the Old Ones and the Slann that the warp gate is surrounded by polar ice creating a bather against Chaos? One of the great pre-occupations of the Slann is whether or not the World Pond is as the Old Ones intended it, or whether further shifts were planned.[1a]
Traders and Raiders
The merchants of Araby were the first to probe along the coast with their dhows in search of spice, gold and all kinds of exotic tropical merchandise. When they encountered opposition from the Elves, they tried the overland route across the desert with their camel caravans. The great Arabyan traveller Ibn Jellaba was the first to penetrate the jungle and encounter the hidden realm of the Lizardmen. Since then, few have followed in his wake, preferring to halt at the edge of the desert rather than risk battle with the Al Saurim.[2b]
Erik the Lost, father of Losteriksson, was the first Norscan to reach the Southlands. He had been sailing towards Lustria, which he had heard about from Elf hostages captured in a raid on Ulthuan. Somehow he managed to miss the entire continent and sailed around the Southern Sea in circles at the mercy of monsoon winds and currents for weeks. Thus he rightly earned his nickname the 'Lost', which he bequeathed to his son. Eventually he made landfall on the coast of the Southlands, which he believed was in fact Lustria. Lost Erik and his men sailed up and down the coast raiding Elven and Arabyan trading settlements, then returned to Norsca with the booty. By this time Lost Erik realised that he had reached the Southlands and not the unknown continent mentioned by the Elves. Years later his son, Losteriksson, set out to raid the coasts of the Southlands.[2b]
Trying to follow the old rune-map of his father he became hopelessly lost, but this time ended up in Lustria instead. It was a long time before he realised this and by that time he had encountered the Lizardmen. The Cathayans heard about the wealth and abundance of spice in the Southlands and the Emperor of Cathay sent several expeditions to explore the coast. Soon fierce rivalry had broken out between the Arabyans and the Cathayans. This culminated in the great armada of war junks sent out by the Emperor Wu to take control of the southern coast of the Southlands once and for all. The fleet was struck by two devastating typhoons and utterly wrecked. Now only a few Cathayan traders warily make the journey to the Southlands, running the gauntlet of Araby corsairs and Elven dragon ships. All of this goes on around the coast of the Southlands without interrupting the Lizardmen who dominate the interior, secure within the impenetrable jungle.[1b]
The hidden city of Zlatlan is said to have been founded before the continents were split asunder and certainly there are Lizardmen to be found on both sides of the Great Pond, as the Lizardmen call the Great Ocean. Over the centuries, various races have set sail for the Southlands, drawn by tales of riches to be discovered within its unexplored depths, though few have returned with anything other than tales of misery and death. The Elves of Ulthuan have an outpost on the southern tip of the continent, ostensibly to control the sea routes leading to their homeland, but even their fearsome dragon ships are unable to deter reckless treasure hunters sailing towards the Southlands. It is also said that the Dwarfs have a stronghold named Karak Zorn on the edge of the mountains that form the spine of the continent, but if this is true, none have heard from its inhabitants in many years. Perhaps only the Lizardmen of the Southlands know for sure what became of the Dwarfs, but if this is the case, then it is likely that no one will ever know for sure the Karak's eventual fate.[1a]
None of those who have ventured south to explore the steaming jungles of the Southlands could hack their way more than a few miles into the impenetrable web of trees, vines and swamps without becoming hopelessly lost. Despite the horrendous difficulties inherent in an expedition to the Southlands, tales persisted of the lost city of Zlatlan, and many conflicting reports as to its location were presented by those who claimed to have seen its golden, stepped pyramids and glyph-lined avenues. Such discrepancies cannot be accounted for by simple incompetence, and has led to many scholars and cartographers to conclude that there must be many more cities, as yet undiscovered deep within the jungle. Cut off from the wisdom of the most venerable of the Slann Mage-Priests of Lustria, the Lizardmen of the Southlands have fallen prey to their baser, animal instincts and only the younger (in relative terms) Slann, those of the fourth and fifth generations, remain in the Southlands to provide any guidance to the Lizardmen.[1a]
Over the centuries, the Slann on Lustria have attempted to re-establish contact with their lost spawn, but such communication is sporadic and erratic at best. In addition to the loss of their masters' ancient guidance, the few spawning pools in existence spawn less and less frequently and many of the warrior lizards such as Saurus do not arise in any meaningful numbers. As a result, Lizardman society has begun to devolve. The spawning pools in the caverns below their cities simply do not spawn as regularly as the Slann feel they should, but they accept that this is the will of the Old Ones. Without great numbers of Saurus to fight their battles, the Slann of the Southlands are forced to rely on Skinks to defend them and use the few Saurus which have spawned to train the Skinks in the ways of war that came so naturally to them. The small number of Saurus who were spawned were primarily those destined to become Temple Guard and this has been seen as a sign that the designs of the Old Ones are unfolding as they had planned.[1a]
Similarly, the Lizardmen colonies on the Dragon Isles to the east of the Southlands were cut off from their masters many centuries ago, but the degradation of their culture was much more rapid and pronounced. Without any Slann, they have reverted completely to barbarism, becoming little more than animals and destroying what little remained of their former glory in bitter conflict. Whether the Slann of Lustria have attempted to establish communications with the lost kin or have simply abandoned them to their fate is unclear, but certainly there has been little or no contact between Lustria and the Dragon Isles for hundreds of years. None of the explorers who have attempted to establish colonies upon the Dragon Isles have succeeded, and thus the fate of the Lizardmen here is also accepted as part of the grand design of the Old Ones.[1a]
The Lizardmen temple-cities in the Southlands are not as old as some of those in Lustria, and as such their guardian Slann are also younger, though still over 6,000 years old. Also, the earliest spawnings of Saurus that once led the armies of the Southlands have long since been slain in sacred battle, and so only the younger Scar-Veterans are left to guide them in times of War. The Lizardmen spawning pools in the Southlands produce Saurus only erratically, and they are much rarer than they are in Lustria. For this reason, the Slann must rely more on the Skinks to fill the ranks of their armies and to patrol the jungles. As a result of this need, the Skinks of the Southlands tend to be more aggressive and war-like than their Lustrian counterparts, even going so far as to form into fighting ranks to face the enemy directly on the field of battle.[1c]
Some of the native creatures of the Southlands differ from those of Lustria. While the two continents used to be joined, and there is much similarity between the two, some forms of life have evolved in quite different ways. The larger and stronger Cold Ones that can be found in Lustria seem to have all but died out in the Southlands, and another breed of creature taken its place, the Horned Ones. These creatures are similar in many ways, but are not so dull witted and are much quicker. In the wild, they hunt in coordinated packs to take down much, larger prey. The Skinks ride these vicious beasts into battle, where the Horned Ones' natural aggression and hunting instincts are well served.[1d]
- Zlatlan - the Hidden City, is the largest and most significant of the remaining inhabitated Lizardmen Temple-Cities.
- Fortress of Dawn - An Elven outpost at the extreme south of the Southlands.
- Temple of Skulls - An old Lizardmen Temple.
- 1 Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (6th Edition)
- 2 Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen (5th Edition)