The Deadlands are a region to the north-west of Rowen and act as a buffer between Rowen and Korrinth. The name original comes from the huge loss of life in the region during the Mage Wars. At the time it was a fertile and highly desirable piece of land, and was fought over heavily by Rowen, Korrinth, and Sindall. All three powers enacted scorched-earth measures, which rendered the area an uninhabitable wasteland by the end of the Mage Wars.
The Trilateral Dispute
During the early decades of the Golden Age, the dispute shifted from the battlefield to the halls of the Alliance. All three states were members of the Alliance now in good standing(though Korrinth was the last to join). The arguments were fierce, and the concern over an armed conflict was a very real possibility. The absurdity of the situation was pointed out by the newly-minted Pendragon Aden Searlin, who commented that everyone was getting ready to go to war over a feted swamp.
The Korri first began to take matters into their own hands by building "collective farms" in the region. These were little more than thinly-veiled military encampments and were openly called out by Rowen as an act of war. Sindall was the first to formally mobilize its army in response. Due to a separate mutual defense pact with neighboring Sahal, they were required to prepare for war as well, which in turn invoked various Alliance measures. This created a very complicated situation: Korrinth was a member of the Alliance and refused to acknowledge the troop formations in the Deadlands, having them instead plant crops around the encampments both to advance the lie about the farms, and to invoke Alliance laws regarding colonization.
Aden Searlin called upon the then-newly formed Gudersnipe Foundation for assistance. The Foundation had recently sold a large quantity of light and medium weapons to Sindall; mostly riffles, mortars, and artillery. By contrast, Korrinth was still arming its soldiers with pikes and shields. Foundation analysis predicted that Sindall would defeat Korrinth handily, but in doing so inflict very severe casualties. Korrinth had neither the technology nor the understanding to deal with gunshot wounds, and Sindallise soldiers lacked the training and discipline to use the new weapons effectively. The battle would be a bloodbath.
However, to further complicate matters, the Foundation had an old non-aggression pact with Rowen that forbade them from interfering militarily, even if it was on Rowen's side. So Aden did the practical thing: he asked the Foundation to do something "non-militarily".
Enter the Crimson Blade Corpse of Engineers. They already had extensive maps of the area per their military campaign in Korrinth a century earlier, and found the region vulnerable to a particular kind of attack. Working in tandem with the Rowen Militia, the engineers dug a series of secret canals which drained the deadlands of all water. In a matter of a few short months, the region went from a feted, rotting swamp; to a dried up, festering desert. It was an ecological disaster in an already ecologically-devastated area, but it had the desired effects.
The crops planted by the Korri failed before their first harvest, which annulled their colonization claims. With the crops failed they could also no loner support the collective farm lie. The troops were forced to withdraw(both for political reasons and out of thirst), and the crisis was averted.
Aden Searlin then brought representatives from the three nations back to the negotiating table. As punishment for the unlawful military incursion, Korrinth was forced to drop all territorial claims on the region(a requirement they found easy to comply with, given the land was now useless to them). Sindall and Rowen were then asked why did they want the land. The Sindallese government replied that they did not want it, but that they would not support any action that gave it to Korrinth. Most of the border between Korrinth and Sindall was controlled by good natural defenses. If the Korri were allowed control of the Deadlands, they would have an extremely convenient invasion route into Sindall(the only barrier being the River Elb). Sindall said they did not care what ultimately happened to the land as long as no standing army was placed there. The Rowen representative expressed similar desires, that the land was useless now but that they wanted it as a buffer against invasion.
Since the Rowen people tended not to develop land at all(preferring instead a more naturalistic lifestyle), Aden declared that the land would go to Rowen with the stipulation that it be forfeit if the Rowens ever established a standing army. This was fine, as the Rowens had no need for such a force and wanted the land only as a buffer against invasion.
In the New Day era, the dispute over the Deadlands was reignited. The northern part of the region(which is geographically a part of the Biswon Watershed was found to be rich in valuable minerals and other resources. Rowen still does not allow anyone to inhabit the region, but Sindall is pushing to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.