Geography, Climate, and Politics (Dominaria Supplement)
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The World of Dominaria
The world of Dominaria is the product of 13 years of building and three years of work on this wiki. In terms of land area, the primary Pangaean-continent would stretch from the English Channel in the east to the Bering Sea in the west, and from the frozen fjords of Norway to the steaming Indus Valley. It is my intent that once this wiki is finished, you could game for a decade across the surface of Dominaria and not see it all. Scores of countries with hundreds of cities speaking two dozen languages, each providing an in depth sandbox for adventure.
I have just started to work with Campaign Cartographer 3 and my work is still very rough but I wanted to get a draft in to give people an idea of my world and the countries therein. The map is bereft of cities, interior boundaries, roads, forests, smaller mountain ranges, and all the other details that make an awesome map but bear with me. I'll keep on improving my skills and I'll post better maps as able.
To the right is the continent of Dominaria and the islands of the Southern Seas. There are some basic political boundaries and the overall terrain types are there as well. this can be used as a general reference until my better maps go down.
The Westlands, as they have always been known, are the cradle of human civilization. Long ago the first men carved themselves a place on Dominaria, and from the shores and hills of Mataér they spread. The First Great Empire of the West, now colloquially refered to as the 1st Imperium, rose out of King John of Illyria’s masterful conquest of and treaty with the Cormyri Empire in the 2nd Age. The Imperium has risen and fallen twice since then, its territory varied, but it has always come back to the High Houses of Cormyr and Illyria, the two key provinces of the late Imperium. The 3rd Imperium was easily the largest country in Dominaria, spanning almost 900 leagues East to West and almost 500 North to South. But now the great Empire is gone as quickly as it began and a half century of progress and peace with it. Now the West is a patchwork of countries, counties, and kingdoms divided by simple lines on paper. New Kingdoms and Countries have been formed out of old House alliances and newly found power.
The vast territories of The Westlands are the cradle of Human civilization. Here, amongst other races, vast human empires and kingdoms hold sway over millions of people. The Westlands are teeming with life and 4 Ages of history have left a patchwork of cities and peoples related by both current situation and ancient ties. Here can be found towns, villages, monasteries, fortresses, inns, and cities. But the roads and highways in between criss-cross an unimaginable expanse of wilderness. Grasslands and plains stretch as far as the eye can see, and mountain peaks rise from ancient forests. Off of one of the ancient and well-traveled highways, a wayfarer is unlikely to meet a soul before they reach a small town or inn. So despite the grand countries and proud kingdoms, the Westlands is hardly bereft of wilderness or places to adventure. The grand history of the Westlands has left this wilderness scattered with grand works of and forgotten testaments to civilization. While cutting across the Illyrian Marches or Cormyri Vale one might traverse a vast plain cut by an ancient aqueduct. An abandoned watchtower may guard a solitary hill - standing silent vigil over a forgotten landscape.
After the Dragon was killed in the Centrality, Lord Adam Renzel of Ramosia led the Coalition in talks with Lord Jacob Tionne of the Northern Alliance. The talks between the two major remnants was meant to piece the shattered Imperium back together but if anything broke it apart further. The short war that followed broke apart the two sides and made the West the patchwork it is today. Many centers of power and not a few Great Houses were destroyed utterly in the war, so the lines that once so clearly defined power have been blurred. In the spaces between power, old races have claimed new seats of power. Two Elven nations have risen in the West, and the Dwarven Freehold takes root in Cormyr. New clades of elves and dwarven towns dot the landscape further west, and communities of other races long without a firm hold in the westlands have appeared. To further complicate matters, remnants of the Dragon's forces yet linger in the shadows. Several warlords remain at large, and some Houses still rue the day the Dragon fell.
All of that is for the Lords however; for the simple folk of Dominaria these last years have been a breath of cool morning air after a long night. Although life is far from perfect, things are returning to 'normal'. Life goes on in the aftermath of the Dragon's War, cities rebuild and farmers replant their fields. Trade and information once again flows along the roads, and the cities of the west now teem with life. For commoner and adventurer alike life is now wide open. Guilds and Orders aplenty move to take a new place in this new world, and the many countries born from the Imperium's death look to make clear their identity. This fresh morning is not without it's red sun however: this time of opportunity is run through with uncertainty. An entire generation has known nothing but war, and finds themselves absent profession in what many hope will be a time of peace. More esoterically: the vast infrastructure that held up the teeming millions is either in ruins or stretches from new country to new country - its fate uncertain. So the Westlands sits as it always has, a land of vast green plains and rolling vales, of mountains and rivers, and watches as this Age unfolds. And among these thousands of years of history this new generation of Dominarians try to find their place.
- The Empire of Ramosia
- The Malkieri Dominion
- The Kingdom of Onea
- The Tionne Hegemony
- The Kingdom of Strakenland
- The Plains of Cormyr
- The Dragonland Reach
The sub-continent of Beldron is separated from the mainland by the Narrow Sea. Although Beldron's history includes several Kingdoms, Hegemonies, and other attempts at unity, for much of its history city-states have defined the political landscape. In a land so apparently tough to rule from one place, powerful city-states or unions of several have long held sway over the island. It is a land of beautiful coastlines, rolling coastal plains, and also forests, mountains, and fjords. The seaward coasts are picturesque lands of rolling coastal plains and beaches, broken by small bluffs and forests. The interior of the country is a mixture of hilly forest and mountains, with rivers and passes the primary avenues of transportation. The landward coasts are rocky beaches in the north that blend into sandy, temperate beaches in the bend and then fjords and mountains along the Sword Coast.
The cities of Lower Beldron are united by the common tie of the Sapphire Kingdom as much as they are driven apart by it. The Sapphire Kingdom, ruled from Visserene, included all of Lower Beldron. The memory of the former kingdom's glory lies all around: some bridges, aqueducts, and waystones erected or restored during the period still exist. Also, all of the cities bear the marks of that kingdom's golden age. So too then though, they remember the downfall. The costly reigns of Queen Hannah and her son King Byron, followed by King Byron's failed Winter War, brought an end to southern unity and generations of prosperity. The Sapphire Kingdom's surrender to Etrasini's alliance over 150 years ago still haunts the south. The next power to rise in Lower Beldron was the Sipani Hegemony. Sipani gained hegemony over a weak Ostria four decades after the Sapphire Kingdom fell, and then conquered Tallins only 3 years later. Sipani held this hegemony for 80 years, and Caprille grew a strong ally of the hegemony while Visserene stagnated in the west. 30 years ago though, in 55 4A, Tallins revolted against Sipani and threw off the yoke. The Tallini Army fought a dogged and bloody campaign but won a coup when they captured the heir to House Dunning of Sipani. House Dunning sought terms, but was overthrown by the nobles of the city by year's end.
This then set the stage for modern Lower Beldron. Sipani is now ruled by the corrupt Noble's Council, while Ostria and Tallins are at each other's throats. Caprille sells food to everyone, playing their position and natural resources to their advantage. Then Visserene, former capitol of the Sapphire Kingdom, is on the rise once more. Vissereni ships ply every port in the West, and a fair number in the east, and their banner travels the roads of Beldron once more.
The five cities of Upper Beldron and the nomadic Lucarni of the former Lucarni Highlands share the XXX
The Sword Coast
The northern coast of Lower Beldron is a land of fjords and narrow inlets. It was originally named for its shape, like many swords jutting into the Narrow Sea, but now it earns its name in blood. Ever since the double-dip of the collapse of the Saphirre Kingdom and then the fall of the Sipanian Hegemony, the Sword Coast has become a new haven for piracy in the West. Pirates and other lawless groups have begun to take up living in the Sword Coast; everything from mercenary bands looking to carve out a city state to pirate captains or commodores looking for a safe haven from which to strike. Some have encountered darker groups as well, but during the Dragon War many such groups went to the mainland. The Sword Coast pirates have put so much pressure on shipping through the Narrow Sea that any trade lane that can has switched into the open ocean south of Beldron, and those that must transit the sea go heavily armed. The city of Visserene has profitted immensely from this and is now the second largest port city on Dominaria. Tallins too has had its share of prosperity, but with a darker tint. Many pirates wary of Dogaska have made Tallins their nominal home port and so long as they cause no official trouble, the Duchess of Tallins permits their illegal trade.
The great city of Arcadia was founded in latter days of the 1st Age and has stood against invaders, rebels, and all the ravages of time for nearly 3000 years. Four times the city has fallen, and four times Arcadia has refused to kneel. From the marble halls of the Rose Palace and the white floors of the Senate the Emperor and his government rule over Arcadia, Andor, Felix, Selucia, and Concord. In each vassal state Proconsuls rule in their stead and ensure peace and stability throughout the Empire.
Arcadia, last of the ancient Empires and the only one never to completely fall, has passed through yet another crucible of time. The 4th Age has been both a new Golden Age and an age of strife and strain for the Arcadians. Arcadia stands more powerful now than it has been in 500 years, but at the cost of two generations of soldiers. First the Caliph was pushed from Selucia and the eastern border was restored. Next, war with Ramosia and then the Third Imperium brought Andor into the Arcadian sphere. Once that war died down, a hungry Arcadia invaded the Felix Regions and reclaimed lands long given to barbarians and Orcs.
But then Concord revolted, and Arcadia was sucked into a costly amphibious campaign to reclaim the island. Simultaneously, Selucian Legions fought Pardic Barbarians in a drawn out guerilla campaign. After those wars, Arcadia was ready for peace: despite the fact that the 4th Age has yielded naught but victories for the ancient and resurgent Empire, its citizens were tired of war. Greybeards were the only ones who remembered the 50 years of peace that closed the 3rd and opened the 4th Age, and they were only children then.
But Arcadia's needed rest would have to wait. The Dragon's War in the west ballooned into a massive war of conquest by the Wandering One returned. Arcadia, as they had in times of old, marched against the ancient arch-evil. Arcadian Legions fought at the Battle of Nurim's Plains, and fought several battles across Cormyr the next summer, but then fate decided to test Arcadia one last time. The caliph invaded Otaria in the east, and Arcadia was forced to totally realign for a 6 year conflict with its eastern rival. The war ended dirty for both sides, but Arcadia claimed victory by forcing the Caliphate to the table.
It's been four years since the end of the last war, and Arcaida is settling into a badly needed period of rebuilding. Infrastructure and farms long XXXX
note:Be aware, work on bringing Arcadia past the Dragon's War is ongoing. Right now most of the date below is out of date by about a decade.
Why do I like this place? It's the stink, it reeks of magic...old magic. It so defies my ability and outstrips even my age that I am intoxicated by it. Something happened here, long ago. This vast landscape was not always so; I cannot say what it was...but I wonder. So why do I soar over this sea of sand? I love it.
Corkus the Scourge, Blue Dragon of The Jannis' Anvil
Thousands of miles of starkly beautiful and inexorably deadly sand. Rivers and springs surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural paradises a mortal can lay eyes on. Cities large and small: small cities that huddle against the sandstorms, and cities so huge their populations dwarf realms of the West. These are the Eastlands; land of the desert nomads beholden to nature alone and the Enlightened of the city who follow the Caliph of Karnak.
The vast swath of land between the Otarian Plateau and Selucian Gap in the west and the Cimmerian Penninsula in the east is the heart of the Eastlands. While most western observers note little but the sand, there is a cultural and geographic diversity in the East that puts any casual analysis to shame. The Southern Caliphate for example, most people's first thought when they hear "Eastlands", has three or four distinct regions stretching across more than a thousand miles. Karnak, the city of Kings, and the nearby "Cities of the Heart" form the center of the great realm. To their east, the "Cities of the Pearl" line the Bay of Pearls and live out their thousand year drama as they dive for the beautiful gems. The "Trade Cities" sit on the high desert roads, sprawling across several wadi and oases and guarding the Caliph's influence. Several sultanates and emirates fill in the spaces in this vast mosaic to complete the Caliphate. Due to the peculiar circumstances of living in the East, each city is separated from the next by great distance, and each city is massive. With the exception of the rivers that bracket the heartland, any meaningful amount of water will spawn massive cities as people naturally flocked there over the centuries. Many of these cities were independent Caliphates before the first "Grand Caliph" of Karnak and Rog'osto unified the south; and many have been since, on and off. Each one has its own culture and life to it, determined by position, geography, and which clans, houses, and societies moved in.
A note on Eastern Names
The Enlightened peoples of the East, from the Emerald Caliphate to Kwazarmia, vary across a wide variety of real world and fantasy tropes. On top of that they vary in nearly every conceivable way from the humans of the Westlands. Some of the most difficult practices to grasp (for a westerner) are their naming conventions. People revolve around family, clan, city, and tribe deeply in the East; their conception of the family goes far beyond the 'nuclear' and 'extended' family concepts of the Dominarian west. Heritage is written into the very names of children here. Whereas in the West a person will bear their profession as a surname unless part of a House, people of the east tell a snapshot of their people in each full name.
Among some tribes this is patri- or matrilineal, among some it is more egalitarian. Some families focus on religion while some tell of family lands or city. Whatever the case may be, full formal names tend to reflect that which a person finds important. This leads to another important note. Birth names may not be the accepted name once the person reaches the age of majority. If a man has a well respected grandmother but his parents never won renown he would be well within tradition to add her to his name, and his parents would rarely find fault with this. The syntax is simple once one looks at it, but at first hearing many of them sound like a jumble of words. For this reason when an Easterling introduces themselves in the West they often shorten their name to the barest of essentials.
For example: Jashar son son Faysal Starweaver, Clan Bakr, devoted of Rrost is a man named Jashar who chose to honor his Grandfather. He is of the Bedou House of Bakr and worships Rrost, a hunting God of the high desert. He introduces himself as such because he feels that people will know him better by association with his grandfather, a war hero in the Tajar revolution. The Clan Bakr and Rrost devotions are merely tradition. To a westerner, he may shorten the name to simply read Jashar son son Faysal. Tradition allows for a single name or for a break from tradition even, but only once one has great personal renown. Jashar's grandfather, Faysal Starweaver, was a powerful archmage of the Bedou. In Tajar and the Bedou lands nearby, he would only need to introduce himself as Faysal. No other Faysal in the region would dare to be known by that single name. To an outsider, or east even to Ghurab Busir, Faysal may add his honorific Starweaver and expect to be known.
The Enlightened Lands
- The Southern Caliphate
- The Sultanate of Numadia
- Enlightened Cities
The Bay of Pearls
The Far East
The Crowded Sea
The desolate dark of the Northlands lies past The Verge and far beyond the knowledge or care of the people of the West. Numerous barbarian hordes vie for control of the uncharted territories of the North, all while fighting off the regions more unnatural inhabitants – vampires and lycans inhabit this cold realm as well as Remorhaz and other creatures.
There is no overarching power structure nor any one group that is more powerful than another. The vampires and lycans concern themselves with their own plots and wars, each cosigned to the wastes of the Hadarac. The barbarian Hordes of the Kjeldons, Bouldus, and Nords have been fighting each other for thousands of years. But there are rumors of a Warlord of the Kjeldons, one who might challenge the legacy of Ragnar Blackmane and unite the shattered Empire of Kjeldos, one who might rebuild the shattered city of Taypol and re-light the torches of Darath Eisen have been on the wind. Rumors of this new Warlord have even begun to be whispered in the courts of the Northern Houses in the Imperium, but they are mere rumors...for now.
The only constant in the vast North is the city of Illuna. House Illuna was once one of the greatest of the Imperial houses, but was forced north after leading a failed rebellion. Now their city-state is the only bastion of 'civilization' in the North, albeit surrounded by barbarians and beset by winters those south of The Verge could scarcely comprehend. Illuna's unique mix of Western technology and discipline and Northern size and hardiness have served it well and it's people prosper and trade well along the western Imperium. With the hardened Illunian 'Ice Brigades' and their unique Svarguard, their borders are kept relatively secure.
Then also, there is the dreaded Lich Queen. Said to live in a glacial palace on the ice flows of the far north, her hands are everywhere...and nowhere.
After the War of the Ílleste, the Alendar, Kyrinvae, and Sel'Daru Elven nations formed a new realm in the fertile lands north of the Rhunar Waste. They separated according to House and Clan and formed the cities and countries than most outsiders now refer to as the "Elven Kingdom".
The vast plateau east of the Verge is called Otaria. Some of the first eastern men to venture north found the fertile plateau and became the native Daru people. Mountain men and men from Felix travelled east at the same time, settling the Pardic Mountains and its valleys - the native Skirk Goblins have been their on-again-off-again allies. Later, during the Second Age, men of the West searching for a religious paradise would find the expanse of green fields and forests and settle it as well. The native Daru worshiped the Sun and the Moon, lovers who danced across the heavens together. The Caliphs loosely tolerated this, and the Daru's fierce mastery of the plains prevented anything but, but the pilgrims and knights of Pelor who'd traveled east knew this must be Pelor and his wife, Avo. The Daru and these newcomers quickly became allies, and the Daru were impressed by the magic and technology of the newcomers who worshiped the same Gods as they. So the nation of Paladonia and the Kingdom of the Daru peoples flourished across the plains. This alliance slowly became a powerful nation as the two groups built and expanded and within a century Otarian goods traveled on highways south and spread around the world.
The boom of peace and prosperity however, would not last. Otaria's surge in power, especially religious power, tipped the balance - or so scholars say. The Eastern Paladin fell into evil with most of his men, and so began the war that has lasted three Ages now. The Paladonians and the Daru have battled the forces of the Cabal, which soon included the Western Paladin and many of his men, since that time. The tides ebbed and flowed, and the sides even joined to fight the Wandering One in his Third Campaign, but for thousands of years there had been religious war. Now though, all that has changed. The Southern Caliph invaded Otaria in the early 70s 4A, shattering the paradigm as the Cabal's forced battled alongside the Dragon in the Westlands. The cabal's strongholds fell swiftly, and the Paladins were pressed hard before Arcadia intervened and eventually forced a peace. But now Otaria is broken, and the lines which defined the land and so easily come to mind are no more. The Pardic Tribes now rule in much of the south, and the Emerald Caliphate of the Enlightened Peopleis firmly established in the East. The Otarians rule in the north and are bringing the west to heel, but the specter of the Cabal ever lingers as it does in the westlands.
The Plateau itself is a rich and fertile land, fed by mountain runoff and preserved from the destruction that many scholars claim blasted most of the East clean eons ago. The River Daru cuts the plain in two, and the Celestian Forest and Pardic Mountains dominate the two halves geographically. Several smaller rivers and canyon formations are the only features in the otherwise verdant rolling plains. The climate is warm and friendly to planting for the majority of spring, summer, and fall and Otaria's winters are normally long and mild or short and brutal in cycles. Dust storms and intense squalls occasionally build over Sura, the Arixo Badlands, or Dhazantar; and in the winter brutal ice storms can drop out of the mountains. Otherwise though, Otaria is the beautiful land of plenty that's advertised.
In 82 FA, the peoples of the plateau live in a tense but easing peace. The war has been over a few short years and the new countries XXXX
Small city states and semi-autonomous regions exist all over Dominaria. Tiny principalities, fortress monasteries, cities-states, and temple complexes are scattered throughout the patchwork of countries in Dominaria. The Morivanian Church, warrior priests of St. Cuthbert, runs several fortress monasteries along the foothills of The Verge and will ever open their gates to the people in time of trouble. The Children of the Light, a knightly order of Pelor, have churches and fortresses scattered throughout the Westlands. Mages Guilds, while not on the scale of city-states certainly, exist almost in a world onto themselves in their towers and compounds. Small principalities and duchies – each with their own goals, enemies, and string of allies – exist and often fly under the radar of the larger countries and Houses. Darker yet are illegal slave encampments near the mountains or necromantic communes in the hidden places of the world
Several however, are worthy of note. First there are the twins, Venicia and Rishdan, and the lost Imperial city of Illȗnia. Venicia: jewel of the southern coast, center of trade, and largest city in the West. Rishdan: link between the east and west, and trade hub of the Sea of Storms. Then there is Illȗna, an exiled House of the 2nd Imperium that exists north of The Verge. These three cities come easily to the tongue of almost any Dominarian. Venicia and Rishdan especially are well known centers of trade to the knowing and nearly mythical cities of vast wealth to the peasant. Further east is Anubrikosh, a city-state flourishing in the Far East, which sits astride the main land and water trade routes in the Far East. Then there is the dark city of Sutulak, once a place for humans, dwarves, and orcs of ill repute to meet and trade; now the hub of the dark Orcish slave trade and the beginning of the Hidden Road that brings slaves east.
The Verge in the immense mountain range that borders The Westlands. It's mountains easily dwarf any other peaks in the world, with the possible exception of The Spire and some of the taller mountains of the Tern Isles.
|Dominaria Campaign Settingv|
|Players' Handbook||Races, Languages, Classes, Magic, Religion, Literature and Lore|
|Dominaria Gezeteer||History, Geography, Climate, and Politics, Factions, Calendar and Holidays, Cosmology and the Planes|
|Dungeon Master's Guide||About, Items of Legend, Bestiary, Currency and Consumables, Law in Dominaria, Sample Places, NPCs, Variant Rules, Adding to Dominaria|