Geography & Environment (Years of Gold)
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NOTE: The accounts of places and locations given here are rough and simplified versions of the actual histories behind the world - many have more in-depth explications (with links given here), and many more are left to the Dungeon Master's imagination. Furthermore, only the most important and large locales are outlined here; many more exist, but are left to the Dungeon Master to develop.
The Western Kingdoms
|The fields of Basket go as far as the eye can see.|
The great expanses and fields that lay south and west of the Caragos Eavorn are collectively called the western kingdoms. Named after the fact they're technically ruled by the king of Fort Brunid, the western kingdoms are actually more-or-less self-governed by local rulers, councils, nobles, cutthroats or tyrants, depending on where exactly you are.
The current king of the western kingdoms is Eric Brunhelm, a sickly and passive character who rules ineffectively and poorly. Command of towns has been hijacked by local power sources: Redford is run by its council, Brimhaven by the tyrannical Alexander von Brimm and so on. The west is in a state of ineffective passivity which threatens the lands just as much as any outsider army or evil cult. It will take great deeds to wake up the slumbering kingdoms.
Many have said that while some of the greatest inventions and devices, along with arcane intelligence, are gathered in the west, they're not put to great use. Wizardly studies are more tolerated than accepted, and anything more complicated than a waterwheel will meet with doubt from the locals. Because of this, the west has fallen behind in innovation compared to, say, Irid and Eros.
The western kingdoms mostly consist of vast expanses of fields and plains, dotted with small coppices and forests and divided by streams running down from the inland mountain range. The air is temperate, with plenty of rainfall around most of the year, especially near the coastline and in the Basket. The air gets colder when moving eastwards, reaching its lowest point by the borders of the Midlands. Altitude variation is rather small, with only small hills and cliff-sides to be found.
The exact time Redford was established is lost and unknown even to the great annals of the Redford Library, but a rough assumption places its birth between the years 2400 and 2600. The first buildings built at this time are now long-lost, except for the few strangely preserved tombstones at the graveyard, which indicate that they were placed there over 700 years ago. The first inhabitants of Redford were probably outcasts from Carag Brun, and later from Fort Brunid and Carag Vorn. The town has had a healthy population of both humans and dwarves even in its early years.
The town quickly became important in trade, thanks to its central position and the fertile soil surrounding it. The first mention of the Redford area as "the bread-basket of the West" can be found in a series of old letters between a nobleman and a fledgling wizard from the year 2911. Mining, especially the mining of silver, was an important part of the town's economy even before the great fields, and many mines remain in the northwestern Redford, some abandoned, some still working.
Redford was an important area during the Arn-Wars, and that age of strife increased its value as a producer of grain. In fact, one of the reasons the city was preserved in the war was its importance to the human and dwarf leaders as a source of sustenance. Redford has increased in value and notability ever since those times, and is a central place in Pansaer as of now, to all but the most remote eastern parts. Truly it has earned its nickname, "the Heart of the West".
The flashy newcomer among the great cities of Pansaer, Brimhaven is a city of opposites. On the other hand, the count has legalized prostitution and many drugs (not to forget a long history of thievery and assassination); on the other, Brimhaven is an extremely religious city, with more churches, shrines and altars than hospitals and orphanages. People often commit their sin and vice in the weekends, and then fast and pray on the weeks.
Brimhaven is ruled by its count, Alexander von Brimm. After he became the count (in very unclear and shady circumstances) he began fortifying the city: new walls of stone were built around the main districts, and the number of town guard was nearly doubled. Alexander purposefully made the city a chaotic one: by legalizing vices and yet supporting religion and the town guard, he made the people easier to control. Thus, no one could do anything as Alexander cut off most trade routes to the mountains and Fort Brunid.
Brimhaven was built on the remains of a cemetery. The original inhabitants of Brimhaven saw a chance when it arrived, and built their homes from discarded gravestones and boulders. In the old parts of the city, buried under earth and stone, the dead are said to wake from eternal slumber, thanks in part to both the atrocities committed by the city's folk and in part to the religious rituals performed. This adds another layer to the horrors of the "city of vice", as it is widely known.
|Cruddy dump or nest of possibilities? You be the judge.|
As the power of the Brunhelm royal family waned, the need for a secondary port city, one that would link the distant sultanate to the west, began to arise. The namesake of Brimhaven, the Brimm family, had total control of the sea-city, and the king was in dire need of a port he could control. Thus, Calimport was born.
The shores in the river-heavy delta where the town was constructed were long and gradual, meaning Calimport would either have to be built far into the sea on top of walkways and pillars, or more inland, with the ships further towards the sea. In a feat of amazing stupidity, the king had the city built as a halfway to these two options: not far enough into the sea for proper docks, not close enough to dry land for comfort.
Calimport lives off the tides: the city is built on top of a series of wooden walkways and supports, and ships set off only during high tide, when the sea comes up to the docks incorporated into the city itself. During low tide, the wet, barnacle-infested area underneath the docks (or undercity, as it is commonly known) is a place of beggars, thieves and even monsters that wash up from the sea.
The eponymous "heart of the west", the fertile lands east of Raventurn and west of Dunas are called the Basket. The moniker comes from the seemingly endless fields that mark the landscape. The Basket produces the vast majority of all grain and foodstuff that's consumed in the west, and since huge amounts of the produce (especially those kinds that store well) are imported as well, some estimates claim that most of the food eaten on the continent is originally from here.
Basket is nonetheless not quite the boring, monotonous megafield it is sometimes made out to be. The fields are broken up by stony hills and frequent rivers, and in any case not all the fields produce grain. There are also orchards, livestock farms and stables. The close proximity of Redford means there's little need of trade cities, so most of the area's inhabitants live in familial farmhouses and small farming communities.
East of Fort Brunid and north of Redford lie the lowlands of Hundon. In these wild expanses, all sorts of nasty folk gather: it is the highest concentration of wild giant spiders outside of the mountains themselves, and tribes of goblins have been driven here from the western lands by racist folk. All in all, if you want to live in the west but don't want or can't be seen, the lowlands is the place to go.
There are no permanent settlements in the lowlands: the rocky, hill-heavy environ doesn't support construction, and the various bandits and brigands makes inhabiting the place nigh-impossible. Only the wild goblins have made homes here, in deep caverns and lairs. There, they mingle with the giant spiders, their hearts slowly filled with greed and desire for the riches of the west.
Giants move where the lowlands connect to the mountains. Ogres, commonly hated by the western folk, live here, and the scant few ogres that travel in the west (either because someone needed their strength or because they work as robbers) come from here. Even a few true giants, mostly hill and stone giants, live here. Hundon is the place giants and other folk meet most often, challenged only by the Tumbling Fells.
The Midlands are a fairly small expanse of land, the borders of which are the first trees of Dunas in the west and the last hills of the Tumbling Fells in the east. The Midlands reach no further northwards than to Caragos Eavorn, and are so called because they're located in what is seen as the middle of the continent.
Midlands are not considered a part of the western kingdoms. The official explanation is that there is no useful agriculture or important locations there, so the king sees no need to expand there, but the truth is entirely different. The folk of the Midlands are wild, strong and independent, consisting of a mix of westerners and easterners with all five races. The king's armies simply could not take these lands so far from their center of strength, and the Midlanders would not yield.
The folk of the country are considered uncivilized and brutish by people not of Midland, and free and self-sustaining by folk who live in the area. They have no need of technology or high magic, since there's little a man of Tull or one of the many small farming communities farther east needs to live. The sole exception is the Spire, which is inhabited by a variety of folk from all over the continent and are thus not considered "true Midlanders" by the other folk of the Midlands.
The area is universally considered to be a harsh environ, with blowing winds all year round and winters that only the peaks of Caragos Eavorn could challenge in temperature. Clay is a common type of earth in the area, and the Midlands are much more altitude-varied than most of the continent, asides of course from the mountains. Most trees in the Midlands are fir trees, except for a few scant oaks and birches.
|Tull, just like its inhabitants, is harsh but fair.|
The town of streams, the bridge-town, the forest keep - Tull has many names. Built close to the end of the Journeying Years, Tull is an old town by any reckoning. It never grew to be as large or notable as most other towns of the west, and is mostly known as a pathway between western Pansaer and the Midlands, as well as for the toughness of the local folk.
The surroundings of Tull are famed for their beauty: after the grain fields, two great rushing streams called the Rivers of Dunas pour down to the sea on both sides of the town. A short way to the north, Dunas, the Greatwood, lies with all its secret pathways and mysteries. Deeper to the forest lies a shadow: the trees sway with ill winds, and the old oaks creak.
The men of Tull are known through the lands as hardy, quiet folk. They prefer to keep their own counsel and rarely speak of their thoughts out loud. They are gifted builders, especially with wood, and Tullian artisans are hired as far as Fort Brunid when something needs to be constructed to last for years on end.
Built entirely from pitch-black marble, the Spire is the oldest mortal-made structure in Pansaer that still remains. The tower is massively thick at its' base, but quickly narrows - the very tip being a mere 10 ft.-by-10 ft. platform. An old stone road leads to the only entrance, a gate of ivory facing south. The road begins at the Great Bridge of Tull, but by who it was built is unknown.
In its' time of glory, the Spire was a gathering place for wizards of all schools and specializations: abjurers and evokers would argue on endlessly about the superiority of their magics, diviners would make more-or-less-true prophecies, necromancers would study the mysteries of unlife, and they all feasted at grand banquets in the deep-cellars.
Over the long years, the meanings of the Spire twisted: it became a place of strife instead of true learning. The schools of magic eventually degenerated into open warfare, using their magics to various deadly effects. Slowly, the Grand Masters of the schools all reached eternal life, and now they rule their respective pupils with an iron hand and teach them to loathe the other schools.
Dunas is the largest woodland area on the continent. It is divided roughly in the middle by the twin Rivers of Dunas, and the western and eastern sides of the forest are different like day and night. Eastern Dunas is a haven for the forest-folk: many dryads and other nature-bound creatures live here, as well as a druid populace. Animals are mostly peaceful, and the people of Tull hunt for meat here.
The western part of Dunas, however, is another story. The trees are shadowy and bent, the air has a thick, musky, even suffocating smell, and the animals are feral. Owlbears and hydras live here, and rumors of worse monsters linger in the air. A shadow, darker than the darkness, gathers near the western strands of the Rivers.
The Old Oakfather, a tree of uncounted years, lies in the heart of Dunas. On the west side of the river, the wide tree submerges its massive roots into the river, inducing hallucinations and passivity in all those who drink from the waters. Old Oakfather is a master of lies and of the wind, and commands a large force of treants on the western side of the river.
|Camping in Troll Country is akin to suicide.|
The stuff of endless Pansaer legends, myths, poems and proverbs (such as "One goes a'tumbling where he is not askedth for / find oneself in Troll Country, meal for the maw-beasts"), the Tumbling Fells are famous and, in a way, well-liked. Anyone who gets himself killed by going into the Tumbling Fells is not considered a victim of the beasts there; rather, it was a suicide.
The Tumbling Fells gain their name from the mass of loose rocks and boulder found, often employed as weapons by the local giants. The secondary name of the area, Troll Country, is well-deserved: all sorts of trolls, ogres, giants and other deadly offspring of the titans dwell here. No sane person attempts to move from west to east or the other way around through Troll Country; sensible folk risk the mountain slopes, or pay the dwarves for passage through the mountains if they can afford it.
Countless legends surround the hazardous fells, the most common of which are the animist beliefs of the goliaths. Of the five great races, only goliaths are hardy and strong enough to live here on a permanent basis, and their folklore of the area is vast. Stories of goliaths who turn into wolves and bears and eagles at night, of troll kings counting their endless treasure hordes under the earth, of the primordial titans who will one day challenge the titan pantheon for the right to the world.
Compared to the lush forests and lively towns of the west, the lands of the sultanate are a wasteland. It would be untrue to claim the entirety of the sultanate is a wasteland, however: the inhabited regions of the east are invariably places of great civilization, interesting folk and great wonders. They're just not as connected and easy to cultivate as the western towns and cities - to live in the east, you have to make an effort.
Most of eastern life is concentrated in the southernmost areas, near the great twin-cities of Irid and Eros. Small settlements, farming villages (which mostly cultivate corn, dates, olives and other hardy plants and trees) and herding communities make up for most of eastern populace, with a fair share of merchants, artisans, wizards, oddjobs, thieves, murderers and stranger folk thrown into the mix. The sultanate abides by a caste system (see Dharuum below), the rigidity of which depends on where in the east you are.
Winds in Pansaer blow most often from south to north, and extremely rarely from north to south, so the eastern lands get little rainfall. The vast deserts directly north of Caragos Eavorn are not called the Red Wastes for nothing. This means two things: life in the east concentrates around sources of water, such as rivers, the shoreline or oases; and the folk of the sultanate have to be incredibly innovative and hardy to survive the environment.
The northwestern area of the east is almost entirely uninhabited, except for a few hardy groups of dwarves known as dunedelvers who build their stone kingdoms in the coolness beneath the dunes. Other races build their settlements near rivers and oases, which are starkly contrasted with the desert by their lush, prismatic glory. Dwarves in general are common in the east, since their thick skins and stubborn nature is well-suited to the harsh lives. Humans and goblins are also extremely common, with goliaths being rarer and dunners almost nonexistent except in the far south.
|The higher castes of Dharuum live in luxury.|
The sultan of Dharuum (currently Al Tayyib) is the absolute monarch of all the eastern provinces - in theory. In practice, Dharuum is a secluded, solitary jewel in the vast emptiness of the Red Wastes, sheltered by the shade provided by the mountains of Caragos Eavorn and dampened by the Seven Wells, a technological marvel built by goblin ingenuity. All of the east lives under the caste system, but no city lives by it quite like Dharuum.
Intercaste trade, discussion, love, even casual contact, is seen as heretical and is often punishable, especially if the initiator of the contact was the lower caste member. This has led to the city being built in four layers for the four castes: the Priests (under 0.1% of population, the Warriors (5% of population), the Merchants (10% of population) and the Servants (85% of population). The higher the caste, the closer to the mountain wall it resides. Slaves and women (except those of the Priest caste) are called Untouchables and are not permitted to live within the city walls independently.
The population of Dharuum consists of roughly equal amounts of humans, dwarves and goblins, with a notable and powerful centaur minority. Dharuum is a shining center of innovation both mechanical and magical in the continent: the high status of Priests and Merchants, coupled with their easy lives, makes them efficient innovators and designers. This comes at a cost: the Servant and Untouchable castes live in horrible conditions and are basically nothing but fodder for the higher-ups.
The twin cities of Irid and Eros are the focal point of eastern civilization, considering the "capital" of Dharuum is almost entirely secluded from the rest of the area. They are merchant cities, with Irid (north of river Kwazir) being a center of landborne trade and Eros (south of river Kwazir) the center of seaborne trade. The cities are seldom even mentioned separately from each other, so intertwined they have become in their growth from small communities to fully-fledged metropolises.
Irid translates to the Town of Great Vision, and is famed for its namesake observatory: a large tower on the northern side of town, where alchemists and wizards study the movement of the planets and stars. A small wizard academy works in the observatory, and pays tribute for the right to use it. Irid is devoted to the titan Luni, since her night is the best time to observe the stars.
Eros is like its brother city in many ways - culturally, architecturally, population-wise - but there are also great differences. Eros is the rougher of the two, with no academical minority to pacify the area, and the ship-fueled trade with the west makes it the more colorful of the two. Eros is dedicated to Auri, for it is in his day that ships sail.
The lands around Ghaer are not quite as unlivable as the Red Wastes, but they are still inhospitable. There are few settlements here, except for the dunner villages inside the borders of Ghaer, even though the land is quite green and lush. Sudden changes of temperature and hostile locals make sure the land remains mostly empty.
The exception is Rochvan. Often called the dunner capital of the continent, Rochvan is a city that was built upwards, not outwards. The buildings of Rochvan are invariably tall, with the most extravagant being towers of daunting heights. This suits the two main racial groups, dunners and goblins, just fine. Rochvan is also something of a stronghold city, since it has to weather the hostility of both tribes in the area and the occasional attack of Ghaer dunners, who consider the city a blasphemy against their ancestral ways.
Traveling to Rochvan is a pilgrimage undertaken by almost all architects that can afford it. The spires of Rochvan, precariously yet ingeniously built of wood, are a marvel of architectural science. No less amazing is the ability of the locals to disassemble the colossi with surprising speed and ease, only to rebuild them better. Thus, the skyline of Rochvan is constantly changing.
|A rare instance of calm between|
sandstorms and monster assaults.
The endless lands of choking sand and deadly heat just north of Caragos Eavorn are called the Red Wastes. The name stems from the strange coloration of the sand in most of the area: the dunes are an at-once beautiful and terrifying blood-red shade. This comes from the large amounts of red clay that's in the earth here.
The Red Wastes are almost entirely inhospitable: the days are scorching hot and evaporate all water, and the nights chill to the bone those who foolishly wander here. Only folk with methods of hiding from the heat at day and warming themselves at night, as well as a source of water, can endure life here. So is the case with the dunedelver dwarves, as well as with a scant few groups of goblin bedouins.
The heat of the desert both hides and gives birth to all sorts of horrifying creatures that wander out of the desert to torment the folk of Pansaer. It is said that the scorching sun gives life to fire elementals, that great cities of fire titans lie in the center of the sands, that burrowing vermin are ready to swallow folk whole at a moment's notice. Bonfire stories or the truth? Few know.
The damp forests of Ghaer are the ancestral birthplace of the dunner folk, and in it is reflected many of that races qualities: the forest is a haven for those who can live in the tall trees, who are able to look out for themselves and have no qualms about using others for their benefit. Hunt or be hunted is the word of the day in the forest of Ghaer.
Ghaer is a large expanse of connected woodlands, with long, murky streams running along the relentless undergrowth and a magnificent variety of animals living in the foliage of the incredibly tall trees. Most dunners in the region still build their homes like their ancestors did, constructing houses and huts high into the trees and on the treetops. Since Ghaer can be and often is a cruel home, few of these settlements are permanent.
These forests are also home to a great variety of dangerous beasts, ranging from the more mundane tigers all the way to terrifying medusas. Snakes of all kinds (ranging from small, poisonous vermin to the gigantic, strangling kind) are common, as are cults that venerate these monsters. The cults usually consist of human and dunner acolytes, led by naga or serpentine clerics.
The smallest region in Pansaer with the sole exception of the Golden Isles. The northlands are the cradle of humankind, the place from which humans migrated to all over the continent. The region is not a warm cradle, however: the north is a hot, sweaty place, filled with bent trees, broken cliffs and abandoned ruins. It has become a brooding, dark place, and only a few sturdy folk live here.
The area is often labeled a prairie, but that hardly describes it properly. The northern wastes are not quite as inhospitable or scorching as the Red Wastes that lie just east of them, but the area is nonetheless unpleasant, to say the least. The sun can barely penetrate the thick clouds that seem to cover the skies here, and even then near midday. The few forests in the area are composed of old, twisted trees and broken boulders.
The only decent folk who live in the northlands are those grim (some would say stupid) folk who still choose to live in Remoras, the only true city in all of the area. The rest of the inhabitants of the area are tribes that pillage and raid the northernmost areas of the west, only to retreat to their hidden villages in the north.
|Formerly Lindgalen, Remoras has become little more|
than a bulwark of war.
After many wars and sieges from human and goblin tribes, the town of Remoras has become a fortified, dark place. It is no longer a commoner town: only soldiers fortify the streets of Remoras. Walls are built only to be toppled, towers built only to be felled. Remoras is, and has for long been, on the verge of destruction.
The town was once called Lindgalen, but the endless wars that ravage the town, especially during the Arn-Wars, were what gained the town its new name: Remoras, which translates to battlefield. Soldiers, warriors, and murderers from Remoras are sought-after all over the west and in some parts of the east, thanks to their incredible prowess in battle.
Remoras is partly constructed of discarded stones pillaged from the ancient ruins that litter the north, except of course for the stones of Dead Illusk; no one is foolish enough to disturb those. This means that the ramparts and towers of Remoras are a patchwork of various style of design and architecture, and things are only constructed to be efficient, not pretty. There are no artists, no poets in Remoras.
Inventively named, Remoras prairie is the unpleasant expanse that makes up most of the north and surrounds Remoras. The skies are almost permanently covered by a cover of dark clouds, but rainfall is nonetheless rare and the air humid, suffocating. It has been called the cradle of humanity, but now it resembles a tombstone much more closely.
The environment here is withered, with all plant life in the area having an unpleasant atmosphere. It's as if all life in the area is subdued: plants grow slowly, never to great heights, die quickly, and matter rots faster than elsewhere. Even the lives of animals and sentient creatures are shorter here than anywhere else.
The only people who live in the prairie are savage tribes of humans, dwarves and goblins (usually divided rather sharply by racial lines) that terrorize the entire west from this safe haven: no one wants to chase them here. All kinds of monsters also dwell in the region, from ogres and centaurs to giant insects and minotaurs.
|Dead Illusk, Haunted Illusk, Lost Illusk.|
The nightmare has many names.
Little to nothing is known about these ruins. They are some of the earliest footholds of man on Pansaer, from the time men sailed in the frozen borders of the endless sea. Now they are gone, and only the bloodthirsty ghosts of past inhabit the empty streets. It is Dead Illusk, remembered in feared stories by men all over. A reminder of mankind's past, and a living example of the corruption that's in many ways inherent to the world.
No man remembers the construction or the loss of Dead Illusk, but they do know its current reputation - a dark place, filled with ghosts and monsters. In the old days, the place was a place of incredibly beauty and magic, where wizard-kings ruled a prosperous city in the days of man's glory. Gold was as common as iron, diamond as common as glass, and glorious things were constructed from glorious materials, by equally glorious artisans.
How such a magnificent city could be lost is lost to history, but folklore blames a strange force, entirely unconnected from the titan-gods. Of this force little is known but this: it is not of this world. The dead city has an unnatural, otherworldly feel - as if some unknown dimension was leaking into ours. Animals near the city have fallen under this otherworldly spell: they've become feral, and even mutated.
The great mountain range that spans the length of Pansaer is called Caragos Eavorn, which means the Spine of the World in ancient Luskan. Asides from Caragos Maride, Tumbling Fells and a few scant higher hills scattered around the continent, this range has the only mountains in the entire world. The world is not old, so the mountains still have an edge to them: they are untamed, sharp, wild. Folklore states that it is here Auri began with forging the world anew.
Caragos Eavorn has the highest population of giants in the entire world, with some mountains even having settlements (either magnificent cities or ramshackle towns, depending on the type of giant) of the creatures. The peaks around Carag Ka'thull positively teem with them, perhaps stemming from the mountain's dark influence.
A great kingdom of dwarves lives just beneath the mountain of Carag Vorn (which translates as Spine Mountain). Iron is found bountifully in the deeps here, and ore trade with Brimhaven and Redford is the dwarves' main source of income. The inhabitants of the dwarven kingdom are dependent on the grain provided by Redford, although the dwarves have sought a way to provide easier nourishment for a while now.
The king of Carag Vorn, Beren Redbeard, is the high king of the dwarves of Caragos Eavorn. Under his rule, the dwarves have prospered and become strong, both in arms, trade and knowledge. However, in his old days, the king has become wary of humans, and resents the situation the dwarves are in: dependent on human aid.
The mountain itself is peaceful, thanks to the vigilance of the dwarves that inhabit its depths. Small plantations of whatever crops (mostly potatoes and radishes) that can survive on the slopes are cultivated, and animals (mostly sheep) are herded. Dwarves in the mountain have also began attempting to cultivate edible mushrooms and to herd giant rats for food.
A tall loner among the small hills of eastern Caragos Eavorn, this mountain, alongside with Carag Vorn, is the capital of dwarves on Pancreaton. Iron, coal and tin are all found bountifully in the depths, and the dwarven kingdom thrives. Secret passageways and tunnels, running through the length of Caragos Eavorn, lead dwarves to and from Carag Maragos (which translates to Dwarf Mount).
Since there are no kings among the dwarves except their high king, Carag Maragos is ruled by a council of powerful clanmasters. This is a remnant of the old times, when the hill dwarves assembled into their shamanic councils under the moonlight. These dwarven stonecircles can still be found on the northern side of the mountain, and some still hide powerful artifacts.
Unlike the slopes of Carag Vorn, Carag Maragos is a more inhospitable environ. This can perhaps be traced to the heat coming from the eastern deserts. The very highest point is a breeding ground of flying monsters, such as manticores and wyverns, and the entrances to the dwarven kingdom are as close to even ground as possible.
Spine of the World
|Carag Ka'thull alone stands unconquered|
among the peaks of the Spine of the World.
The Spine of the World is almost a thousand miles long. It begins relatively humbly in the west, building up to a towering range in just a few hundred miles, and terminates into two close ends, one of which contains Carag Maragos and one of which shelters Dharuum. The southern edge of the mountain range tends to be gentler and more even, albeit no less dangerous, while the northern edge is harsher and the cliffs more abrupt.
Each of the mountains in Caragos Eavorn has a name of its own, but these are commonly known only to the (extremely rare) locals and to dwarven maps, which are renowned for their exactitude. Suffice to say that all mountains in the mountain range are generally inhospitable and cruel, with hard winds blowing in their peaks and horrors living in the slopes.
The eastern end of the mountain range contains a long valley, unnamed due to it being uninhabited by any folk that have use for names. It is a dark, hard veil, and the proximity of Carag Maragos does little to help. The very depths of the valley contain some of the oldest buildings in all of Pansaer, for it is an ancient haunt of giants. Some still live in the cyclopean ruins.
The far western coast of Pansaer is separated from the rest of the continent by the mountain range of Caragos Maride, which translates to Brine Mountains. It is the second-largest mountain range on Pansaer, coming right after the towering Caragos Eavorn, and is far more hospitable and civilized than its big brother.
Even in the early history of Pansaer, Caragos Maride has had a notable human population. When the first humans descended from the north, they built some of their earliest settlements in the safety of the lower cliffs of the mountain range. The mountains gave them shelter, food (in the form of numerous goats) and a base of operations for their eventual spread into the whole continent. Due to the capital of the western kingdoms being located at the north end of the range, it remains a human-dominated area even to this day.
Caragos Maride is often dismissed as a goat- and ibex-infested remnant, and many compare it negatively with its grander - and currently clearly more influental - sibling, the Spine of the World. This is not the entire truth. Caragos Maride remains an important location in the west, especially Fort Brunid and the mine of King's Deep, which provides the west with most of its ore.
|The "grand" fort of Brunid has something decidedly rural to it.|
Technically the capital of Pansaer, Fort Brunid has seen better days. The walls are grimy with years of unkempt, the soldiers drowsy and bored, the gates permanently open. Nowadays, Brimhaven is the actual trade-capital, but in the "good ol' days", still fresh in the memory of old folk, Fort Brunid was active and strong. Now it lives mostly off of mining in Carag Brun, against which the castle was built, and from goat herders.
The foundations of Fort Brunid were built over five hundred years ago, around the time of the Arn-Wars, when western folk waged war over control of the resources and rich cities. It stood valiantly against all enemy offensives, protecting the western pass against foes. The walls were reinforced by hired dwarves from the fortress of Carag Vorn, and are nearly impenetrable.
The king of the western kingdoms, Eric Brunhelm (which means Bronzehelm), after who's ancestor the fort was named, currently rules Fort Brunid and its surroundings. As king, Eric technically rules all of southern Pansaer, but times have changed. Now the rule of the Brunhelms is all but forgot, and people are ruled by powerful counts and barons, the most notable of which is Alexander von Brimm, the count of Brimhaven.
Few of the mountains that make up Caragos Maride are noteworthy enough to have unique names, except of course for the locals. Carag Brun, the Bronze Mountain, is the northernmost peak of the mountain range and stands a little over two miles tall. It's not the highest peak (that honor goes to a peak the locals call Carag Sinne a little ways southeast) but it is the most important one, both in that it houses Fort Brunid in its bosom and in that the mountain's root is rich with minerals and ores.
The mountain range is some 500 miles long, and has small villages and hamlets running along its eastern side. The western face of the mountains and the coast that lies between them and the sea have mostly been abandoned: horrors of the sea have retaken their ancient haunt. Aldor, once a great place of learning in the western lands, is now a dusty ruin, and monsters its only scholars.
Clinging to the western shore of Pansaer, the Golden Isles are the only notable islands of the continent. While there are other islands all over the shoreline, the Golden Isles are the largest and most noteworthy in their history. They are named after Marid'Arn, the gold mine on the largest of the three islands, but are also often called the Step-Stone Islands because of their linear positioning.
The islands themselves have names in ancestral tongues: Edna, Dvee and Trye. These are rarely used, and the islands are more commonly known by their unique features: Marid'Arn for its gold mine, Chestwood for its chestnut-infested forest, and Isle of Man for its most common populace.
The seas around the Golden Isles are free of skerries, whirlpools and the other pitfalls that plague seafarers, so the area is widely used by sailors. The seas are clear and the water is cool, but farther away from the islands, darkness is said to dwell in the depths. Giant octopuses, coal-black sharks and even stygian gods are said to dwell on the sea bottom, where the ruins of ancient civilizations have become inhabited by dark folk.
The infamous Golden Mine of the Isles, Marid'Arn is the basis of Brimhaven's fortune. It is the only place in all of Pansaer where one can find a large amount of gold ore, and neither coal nor silver are uncommon either. In addition to all of this, the mine has a particularly large supply of gems, especially sapphires and diamonds. This makes it, by far, the single most valuable mine in all of Pansaer.
Previously, Marid'Arn belonged to the king of the western kingdoms, and gold was transported through Redford to Fort Brunid. With the lessening power of the king, coastal cities took control of the gold trade, although they had to ship the ore through long and perilous ocean ways. The heavy ship movement in the coastal sea has angered many seabound horrors. Marid'Arn has become more and more of a stronghold.
The mine is surrounded by a small settlement, consisting mostly of miners, soldiers, metalworkers and their families. Food is (mostly) brought from the Basket area and (less so) grown locally. The rest of the isle Marid'Arn is situated on is a humid near-jungle, with great apes and strange animals wandering in the undergrowth.
|The rough wilds of the island|
can only be traversed by dunners.
The second-largest of the three islands that make up the Golden Isles, Chestwood was originally a wild track of land, with jungle forests inhabited only by natural flora and fauna. Just as with the other islands, the creatures of Chestwood have evolved separated from the rest of the continent, becoming diverse and strange in the eyes of those from the mainland.
Dunners, once they emigrated in numbers from Ghaer forest and became sailors in large numbers, discovered the island Chestwood is on and fell in love with the lush forest, the high trees and the more-or-less peaceful nature. They established small ports, treetop towns and rope gangways from tree to tree on the island. Nowadays, almost the entirety of the island is under dunner rule.
Chestwood is ruled by the Chief of Commons, a clan ruler of sorts among the Chestwood dunners. He has little official authority, but serves as the figurehead of the independent dunner nation. Sailors of Brimhaven, Calimport and Eros would love to have a piece of the trading ports of Chestwood, but the dunners hold on tight to what's (in their opinion) theirs.
Isle of Man
The blessed one of the Golden Isles, Isle of Man is the jewel of Pansaer. The golden hay fields of Ferrel count for most of the gorgeous island, except for the shores that shine with a golden gleam. Poets and dreamers often live the rest of their days, until their death, on Isle of Man, making songs so beautiful that mortals cannot fathom them. The Graveyard of Yoll on the far east side of the island is the final resting place of these dreamers.
A strange enchantment is laid over the island: only those who are but a few years from their death - whether that be by old age or violent life - can step ashore on the Isle of Man. Others find themselves unable to lay their foot on the golden sands of the island's shores, and the idea of entering the Ferrel Fields all but impossible. This is said to be a spell cast by Groke Who Is Cold, who is said to have created Isle of Man as the resting place of great kings and lords.
The graveyard of Yoll can be found clinging to the eastern shore of the island. The graves are built of volcanic basalt, which is strange, since the mineral can't be found anywhere on the island. Furthermore, the gravestones are not built by and the graveyard not tended by the mortals of the island, so who or what does is a mystery. Legends speak of fey beings, invisible to the eye, who seek to lead men to their final sleep peacefully.