Let's take a look at the land and the important areas of Yeltharan.
The Yeltharan Continent is a massive land mass. Stretching for nearly 15,000 miles east to west, and almost 8,000 miles north to south, the land mass shelters the survivors of whatever calamity that triggered the Dark Exodus underground. After the survivors emerged onto the continent, they’ve spent the last thousand years stretching across the surface of the continent. It’s a land like many we’ve seen, but it has its intricacies and differences.
Major Geographical regions
There are four primary regions to the continent (sages recall that Yeltha named the land Faradath, after her Father, who led the exiles into the Deep Earth, but didn’t survive the journey). The region most survivors associate with are the Storm Cradle mountains and their foothills. The Amberlands are also extremely settled, due to the agricultural needs of the newly founded society. The Zrackenhaff Forest dominates the northern half of the continent, supply lumber and game for society’s needs. The Boundary wards the exterior portion of the island from the wastelands touched by the Desolation and keep the horrors that roam them at bay.
Storm Cradle Mountains
The Storm Cradle Mountains are an essential part of the history of Yelthara. Telthazad, the first city was built on top of the caverns that Yelthara opened the sky from, and served as the first capital, city, and distribution point for the survivors. The mines of the Kazadrah pumped resources into the land and the narrow valleys that riddle the Storm Cradle were rich with bighorn sheep. The Storm Cradle range is criss crossed by rivers and aquifers that supply a majority of the clean water that flows across the continent. Every drop of water consumed by the people come from these waters or wells dug to find them.
Stretching nearly six thousand miles from north to south, and nearly three thousand miles east to west, the Storm Cradle mountain range dominates the eastern third of the continent, stretching right up to the easternmost edge of the Boundary. Roads have been cut throughout the range to facilitate trade and travel, and cities dot the valleys between the high mountains. There are three important regions to keep track of in the Storm Cradle.
The Franduil region occupies the easternmost third of the range, and is known for two primary things. Fellwath, the City of Industry, and the massive mines of Gethrock. Between these major mercantile and educational concerns, Franduil has a reputation for turning out the finest engineers and artisans in the country. This (among other factors) have made the region the heart of the scientific revolution working its way across Yeltharan.
Fellwath is a loud city, where industry dominates every facet of life. Even the vaunted Fellwath University turns out more scholars in the engineering and science fields than the arts or the arcana. It’s a major trading point and collection center for the smaller mines and cities around it. The Fellwath Bazaar is a wonderland for the sciences and many interesting things find their way into the hands of some very surprising people.
Gethrock was the second major mining complex excavated during the first five years of expansion. The mines are miles deep and some rumor that the even touch the Deep Earth that the Yeltharans wandered through during the Dark Exodus. Over the years, millions of tons of rock and precious metals have been pulled from the Gethrock mines and there’s a better than average chance that any Gedra made after settlement were brought to life in the Gethrock mines.
At the top of the world exists a ring of snow capped mountain peaks. Storm Hall is a decidedly mystical place, where the veil between this world and others is the thinnest. Storm Hall is a region dominated by bizarre weather, strange lights, and very few inhabitants. The few human inhabitants of Storm Hall live in harmony with the mountains, and reportedly speak for the spirits of the mountains.
Roads and navigation into the Storm Hall are few and far between, with one road crosses the easiest path through the region, but avoids the high peaks. Tiny monasteries dot the peaks, and the monks explore the deeper mysteries of life in the high peaks. Rumors say they commune with the spirits that roam freely across Storm Hall, but they are silent on the matter.
Ja’nd’raka is a massive region that comprises the Southern half of the Storm Cradle Mountains. It’s major claim to fame are the massive herds of Bighorn Sheep that roam through the valleys and the dells of the region. The folk of this region have made their fortunes tending the Bighorns for generations, and know the myriad uses of the animals.
The southern face of the Storm Cradle range is much gentler than the northern face, and it has large plateaus and valleys that are shielded from the weather. Larger settlements and towns criss cross the region, but there are still many unclaimed valleys that are either the domains of wildlife, or are grazing ground for the massive flocks of sheep. These sheep feed and clothe almost everyone on Yeltharan, and they are a vital factor in the economic and social well being of the continent.
Stretching from the Kal’nari in the east (the actual physical boundary of the Storm Cradle mountains) to the edge of the Boundary in the west, the Amberlands are a massive rolling plain full of grasslands and tiny rivers that criss cross the land. The Amberlands have few wild animals, but are home to a wonderful profusion of insects and small mammals. Bees and Ants are especially numerous in this region, and they do a great service pollinating fields and helping the farms produce wonders of agriculture. Of course the rabbits, moles, prairie dogs and other burrowers love the vegetation. The Amberlands are divided into two key regions.
Val’reva is the agricultural heartland of Yeltharan. There are tens of thousands of tiny farms that dot Val’reva, and each one produces grains or vegetables that feed the continent. Through a combination of magic and Gedra labor, Val’reva has blossomed into a wondrous place where the farmers can grow just about anything they can think of. The capital of the Region Green Harbor, hosts fairs and agricultural competitions throughout the year, and most of these contests are the driving force behind hollidays across the continent.
Val’reva is also a place of wild beauty. The Farmers haven’t taken the entirety of the land under their control. There are vast strips of untamed land that still sport the original grasses and wildlife that the survivors found when they crossed over the Kal’Nari. Also of note, the insects are well loved and respected by the folk of this region, and beehives and ant colonies are extremely common sights around a family home.
Ceriduil is the land on the other side of the Fonch river, and stretches all the way to the Boundary. Once a land as prosperous as Val’Reva, hard times have fallen on the region. Within the last sixty years, something’s gone a little awry with the Boundary. The Desolation (the wild magic that corrupts what it touches) has slowly been expanding into the region past the Boundary.
Every expert in Yeltharan has examined the changes, but so far the results have been inconclusive. What is known is that the Desolation is slowly pushing inward, towards the Dasahaal River. Crops have failed in the outlying farms as the Desolation sucks the life from them, and the farmers have migrated further towards the rivers. If something doesn’t happen soon, things may reach a point where the Boundary fails enough to let other things through.
The Lingerwood wraps around the northern half of the continent, from Kal’Nari river in the east all the way to the Boundary in the West. It crosses the Dasahaal river and into the southern half of the continent. At one point it stretched all the way to the Boundary, but the Desolation has bled through, and the forest is giving way to the desert in several places.
The Lingerwood is the primary source of lumber for Yeltharan, (indeed, the Lingerwood derives its name from trees that have lingered and renewed themselves after being chopped down) but the forest is full of other treasures that have been shared over the years. Giant deer, elk, moose and other mammals have been spotted throughout the forest since its earliest days, and they have been a source of meat and hides for hunters and gatherers as long as anyone can remember. The Lingerwood is broken into four sections, separated by the rivers that criss cross the continent.
The Easternmost section of the Lingerwood, Hearthwood is a region that so far is untouched by the Desolation. Hearthwood is full of small towns and gathering places, each of which is set on a tiny creek or tributary of one of the larger bodies of water. Hunters have long used the Hearthwood as a place to gather supplies before setting off on a Great Hunt. A Great Hunt is targetted at one of the many great beasts that roam the Lingerwood. From Deer as tall as buildings, to Bears capable of swallowing a man whole, the Great Beasts roam the forest in search of something.
Hearthwood is also home to the lumber mills that turn trees into finished boards and lumber for virtually every home, building and project that isn’t built of stone. Most of the trees that are turned into Lumber are harvested in western regions and dragged across on the Gastaran Road, one of the few roads that cuts through the forest.
Saw’sbane was a timber rich region full of wildlife and natural treasures. Berries grew in great abundance at one point but the forest is slowly starting to decline. The Desolation has started to erode the forest, and within the last sixty years, the forest has been cut in half. The wild animals that roamed this region have run, and now the only living things that exist here are the trees and the birds.
The lumberjacks still ply their trade in these woods, but they keep much tighter watch than in previous generations. Ghost stories and rumors fly freely around the lumber camps, and the stalwarts who guard the camps are tight lipped about the things that haunt the northern wastes.
Gemlight is an interesting region of the Lingerwood. It draws its name from the ghostlight trees that are scattered throughout the wood. When found on their own, they glow with a brilliant white light that can often be seen throughout the forest for miles. When in groves, they’re always found in clusters of five, each of which glows a different color. The ghostlight trees are so far the only living thing to stand up to the Desolation, and their shining lights are visible from the Storm Cradles on clear nights.
Exotic animals flourish in the Gemlight, and are often exceedingly clever creatures. Stories of foxes and wolves snaring hunters in their own traps, owls that dispense wisdom, and other fanciful tales are extremely common. These woods are not full of hunters anymore, but the few people who live in Gemlight often speak of a close kinship to the wildlife. Currently there are dozens of Arcanists and Techs working in the Gemlight, exploring its secrets to try and find a way to restore the Boundary and push out the Desolation.
The Moonwood is the smallest of the remaining regions of the Lingerwood. Originally settled by outdoorsmen and wilderness lovers, the Moonwood represented the farthest west that Yeltharan would stretch without touching the lands ravaged by the Desolation. The people of Moonwood kept to themselves and kept to their own ways.
Eventually the Desolation pushed through the Boundary, and the people of the Moonwood are caught in a precarious position. They don’t want to ask for help from the rest of the world, but the Desolation has pushed in to such a degree that they aren’t going to be able to resist it much longer. The wood is a third of its original size, and the inhabitants are running out of room and time quickly.
The wastes are the areas outside the Boundary where wild magic roams freely. Long since stripped of its life sustaining capabilities, the Wastes are deserts of obsidian, glass and sand. Distant mounds represent potential habitation, and there are what look like ancient lake beds that have long since blown away. If these were the only hazards of the Wastes, that would be a manageable catastrophe.