Return of the Long Night
Region Lore – Emer
Lord of the western continents, Emer dominates the map. It is the legendary home of the Masters of Emer, an ancient pantheon of godlike beings. Some say the Masters are long gone, but rumors that they still live in their old palace in Votania persist.
Main cities: Eidolon/Sel-kai City, Varnost, Orv Cibur.
Climate on this vast continent is quite varied. Much of the southwest is arid, and while the northernmost regions are cool and temperate; the southeast is humid and tropical, and the central areas are temperate to subtropical. Emer is also known as the Great Continent, not only because of its size but for the many powers which have arisen there
The Lands of Emer
Hæstra – Second largest of the four main regions, Haestra is the most widely cultivated and the most densely populated of Emer’s varied regions. Its mild climate, fertile soil, and available resources make it an ideal region for human habitation.
Hæstra is bordered on the south by the bleak Morbek Highlands and the Forbidden Hills, an intimidating barrier. It is said that a pass lies between the two, but the way is hidden – and perilous. Beyond lays the desert of Uj.
Mountain Ranges – ranges which guard Hæstra’s borders are formidable barriers. All are young mountains except Choak, a legacy from an earlier epoch.
The Spine of Emer – Separating Hæstra and Tai-emer and extending beyond Hæstra southwards, the Spine of Emer is one of the most prominent features on the face of Therodon. Beginning south of the Choak Mountains, the ridge runs unbroken for over 1500 miles. Only at the famous Gap of Uj does the Spine pause before rising again to run south another thousand miles. With a sharp dogleg east, the chain makes a twisting path southeast before finally sinking into the sea 800 miles further. Two of the Spine’s largest features bear specific mention:
Shúthos: The Iruaric name means ‘fiery mountain.’ Indeed the snow-covered tip of Shuthos glows with red fire as the sun sets. At the southern terminus of the north spinal ridge, the Fiery Mountain overlooks the Gap of Uj. Though no match for Larnthos, Shuthos is a respectable 11,000 feet in height. Its upper portions are very sheer.
Larnthos: This mighty peak was named ‘Tall Mountain’ with good reason. It stands at nearly the same latitude as the peak of Votania, but rises to a height of 17,000 feet. The pinnacle is all the more spectacular from the east. (The southern Hæstran plains are nearly 4000 feet above sea level, reducing Larnthos’ relative height.)
Choak Mountains – Like an afterthought, the Choak Mountains cap Emer, rising up in an inverted ‘T’ shape a hundred miles north of the last peak of the Spine. Ironically, they are much older than any of the other mountain ranges on Emer. Apparently they survived geological turbulence which much of the rest of the region did not.
Mountains of Gold – A ridge of hills jutting up from the ocean, they form a sheer barrier between central Hæstra and the stormy waters of the open sea – isolating the Elven Isle of Talæn from the mainland. Named for their golden colour in the sun, they also embrace rich mines of that precious element.
The Izaran Crest – These old, rolling hills lie along the eastern banks of the Bay of Izar, separating Sarnak from the lands to the east and north. The Crest is much higher on the Bay side, the last fold before the great plateau (which holds central Hæstra and the Sea of Votania) falls to the level of the ocean.
Waterways – Hæstra is a well-irrigated land, with countless rivers, streams and small lakes throughout the landscape.
Keyten River – The Keyten River travels east-west across northern Hæstra, dividing the Bodlean states from the expanding arm of Stroane. It is wide and deep, an excellent waterway for travel, though all boatmen shun the haunted city of Zinvar, on the isle at the mouth of this river.
Alana River – Originating in the Spine of Emer, the River Alarna winds its way southwest to empty into the Sea of Votania. It is at the mouth of this river that the Laan built the capital city of the old Irdanian triumvirate. But that was over 2000 years ago; little remains now but rubble.
The Langasse – Langasse flows nearly north-south from the Mountains of Gold into the Sea of Votania. Once this river literally flowed with gold from the rich mines, but now it is only blue.
Urij River – Urij flows down from the foothills of the Forbidden Ridge into the Bay of Izar. The upper reached of this river are swift and dangerous – far too rocky to be navigable.
Votania – Votania is a place with few rivals. It has been home to the Emperor of Emer as well as the “Masters of Emer”, a race of mythical beings of power that have not been heard of for many years.
This isle lies near the centre of Emer, at the centre of most comprehensive maps of the Western Hemisphere. Guarded by the deceptively calm Sea of Votania, the isle is rarely visible, clothed in a thick veil of mist. The sea is a fresh-water body and very deep. Tales of a kraken-like monster living in the depths of the sea are unsubstantiated.
Bay of Izar – Another prominent feature on the Emerian landscape is the huge enclosed bay along the western coast. Sheltered by the Scorpion Ridge along the south and the Morbek Highlands to the southeast, the waters of the bay are calm and easily navigable. There is little land upon which to gain a foothold, the only flat shores lie to the northeast. Land meets water in rocky shoals along much of the rest of the coast; in the southwest, sheer cliffs loom.
The most populous city is on the Izar coast is the city-state of Sarnak, lying to the far east of the bay and shielded under the Morbek highlands.
Danarchis – ruled by King Moren.
Bodlea – More of a region than a specific government, this rolling land of hills and valleys north of the Keyten River is home to a coalition of Talath dales. Bodlea is made up of eleven dales, a term referring to the independent valley-towns and the farm/pasturelands surround them. The dales are relatively isolated, making only sporadic contact between each other. However, the southern dales benefit from contact by river trade with the Elves of Talæn, and the northern Dales trade with Danarchis.
Carlsdale – Located in the very foothills of the Blue Hills, Carlsdale is in an upland vale and is the closest of the dales to Danarchis. It is also one of the largest and wealthiest of the dales. Carlsdale has large flocks of sheep and grows corn and cotton. Their symbol are Three Stars.
Millsdale – The largest producer of wheat in Bodlea, Millsdale lies near the windy western coast. Much of the shoreline is rocky cliffs, so the Talath of Millsdale have little to do with the sea (which is fine with them; Talath seem to have a racial fear of the open ocean). Their symbol is A Bundle of Wheat.
Rakesdale – Symbol is of A Raven.
Allesdale – Symbol is An Eclipsing Sun
Highdale – Another upland valley community, Highdale is nestled in the western hills of the Choak Mountains. Somewhat isolated from the other dales, Highdalers tend to have an (uncharacteristic) superiority complex. They are still friendly with other Bodleans, but affect a superior air. Their symbol is A Gryphon.
Yorndale – Symbol is A Running Horse
Alinsdale – Symbol is A Spread-winged Eagle
Galendale – Symbol is A Tree
Uppsdale – Symbol is A Crossed Sword and Scythe
Wyerdale – Symbol is A Wyvern
Gravesdale – Symbol is A Yellow Rose
The Miirian States – Miir lies south of the Keyten river, between the land of Stroane and Vornia. Seven lords, they forged a lose alliance for their mutual benefit and protection which survived for several centuries only to be broken nine years ago when the Katra of Stroane annexed the south-eastern state. Taken completely by surprise by this aggression after centuries of peaceful coexistence, the others have been consumed one by one by the voracious Katra.
This region known collectively as Miir is made up primarily of empty land with beautiful if mysterious ruins. It is a rolling land with many small valleys. The downs of Miir have the richest soil in Emer and were once the heart of the Emerian Empire under Aldaron. Now, Miir is mostly composed of short grass with scattered strands of trees. Despite Stroane’s recent conquests, life in the few dozen isolate villages here has changed little.
Zinvar – Zinvar was one of the pre-eminent trading centres of Emer. A large island (nearly 100 miles long), it was an independent city-state at the mouth of the Keyten river and had ties with the Dales, Danarchis, Kaitaine, and even Sel-Kai. Zinvar had become a wealthy port to rival Kaitaine.
Tales speak of the fall of Zinvar: Long ago a black ship with tattered black sails came into the western port at sunset, against the wind. It manoeuvred into the port as if a skilled crew were at the sails, yet lookouts could see no one on deck. The ship touched the stone dock and vanished. Then the madness began. No one has yet returned to the cursed isle… and lived to tell of it.
Talæn – This island off the western coast of Emer is a idyllic haven of Erlini. While only 150 miles from the cursed island of Zinvar, the Eves of Talæn had never been in close contact with the island. Talæn has a moderate climate and is covered almost entirely by forest, dominated by the massive navaal trees. Reefs surround the island, making it treacherous to visit. While the Elves will help those who are shipwrecked or otherwise in trouble, they do not welcome visitors.
Vornia – The grasslands between the Bay of Izar and the Gold Mountains were never densely populated. Vornia is more of an ancient regional name than a political delineation; there is no central government or any unifying force to the scattered population.
The armies of Stroane rolled through Vornia they met nothing but a few isolated farms, a tiny village or two and numerous ancient stone ruins. It was only on the coast of the Bay of Izar that they encountered any real population, and that was no more than a string of fishing villages. Needless to say, the rustic people of the land known as Vornia put up very little organised resistance to the declaration that they were citizens of Stroane.
The Emerald Forest – Situated between the Sea of Votania and the Bay of Izar, this extensive forest contains a plethora of wild plants and animals – and not a few sentient life forms as well. Though the Miirians and Vornians say it is haunted, the Forest is the home of many of the Fairy Folk. The master of the Emerald Forest is a powerful being; one might call him a god.
Sarnak – To the south of the river, slag like hills rise steeply to the impassable Mobek Highlands. Beyond the highlands lies the desert of Uj. At the mouth of the River Urij lies the walled city-state of Sarnak, defiant these last five years in the face of the Aggressions of Stroane. Of course, they have benefited from the sudden demise of the Katra of Stroane, but deny any hand in the assassination.
The most notable feature of Sarnak society is the role of the sexes. Women rule this land, and men are subservient domestics who look after the children, cook, sew, and perform all other domestic chores. The women are the warriors, heads of government and craftsmen.
Sarnak City – Located on the southern shore of the river Urij, the city is constructed on a bluff of rock overlooking the river and the eastern portion of the Bay of Izar. The location is strategic, allowing the protective Sarnaki plenty of warning should attack come from any direction. The Sanarki war fleet is moored at the foot of the bluff just in the river.
Sarnak itself is a looming presence, a jumble of dark towers and parapets designed to look impressive and impregnable.
The Realm – the land claimed by the Directorate of Sarnak lies along the coast to the southwest, up the steep valley behind the city to the east. On the eastern front the state is guarded from the north by the Emerald forest, and on the south by the Morbek Highlands. There is a pass south to the Charn Plateau in Uj. Occasional caravans of Rhiani traders will venture through to trade with the women of Sarnak, but travel along that route is rare.
The western frontier is unchallenged, as the Scorpion Ridge has only left a foothold of lowlands along the coast. Grapes grow here, but most of the land is given over to pasture.
Tai-emer – From the Spine of Emer to the Sea of Tears, the land of Tai-emer steps down in a series of great plateaus. These shelves of land are eroded by the patient destruction of wind and water, leaving a broken landscape of arid plains and semi-fertile savannah. To the north, Tai-emer ends at the Choak Gap, a windy plain 50 miles wide and guarded by the Changramai Citadel. To the south, the Peaks of Peligris and the Spine of Emer curl towards each other, forming the plateau of Arûl. South of this ridge, the land fall away into the lowlands of Khûm-kaan.
Mountain Ranges – Tai-emer has one great mountain barrier to the west, and a few less remarkable features to the north (the Choak Mountains) and south.
The Spine of Emer – see above
Peligris Mountains – A spur of relatively young peaks, Peligris marks the southern border of Tai-emer. Rather unremarkable, they are a source of iron, coal, and bauxite.
The Steppes – The great savannah which makes up nearly all of Tai-emer is known as the Steppes. Semi-arid except along the waterways, the land is hot, supporting only scattered grassland broken occasionally by small strands of trees.
Waterways – civilization in Tai-emer exists only along the coast and the two great rivers, the T’voca and the Karis.
The Sea of Tears – Walled by the Rust Mountains on the east and scattered with myriad isles and reefs, the Sea of Tears is a deceptively calm body. The sea earns its name from the many ships it claims, foundered by hidden reefs and sudden storms.
T’voca River – A wide and deep river, the T’voca is the source of the life for the Lankani. It splits about halfway up its length into a south and north fork.
Karis River – Much smaller than the T’voca, the Karis is shallow. The upper regions are sometimes not navigable in the late summer, when the river swells with rainwater runoff from the mountains.
Logor Swamp – Located far to the south, the Logor Swamp lies in western tip of the Arûl Plain, shielded by the Peligris Mountains. After one passes south into the plain, the land drops, and humidity increases. The swamp is over 100 miles across, a misty bog which is treacherous to enter. Logor Swamp and the Plain of Arûl were part of a kingdom destroyed during the Wars of Dominion.
The Forest of Ash – This strange place stands in the foothills of the Spine of Emer, west of the Pochanti lands. Once a great forest, trees reached hundreds of feet in the air. The forest was burned long ago by an unnatural fire which left almost all the trees standing. Even the leaves still remain on the trees, though they are black and charred. The forest floor is covered with ashes, and the place is utterly dead.
The T’voca River Basin – The T’voca River plain is the most fertile area in all of Tai-emer. It is not surprising that it holds the region’s most advanced culture. The Lankan people depend on the river to irrigate their crops and as a transportation system. It is their lifeline in an otherwise hostile land.
South-eastern Wastes – Poor soil and little rainfall combine to make this wide, flat region little more than a wasteland. While not a desert, it has little to offer settlers, so remains virtually uninhabited except for a variety of hardy desert creatures.
The Waste is a broken land of plain interrupted by wind-carved towers of ancient stone and dry riverbeds. The primary inhabitants seem to be birds of prey, cacti and such mammals as can survive in a dry clime. This empty area serves as an effective buffer between Tai-emer and the southern plains of Silaar, a defence the Nuyan Khôm are grateful for as the threat of Lankanok grows.
Præten – Two peninsulas and more than a dozen large isles mark the empire of the Honakh (‘king’ or ‘lord’) of Præten. This maritime country is isolated from the steppe-peoples of Tai-emer and seems more than happy to remain so. The Præteni are an aggressive people who have found themselves in an unhappy location between two major trade powers. To the west lies Danarchis, an organized little realm with ties to every major shipping port from the Mur Fostisyr to Kaitaine, while not 500 miles to the east floats Eidolon, the only trade city whose fame (and legendary flying trade fleet) has spread across the entire hemisphere.
As a result, Præten has had to resort to raiding to supplement its economy, its privateer ships making life difficult for Danarchis and the sea-going vessels of Eidolon as well.
The Temperate Marine climate of Præten bears little resemblance to the rest of Tai-emer.