Continent of Tarrona

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Tarrona is one of the world’s major continents, second only to Celaphania and slightly larger than the uninhabited Frozen Continent far to the south. Currently, there are fifteen recognized nations on Tarrona, counting the island of Kharam, but dozens of barbarian nations are located in the frozen north and speckled throughout the more remote areas. Tarrona is divided by the Carsovian Mountains, which creates four distinct political regions: the Dark Kingdoms in the north, the Desert Kingdoms in the south, the Ultic lands in the west, and the Antarish lands in the east.

Atracus looms above the plains of central Tarrona

Summer Sea

The Summer Sea, once called the Cerúnn Sea (Ultic for summer), is a larger inland sea on the western side of Tarrona. The sea is quite shallow, being only 50 fathoms (300 feet) deep on average, and 20 fathoms (120 feet) along the coastal regions, with depths reaching 200 fathoms (1200 feet) in some trenches. As a result, the sea is much warm than other seas, and the water is surprisingly clear. The Summer Sea features countless bays, coves, and lagoons, and fishing villages speckle its rocky shores. The largest bays are the Beryl Bay and the Gambassu Bay.

Bay of Antaria

Once known as the Great Eastern Bay, the Bay of Antaria is in fact another inland sea, similar to the Summar Sea in the west. However, it was traditionally referred to as a bay due to its wide mouth opening into the Vast Sea. It is so named after the great kingdom of Antaria which once dominated the region. Today, the Kaldea controls much of the Bay of Antaria, and has renamed the bay on their own maps.

Carsovian Mountains

In the center of Tarrona, splitting north from south and east from west, are the prodigious Carsovian Mountains. Ranging nearly 1,000 miles from north to south and 800 miles at their widest, the Carsovians are second only to the Great Barrier Mountains in scale. To the north, in the high Carsovian Plateau, is the kingdom of Darmania, and to the west is the war-torn country of Strigovia. Just north of the western peaks of Carsovia is the Scaithi-ruled land of Tir Scaith and the haunted battle fields of Moytura where, in ancient times, Eldrien and Scaithi clashed in bloody war.

The forboding peaks of the Carsovian Mountains

It is in this forbidding region that factions of vampiric blood-barons have for centuries warred with one another and against rival sorcerers and warlords. But it is the common people living here who have paid the ultimate price for these long and bloody wars. The Senti people, native to the region, were long ago displaced, though many still remain and struggle to survive in the evil shadow of these splintered, jagged mountains. With the formation of the Grand Imperium, the feud between blood-barons has drawn to an uneasy peace. Now the factions have turned their hateful gaze south, and, having joined the kingdom of Darmania, add their dark legions to the armies of Kendes and Kaldea.

Boreal Mountains

Farther north than the Carsovians lie the frigid Boreal Mountains, also known as the Mountains of Fire and Ice. This stretch of mountains marks the beginning of the arctic tundra of Tarrona, beyond which begins the desolate polar ice sheet. These mountains are volcanic, and, although there have been no recent eruptions, some continue to smolder. The smoldering volcanoes being skirted by great glacial walls is both an awesome and a terrifying sight. The region is home to countless bands of nomads and war tribes, both human and Ogrim. Trolls also live in the mountains, but being solitary by nature are far less of a threat than the marauding war-bands. The Grand Imperium has managed to bring some measure of order to the far northern lands of Tarrona, and many war-chiefs have allied themselves to Kendes and Kaldea. Barbarians, Ogrim, trolls, and goblins have now joined the ranks of the Imperial army as irregular soldiers and mercenaries.

Armored Dragon of Northern Tarrona, by Nicolas Tribehou

Falkshire Mountains

Markedly more pleasant than the foreboding Carsovian Mountains, the sylvan Falkshires are smaller and more majestic. The tallest mountains of the Falkshires are snow-capped in the winter, but these caps melt in the summer to feed the rivers that flow through the Ethenwold and down into the Ruballi and Suddaean deserts, bringing much-needed water to those arid lands. The Falkshires themselves are of a mild and wet climate, dividing the dense Ethenwold to the east from the light woodlands and rolling plains of Bryland to the south and west. The Falkshires are home to many Eldrien tribes, and some credit the strikingly pleasant climate to their magic.

The enchanting majesty of the Falkshire Mountains

Ethenwold

The Ethenwold is a dense forest region east of the Falkshires in a lowland area that catches much of the runoff from both the Falkshire Mountains and the southern extent of the Carsovian Mountains. Only a few small rivers course their way beyond the Ethenwold to feed the scrubland plains between the Ethenwold and the Ruballi Desert, and fewer still trickle into the Ruballi itself.

The Ethenwold has always been a wild and savage land, even at the height of Antaria’s power. It is overrun with wild beasts and aberrant creatures, including basilisks, dire wolves, bristlebacks, and tusked bears. The Ethenwold is also home to brigands and outlaws, who have plagued the merchant roads between Bryland and the Baronies of Ambricar for hundreds of years.

The untamed wilderness of the Ethenwold

Ruballi Desert

The Ruballi Desert of eastern Tarrona is a vast expanse of hostile desert southwest of Ambricar and north of the Suddaean Desert. Also known as the Burning Waste, the Ruballi is actually the northernmost extent of the great Suddean Desert. Apart from a few isolated mining towns and frontier outposts, the Ruballi is mostly uninhabited. The northern and eastern regions are primarily scrublands, while to the north and west the desert dissolves into rolling plains that meet the eastern edge of the Ethenwold.

Suddaean Desert

The Suddaean Desert fills most of the southern quarter of the continent of Tarrona and has remained relatively unchanged throughout recorded history. In spite of its inhospitable climate, there are rivers and oases to be found; it is around these rivers and oases that human settlements first formed in the region. The desert has been mined for gold, silver, and precious stones for centuries, lending to the great wealth and riches of Suddaea.

The wind-swept sands of the Suddaean Desert

Stone Valley of Kharam

Kharam is a mountainous island just east of Suddaea, across the then Sea of Kharam. Kharam is an independent kingdom with a rich and unique culture, and is ruled by a king called a Kamair. Dividing Kharam itself is one of nature’s most awesome and unique wonders: the Stone Valley. The river Haptmur, which comes down from the northern mountains, carved out much of the valley, although wind and geological activity probably shared an equal part in its creation.

The most immediate feature of the Stone Valley is the Canyon of the Sun, through which the Haptmur river flows during the “wet” season (the rest of the year it is dry). As impressive as the canyon is, with its wind-carved towers of stone, rainbow-colored rock faces, and wide-open expanses, this is not the most remarkable place of interest in the valley. Throughout the region are countless hot water springs, geysers, sulfur lakes, and towering mineral deposits. Most of the springs are not suitable for bathers—the springs are quite toxic, and the water is so hot it could kill a man—but the springs are quite beautiful, coming in a variety of colors from deep blue to green to yellow and red. Bubbling-hot mud pits are also common throughout the area. Corundum crystals are abundant here, and many of the rocks contain these valuable crystals, which contributes to the wealth of Kharam’s ruling families. Unsurprisingly, the people of Kharam have long held the Stone Valley to be sacred.

Somewhere in the depths of Taldacarn Cavern

Taldacarn Caverns

The Taldacarn Caverns are located in the wet lowlands south of the Cadairen Mountains in the hinterlands west of the plains of Phana. Here, and throughout an area spanning some 400 square miles, are numerous sinkholes, caves, and deep caverns. Many of the sinkholes are hundreds of feet across and hundreds of feet deep and are so old that they are now filled with trees and vegetation. Some, however, are much newer, and others are known to have formed only a few hundred years ago. It is believed that the sinkholes formed as a result of ancient underground rivers that chewed out the limestone bedrock of the region. The earth is also unstable and frequented by minor earthquakes. A large quake will sometimes cause an already weakened cavern to collapse, after which the hole will either fill with water or, if drained into smaller caverns and tunnels, will eventually fill with vegetation.

The 400-mile area of sinkholes is remarkable enough to make this place a natural wonder, but it is also one of the largest known underground cavern systems in the world (Elderdeep is the largest by far, but the truth is that no one has explored either cave system in its entirety). At least 100 people have vanished over the past 50 years while exploring the caves, and reports of ghosts and specters are unusually high in nearby villages. Floating spots and strange colors have been observed in and around the sinkholes before or after a minor quake, spawning many superstitions, stories, and legends in the region.

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