Geography

Geography

The world in which Dark Age of Dunland is set is called Sollus in most human languages; this implies that the term has a very ancient origin, from before the Diaspora and the division of humankind into multiple Tribes. The known portion of the world is one super-continent divided into three parts (Fiero, Oestia, and Gaeos), surrounded by numerous islands.

Sollus: The World

The name Sollus refers to the whole world, including both the land and seas and ice of the surface, the air that covers the surface and allows people and animals to live and breathe, the underworld of vast caverns below the surface, and the fiery regions deep below the underworld. The only parts of the universe not included in Sollus are the starry heavens that exist far above and can only be seen at night, the Sun and the Moon that provide light by day and night, and the various realms of the Spirit World.

Fiero: The Southern Continent

The far southern extents are unknown except in legend as the former location of Eden and the Land of the Snake People, which were destroyed by God at the time of the Exodus. Some say that the southern edge of Fiero is in The Fire, as the northern edge of Gaeos is in The Ice. Further north are jungles, and hot savannahs where the rainfall is insufficient to support jungle growth. In even drier regions, there are deserts. The northern coast of Fiero, where the land meets the Great Sea, was once fertile and green and is the home of some of the oldest settled areas of humankind, the birthplace of agriculture and organized civilization. Much of this coastal land was devastated by the destructive magics of the Dark Cities, and later by the warfare of the Age of Heroes in which the power of the Dark Cities was broken. The coast is still inhabited, organized into city-states and small kingdoms, although the former Dark Cities lie abandoned and shunned.

The Midlands: Where Three Continents Come Together

This land of extremes and contrasts is where the northeast corner of Fiero, the southwest corner of Oestia, and the southeast corner of Gaeos connect. The terrain varies from the Fertile Valleys along the great rivers, to high and dry mountains, to one of the largest and most hostile deserts known: the Sands of Death. The Midlands are known by many names in many languages, and this former home of several of the most powerful Dark Cities is also called the Holy Land for the many miracles, prophets, and saints that appeared here during the Age of Heroes. Once the easternmost reach of the Empire, the people of the Midlands have divided into many individual city-states since the Cataclysm.

Oestia: The Eastern Continent

The Eastern Continent is mostly unknown to the people of the west, except by legend and occasional travellers’ tales. Reaching it by land is made difficult by great extents of mountainous and extremely dry terrain; in the north these are cold steppes, in the south deserts and hot steppes, right down to the coast of the Eastern Ocean. Legends tell of fertile lands further East, of great rivers and jungles and the highest mountains in the world, of ancient civilizations dating back to the original Exodus and Diaspora.

There is one known caravan route along the coast, with high tolls charged at every access to fresh water. Other than that, the only regular contact between Oestia and the West is by ship between the Midlands and the land of Vendhya, and this is limited by strong seasonal winds and currents, so that in the spring it is possible to go from the Midlands to Vendhya, and in the autumn from Vendhya to the Midlands, but no sea travel is possible in summer or winter as the winds and currents are not reliable and the area is wracked with violent storms.

Gaeos: The Northern Continent

Gaeos is the smallest of the continents, but has some of the most varied terrain: from dry steppes along the eastern borders with Oestia and the Midlands, to interspersed fertile valleys and rocky mountains in the southern coastal regions bordering the Great Sea, to the high and near impassible central mountain ridge, to the northern forests and green plains bordering the Ellysinon and North Sea.

  • The Green Islands are three rather large islands off the northwest coast of Gaeos: Dunland, Scotia, and Verdan. Their name is due to their temperate climate through spring, summer, and autumn, giving long growing seasons. Only winters are harsh, and even these are not as bad as the Norlands of Gaeos. The temperate climate is a result of the Blessed Current, a warm stream of unknown origin flowing from north of Verdan down into the Green Sea between Verdan and Dunland. The islands are all naturally a mixture of mountains and forests, except where Humans have cleared the forests for agriculture.

Waters of the Known World

Oceans: The oceans are boundless bodies of water, stretching out forever to the horizon, larger than any sea. There is a Western Ocean that lies to the west of Gaeos and Fiero and an Eastern Ocean that lies to the east of Fiero and the Midlands, and to the south of Oestia. It is unknown whether these huge bodies of water connect in any place, and theories abound.

Great Sea: This sea is the largest known, other than the great oceans. It lies between Fiero and Gaeos, and is bounded on the east by the Midlands and on the west by the Passage of the Rock leading into the Western Ocean.

Black Sea: This sea lies at the juncture of the three continents, just north of the Midlands. It connects to the Great Sea through a narrow strait known as the Hellgate for its difficulty of passage by ship; many traders will caravan by land around this passage rather than wait for a brief and unpredictable period of calm.

Ellysinon: Also known as the Northern Deeps, this sea lies north of the Elven Coast of Gaeos, and connects to the North Sea through the stormy Norland Passage. It is known for the unusual depth of its waters, falling off sharply from the surrounding coasts, and known to be home to many large sea monsters otherwise unknown except for in the North Sea and the great Oceans.

North Sea: This sea lies to the north of Gaeos, bounded on the east by Norland, on the west by the Green Isles, and on the north by The Ice. It connects to the Western Ocean by the Ice Passage to the north of the Green Isles (although this way may be closed in winter by the southern extension of The Ice) and by the Narrows that separate the Green Islands from the mainland of Gaeos.

Green Sea: This sea, which is named for an abundance of green algae near its surface, lies in the midst of the Green Islands. The water is unusually warm due to the Blessed Current that flows into it from the northwest, thought to be the source of the moderate climate of the Green Islands. The algae and warm water make the Green Sea an excellent source of fish, but those same abundant fish have been known to draw in monsters from the deeps.

The Narrows: This narrow channel, only 25 miles wide at its narrowest point, connects the North Sea to the Western Ocean and separates the island of Dunland from the mainland of Gaeos. The Narrows are often too stormy to cross, but mild weather makes for an easy crossing.

The Underworld

Legends abound of another world below the surface of the land, a world of great caverns and subterranean seas. This place is thought to be the dwelling of Goblins, Cave Orcs, Ogres, Trolls, and worse creatures. It is seldom entered by humans, and those few who enter often fail to return. Dwarves were also thought to live in the Underworld, although none have been seen since the Cataclysm, and they are thought to have vanished along with the Elves.

The Fire

Another legendary place, The Fire is said to exist in a region even deeper in the earth below the Underworld. Some say that The Fire reaches to the surface lands in the far south where the Land of the Snake People was destroyed, assuming the presence of such fire to explain the increasingly hot climate as one travels further south. Even in the lands around the Great Sea, The Fire sometimes reaches up through the land to form volcanoes.

The Ice

Not legendary at all, anyone who journeys far enough north in Gaeos or Oestia will encounter The Ice, an endless sheet of ice that is the source of winter storms and glaciers, and sometimes freezes over the northern seas.

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Glossary: Brief Definitions of Terms and Proper Nouns, with links to more detailed info if applicable.

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Geography

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