This document contains a brief overview of the known parts of Madoria.
The World, known variously as Madoria, Moragom, or Midraya, is the third planet in a system of five worlds orbiting the star Birnea. She is slightly more than 11,000 kilometers in equatorial diameter with only about 24% of her surface area land forms. Of this land, there are four large continents, one small continent, six large islands, and seven important archipelagoes. The major continents are, in order of size: Unknown Rathion, Auradea, the Fabled Land, and Velaria.
An overview of the continents is given below. The section following goes into more detail covering regions of the continents.
The continent most heavily populated by man, Auradea has fostered the greatest of the world's human civilizations, with only Nerencham and Marazai rivalling them in the west. Lying completely in the northern hemisphere, Auradea's climate is predominantly temperate, with some deserts in the south and frigid shores in the north.
The Fabled Land
The only continent lying completely in the southern hemisphere, the Fabled Land is, like Rathion, largely uninhabited by men, but it is said strange races and godlike beings dwell there. Her only human inhabitants wander the northern tip and have never passed beyond her mountains to view the wonders of Madoria's most southern territories.
Rathion lies on the opposite side of the world from the centers of civilization. It has been visited by Hovar explorers and Makurians, but is largely unpopulated by men. Descriptions of Unknown Rathion never fail to describe her vast mountain range running like a spine down her back and visible from all parts of the continent.
The small Western Continent, split off from Auradea by the cataclysm of the Garn-Madorian, has had its share of wonders and mighty civilizations. Much of the land is wild, however, with jungles, deserts, and steppes covering 90% of her surface, and these areas are populated by savage tribes and wild nomads. Strange races, too, inhabit Velaria, with secret places and wondrous reputations. Most of the Velarian contact with Auradea occurs in the fertile areas of her eastern coastline, around Van Tiria where the two continents nearly touch.
To the north of the Verentian Empire are the Andalors, a region of petty, warring kingdoms. Here, the Winarians pit their dark magics against the sun magic of the Danfalk. In the past, a furious war between the rival sorceries engulfed the Andalors, leaving the landscape scarred and littered with traps even worse than those laid by the beastmen millenia gone.
Known for their heroic stature and wild magic, the Andalorians produced the tribe that fled the peninsula and wrested control of Sevalia from the Maletrians, thereby founding the Verentian Empire. The Andaloran peninsula itself remains lightly populated, barely civilized land covered by dark, terrifying forests. Her warriors battle among themselves for power and glory.
The occasional Andalorian may be found in the Verentian Empire, usually as a mercenary or slave. Their fiery spirit makes them fine gladiators.
Anphirai is the region of land beyond the mountains east of Aventir. The dominant political force in Anphirai is the fractured, depleted realm Ralubia, whose once beautiful inland sea is now a huge, wretched swamp. Eighty years ago the Mad Wizard of Mirsach blew a hole in the bottom of the sea, draining its waters into the Underworld below. Much of Ralubia's economy went down the hole, too.
Most Ralubians seen nowadays are merchants, desperately trying to trade their junk wares for gold. They are inexplicably successful at this, so that their trading hostels in the Verentian Empire rival the merchant houses of Tirreter herself.
A desert region south of Makuria, bounded on three sides by high mountains. Beljilad is desolate and inhabited primarily by black grueslin.
The cold northlands of Auradea are the home of sturdy seafarers. Most noteworthy of these are the Hovar, whose mighty longships have sailed as far as Unknown Rathion.
A tropical archipelago south of the Kruthad Peninsula. A mysterious civilization of lycanthropic tribesmen and murderous priests inhabits Chadrace. They trade rare and exotic goods with Kruthedan, and have even allowed a trading post for outsiders to be established on one of their outer islands (at Chadipan).
A desert plateau inhabited by bloodthirsty nomads. They constantly battle with each other and with the peoples around them, all in the service of Marik, the Dealer of Death and Bringer of Glory. According to their most sacred fables, on the edge of the Chardrakesh is the splendid oasis city of Cha Kelkorm, where it is said Marik recovers from grievous wounds.
A barren, frigid peninsula north of Makuria, it reaches from the mainland toward the Orathir Islands. Drakalir is so inhospitable that even the Skorak avoid it. Makurian criminals are sometimes banished into the Drakalir Waste.
Goertha is a large forested region around the Sea of Rue north of Anphirai. The Verentians, during the height of their expansionism, controlled a significant portion of western Goertha, and brought new civilization to a land that had been devasted by a massive flood. Free of Verentian dominance for centuries, Goertha's former peaceful domains have plunged into conflict.
Quaint towns and an environment charged with religious convictions characterize Goertha. Drin Nexini wrote, after a rare visit: "The people are a bit backward, despite the infusion of technology and sophistication delivered at the time of Verentian dominance. It would be a pleasant place to retire were it not for the occasional outbreaks of violence."
When the gods of Man defeated the Cromirs in the Gur-Docherlon, Hragerzom is what remained of their strongholds. This region is a high plateau with a depression in the center, and here Cromirs and Cromirlings (such as grueslin and beastmen) dwell in rocky fortifications and vast caverns.
The distant east, Kameree lies south of Makuria and east of Mouratta. Her lands are a sub-tropical paradise completely subjugated by the unrelenting force of Makuria.
Across Albir Gulf to the south is the tragic land of Kruthedan. Once a worthy and functional part of the Maletrian Empire (and birthplace of the Serentean Compellators), her rulership has since fallen again into the hands of the priesthood of Shinaket, the Demon of the Lake. The history of the Albir Gulf region is largely one of countless wars between the peoples of the Carnelian Coast, and the witch-priests of Kruthedan.
The Krishari peoples actually worship many gods. Some of their priests have fled Kruthad to find sanctuary in the Verentian Empire, where religions of different regions are embraced, rather than persecuted. These individuals lair in Aurelian cities especially, inviting the curious to investigate the mysteries of Kruthad's oldest cults.
Lying on a peninsula of southeastern Makuria, Lotriza is a noted center of art and literacy, its peoples having developed a beautiful pictographic language.
The great land of the East, Makuria stretches up and down the entire east coast of Auradea and includes within her borders endless variety of culture and climate. Few from the west coast have travelled here, and only the city of Samodania is widely known, for she sits on the central plain, reachable by caravan from Anphirai.
The Makurians were of the Ralubians who had fled the Big Flood by going east. While the West had fallen into a Dark Age, the Ralubians, led by a vicious demigod called the Makker, created a wave of conquest eastward and founded the Makurian Empire.
Makuria is remarkable for her unique culture. Following conquest were extended centuries of peaceful development of the arts and sciences. Even the arts of war have been stylized and and artistically reinterpreted.
Mouratta includes all the land, mostly savanna, from Kruthad to Kameree and southward to the Sea. Once the sinister Scith held their capital here, and the ruins of the civilization called Scii can still be found in remote regions of Mouratta.
Islands to the north and east of Makuria, the Orathir form a bridge between Auradea and Unknown Rathion. The islands are rather barren and inhabited only by semi-nomadic fishermen-hunters. Makurian pirates are also known to hide among the sheltered coves and harbors.
The heart of the Verentian Empire is the valley of the Sevachelle River, or Sevalia. The Verentians built their empire from the barbaric client states on the edge of Maletrian territory, and eventually acquired that empire's lost holdings in Aurelia, Scadria, and Rivardea. Aurelia is, of course, the jewel of the known world, and even Verentis has acknowledged this by granting Aurelians citizenship. Scadria and Rivardea are both heavily cultivated regions, though forests cover much of the latter. As much as Aurelia is considered the center of learning, Scadria's people have reputations of being ignorant louts.
According to the renown merchant Drin Nexini, the cities of the Aurelia are "the most advantageous places to live in the known world. The Verentians maintain a secure, relatively safe environment here for conducting trade and commerce, and all the amenities the world can offer are available for the right price. Policies toward the practice of foreign religions is lax, scholarly pursuits are encouraged, and even the most extreme political views are at worst tolerated."
Northern barrens of frigid cold stretching from the Gledharring mountains east of Velbrask all the way to Makuria's northmost reaches. The Skorak Barrens are inhabited by a strangely mutated race of gigantic man, who are great trackers, ride great war beasts and wield savage weapons of crude design. The Barrens are so cold that the Skorak dwell underground, in stone houses excavated from the sides of mountains.
The northern forests of Auradea, ostensibly part of Braghän but inhabited by tribes of a different culture, Targelon has never been successfully penetrated by civilization except on its southern fringes, where bold men from Fearthlond and Morianda established a trade route by negotiating with the tribesmen. A cheerless land of glaciated river valleys, cold lakes, and coniferous forests, Targelon is sparsely inhabited by semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. Several strange and powerful persons, most notably Lihani of Adrolorn and Ain-Down of Parth-Num, live in special regions of Targelon, protected by great magics.
Lunargho is a rocky coast and island chain. She is a lawless country that harbors pirates and thieves.
A mass of land jutting out from Velaria toward Kruthad. The interior of the land is highland, with the exception of the Malana Valley. It was here that the great civilization of Marazai grew up, where paper and written literature first developed. These days Marazai is little more than a colony of Kruthedan, exploited for the wealth and labor.
Further inland is Mutem-Doja, a confederation of tribes among two peoples: the Mutemba and the Dorjani.
An island kingdom north of Ai-Orai, the Miandirui are extremely warlike, yet follow a strict, disciplinarian creed that stresses respect and authority.
The center of Velarian civilization. From here, the xenophobic Empire of Ai-Orai maintains intermittent but cold relations with Auradean realms.
The Bright Heavens
Here those loyal to the Light gods come upon death. The Bright Heavens exist above the Sky and are where the Gods dwell. Every star and every planet is named for the divine being whose abode it represents. To reach the Bright Heavens one must first enter the Shadow. One does this at death or via shamanic trance or similar magic.
Co-existing with the Shards of the Manifest Lands and filling up the space between them and the upper and lower world is the Shadow, also known as the Astral Plane. Non-aligned spirits are said to drift here, as well as the spirits of the mystics of Ai-Orai, who follow the Lords of the Shadowplay in equal proportion.
The Deep Dark
The Deep Dark exists on the opposite end of the pole from the Bright Heavens. Where the Bright Heavens can be reached by travelling upwards (towards the Light) through the Shadow, the Deep Dark is reached by travelling downwards (towards the Dark). Here the dead of the Dark gods go.
The Manifest Lands
The Manifest Lands, which comprise the Physical Plane, are all the worlds inhabited by mortals, including Madoria. Typically, the Manifest Lands are thought of as a single entity broken apart into pieces called Shards. The upper tips of each Shard reach toward the Bright Heavens, and the lower ends toward the Deep Dark. Each Shard is completely separate from another and travel between them can occur only by traversing the Shadow via magical transumbral tunnels.