Aestis is the central continent of the planet Hermia, situated between the continents of Tzyan to the north, and Sindhi to the south. The Lesser Arc Sea, is situated at the eastern end of the continent. It feeds into the vast Greater Arc Sea.
Aestis is huge supercontinent some 5,200 miles from east to west, and 3,400 miles from north to south, sitting across the Hermian equator.
The central lands around the Greater Arc Sea are known to Aestians as the Arclands, which is comprised principally of nine city states.
These are the most prosperous, civilised and secure realms in Aestis, but emerged from the ruins of the Arc Empire that once governed most of the continent.
Beyond the Arclands are a series of kingdoms and regions that for much of the history of Aestis have been in various states of war or conflict with one another.
Their rulers and people now look at the changing nature of the world with a growing anxiety and fear as more and more reports and stories pass from kingdom to kingdom of magical occurrences and of magic users emerging.
The people of Aestis look to their rulers to protect them and those same rulers see in magic new opportunities for power, control and conquest.
The majority of scholars who have mapped Aestis have been Arclanders, normally from the city of Harenis. This has resulted in the cartography of the world being drawn from the Arclandish perspective.
The first great explorer and chronicler of the world, Dyvendremus, an ancient Vannic scholar, argued that anything east of the city of Arc and west of the Straits of Dancare was uncivilised wild lands and should be either ignored or journeyed through with great caution. The terms ‘East of Arc’ and ‘West of Dancare’ are still used in a derogatory manner even today in the Year 295.
The Arclands, however, face a far greater threat to their well being and stability than the lands to their east and west (which are actually ideal markets for goods from the Arclands and sources of cheap raw materials).
To the north west of the Arclands is the realm of Mordikhaan and the Black Republics, regions that fell to the mysterious dark queen, the Khul, and her allies from the realm of Damnation.
In the south is the empire of Del’Marah and its satellite states, Del’Vettor and Del’Mudir. Del’Marah was a former province of the Arc Empire, conquered by the armies of Arc. It was the act of Del’Marah breaking away from the Arc Empire that eventually caused its collapse.
Beyond the Arclands a diverse series of nations struggle for survival and security on the edges of the continent.
Some are loosely affiliated to cities within the Arclands, others look with envy or disdain at the citizens of the nine cities and secretly wait for the Arclands to fall.
is a flat, barren land in the north eastern end of Aestis and its people, the Ghothars, came to Aestis 1,400 years ago from the continent of Ty’Zan.
They sailed with their cousins the Veskans but became embittered with their fellow migrants over the question of land. Ghothars have gradually settled a greater portion of the north east but realised that it is not a land of plenty.
Its coastlines are made up of rocky windswept cliffs and empty inlets and coves.
Much of the land is tundra and the land that has been converted to pasture has poor soil which becomes quickly exhausted.
Ghothar villages are often lost in dust storms and the people of this land are grim, stubborn and cynical.
Ruled over by a weak king Roharradh, Ghotharand faces a bleak future.
is a land of rich soil and bountiful harvests, its prosperity the envy of its neighbours.
Veskans have learned long ago that they are surrounded by dangerous enemies.
To the north the Ghothars plan invasion after invasion, knowing their only hope of survival as a nation is to seize Veskan farming land.
To the west, across the Great Plains, drifting packs of terrifying skeletal giants, the Gorins, threaten Veska’s borders.
Only the use of rune stones keeps Veskans safe from the Gorins, and the presence of the Gorins themselves creates a barrier that prevents Ghothar armies from invading.
is a vast rainforest the has grown around a river delta. It’s inhabitants, the Olorians, are a complex interrelated network of tribes and clans.
The Olorians migrate within Oloris frequently as they observe seasonal rituals and travel around their realm in ornate house boats.
They live alongside the Jaraki, an amphibian race of tree dwellers with whom they have an uneasy peace.
The The Vire
is a barren and windswept land of mountains and tundra.
The Virefolk are an ethnic mix of three neighbouring peoples; exiled Del Marahans, Olorians and native Sindhans who have crossed the winter ice bridge that connects Aestis to Sindhi.
Generations of Sindhans have crossed from the icy south in small numbers, but in the past 20 years there has been a vast increase in refugees.
is an empire that once spanned all of Southwest Aestis.
In the past three centuries Del’Marah has retreated from the Molvar Peninsula, Del’Vettor and the Vire but the Del’Marahan emperor Iblim and his son Muzz lay claim to all these territories.
Del’Marah has traditionally been seen as the cradle of civilisation in the south, a wealthy and resource rich society with a long history of scholarly endeavour and learning.
Many of Del’Marah’s neighbours now see it as a dangerous and unpredictable power determined to reclaim past glories.
The Mill Lands
The The Mill Lands
are a loose federation of towns, cities and dukedoms southwest of Dancare, between the Haatchi and Firg territories.
The Mill Lands were once part of the kingdom of Pelonastrius and are ruled from the former capital Pelonastra.
The people of the Mill Lands, the Swithicks are distant relatives of the Ghothars and have become reliant on the Firg for their security in an increasingly dangerous world.
Enemies from across Aestis now plan how to exploit the wealth of the Mill Lands and its weaknesses.
The The Firg Lands
lies north of the Mill Lands is a mixture of mountains and high plateaus.
Human travellers are not welcome without specific permission to enter the kingdom and most know far better than to test the patience of the giant Firg.
An average Firg stands just over eight and a half feet in height, but some Firg have been rumoured to reach nearly ten feet tall.
They are powerfully strong and whilst they are slow to anger or offence, a Firg on the rampage is a terrifying sight.
They are the great smiths, stone masons and Silvio builders of Aestis and dwell in the subterranean city of Trezakan, deep below the mountains of the Firg realm.
The The Haatchi Territory
is a wide, undulating expanse of steppe, grassland and hills, bordered by mountains.
It is here that the Haatchi, one of the oldest peoples in Aestis, have lived for many centuries.
The Haatchi are divided into seven tribes with one tribe, the Rao Haatchi, having vanished hundreds of years ago.
They are semi nomadic and visit their capital, Tenguri, once per year.
The Haatchi are famed for their horses, which they prize above all things, and Haatchi culture is a completely equine one.
They see the Swithicks in the Mill Lands as cheats, but wiser tribal rulers recognise that the Haatchi cannot regain the lands on the eastern bank of the Mill Lands River Shay back from their unwelcome neighbours.
Haatchi have fought bravely in the past to keep Mordikhaan at bay, including defeating the Khul at Wardenhal, along with the Wardenhalese and the Firg.
is a vast and desolate land, ruled by the Khul, a fallen grace (one of the children of the Keeper, created to uphold order), who vowed to experience chaos and disorder by becoming mortal.
She ruled Mordikhaan with terror, and the land is populated by rogues and exiles from the Mill Lands and beyond.
The men and women who throw themselves on the Khul’s mercy know that there is no choice but to serve their cruel queen and to fight to the death for her.
The Black Republics
The Black Republics are three former kingdoms that existed on the edges of what is now Mordikaan, and were destroyed by the forces of Damnation shortly after the Sundering.
Soord, Hurrand and the Nyeth have all fallen to demonic forces from Damnation that were brought into the mortal realm by the Khul.
Following a catastrophic defeat, the Khul believed she needed additional muscle and made a deal with the lords of Damnation to allow some of their servants into the mortal realm.
The Khul now bitterly regrets her choice of allies as the demonic forces of the three Black Republics are as much of a threat to her as they are to the rest of Aestis.
The Nine Cities
Along the edge of the Greater Arc Sea are nine city states that comprise the Arclands. Some, like Arc and Gol are ancient, others like Skaris are comparatively new.
is the largest and wealthiest city in Aestis, but is slowly experiencing a gradual decline in its fortunes as its leaders are corrupted by all powerful bankers and the poorest in the city are enslaved by debt.
It was the capital of the Arc Empire and is now the centre of world trade, finance. Arc is a vast metropolis of half a million people and is ruled by the descendants of a line of Arc generals called the Protectors.
is the second most powerful city on the Greater Arc Sea.
It is only half the size of the vast metropolis of Arc but is unparalleled in its ability to wage war across Aestis.
Relations between Dran and Arc are at best tense and often openly hostile, as Dranians view Arc as a city in decline, a relic of the past that should be swept away by its more warlike neighbour.
Ruled by a council of seven noble houses, Dran is a slave owning city but some of Dran’s lesser nobility have begun to quietly discuss ending Dran’s slave trade.
The city’s main source of wealth comes from the mercenary activities of its armies that are stationed across Aestis.
is one of the oldest settlements in Aestis, with some ruins pre-dating the Van Empire, and the first city to be constructed on the shores of the Greater Arc Sea.
In the year of the Sundering, the city was destroyed by a tsunami and now lies in ruins.
The people of Gol rejected the Aruhvian religion and their defiance injected doubt among the faithful, causing a schism in Aruhvian belief.
Now the ruins of the city are shared by isolated pockets of survivors and many monstrous creatures that inhabit the lagoons and inlets of the Golan coast.
The city is also a magnet for looters who search for lost magical items and artefacts.
Dancare is the most sparsely populated city in the Arclands.
It was designed as a tomb for the nobility of Arc and the other great cities, even the dead of the Mill Lands and Del’Marah have tombs there.
The living are outnumbered many times over by the dead and vast halls of crypts are tended by Dancarian orders of monks.
The defenders and patrollers of Dancare are the Knights of the Crypt, a warrior order that protects the tombs and the city from desecration.
Most Dancarians live in Shadryff, the small town at Dancare’s base. Dancare means ‘City of Twilight (Dan-Care) and is the mirror opposite to the city that created it, Ar-Care, City of the Dawn or better known as Arc.
is a city situated off the south-eastern coast of the Greater Arc sea, located between Skaris and Taeor.
It was built by the Van with the assistance of the Firg soon after the foundation of The Library of Harenis, in order to accommodate the scholarly community fifty kilometers north of the city, carved into the holy mountain Mount Khest.
The Library is the largest existent repository of knowledge in Aestis and was built to preserve the written culture of the Van civilization.
Taeor is a sprawling free port on the southern coast of the Greater Arc Sea, renowned for its smugglers, pirates and gangsters.
It is situated in an expanse of coastal desert and scrub land that stretches to the feet of the Arching Mountains. Around the city itself a vast moving and changeable shanty city of tents exists from wandering traders and nomads.
The city is run by an enigmatic crime godfather known as the Silk of Taeor, and his job is primarily to see that the city’s crime syndicates coexist with as little conflict as possible.
For those who can pay there is no fear of prison in Taeor, and any arrest can be mitigated through bribes.
Taeor is disliked across the Arclands but Golans in particular despise Taeor, as it is a marketplace for stolen Golan artifacts.
Wardenhal is a city on the southwest coast of the Greater Arc Sea.
On the surface it appears to be one of the lesser city-state surrounding the Arclands, particularly in comparison to the power of Arc, Dran and Harenis, and would have been subjugated if not for the hidden power it holds over its neighbours and competitors.
Barring the Firg, Wardenhal produces weapons and armor of the finest quality in all of Aestis as well as siege engines of incomparable sophistication.
The city guards its knowledge ensuring that no outsiders are trained in its arts.
Wardenhal’s survival strategy is to ensure that its destruction or subjugation will set back warfare hundreds of years.
It maintains a policy of strict neutrality in conflicts selling to both sides, quietly profiting from the ambitions of other powers.
Hothis is one of the oldest cities in the Arclands and grew independently of Arc, only coming under the control of the Arc Empire when it became clear there was little other choice.
Hothis was built around a forest known as the heart that attracted mystics and travellers for centuries as they seemed drawn to its energy.
Gradually, a city grew around the edges of the forest and the elders of Hothis forbade their citizens from entering the forest.
Just prior to the Sundering, a group of Aruhvian pilgrims left Hothis and formed a new city, Skaris, believing it to be a place of purity and Hothis to be a site of corruption.
The two cities have been at war with one another, on and off, for centuries as they attempt to control food supplies in the surrounding lands between them.
is a theocratic city state at the southernmost end of the Greater Arc Sea situated between Harenis and Hothis.
The youngest of the nine cities of the Arclands it was founded by Elunre Ashtar, an Aruhvian prophetess, believed by the Skarisi to have founded the city on the orders of the Grace Y’Vestan as the last earthly haven for the true Aruhvian faith.
The city is built in the centre of the Blackbriar Woods, inhabited by the chaotic and deadly Bkackbriar Fey, who have an uneasy truce with the human residents of the city.
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