The Kleistan Canal

Olympian Period

If coast to coast sailing are dirt paths for sailors, then the Kleistan Canal is an exquisite, paved road.
~ Themistophicles ~

Olympian Period

The River of a Single Blow

Once, this canal was just a river. And once, this river was no river at all. But, today the Kleistan Canal stands as the most pivotal waterway that connects the northern half of Kleista with its southern half. It divides the country of Nidus with Mitera at the base of the Olympic Sea, and the story behind its creation is equally as terrifying and epic.   It all began with two rulers, one named Epimedes of Nidus, the other named Voula of Mitera. During this time, particularly during the year 722 AC, this land was very dry and there were no other settlements in the area. But, in this year both the young ruler Epimedes and the wise woman Voula set out at the same time to colonize this land, both secretly intent to expand the borders beyond what the Kleistan Allotments allowed.   These allotments had drawn the border between Nidus and Mitera in this area, yet there was no such landmark to determine where the line was, and so the two of them were intent to manipulate that. When they confronted each other for the first time, conflict rose quickly.  
At first, it began like a discussion, both sides seeking to come to some sort of compromise. But, when neither side could come to an agreement, discussions turned into demands. Then, demands turned into threats. Finally, threats turned into war. Both rulers had led a small hoplite force with them, and the fighting that broke out here, though they were only skirmishes to size, was bloody and tragic.   Worse, as time went on, this fighting only escalated. Distant cities of both countries heard these news and rallied their own hoplite forces that marched to these fields. Soon, Epimedes and Voula were both surrounded by countless other leaders fighting for their selfish cause.
  After a whole year of this bloodshed, the story says this conflict caught the attention of both Ares, the Lord of War, and Athena, Lady Wisdom. The ground trembled the moment both deities got involved.  

Ares and Athena

Ares and Athena, both fueled by the need to justify the people that followed them confronted each other in the exact spot where they knew the borderline truly was. Their presence alone made mortals cower and flee into the distance, and when their fight started, Ares' single blow sent a large crack through the very earth, from the Olympic Sea all the way out to the Hellenic Ocean.   Water rushed from both ends until they crashed together and formed the river that exists today.   As gods of war, so caught up in the fighting did they get that they forgot entirely about why they had come in the first place, instead relinquishing themselves to fight across the skies for a fight's sake. Ares and Athena held no other part with this area after this event; their fighting only came to an end when Zeus and Hera intervened, scolding them for dishonoring the allotments fate had entitled them so long ago.   As for Epimedes and Voula, when both sides regathered at the river, they were perfectly separated by it, and they were astonished that it ran all the way north and all the way south.   Able to see a clear divide between each other, their warring ended as they agreed to settle at opposite ends of the river, which at the time was thus called the River of a Single Blow. Epimedes went north to the coast of the Olympic Sea, and Voula traveled south to the coast of the Hellenic Ocean, and both settled their cities along the river.  


Epimedes is a coastal city resting along the northern mouth of the Kleistan Canal. After it was settled, its commercial trade and capacity for wealth increased very quickly because of the sailors and merchants sailing through this new revolutionary waterway.   During his time, Epimedes, who the city is named for, capitalized on this opportunity and turned the city into a den of major trade regulation. Water gates were built one after the other along the river, and during his old years, taxes were put in place over each of these gates.   Today, Epimedes is a city that heavily regulates commerce and is heavily populated with temples built in honor of Ares and statues commemorating Epimedes.  


Voula is a coastal city resting along the southern mouth of the Kleistan Canal. After it was settled, it faced similar situations that Epimedes did and undertook similar solutions. Their own water gates were built along the river, along with countless bazaars to entice travelers that moved through here.   During her time, Voula, who the city is named for, also turned the city into a place of regulated trade meant to turn the city into a rich paradise. Taxes were also put in place over the city, and monumental shrines devoted to Athena and Voula were erected.   Today, Voula is a city that is a clear copy of Epimedes. Very few differences can be found between the two.  

The Kleistan Canal

Over time, the reputation of this river began to change. With its pivotal positioning able to take someone from the north to the south in less than half the time as before, the river became the most major travel route across Kleista. Today, the river has been so cultivated and urbanized by both Epimedes and Voula that in 989 AC, during the years of the legendary merchant philosopher Themistophicles, he and the world renamed this to the Kleistan Canal.   It has developed into such an important trade route that both cities constantly find themselves at economic odds with each other. Especially in the realm of taxes, both cities and their tradesmen find it necessary to be extremely careful. When one city raises taxes, the other does the same to contest it, effectively doubling the tax increase for traders that sail through here.   Such a situation causes sailors to find other routes of travel if raised too high, which has normally enticed Epimedes and Voula to keep these values rather low.
Olympian Period

Today, an independent river stands that divides two cities. But, one day, a war will come that intends to take full control of it.
~ Penocles, Priest of Ares ~

Olympian Period
Owning Organization
Contested By

Adventures in the Canal

When running a D&D 5E campaign taking place in this canal or as a character that has any affiliation with it, it is important to understand and use the information below when exploring the city banks of the canal.  

Epimedes Bazaars

The entire canal runs at just over forty miles long. All along it you will find various bazaars and markets looking to trade, buy, and sell. But, the most exquisite bazaars are found in Nidus which sell a vast multitude of products from silks, foods, and jewelry, to even secret black market weapons.   Stall of Bromhilder. Run by the horned tiefling named Bromhilder, he is a particularly outgoing man that is not afraid to raise his voice above the crowd's. He is an experienced guildsman in cartography, and has a plethora of different maps for sale, including ones that feature the ancient (likely dangerous) places of Kleista.   Ares' Apothecary. This potion tent is owned and run by a dwarven man named Giannis. He is an elder of Ares and a retired hoplite who specializes in crafting strong potions meant for hoplites like himself, which is who he primarily sells them to. Much of what he makes is intended to strengthen the body, enhance the eyes, and overall make a true warrior out of the drinker.   Hermes' Right Foot. This stall is run by the city-famous human cobbler Evangelia. She is a devout follower of Hermes, and exercises her profession in shoe-making, both magical and not. Her stall's name is meant to reflect the belief Hermes' right foot is stronger than his left. She sells boots and sandals that come in a wide range of different enchantments, primarily ones that are movement-based.  

Voula Bazaars

Voula is also home to a network of its own unique bazaars and markets. Most of them being of Miteran blood, many of these shops prioritize the acquiring and selling of artifacts and magical relics, a type of business that the city keeps under heavy watch; platoons of hoplite guards are constantly posted around these markets.   The Skafian Forge. This tent is marked by a magma-filled cauldron in the center, run by a goliath named Krom. Hailing all the way north from Skafos, Krom works in all areas of metal-forging, from bronze, to iron, to nidium.   The Treasure Chest. This stall is run by a halfling woman from Charas named Pantelina. She runs an exploration guild that travels the ancient caves of the old world to uncover and extract any valuable artifacts they find, to be sold in the market here. There is no telling what sort of item might be found in Pantelina's care, and so curious patrons often check on her stall daily for any updates.  

Canal Water Gates

The Kleistan Canal is managed by a series of water gates that are controlled through pulley-systems. Each of these cities has two gates: one in Epimedes at the northern mouth of the canal, the second at the southern border of the city, and one in Voula at its northern border, and the second at the southern mouth of the canal. To extract commercial value, each city requires a general travel tax in order to pass through.   The common tax is two drachmas for each gate, so a single ship normally pays eight drachmas in one passage. Neither Epimedes or Voula has changed this knowing the other city would do the same, and thus deter future sailors from passing through because of the spike in costs. Although, in situations where contraband like crossbows and other weapons are caught, an increased tax is often enough to bribe authorities to turn a blind eye.
There were two sailors, and one of them smuggled illegal weapons through the canal. How do I know? One paid eight drachmas through the canal, the other paid twelve.
~ Themistophicles
Curious? Mouse and click around on the map. Who knows what extra little details you might find?
On a land scarred by the Cosmic War, the Kleistan pantheon arrived to claim this empty land as their own. As the legend goes, the gods drew sticks to determine their allotment. These are its lands.

Cover image: 学生作品 by 三叠色 Size


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Master Dazzlinkat
K.S. Bishoff
6 May, 2022 21:30

This is fabulous!

Here is my Challenge article! HROKENTORM   Come vist my worlds PANGORIO for exciting tales, world lore, and RPG adventures! HYPNOSIUM is my new historical fantasy world!
6 May, 2022 21:35

Thanks for the kind words Dazzlinkat!

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan
Sage RandoScorpio
6 May, 2022 21:38

I love the epic lore and the D&D setting guide on the sidebar! That's such a good resource.

Check out my Spooktober Story! 31 prompts in a single story, including drowning a Verti! (bonus articles for extra world building spice are being added!)
6 May, 2022 21:42

I'm that you think it was nicely written and organized! I'll be sure to check out your Ravmor River too :)

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan
7 May, 2022 22:34

Great article. Love me a good story with some rich lore and beautiful visual aesthetics. Also, your world map is stunning! May I ask what software did you use?

Hohohoho merry world ember!
7 May, 2022 23:50

I appreciate the kind thoughts! I used to draw my map of the continent :)

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan
10 May, 2022 14:36

Judging from the map, this canal is real important for trading! If you would have to load your cargo from a ship to carts at Notom, travel a week or so to Epimedes, then transfer your cargo onto a second ship, versus maybe two days from Notom to Epimedes so without the need of a second ship, I can imagine why people would gladly pay the tax.

10 May, 2022 22:13

I certainly tried to convey its importance, and I'm glad you picked up on that :)

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan
16 May, 2022 18:09

I love the lore of your world and I am immensely intrigued by it! The map and everything comes together so nicely. Only issue I was having with this article was the song you chose from Brunuhville (and even this is a subjective opinion), but the song was so epic and fast-beat that it made reading a little difficult and I couldn't use it as a "background music". Don't get me wrong! The feeling that song gave exactly matched the epicness of the river, but it was just slightly too active for me to listen while reading through everything.   And this must be one of the coolest maps I have seen on World Anvil! Where have you used this river personally? Are you running an mythic antique themed DnD adventure here or are you writing stories about it?

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
16 May, 2022 19:34

Thanks for your thoughts! I always welcome critiques, even though I agree a lot of it can end up being subjective opinions.   When I choose music, I just like to choose music that fits the theme of what I'm going for. I understand it can be hard to read along with it, but my primary use of music is like a "theme song" of sorts; to help you visualize the article in a different way.   Also, thank you for the compliment on my map! I have not used the river personally yet. I created it solely because of the River challenge and wanted to try my hand at a pseudo-Suez Canal. I plan on my next campaign taking place on this continent though, so there's a good chance I might try to theme an adventure through it. :)

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan
16 May, 2022 20:20

That is awesome! And I see, we only had a slight differency in the use of the song rather than in the type of the song. As a theme song, this song kicks butt! It is really good and fits your river nicely!

Que the wardrums! Check out my bloodied river, running from the heart of the jungle:River Arteria!
27 May, 2022 19:48

A great origin story for the canal and a lot of good worldbuilding. After looking at your map I can see why this is the best shortcut :p Also pretty nice addition of having the various shops in the sidesection!

Feel free to check out my latest challenge article the Avaronian Empire if you want to see what I am up to!
27 May, 2022 20:33

Thanks for your comments! I appreciate it Kef!

I've recently started working on a new superhero world! Check it out here!
~ Tristan