Sembarine Steppe Geographic Location in The Calinan Sea | World Anvil

Sembarine Steppe

"We know something's beyond there - but the Sapphrans are overstretched as it is, the Kasites aren't interested, the Kalriv can't get to it and the Avadians never seem to come back when they sail out there. And whatever's on the other side doesn't seem interested in us."
-Imperator Marius Veluinnis of the Mayokan Royal Army, briefing Archon Isola on the Sembarine Steppe
  The Sembarine Steppe is the portion of the continent of Sembar beyond Kas that the peoples of Arikanda and Calina know about. Stretching beyond the hills and scrub that makes up the outer territory of the Free City of Kas, the Sembarine Steppe is a seemingly boundless stretch of grassland that completely covers the rest of the peninsula that has come to be known as Southwest Sembar. Whatever lies beyond it is a complete mystery to the peoples of the Calinan and Sapphire Seas, and as far as they are concerned, this is the end of their world.


The Steppe begins about seventy kilometres to the east of Kas as an intermediary zone between the Kared Forest and the grassland proper. The forest becomes much more sparse, eventually turning into flat meadowland along rolling hills, which in turn recede the further east one goes. By the time anybody visiting the region reaches the city of Merak, the area is completely flat grassland, only rarely interrupted by the odd tree or two. Occasional lakes, small collections of trees and larger patches of grass can be found, but by and large the Steppe is undisrupted low grass.  
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Unbeknownst to just about everybody in the Calinan Sea, the Steppe eventually widens into several different climate zones after about 2000 kilometres, with cold forests to the north, subtropical plains and eventually jungles to the south, and a virtual wall of mountains to the east.

Human Presence

According to reports from the few travellers who do venture into the Steppe and return safely, there do not appear to be any cities, towns or any large permanent settlements on the Steppe. Most humans seen in the Steppe appear to be made up primarily of wandering clans of nomads, most on horseback or atop wagons, following vast herds of cattle. These people appear to have a mixture of the lighter features of the Western Sembarines along with other features that seem to come from further into the continent, such as the coppery skin and epicanthic folds seen in the people of the Ranata Isles.   Encounters with these nomads by Kasites and peoples of the Calinan have varied - some maintain a civil but distant tolerance, others are open to small scale but guarded trade, while some appear to be territorial and hostile when approached. There does not seem to be a unified approach, and appears to depend on the clan.  
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These nomads are in fact part of a much larger organised collection of clans forming a monolithic socety, the Celeni, who exist in much greater concentrations near the eastern edges of the Steppe. There, wood and stone villages and towns can be found, and even a great city that is the equal of any in the Calinan Sea.

A typical denizen of the Steppe


The climate of the Steppe is wildly variant depending on the location, time of day and time of year. The southwestern Steppe is generally warm throughout the year, but still has a short wet season in the winter. As a person proceeds northeast, the climate becomes colder and dryer, and the lack of trees results in strong winds sweeping over the grasslands. Anywhere on the Steppe nights can be brutal, with temperatures dropping well below freezing.

Fauna & Flora

The Steppe is completely covered with low grass stretching for at least a thousand kilometres if not much further. Most plants are low shrubs and sparse trees, although woodland is still present in the southwest. Certain areas can see the type of grasses vary, with wider stretches of taller grass. The Steppe attracts a variety of grazing animals, with deer, antelope, rabbits, cattle, bison and horses near ubiquitous. This in turn attracts predators such as wolves, bears, eagles, hawks, wild dogs and cougars and cheetahs.


Virtually no tourism exists on the Steppe - between unfriendly residents, no shelter, little to no sign of permanent settlements, harsh weather and vicious predators, and relatively low return on trade, it is seem as simply not being worth the trek for the majority of people. A small number of intrepid traders from Kas and the Sapphire Coast claim to have made the trip, but even they have not seen the other side of the Steppe, and all Avadian attempts to bypass or land further into the Steppe by sea have failed.

Cover image: by World Anvil


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Aug 9, 2023 14:58 by Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine

I love a good steppe region, it's always interesting to put yourself in the mind of how such vast unknown stretches of wild landscape, rolling as far as the eye can see were just as unfathomable like the sea. I really enjoyed reading about how the world outside interacts with the Sembarine Steppe and the people that call it home.

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