There are three continents in the known Lost Lands: Akados in the west; Libynos in the east; and lost Boros in the north, now buried beneath hundreds of feet of glacial ice.
Akados is the largest of the known continents of the Lost Lands. Through its center runs the greatest of the world’s mountain ranges, the Stonehearts, from the icebound far north to the heart of the continent in the south. In the southwest, the Crescent Sea divides the western lands of the Green Realm
and the Xha’en Hegemony
from the former lands of the Hyperborean
Empire of the Foerdewaith
. And in the far northeast is the Irkainian Peninsula, which reaches out to the shores of Libynos, separated only by the narrow Mulstabhin Passage
and Krivcycek Island
The climates within Akados are vast. In the northwest are the trackless plains of The Haunted Steppes
; to the north, the forests and icy rivers of the Northlands and the taiga and tundra beyond; in the northeast, the Vast and Irkainian Desert
s; and in the southwest, the mighty forests of the Green Realm
Akados was the first land conquered by the Hyperboreans when they marched forth from their homeland in Boros to the north. As a result, many of the human kingdoms and realms of Akados can trace their origins to provinces of that empire and look back to the Hyperborean
era as a golden age of peace and prosperity. Only the far western portion of the continent, beyond the Crescent Sea — where can be found the Green Realm
of the wild elves
, the Xha’en Hegemony
, Gtsang Prefecture
, and Anaros Island
— never felt the rule of the imperators.
Akados is also home to the largest groups of non-humans in the world, including the wild elves
of the Green Realm
, the high elves of the forests of eastern Akados, and the clans of the mountain dwarves
in the Stonehearts and other mountain ranges of the continent.
The continent of Libynos is much longer north to south than it is wide east to west. The Sea of Baal
, a huge arm of the Sinnar Ocean, nearly cuts the continent in two, dividing north Libynos from central and southern Libynos. The Zakros and Scythirian Mountains
dominate the northern part of the continent, separating the lands of the ancient western city-states from the equally old Jaati
in the north and the Jungle of Milagro along the eastern coast. In southern Libynos, a series of lakes called the Channel Lakes
runs through the middle of the continent, and beyond that to the south are the peaks known as the Hollow Spire Mountains
Much of northern and central Libynos is dominated by deserts. The great Maighib Desert
runs the entire breadth of the continent from Khartous
and the shores of the Sinnar Ocean in the west to Numeda and the Boiling Sea
in the east. Farther north is the Desert of Oreb
, in the midst of the Scythirian Mountains
, and northwest of that is the Ashurian
Desert. Even southern Libynos boasts a desert, the Kanderi south of the Channel Lakes
Although the Hyperboreans colonized many lands on Libynos, far less of that continent bears the traces of those conquerors than does Akados. When the polemarchs of the imperium first arrived on the western continent, they found humans living in sparse, nomadic tribes, severely pressed by the elves of the interior forests. With such a fragmented existing culture, the nations that developed on Akados took on a decidedly Hyperborean
flavor as they adopted the traditions and religion of their conquerors.
A Matter of Scale
A single grid of hexes has been overlaid on the world map for convenience. As the world is a globe, however, the scale of the hexes must of necessity be different at different latitudes. For those who wish to ignore such details, a 50-mile-per-hex scale can be used throughout. Those wishing more verisimilitude may adjust the scale as follows:
|At 60 degrees north || 30 miles per hex|
|At 50 degrees north || 40 miles per hex|
|At 40 degrees north || 45 miles per hex|
|25 degrees to 35 degrees north || 50 miles per hex|
|At 15 degrees north || 55 miles per hex|
|At the equator || 60 miles per hex|
Using this scale, the hexes in the maps in Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms
and Borderland Provinces
are both approximately 50 miles, consistent with those volumes.
Libynos, on the other hand, hosted civilizations that were ancient even when the first Hyperboreans arrived on their shores. Many cities of Istaflumina
, and Khemit
, and the Antioch City-States
, predated the Hyperborean
arrival. Other folk of Libynos never truly fell under the sway of the conquerors. When confronted by the Ashurian
Desert in the north and the jungles of the south, the Hyperboreans usually chose to settle only on the margins, at coastal locations or slightly inland near large rivers where they could trade with those in the interior without needing to mobilize sufficient forces to conquer and hold such inhospitable lands. As a result, when the Hyperboreans left, most of the peoples of Libynos returned to their former ways. The one exception, however, being Alcaldar, a Hyperborean
colony that survived the end of the empire.
Beyond Libynos to the northeast are said to be the legendary Oestryn Islands, the last land before reaching the Tempest Meridians in the east.
Little is known today of Boros. From this continent came the Hyperboreans when they marched south to Akados. And to Boros did they return when they withdrew following the end of their empire. Once said to be a temperate land, it has been covered with glaciers of ice since the poles of the world shifted in 2491 I.R. The relationship between the Shadowlands
of northern Akados, beyond The Haunted Steppes
, and Boros is unknown. Though the sea ice makes a demarcation between land and water uncertain, it is believed that parts of what is known as the Far North, beyond the Northlands, are in fact on the continent of Boros. More exploration will be necessary to determine the truth of this proposition.
In any event, the ancient and original homeland of the Hyperboreans — and the remains of their civilization — are today somewhere on Boros, now buried under hundreds of feet or more of ice.
There are three great seas of the known Lost Lands: Mother Oceanus, Great Ocean Ûthaf, and the Sinnar Ocean.
Mother Oceanus, also sometimes called Great Oceanus or just Oceanus, is the largest ocean in the world. Her northern boundary is easy to define — the southern coast of Akados, the Sinnar Ocean, and southern Libynos. But if there are eastern, western, or southern limits, none can say.
As far as is known, no large landmasses lie in Mother Oceanus. Very old legends tell of a great continent once far to the south, known as Notos, that sank ages ago in a terrible cataclysm. If such tales are true, little of these lands remains today other than scattered groups of islands, which some cartographers refer to collectively as the Arkanos Islands.
On one such island, located across more than 2,000 miles of open ocean from the southern shores of Akados, is the infamous Razor Coast, which is visited by ships from Castorhage
, the Kingdom of Oceanus
, and Alcaldar. Even farther south, according to tales told in wharf-side bars, are more islands — some covered with jungle, others by desert — that are populated by folk unknown in the northern lands. To the east, between the Razor Sea and the coast of Libynos, lie the Aizanes Islands that are home to a tribal people known as the Tulita. And nearby are the island homes of the so-called Pirate Confederacy.
Also said to be in Mother Oceanus, somewhere southwest of Akados, is the fabled Island of Ra, where the equator meets the Tropic of Arden. And at the extremes of Mother Oceanus, far to the west of Akados and far to the east of Libynos, are the Tempest Meridians: walls of fearsome, raging storms that no known ships have yet to penetrate. Various kingdoms of locathah, merfolk, nereid, tritons, sea elves, and sahuagin can be found in the waters of Mother Oceanus, and in the deeps, monsters of terror and darkness.
Beyond the few known islands, untold thousands of miles of great, rolling waves and often brutal storms challenge any who might decide to sail beyond the sea lanes marked on mariners’ maps.
Along the southern shore of Akados, the South Akadian Current flows from east to west. Ships sailing from the Sinnar to the Mouth of Akados
and the Crescent Sea take advantage of this current, as well as the prevailing winds here south of the continent, which bear from the northeast. The return trip east, however, tends to be much slower, with ships having to combat the current and the wind. A northern equatorial countercurrent some 500 to 750 miles south of the South Akadian Current flows east all the way to the shores of Libynos. Some captains seek out this current, but its distance from Akados, and the dangers of the deep waters and the fickle storms of Mother Oceanus, mean only the bravest or most desperate choose such routes.
Other than by way of brief references, the lands and seas of Mother Oceanus, including the Isle of Ra, the Razor Coast, and the Aizanes Islands, are outside the scope of this volume.
Great Ocean Ûthaf
Great Ocean Ûthaf is the ocean of the northern hemisphere, including the Far North, and surrounds Boros and touches both the eastern shores of Libynos and the western shores of Akados. It is said that nothing larger than a modest island rises above the waves in all of Great Ocean Ûthaf, and that before the creation of the Tempest Meridians, one could sail all the way around the world without seeing a sign of land (a task said to have been accomplished by ancient Jaati
of northwestern Libynos, who legends say sailed east until they landed at Gtsang
some 15,000 years ago). Whether anything in fact can be found beyond the barriers of the Tempest Meridians remains little more than idle speculation and the subject of fevered stories told by aged sailors.
Along the western coast of Akados, the Western Akadian Current flows north to south and brings chill waters, clouds, and rain to the The Thousand Rocks
, and the Xha’en Hegemony
. This current continues south until it joins with the South Akadian Current of Mother Oceanus, and then turns to the unknown west.
To the east of Libynos, the warm waters of the Great Eastern Current flow from the equator, following the shores of the continent north until it reaches the northernmost point of Libynos. There, the current, still holding the warmth of its equatorial origins, turns west to flow along the northern shore of Irkainia toward the mouth of the North Sea
. This stretch of the current is known as the Cymu Current, after a group of volcanic islands through which it passes on its way west. Near the mouth of the North Sea
, the great river of water turns clockwise and heads north and east, becoming the Transborean Current. From here, as the current passes the Seal Coast
and other shores of the Far North, the waters take on icemelt and icebergs calving from the glaciers of Boros and becomes an oceanic river of cold water that runs east. At a point far to the east of Libynos, the current meets the Tropic of Arden somewhere in the vicinity of the Oestryn Islands. Here, the power of the Tropic enters the ocean waters, and the current again warms as it continues on its way east into the unknown reaches where the Tempest Meridians waits.
The Sinnar Ocean separates Akados on the west from Libynos to the east. It is divided roughly in half into northern and southern sections, where Ramthion Island
of Akados reaches out toward the east and the islands of Caddesh some 1,000 miles distant.
In the northern Sinnar Ocean, the current flows counterclockwise, bringing ships from Endhome
, and Port Clar
to the Sea of Baal
. In the southern Sinnar, the current flows clockwise, favorable for those ships of Akados seeking port in Alcaldar, the Channel Lakes
, or the Southern Paramountcies
Though the Sinnar is much smaller than either Mother Oceanus or Great Ocean Ûthaf and is regularly crossed by seaborne traffic, sailors and captains know well not to take this ocean lightly. Mighty storms are common, both in the north where they originate beyond Irkaina in the icy north and in the south where they rush in from the open seas of Mother Oceanus. Vessels here are known to vanish without a trace, and sometimes reappear, undamaged and intact but without a crew. Various creatures of the depths live beneath the surface of the Sinnar and sometimes threaten those who sail its waves. Somewhere in the Southern Reach
es is said to be a great city of the sahuagin.
BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF THE WORLD
The astrologers of Hyperborea knew well that Lloegyr is a planet circling a yellow-orange star. Orbiting in turn about this world are two moons, Narrah the Pale Sister and Sybil the Dark Sister. In addition, at least three “wandering stars” in the sky were recognized as other planets, also in orbit around the sun. Some have speculated that those other celestial bodies may be home to their own unique inhabitants, and possibly entire civilizations.
Yet all of what we can see is not all that the universe holds. There are other planes of existence, far dimensions that can only be reached by powerful magic or long-lost gates. Such planes or other realms include Alfheim, Niðavellir and Svartalfheim (believed to be separate locations within the same plane of existence), from whence came the elves, the dwarves and the drow, respectively; the Upper Planes, including the Seven Heavens, Elysium, Arcadia, and Asgard; the Lower Planes, such as Abyss, Tarterus, Hades, Gehenna, and the Nine Hells; and the Ginnungagap, also called the Yawning Void, which touches and intrudes upon those infernal domains, but also occupies the nothingness that lies beyond their bounds.