A vast area of Sazandora is covered by mountains. Although small mountainous regions exist in the northwest, the Starkerberge are by far the largest mountain range in the world. These have housed the dwarves of Sonndalin since the dawn of the Second Age. Several long rivers descend from the Starkerberge towards the sea, one of which irrigates a large portion of Neresse.
The Starkerberge are the largest mountain range on the Earth. They extend from Sazandora's eastern coast to its western coast, effectively dividing the continent into several regions.The dwarven kingdom of Sonndalin was built at the beginning of the Second Age within these mountains, and even today dwarf miners continue to carve deeper and deeper, expanding their people's domain and discovering new kinds of metals and gemstones.
Starkerberge means "Sturdy Mountains" in dwarven, a name they have earned because their black rock is more resistant than ordinary rock. The rock's colour and strength is due to their high iron content.
Because of their high altitude, scarce vegetation and hostile climate, the Starkerberge are inhabited by few animals.
The Library of Ages was carved by the Self-Forged into a mountain near the city of Midian.
The Northern Sands and the Eastern DesertEdit
The deserts northwest from the Starkerberge were originally home to to the odlanders, who, at the time, were divided into several nomadic clans which enjoyed extensive trade with Sonndalin. Early in the Third Age, most odlanders settled in the Viridian Plains, taking advantage of the abandoned elven kingdom of Neresse.
Although there are no large cities in the deserts and the few small odlander towns are all located on the banks of the two rivers which flow through the area, the Northern Sands are notable for being the site of Zahar's Black Tower.
As in the Starkerberge, few creatures inhabit the sazandoran deserts, and those which do are terrible and vicious.
The GloomwoodEditThe Gloomwood is a dark, dense forest covering the southernmost peninsula of Sazandora. Although its periphery is lush and fertile, the forest itself is deadly to all creatures which do not inhabit it; no sentients have entered it and come out alive. The creatures that live within its thick foliage are all poisonous and, according to the few accounts of such creatures venturing out of the Gloomwood, highly resistant to all poisons known to sazandorans.
The Viridian PlainsEdit
The fertile Viridian Plains surround the Gloomwood and once housed the elven kingdom of Neresse. When Vekumm used the Axe of Extinction to slay Elendir Falaron, the elves became extinct and their kingdom fell into ruin. A few decades later, the abandoned kingdom was taken by the odlanders, who migrated from the sazandoran deserts.
The Stormhold IslesEdit
According to the currently most accepted theory, the Stormhold Isles were first inhabited by explorers from ancient Lleimilla and today's sturmhalters are the descendants of those brave settlers. Dwarves also live in these mostly-flat isles, although they are a minority.
The largest of the islands that make up the archipelago are far apart, and therefore the Stormhold population is insular. However, Stormhold history is far from being free from violence and expansionist agendas. The most famous of these agendas is that of Trava Devian, one of the king's advisers during the late Second Age, when all the islands were united under the name Stormhold. He raised a dead dragon and attempted to control it in order to drive the dwarves away from the islands and later take Sonndalin, but his plan backfired when he was unable to control the dragon and it destroyed the kingdom's capital. In the following decades, Stormhold fragmented into several small kingdoms, none of which have much political power today.
Sazandora enjoys varied climate due to its diverse terrain. Its northernmost reaches are desertic, while the plains farther south are warm but fertile. Because no sunlight can penetrate the Gloomwood's dense overgrowth, the forest is colder than its surroundings. Finally, the Starkerberge owe their polar-like climate to their great altitude.
Because travel between Sazandora's different regions is not easy and the sentient species which inhabit it are less open than some of the other sentient species of the Earth, the continent has historically been divided into few large kingdoms as opposed to many small ones.
Founded in the early Second Age, the kingdom of Sonndalin is one of the world's oldest nations and is widely regarded as the greatest and most powerful one in the world today. Founded by dwarves and originally inhabited exclusively by them, it is today the home of members of almost all sentient species. Its capital, Midian, is an enormous metropolis carved into one of the largest mountains on the continent, and extensive trade between this city and other cities all over the world takes place every day.
The name Sonndalin is derived from the old dwarven words "sonn" and "dalin", which mean "home" and "dwarf", respectively; "Sonndalin", then, means "Dwarfhome". It is the only nation in the world where dwarves constitute the majority of the population. Although each era's most advanced technology has come from this kingdom and the dawn of the new religions began here, its people follow a code of laws deeply rooted in dwarven tradition.
Because dwarves generally honour their oldest traditions and hold the concept of family in the highest regard, no civil wars have beset Sonndalin. Since the beginning, it has stood as a bastion of the unity of the species that built it and as a source of scientific discovery. The world's greatest artisans, blacksmiths, mechanics, alchemists and inventors have traditionally been dwarves hailing from all over the kingdom.
During the Second Age, Sonndalin had few relations with the elven kingdom of Neresse besides a few minor trade routes between the southernmost dwarven cities and Vulantia. On the other hand, relations between the dwarves and the odlanders have always been warm; in the old days each species relied on the other for rare resources and information, and today Sonndalin and odlander-inhabited Neresse enjoy a strong alliance that makes both nations virtually unconquerable.
Other important cities include Ermenberg, where Mordun was born; Sunder, the centre of the old Sonndalin-Neresse trade routes; and Osthaven, an eastern port-town. The official language is dwarven, although today more people speak common, a tongue spoken worldwide and based on dwarven.
This once-elven kingdom was built roughly at the same time as Sonndalin. Set on the Viridian Plains, it features both the climate and the space necessary to have vast farmlands, which contributed to Neresse's rapid growth early on. However, the elves quickly fell behind due to a lack of resources; the Viridian Plains have no mineral or metal deposits to speak of, and the Starkerberge's resources were always closely guarded by the dwarves. Although the people of Neresse attempted to compensate with wood and ivory, both of which it had plenty of, their nation was always noticeably poorer than its continental counterpart. Vulantia, the kingdom's capital and largest city, was nevertheless an icon of the continent even in those old days.Because of its geographical isolation and lack of resources, elven Neresse never had any contact with other kingdoms, with the exception of Sonndalin, with which relations were always neutral and limited to a few minor trade routes. However, even though the elves resented the dwarves' greed, their grudges never escalated into political conflict.
After Neresse became deserted due to the extinction of the elves, the odlanders settled in the Viridian Plains, taking the elven cities and towns instead of building new ones. This marked the beginning of an era of political fellowship between the two largest nations of Sazandora, owing to the odlanders' excellent relations with the dwarves. Although Neresse stems from the elven words "nere" and "esse", meaning "elf" and "place", respectively, the odlanders took the nation's old name out of simplicity when they settled it.
Even though the odlanders still speak between themselves in their own tongue, they usually employ dwarven to communicate with their dwarf allies and common to communicate with the rest of the world.
The Stormhold nationsEdit
Originally, the Stormhold Isles were united under a single kingdom called Stormhold, from which the islands take their name. The sturmhalters, believed to be descendants of the ancient lleimillans, also take their name from here. Stormhold, in turn, is named after the islands' weather, which arises because rainclouds coming from the southeast are unable to cross the Starkerberge.Sturmhalters have always been resentful about dwarves sharing the islands with them. Towards the end of the Second Age, Trava Devian, an adviser at the service of the king of Stormhold, planned an expedition to Lleimilla to recover a dagger used by the belorians during the early Second Age to raise slain warriors as undead at their service in their war against Svargrad; Mordun, who was mortal at the time, and Vekumm, who was also mortal and was called Watson Gregory, were part of this expedition. With the blade in his possession, Devian raised a dragon to serve him in undeath and help him drive the dwarves away. Devian never achieved this, let alone his later goal of conquering Sonndalin, because he was unable to control the dragon. The beast went into a wild rage, destroying everything in its path. The result was the destruction of Teldorthan, the capital of Stormhold, and the death of many sturmhalters and dwarves. Although the dwarf survivors from Teldorthan fled to Sonndalin, Devian's dream of seeing the rest of Stormhold free of dwarves was never realised. Devian himself died in the attack. The undead dragon was later killed by the city guard.
The reconstruction of Teldorthan in the following years did nothing to prevent Stormhold from separating into several small kingdoms over the course of the next century. These nations share a language and customs, but not political beliefs. However, none of them hold any power to speak of, and they are mostly ignored by the larger nations of the world.
New Teldorthan is, like Teldorthan was in its time, the largest city on the Stormhold Isles. Another large town, originally used as a prison, is Spellhold. Few sturmhalters speak the old Stormhold tongue, which was related to dwarven; most speak only common.
A few important landmarks can be found throughout Sazandora.
The Black TowerEditUpon becoming immortal, Zahar built this tower out of Starkerberge stone and blackened dragon bones in the Northern Desert to safekeep his soul. Surrounded by seven mountains and guarded by both the undead Tarasque and an undead dragon, his phylactery at the top of the tower is all but unreachable.
Many a brave hero has ventured through the desert in search of wisdom and answers which only the Lich can provide.
The Library of AgesEdit
The Forger's great library was carved into a mountain near Midian in a matter of minutes by the god himself in the year 3:1. It holds all the knowledge Mordun has collected throughout the centuries, and more is added constantly, which makes the library much-sought-after by intellectuals.
After Mordun tired of mortals worshipping him, he built traps and puzzles into the library's various chambers and passageways to keep all but the most intelligent visitors out. The god will happily grant an audience to anyone capable of finding him.