The Northern Continent of Naalgrom
Ar-Naluun, a frigid, ice-choked sea, is an area of tense calm in the Known World’s volatile oceans. These waters are filled with arctic animals such as sea lions, whales, and other aquatic mammals and fish. Ar-Naluun is famous as a hunting and fishing area for humans and salamanders. Undines frown upon such activity and attack human or salamander ships that actively hunt their kinfolk. Most of the time, humans, salamanders, and undines pass each other without incident, as the area is so vast and the harsh environment limits travel. Storms occur throughout the year and can start unexpectedly. During the winter months, most of the sea is clogged with ice and no ships can pass through. Many boats have disappeared into those waters.
The Gulf of Ar-Feslynn hosts the largest undine population in the north as well as many human and salamander ships. The cool blue waters and mild seas make for good fishing. Temperatures rarely drop to freezing, allowing year-round activity. Near the Horn Mountains lies one of the oldest undine cities, Jaash. In the gulf’s center is one of the undines’ primary holy reefs: Ur-Celynn, also called Burial Reef. At the center of this reef is the ancient tower Morsuuth, which the First Ones created. Many fishing and trading boats from the human cities of Hrace and Laanad travel these waters, as well as salamander raiding ships from House Draax.
In Naalgrom’s far western corner, where few sane men travel, is the cold, boggy land of Atanastan. Most of the area is wet marshlands with swamps, bogs, rivers, and lakes flowing around twisted, sagging trees and long, spear-tipped reeds. The temperature gets hot for a few moons during the summer, but shrouds up in a cold fog for most of the year. Sleet and hail are common in winter.
Between the lands of Kathonia and Samona lie the flat plains of Jasinu. Known for its vast expanse of endless rock, short grasslands, and shrubbery, Jasinu is a featureless land with little in the way of trees, hills, or anything to break up the horizon. Only one location stands out in this prairie—the Crater of Lugos, the sylph god. A small series of caves stretches within the crater, including a small city filled with sylphs. Legend says that the sylphs who live in the crater watch over a god who fell from the sky.
Jasinu’s mild temperatures and even seasons make it an ideal home for nomads, who hunt the vast herds of animals that roam the plains. Buffalo, elk, deer, and other wild game can wander here, as do small packs of wolves and wildcats. Near the sea are several small beaches with a few human tribes living off the ocean’s bounty. A small human city, Laanad, lies near the coast. The city is a small fishing community that maintains trade with several human cities, including Hrace.
Jurel, an icy realm on the northwest strip of Naalgrom, is filled with giants and monstrous creatures. Ice and snow covers the area, with the occasional mountain, hill, tree, or obelisk that marks where the Jurelian tribes perform their rituals. Fierce blizzards and hailstorms haunt the land, and avalanches near are common in the Ice Crown Mountains, though summer carries an occasional reprieve from the harsh climate. One of the Jurelian giants’ main areas of worship is the Grun Circle of Stones, where they sacrifice people of other races, creatures, and rival tribesmen.
Jurelian giants are fearsome creatures, intelligent to a degree but lost to primal instincts and uncontrollable rages. They stand two to three times as tall as a human. Jurelians have three eyes and long shaggy coats of fur colored in whites, browns, and blues. Four large arms connect to the hunched-over torso, and strong trunk-like legs propel the creature.
Nestled in the Horn Mountains beside the Celestial Lakes is Kathonia, a series of rivers, lakes and marshes home to a great variety of reptilian creatures. The temperatures are semi-tropical, with mild winters filled with rainstorms and scorching, humid summers. The Celestial Lakes to the north are home to several human tribes. Further south are the marshlands, which are filled with large reptilian creatures. These creatures are wild variants of the reptilian mounts salamanders use. Local humans tame some of them, while salamander hunters train some of the rarer species, turning them into highly prized mounts. The flying lizards are some of the most popular.
The frozen land of Kybel is a barren waste where harsh people and creatures struggle to live. Crystal growths stand throughout the region. The land is home to many strange spirits and demons who are exiles from elsewhere. It is a place of fallen gods and vengeful ghosts. Few things grow in Kybel, as ice storms and subzero temperatures envelope the area year round. Kybel humans have little farmland or livestock and look elsewhere for sustenance.
Rhok-Drunnor is a cold mountain realm, home to the largest population of gnomes in the Known World. The mountains vary from purple to gray to brown, with white snow-capped peaks that are the tallest in all the realms. North of the mountain range is a multitude of lakes called Gnorr’s Lakes, after the gnomish god Gnorr, God of Mountain and Stone. Each lake is rich in the same minerals, gems, and ores that hide within the mountains. Gnorr’s Lakes are also called the Night Sky Lakes, for at dusk or dawn one can see the wealth of uncut gems and precious metals shining in the depths like the stars at night.
South of Rhok-Drunnor is the gnomish kingdom of Rhok-Galenth, a land under the constant threat of war. Its mountains and passes are easier to navigate than those in the north, with less snow and troubling storms, but the milder climate allows salamander and human armies to march into the realm unhindered.
Two towers, the East and West Ward Towers, fortify the land. Each tower hosts a small army of gnomes fully armed and ready to defend the passes. The mountains are not as high as those of Rhok-Drunnor, allowing scouts to maintain outposts near the peaks. Rhok-Galenth contains several iron and gold deposits and is nearly as wealthy in minerals and ore as Rhok-Drunnor.
West of the Celestial Lakes is Rhok-Kanmor, a gnome-controlled mountain realm filled with minerals. It is a nearly impassable mountain range smaller and more secluded than Rhok-Galenth and Rhok-Drunnor. The Frost and Sea Ward Forests act as natural barriers to those wishing to conquer the gnomish kingdom, though only a single city, Pothma, sits at the heart of this realm. Near the city is Firewater Lake, known for the searing temperatures it draws from an underground hot spring. Tapping the lake’s rich deposits, Pothma’s crafters create fantastical furnishings, jewelry, and other items from diamond, jade, amethyst, ruby, emerald, and sapphire as well as the granite veins within the mountains. The mountains contain little else, and Pothma imports iron, copper, gold, and silver from the other gnome kingdoms.
Samona is a long rolling grassland dotted with several human tribes and the human city of Hrace. It is a fertile plain, with rich soil and the large Silverline River running through it. Humans cultivate the land, with many farms and grazing pastures enabling civilization to spring forth. Seasons are normal, with many large coastal storms raging inland from the gulf of Ar-Feslynn. A large spring-fed lake, Silver Lake, lies to the north. Samona also plays host to the largest human city in Naalgrom: Hrace.
The easternmost edge of Naalgrom is a bleak wasteland called Sssnamon. It is filled with rocky soil, salamander outposts, and struggling human tribes. Wedged between the eastern sea and the cold land of Kybel, Sssnamon is an isolated area with little life in its dusty soil. The weather is harsh, with fierce rainstorms in the summer and blizzards in the winter. Few trees grow in this rocky land due to sparse soil and high winds.
In the eastern lands beyond Rhok-Galenth is the rocky region of Zzzalon, a barren land that the salamanders of Shha-narath call home. The land gets little rain except in the fall and winter, when the weather turns to drenching downpours and icy sleet and hail. Snow falls in the deep of winter. Vegetation is sparse: mostly low-growing plants adapted to the semi-annual rainfall. The Hills of Fhha-rath stand near the mountains of Rhok-Galenth. Also known as the Blood Hills, they have seen many gnome and salamander armies clash in their constant war.