GEOGRAPHY

The map is divided into squares of 25 leagues each. It shows the major geographical features, cities, and political boundaries, some of which are described in more detail here (in roughly north to south order):

The Smoking Lands – These blasted and stinking wastelands are full of heaps of slag, gaping craters, and boiling springs. Legend has it that in ancient times, the region was once a province of the dreaded Odium Empire, and that Gonen destroyed the land as repayment for their evil ways. Nevertheless, many Blue Kathkari live here in isolated underground settlements. Recently, explorers from further south have come here investigating rumors of Gaxium deposits.

Majarl Lake – This large, freshwater lake is teeming with fish. Two rivers – the Snake and the Oily, empty out of it, creating a nice boundary between northern and southern Vlodasai. A mountainous island in the center of the lake (the Land of Majarl), is home to the largest group of Wee Moldai in Vlodasai.

Snake River – So-named for its winding and treacherous nature, the Snake is a very shallow, very fast river. It rushes down from Majarl Lake to the Angry Sea. In many places, it has gouged new streams out of the rock. Ultimately, it is the chief source of wetness in the Mahid Marshes.

Mog Ograth – This ancient city sits at the mouth of the Snake River, where it empties into the Angry Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in Gonen’s World, founded by the Ograthi sea-wanderers in days of old. For centuries, Mog Ograth has been the site of a monastery of monks – the only one in Vlodasai (“mog” means “monastery”). A council of monks runs things, and is essentially a benevolent and enlightened oligarchy. They rule over not only the city, but vast tracts of well-ordered, communistic farmland along the Snake River.

Oily River – This river gets its name from the viscous nature of its water. Travelers are advised not to drink the water, as it has been contaminated by whatever blight fell on the Smoking Lands. However, the waters of the Oily are in demand among Mechanics, as it makes an excellent lubricant.

Shirhyazj – This is not a proper city, but has become a shanty town of criminals and outcasts built up around ancient Kathkari ruins. In ancient times, it was an outpost of the Odium Empire, and the site of one of their mysterious Power Towers. Today, the Odiumite tower is a broken shell, said to be filled with ghosts, and only the totally deranged would ever attempt to enter it. That being said, Shirhyazj is a good place to go if you’re not accepted anywhere else. The largest black market known is said to be here, with stolen wares from all over the world for sale amid the bizarre Odiumite ruins.

Mahid Marshes – This vast tract of swampland is fed by runoff from the Snake River and thousands of creeks and streams that tumble down from the Spinal Mountains. It is lush and overgrown, and is essentially a cold rainforest. Giant worms and frogs are common here. The Mahidi – savage, bizarrely tattooed barbarians – call the marshes home. Almost everyone else calls it hell.

Bysmouth – A city at the confluence of the Bys and Oleg rivers, this is the closest city to the Mahid Marshes. The city has several prominent bridges, and is famed for its scenic view of waterfalls. Because of nearby high ground in the Spinal Mountains, the Church of Darius has its headquarters and Excellent Flight Academy here. It lies within the Barony of Farwall, and was founded relatively recently (several hundred years ago).

Nargo – The capital of the County of Seawall, this city is cut into the face of high cliffs overlooking the Angry Sea on the west coast of Vlodasai. It is an extremely ancient city, yet boasts some of the most sophisticated engineering structures known (particularly in its lighting and ventilation systems, since the bulk of the city is well within the cliff). The Church of the Way has its headquarters here.

Highseat – The capital of the Barony of Farwall, Highseat would be a marvel of engineering if it hadn’t been constructed by magic. “South Highseat” sprawls on a high hill on the plains. South Highseat is always in the shade of North Highseat, which sits atop three 700 foot-high pillars. Highseat is one of the chief cities of Vlodasai, and ranks among the best in culture and sophistication. The famous Wheel Street stock exchange is here, as well as many universities, libraries, and theaters.

Orcho – This was once the site of a Power Tower of Odium. The tower is still intact, although it is heavily guarded by the Farwall military. Rampant rumor indicates the tower is full of ancient high technology. A thriving boom town has sprung up around Gaxium mines here.

The Elder Lands – This vast region was once the Volterna province of the Odium Empire. The old cities here have been abandoned, and reclaimed by heavy forests. Monsters now inhabit this land, although there is growing support for the idea of reclaiming Old Volterna. Some old maps exist, but for the most part the area is a hostile wilderness.

Oleg River – The Oleg is the longest river in Vlodasai, running from one of the highest points in the Spinal Mountains all the way to the Salty Shallow, dividing the land between east and west. The Oleg is almost a mile wide in some places, and very deep.

Galeg Kar – The name means “river fort” in the ancient tongue. Galeg Kar is almost as old as Mog Ograth, and commands the river valleys that empty into the Oleg. It is a vast, sprawling city – they say it is as wide as Highseat is tall. The chief industrial center of Vlodasai, Galeg Kar has filled the sky above it with dark blue, polluted clouds, and its skyline is dominated by smokestacks. It is a city state, but controls most of the west-central lands of Vlodasai.

Rockwall – Rockwall sits atop high cliffs overlooking the confluence of the Oleg and White rivers. It is a free city-state, controlling most of the land around it. Rockwall is a large trade center, and its Gross Exchange rivals even Highseat’s Wheel Street. Upper Rockwell is home to wealthy neighborhoods, government buildings, and the Rockwall Academy, a famous school of mathemagics. It is said the city was built over an ancient Wee Moldai warren, and that a vast underworld of chambers lies just below the city streets. A slum called Underbad is on the other (lower) side of the river.

Saltwash – A great port city, Saltwash is the second-most populous city in Vlodasai. It lies at the mouth of the mighty Oleg River, where it empties into the Salty Shallow. The city is surrounded on the west by a vast and treacherous salt marsh. Saltwash is a strong center of the Cartago culture, and owes allegiance to no other nation. Its rulers are said to openly patronize privateers and finance guerilla fighters in the Republic of Blackpool. Saltwash is known as the criminal capital of Gonen’s World, with more thugs per capita than any other city.

Sorehaven – This small island is a haven for mutants, pirates, and other outcasts. It has no formal government, but a succession of petty warlords. It operates as a secondary black market to the one in Shirhyazj. It is known as a good place to purchase heavy weapons and armor, which is frowned upon in most other places.

Col Sador – This is the capital of the Republic of Blackpool, which occupies the islands off the south east coast of Vlodasai, and the Red Coast on the mainland. It is the largest city in Vlodasai, both in land and people. Col Sador is a marvel of culture and engineering, and is a center of Voltern culture. It was founded by the guerillas who defeated the Odium Empire, but over time, this republic has ironically become far more oppressive and totalitarian than the monarchies in the rest of Vlodasai. Col Sador is known for its famous Arena, which features all manner of brutal entertainment, and its magnificent Senate House, the largest building in Gonen’s World.

The Isle of Oranje – This tropical island is well off the mainland, but has strong cultural ties with Vlodasai. It is inhabited by the Kufu, but ruled by a decadent ruling class of Cartago with family ties to the nobility of Saltwash. Oranje’s great port city, Harrow, has no import fees and operates as a completely free market with no government oversight. This makes it a popular place for merchant fleets (and pirates, as well).

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