Thundermarch is a large piece of land, situated between mountain, forest, and sea. Despite maps and lore, few can claim to truly know the land. Most of the mainland is sparsely settled and covered in stretches of grass, dirt, rocks, thick foliage, rainforests and hills, all riddled with the strangest fauna and flora. Most experts know little more than major landmarks and a few safe routes; even for them, Thundermarch remains a monster-haunted terrain, full of dangers both natural and unnatural.
Stretching for 250 miles from north to south, and another 200 to 250 miles from west to east, the locals did not come to call their home the Feral Wilds by accident.
In a land where law and order extend only as far as a sword's blade, the most major of geographical landmarks become the borders. The great Black Mountains soar above the world to the west, the Peaks of Kaagast stand tall in the south, the uncharted Imryll Forest engulfs the north, while the endless Oblivion Sea marks the east of Thundermarch.
Seven major city-states dot the mainland; Astana, Gazzadar, Ka'an, Noderos, Radolyn, Ser'kai, and Vorgis. Their leaders and governments swear fealty to none but themselves, each ruling their own, and allied into a fragile confederacy amongst them. These cities see to local gates, walls, forts, and jails, often patrolling their immediate surroundings to drive off lurking monsters or bandits, and prevent surprise raids and attacks to nearby homesteads or travelers. Many villages and communities can also be found across the realm, along with all the hazards, and these places consider themselves lucky if they're close enough to the influence of a city, or try to take care of themselves through the use of arms or pleads.
A tropical climate surrounds the realm, giving it a year-round summer with short breaks. The days are extremelly hot and humid, while the nights are chilly and damp. For a duration of two weeks, three times a year (during the 4th, 8th, and 12th months), Thundermarch suffers from a winter outbreak, simply called the Cold. The temperature drops to winter conditions, rainfall is constant, and winds are strong. Usually, in the midst of the Cold, there are great tsunamis, floods, snowfall and frost. The week that runs before and after the Cold, provides a spring-like temperature, when humidity is low and the heat is just enough to be pleasant.
Population & Society Edit
Thundermarch is a melting pot of different races, species, and cultures. Anything from the enigmatic bullywugs to the savage trolls can be found roaming the street of a major city, or scavenging the wilds. Humans, orcs, elves, half-elves, gnomes, halflings, tieflings, trolls, goblins, hobgoblins, all of them can be found pretty much anywhere and, on top of that, dozens upon dozens of stranger races also inhabit the realm, in small or large numbers. After centuries of wars and other events, humans have come to dominate the north, while tieflings rule the south. The in-between lands are a constant whirlpool of variation. That being said, the rule is mostly political and both humans and tieflings can be found in large numbers on the other's domain, living their lives normaly (with exceptions, of course).
The folk of Thundermarch fall into two major groups; those who live in the relative safety of the great cities, and those who live in the wild.
For the city-dwellers within their walls, industry, crafts, learning, and commerce thrive, sheltered from the outside threat by the constant vigilance of military prowess. In that cradle of growth, citizens focus on money-making. Skilled at one or more crafts, these people are specialized in taking raw materials and manufacturing useful things.
On the other hand outside the cities, people are hunters, loggers, fishermen, and miners, scattered across a dark and awe-inspiring wilderness. It is a land of hamlets and homesteads, with folk proud of their own effort to tame the lands, free of kings or lords. It is a proud life, but a very hard one. They craft all they need for their everyday lives themselves, and what they lack in education, they make up in wisdom, pride, and resolve.
The central and coastal parts of Thundermarch are the most fertile ones, providing lots of food that, between them and the cities, can feed the whole realm. Great lengths of farmlands can be found around major cities, providing food for themselves, and sometimes a surplus to trade with others. The alpine zone and the forts at the Black Mountains have the greatest demand for food which they can't grow on their own, in turn providing protection for the mines below and the land beyond them from the numerous threats of the mountain range. Most villages and hamlets can produce enough food to feed themselves without any outside help.
Only the areas bordering the mountains offer patches of grassy meadows, among the rocky terrain, that can support small herds; the most common in the highlands being cattle and goats, while pigs and sheep are kept in the lowlands. There is not sufficient grazing land to maintain herds in large numbers, therefore herding is kept to a minimum.
The Peaks of Kaagast dominate the gem production, while the Black Mountains hold plenty of minerals. Rich veins are also found on some of the islands. Though individual expeditions are not unheard of, most major operations are sponsored by the major cities, with a work force made of all kinds of races.
Trade & Travel Edit
All major cities are connected via great cobblestone roads, wide enough to fit three or four wagons. The rest of the land is riddled with dirt and mud roads, sometimes paths, if any at all. The scattered population all along Thundermarch makes traveling risky, and once the night falls few, if any at all, would choose to brave the road.
Most major trade makes use of the musk, a large beast-of-burden-type animal, that is capable of carrying many times its weight, making it preferable to the common horse. Some traders still use horses though, for the musk can travel tirelessly with greater carriage and for more hours, but moves slower too, making it an easy target for bandits. Most merchants would agree that it comes down to being a matter of choice between the two means of travel, depending on urgency and one's budget for protection.
All the common coins and means of currency can be found and accepted in major cities, although only coins are used in smaller towns and villages. In the latter case, barter and product trade is also still a practice.
Each of the major cities used to produce their own coin of different value and name, but after the confederacy, they all agreed to mint the same. All coins are flat octagons of jade with a circle cut open in the center, where the appropriate metal beads are fit, indicating the value of the coin; the gold pieces are called Rens, the silver pieces are called Sivs, and the copper pieces Meeks, though most people still refer to them as golds, silvers, and coppers in their daily transactions. There are no platinum pieces produced.
Major trades are also commenced with the use of trade bars, which in essence are thick chunks of a given metal, for easier transportation.