The distant western continent, Gar-Sanya is the oriental setting of Kage.
BLACK LANDS, THE (14)
The Black Lands are located in central Gar-Sanya. All life in this region is twisted and corrupted by the Taint that pervades the land, the water, the plants, and even they skies above. Vile black pools of Taint bubble to the surface, giving rise to the theory that this was the place where the Dark God was interred into its prison. Many dark twisting tunnels riddle the surrounding mountains. Tar and other viscous tainted fluids often flow from these holes, not to mention the creatures of the Black Lands that use them as highways through the mountains.
It is the home to many evil spirits, the oni being the most numerous and dangerous of them all and rarely do civilised folk call this evil place home. Other inhabitants of this region include ogres, trolls, hobgoblins and goblins.
DELBANDHA MOUNTAINS (1)
Quite possibly containing the largest mountains on Cellworld, this range stretches across much of northern Shavartra. Their northern slopes fall precipitously into the foul Black Lands.
The central regions are home to many creatures including yascini (yakfolk). Here some of the tallest mountains stand mostly unexplored by human feet.
Humans choose a bordering region for character generation.
Hazara-Thun takes up the entire northern part of Gar-Sanya. The land is cold, with temperate regions across the southern border and bitterly cold across the northern reaches.
It is a large, ordered empire under the rule of a firbolg emperor from a royal family that can trace its lineage back over thousands of years. The day-to-day governance of the empire is left to the Ruling Lords who are mostly firbolgs and the 'second sons' which are half-firbolgs. Each of the Ruling Lords is responsible for a single province within the empire.
For purposes of character creation each of the major clans/provinces counts as a separate homeland. A character may also choose one of the smaller clans or be a ronin (clanless).
The empire is known for its many armoured samurai, wise shugenjas, enlightened monks, and legendary ninjas, though many other classes are available.
Even though the figbolbs rule, humans make up a majority of the population.
Alta Province is located in the centre of Hazara-Thun, and consists of forests and fertile plains around the shores of a central lake, all encompassed by spectacular mountain peaks. Alta Province has the greatest population density in the country, with a number of very large cities, including the capital, Thundara.
Alta is ruled by House Almeta, and it comes as no surprise that they are considered the most powerful house with such resources at their command. These people see themselves as the most cultured clan in the empire and beyond and place a higher value upon intellectual and courtly pursuits rather than strength of arms.
Wu jen, wizards and especially shugenja form a higher percentage of the population than elsewhere in the empire. The samurai of Clan Alta are few and act more like a police force than battle-trained soldiers. The shugenja of Clan Alta are mostly trained in air, with water schools also being quite common.
Dwarves are the only other race of note.
Danu is one of the southern provinces of Hazara-Thun, where the Takami Mountains form the southern border. Danu is bordered by Nimin, Katar and Dikan. The Takami Mountains are the homeland to Orcs, Giants, Dragons, and all sorts of other creatures that threaten the empire. It is the task of Clan Dailani to keep these foes in check.
Danu is ruled by House Madai, who make their home in Sathek.
Wilderness classes such as rangers and druids also find a home here amongst the standard classes of the empire. In fact many samurai are simply rangers and favour ranged combat and mobility. The shugenja of Clan Dailani are primarily trained in the earth school and air school.
Dwarves would be considered a major race in this province. Elves and half-elves are found here too.
Dikan sits across the southern border of Hazara-Thun, and is ruled by House Dione. The home city of House Dione is the City of Winds, located in the Bay of Suul. While Dikan is not a large province, because it is the southernmost of Hazara-Thun, they possess more arable land than any other province, and enjoy great success in every aspect of farming.
Dikan is also home to over 90% of the akari mount population of the empire. The Valley of Otakari is the major breeding ground for the mounts. Being the southernmost province they are often involved in combat with creatures that come forth from the tainted lands and are staunch defenders of the empires southern borders from any other would-be invaders, such as the people of Shan.
Staunch, honourable warriors form most of the ranks of the Clan Done army. Samurai are therefore very common and many of them are also trained champions. Like their close allies in Danu, most shugenja schools are earth based.
There is a population of dwaves and elves (and half-elves) in the province too.
Katar is the south-western province that lies mostly beyond the mountains. The main task of its inhabitants lies in patrolling the border along the Olongi Steps, and waging almost constant war with the mounted humans and hobgoblins of that land. Katar enjoys a reasonably fertile climate, considering how far north it is located, and is quite prosperous.
House Katar rules the province from the city of Drogan, located on the fast flowing Droln River.
House Katar has a high proportion of mounted warriors and provides the elite cavalry of the army. These samurai favour light armours, speed and mounted combat. Those who shun armour altogether are actually unfettered fighters. The shugenja schools of Katara favour the element of fire.
There are small numbers of dwarves in Katar, but the main notable race is the tigrans. They serve House Katar on a Machiavellian level and other clans fear their capabilities.
Ledani is located along the empire’s central eastern coast between Tarraka and Alta provinces. Among Hazara-Thun, the Ledani province is best known for its rich silver mines, which produce over half of the silver in the Empire.
House Leda rules the province from the city of Ledane.
Ledani houses the empire’s best equipped and possibly the best-trained soldiers. Several of these soldiers are actually warmains (fighter variant). Whilst Clan Done provides the best warriors, the Ledani are the most numerous and are highly trained in unit tactics and strategy. They fight with a variety of weaponry provided by the many dwarves that live there. Shugenja are trained in the earth and fire schools and most of the bards of the empire are from Ledani.
There is a significant dwarven population in this province and a small but notable elf/half-elf one too.
Nimin is ruled by House Sajenka from the city of Nomani. Clan Rheiko have always prided themselves on their ability to avoid most of the inter-clan rivalries that have dogged Hazara-Thun in the past, and to this day have no real enemies to speak of. They enjoy some small preferences from Clan Dailani and Clan Katar in border protection matters, and are also one of the biggest suppliers of food to the harsh Wepala Province.
Samurai of Nimin are well-trained diplomats or the guards of other important diplomats and courtiers. They therefore focus their combat styles upon alertness and protection. The shugenja re mostly trained in air schools.
Again, dwarves are another common race encountered here, and like many other provinces there is also a small population of elves and half-elves.
Sakalma is the westernmost province in Hazara-Thun. Sakalma Province, whilst not as highly respected as Tarraka, is the home of most of the Western Imperial Navy. Under a formal agreement, Sakalma are the primary defenders of the Katar shorelines.
Sakalma is ruled by House Ioni from the city of Caladar.
The samurai of Sakalma are well-trained marines, experts at keeping their footing on a rolling deck in heavy armour. They therefore value improved movement in heavy armours, including swimming in such armours. There are many war-trained wu jen amongst the Ioni and the shugenja are trained in water and fire schools.
Dwarves are relatively common in Sakalma province. Elves and half-elves are the most notable of the minor races.
Tarraka is the eastern-most province, and is bordered only by Ledani Province and the Martynne Sea. While Tarraka Province doesn’t enjoy very much arable land, they do have extensive forests, and are some of the most respected shipwrights in the country.
House Tarraka rules the province from the city of Kira, and major port in the south of the province. One of the houses of Clan Tarraka have a family of minotaurs that have served them for many generations and are trained as samurai.
The samurai here train as lightly armoured soldiers who are at home fighting on crowded ship decks and in the crowded streets of ports. As such many of these samurai are in fact unfettered (fighter variant). The shugenja schools of Tarraka focus solely upon water. Due to their proximity to the Dragon isle, there is also a larger population of sorcerers amongst these people.
Tarraka is noted for its lack of dwarves. There is a small elven presence, and minotaurs make there home here.
Wepala Province covers almost the entire northern reaches of the Empire. Wepala is a cold and desolate land covered in snow and ice most of the year round. Yeti and white dragons are a common threat in these lands. The small stretch of land between Wepala and Tarraka is a no-man’s-land, forbidden to all but imperial forces. Every few years the lands are fired and razed to prevent anyone from settling there.
House Wepala rules the province from the city of Gran-Thol.
Due to the harsh nature of the province and the lack of metal armour many samurai are actually trained rangers or have levels in other classes that help to survive in the wilderness. As such druids are as common as the shugenja (who mostly train in the earth schools).
Wepala has the largest elven/half-elven population of the provinces. Minor races include dwarves and tigrans.
HU SEN JUNGLE, THE (34)
The Hu Sen Jungle of southern Gar-Sanya, known collectively as the Malatra, encompasses vast rainforests, hill-lands and heavy jungle.
At least two different human racial groups dwell here and are separated by differences in language and culture. The jungle civilizations nevertheless bear more resemblance to each other than to the cultures around them. Several other races dwell in isolated pockets here too.
Lashikiu: consists of vast rainforest, is fed by numerous streams and rivers, and is constantly hot and humid. It is home to the Ban Sen people who are racially similar to the folk of neighbouring Shan in appearance, but are known for their joyful approach to life.
Purnam: This area consists of hill-lands covered in rainforest, though the vegetation is not as thick as in the lowlands. Racially different to the Ban Sen and other peoples of Gar-Sanya (having round eyes and darker skin), the Purnami are disparagingly called the “primitive people”. They are generally generous and loyal, but suspicious of and inhospitable to outsiders.
Population: Human 58%, tasloi 10%, dwarf 6%, vanara 4%, theran 4%, tigran 4%, khitsari 3%
OLONGI STEPPES (51)
Also known as The Plain of Horses, much of this land of western Gar-Sanya is desert-like scrub, but also includes the Burning Sands. Stunted grass and hardy brush grow in much of the area and in other places, especially in the east near the The Black Lands, the landscape is nothing but sand and stone.
Several strong tribes of humans and hobgoblins control substantial regions of this area. The tribes constantly wage war against each other. The hobgoblins here have established their own kingdom called Kren Galak (meaning ‘cornerstone’) and is known for its well-armed and armored soldiers. The humans are expert horsemen and live life as nomads. Those in the south have been heavily influenced by the Shavatrans and their culture has a religious caste system. These nomads of the Kokaha Steppes use Kokaha (under Shavartra) for character creation.
For generations now, the hordes have waged war against the armies of Hazara-Thun to the north, with neither side being able to make any inroads against the other.
Population: Human* 85%, half-hobgoblin 5%, goblin 4%, hobgoblin* 4% (* Swap humans and hobgoblins in Kren Galak).
Located in southeastern Gar-Sanya, Shan was once a great empire, but is now divided into three warring states. The lands vary, but generally the area is very fertile and rice paddies and bamboo forests are common. To the west, bordering the Blacklands, is a wasteland of broken rocks, dusty plains and patches of hardy spinegrass.
Government here is not formed from a noble class, but from a multi-layered bureaucracy into which anyone can advance.
The Empire is less known for its armored warriors, but more known for its free-moving fighters and exceptional martial-artists. Wu jen are the most common magic users and they tend to live secluded lives. Monks are very common, including Sohei to protect the many temples and monasteries.
Kuan Tu Ki
Kuan Tu Ki or the ‘Wooded Land” is the southern state of Shan. Here bamboo forests grow thick and the locals use these to their advantage adopting guerilla-style tactics when other states raid their lands. The forests get thicker to the south where they eventually become the Hu Sen Jungle. Most of the state’s trade is in spices and silk. The wealthy here own extensive silk farms producing the finest silk known on Gar-Sanya.
Kuan Tu Ki is also regarded as a magical land. It was here that the first warforged were created following the fractioning of the empire into the current three warring states. The best of these warforged are reinforced with adamantine. Warforged were created to make up for the lack of a front line fighting force. Wu jen are common in the south and favour the elements of metal and wood. Furthermore it is a spiritual land. All spirits are honored and spirit magic is commonplace, making druids and shaman variants common.
Other than the warforged the warriors here are typically lightly armored guerilla fighters (typically with the unfettered variant) or rangers. Of all of Shan the people of Kuan Tu Ki make the most use of missile weapons. Spears, with flexible bamboo shafts, are a common weapon, as are small martial weapons like in all of Shan, however due to the close confines in which many battles take place, chain weapons are rarely used.
Many non-humans make their homes in Kuan Tu Ki and generally the people here are accepting of them, but do not support their entry into the government.
Population: Human 75%, naga 6%, ratling 5%, tigran 4%, khitsari 3%, dwarf 2%, ibisil 2%, warforged 2%
Lunkei is the northern state of Shan and is also known as the “Land of the Cold North Wind”. It is a land of rugged hills and scattered pine forests. The culture of these people has been influenced, both by the humanoids that make their home here and the northern empire of Hazara-Thun. From the dwarves and their northern neighbours they have learnt armor-making skills and make more use of armor than the other states of Shan – though heavy armor is still extremely rare outside of dwarven holds.
Whilst their warriors are exceptional and have the best armor in the empire, there are not enough of them to threaten the great armies of Shangste. Most of the good warriors act as guards for the many temples and priests of the land. The best bodyguards come from Lunkei. Thus they have also developed warforged to use as front infantry. Many of these are reinforced with mithril. This mithril comes from the vast mines that generate much of the state’s wealth. Lunkei has the empire’s greatest deposits of silver, gold and mithril, coveted by the other states.
Above all else Lunkei is a religious realm. It has no one true religion. All are accepted, but any individual without faith or an urge for enlightenment is a lesser person. All divine spell-casting classes are common here and monks are very contemplative types. In fact the famous tattooed monks, capable of magical abilities, come from hills of Lunkei.
Several humanoids roam through the lands of Lunkei or make their homes here. The people of the north are very accepting of these races and may even be considered to rely upon them – especially the dwarves that work the mines.
Population: Human 65%, dwarf 12%, khitsari 6%, ratling 3%, tigran 3%, warforged 1%
Shangste is the central state of Shan. It is the epicenter of civilisation and refinement. It is here the greatest cities stand, the esteemed colleges are run and the greatest armies march to a single beat. Prior to the latest fractioning of the empire most dynasties ruled from Shangste and in particular from the Forbidden City, which now remains empty.
Shangste generates most of its wealth from the copious rice paddies that cover much of the land. They also make quite a lot of use of seafood and whilst able sailors they lack trained marines. Their ground soldiers are well trained, aptly armored and make use of a great variety of weapons. The army of Shangste overwhelms the other states in numbers and only the recent creation of the warforged has prevented their armies reuniting the entire empire.
The central state is also known for its artists. Raw products are brought here from the other states and distant lands and turned into items of rare beauty and craftsmanship. The other states rely upon the trade markets of Shangste and visitors from Shavantri and Hazara-Thun also trade in the ports from time to time.
Although it has its fair share of monks and lightly armored warriors (outside the army) like the other states, Shangste is more renowned for its cunning diplomats, conniving courtiers, and spies. There is a low non-human population in Shangste and all non-humans are considered lower class citizens, rarely allowed entry into the ruling bureaucracy. Clans of tigrans are maintained by the elite to encourage others not to mess with their family and ibisils are maintained as scribes and teachers.
Population: Human 90%, tigran 3%, ibisils 3%, khitsari 2%, ratling 1%
Not a state of Shan currently, these lands have off-and-on been part of the great Shan empire. Currently it is a frontier region between the Blacklands and the remaining states. Khitsari frequently use this stretch to travel free from Shan oppression, between the more accepting states of Lunkei and Kuan Tu Ki whilst bypassing Shangste.
Remote dwarven holds exist where jade and metal deposits are in abundance and secluded tigran ninja clans train in the hills. A constant threat to all wanderers of the Wastes are the copious amounts of tainted creatures that raid from the Blacklands. With the western border unprotected due to the demise of the Shan Empire these raids are more frequent and bold than they have ever been. Oni, trolls, undead and other hideous abominations are all possible encounters when risking the Western Wastes.
SHAVARTRA (THE SEVEN KINGDOMS) (57)
This area of seven large city-states is what remains of an ancient kingdom, known as Shavati. The cities lie in and around a great jungle full of ancient ruins (and serpentine), in southwest Gar-Sanya.
The people of each city-state have their own traditions and customs though each is made up of a stratified caste system that has the religious Brahmins (shaman) at the top, though the actual ruling class is the Kshatriyas mostly made up of samurai and aristocrats. Members of the middle class can generally choose any class.
(Each city-state is actually an Indian version of the clans from OA. Material for Shavartra is taken directly from the Oriental Adventures Web Enhancement, designed by James Wyatt and found on the Wizards of the Coast website www.wizards.com/dnd).
“Bhalluka lies in the verdant grasslands of the distant west, at the edge of the Mahavana Forest. In these lands the forest seems intent on invading the fields and even the city-state of Bhalluka itself. The people of Bhalluka repel the jungle just as they repel the serpentine that persistently send spies, raiders and assassins into the kingdom.”
“The Bhalluka kingdom is the realm most dedicated to warfare against the serpentine of Shavati. Bhalluka Kshatriyas are trained from birth in the ways of the vile serpent-folk and their jungle home. Their Brahmins venerate the most warlike devas, particularly the bear spirit Mahabhalla. Bhalluka also has a long tradition of battling the serpentine with magic and its swami (wu jen) are amongst the most feared in the Seven Kingdoms.” Several Kshatriyas are actually rangers, known as shikari in these lands.
Population: Human 85%, ratling 8%, vanara 3%, tigran 1%, rishi (aasimar) 1%
“Gandharva’s territory lies in the lushly forested eastern portion of the Seven Kingdoms region, far from the ruins of Shavati but hardly safe from the serpentine. Much closer threats include the tigrans and their fiendish rakshasa spirits in the east. The lands of Singha are close by to the west and the two kingdoms have alternately made alliances and war each other over the centuries.”
“This kingdom devotes itself to religion and magic. Though the Kshatriyas hold the reins of temporal authority, no one doubts that they do the will of the Brahmins, striving to turn Gandharva into a theocracy where the commands of the devas are carried out in the world. The Brahmins of Gandharva are renowned for their devotion, and they boast that they alone of all the Brahmins of all the kingdoms revere every deva and every devata, showing the proper respect due to each of the millions of divinities that inhabit and govern the world.”
Population: Human 95%, vanara 2%
This merely refers to the clans of the southern Olongi Steppes over which the Shavantri had an influence during the rein of the great kingdom of Shavati. “The steppes of Kokaha are wide but relatively barren, cut off by the Delbandhas from the monsoons that water the southern lands every year. The land ranges from quite hilly, in the foothills and valleys that abut the mountains, to absolutely flat and featureless farther north. The rulers of Shavati incorporated the barbaric horse-nomads of the Kokaha Steppes into their empire, introducing their religion and culture to nomads and collecting their tribute in return. With the fall of Shavati, the nomads of Kokaha remain a unified kingdom, though unlike the others of the Seven Kingdoms they have no city-state” and apart from having the standard Shavartra caste system live life much as the other nomads of the Olongi Steppes. Some members of the Kshatriyas caste are often barbarians (called yavana) in these lands.
Population: Human* 90%, half-hobgoblin 5%, khitsari 2%
Set high in the Delbandha Mountains, Kutan is a harsh climate. It is a wild land with freezing winds and high peaks. Most of the terrain is very rugged, and there is very little arable land. “No city-state houses the population; its people live in monastic communities or tribal villages. Though its snowy slopes and peaks are dotted with shrines and monasteries, they are also home to all manner of monstrous horrors, including the dreaded yeti.”
“Kutan is not properly a kingdom, and it never was. Its origins lie in the ascetics who withdrew to the mountains in response to the mad edicts of the last maharajah, bringing the native people of the mountains under their protection and renouncing the maharajah’s rule. It is grouped among the Seven Kingdoms almost out of habit” though was never truly a part of Shavati.
Once ruled by barbarian lords it is now a stable and committed holy-land, ruled sensibly by the hands of the gods – the monks. It is a place for prayer and ceremony and scholarly learning, a restful place, though its warriors are still fierce and rugged defenders of their lands.
(This land is referred to as ‘Naga’ in the web enhancement. I moved Kutan here and on the map I see it as being more expansive and closer to Shavartra, instead of Shan – though still between the two).
Population: Human 78%, dwarf, 8%, tigran 4%, kitsari 4%, rishi (aasimar) 3%, yascini 2%
“Lakshmana is a coastal city, situated where the great Bahanis River meets the sea. It claims the most fertile croplands of the Seven Kingdoms, and it also boasts a thriving trade with” lands east including Shan vessels. “Lakshmana is a refined and civilized land far from the threat of the jungle and its serpentine inhabitants. The rajah of Lakshmana fancies himself the greatest of rajahs. The city is home to the finest academy of arts in the entire Seven Kingdoms.
“Most citizens of Lakshmana encountered in the north are merchants, though some artisans and thrill-seekers occasionally travel to see the ruins of Shavati first-hand (usually hiring Bhalluka guides).
Population: Human* 99%
“The lands of the Singha are wide and flat, watered by the floods of the Bahanis River. The Mahavana Forest borders Singha on the north, and of the Seven Kingdoms, the lands of the Singha lie closest to the great ruins of Shavati, however, the warriors of Singha are not as comfortable striking into the jungle as the scouts and shikari of Bhalluka, far to the west.”
“The Kshatriyas of Singha are renowned as the fiercest, bravest, most honorable, and most disciplined army of the Seven Kingdoms, and upon the open field of battle no stronger force of arms exists” in all of Shavartra.
Population: Human 94%, khitsari 5%
“Vriscika is an island city located in the middle of the Bahanis River. Lush green hills rise up on either side of the river, dotted with estates, tea plantations, and opium fields. The kingdom of Vriscika is nearly as decadent as Shavati itself, riddled with crime, espionage and drugs.
Members of the Kshatriyas caste even have levels of dhuka (rogue) in Vriscika.
Population: Human 99%
Shavati is not one of the Seven Kingdoms, but is the ancient ruins of an empire from which each of the kingdoms arose, now located deep within the thick jungle of the Mahavana Forest. “Its colossal temples and monuments are crumbling ruins and the wooden buildings of the temple city are long rotted into the humus of the surrounding jungle. The temples that once housed shrines to ten thousand spirits are now desecrated, overgrown with ivies and strangler fig trees, and crawling with snakes of every variety – including fiendish serpents and, most especially” serpentine. Shavati “is utterly lost to evil, and it now forms the greatest threat to the human kingdoms it once ruled with a firm but just hand.
“Zardula was once one of the Seven Kingdoms that splintered off from Shavati before it fell under the curse of Serpent Queen Nagini.” It had a high population of tigrans and now that is all the intelligent life left in this part of the jungle for “Zardula acquired a curse of its own: its people have all been transformed into tigers and dire tigers” all under the service of the ruling tigrans. Whilst most of the Seven Kingdoms concentrate on the serpentine threat the tigrans grow in power, training as ninja in isolated clan houses.
One of the largest mountain ranges in the world, and the highest in Gar-Sanya, the Takanda Mountains lay at the northern edge of the Black Lands, and provide the southern border for the Empire of Hazara-Thun. There are a small number of active volcanoes in the Takanda Mountains, their surroundings often heavily populated with the monsters that call the mountain range home. Likewise there are a number of massive glaciers in the higher regions, providing the foundation for several of the great rivers that cut through the plains miles below.
There are several large orc kingdoms that call the Takanda Mountains home, as well as several large giant clans that did not join clan Hazara when it invaded the Empire all those centuries ago. Dragons often prove a dangerous threat in the area, as many dragons that flee the Dragon Isles to the east often take up residence within these mountains.
The southern side of the mountains are a twisted abomination of normal mountain lowlands, as the influence from the Black Lands corrupts the region. Twisted mutations of normal mountain flora and fauna can be found here, and the only intelligent species that call the area home are the Ogres, Trolls, Hobgoblins and Goblins that also reside in the Black Lands themselves.