Kara-Tur, Maztica, Zakhara Dec 27, 2010 23:36:30 GMT -5
Post by ancientempathy on Dec 27, 2010 23:36:30 GMT -5
Even the wisest scholars of Candlekeep know only a little of what lies beyond the realms of Faerun. While heroes, explorers, diplomats, and merchants have traveled beyond Faerun, rare indeed is the person who has visited more than one particular region outside the commonly known lands.
The Hordelands stretch for hundreds upon hundreds of miles, east from the lands of Rashemen and Narfell. Yet east of east, beyond the sunrise, lies a vast and marvelous land of legend known as Kara-Tur. Mountains as tall as the sky, impenetrable jungles, and empty grasslands claimed by the fierce Tuigan tribes stand between Faerun’s easternmost lands and the sprawling empires of Kara-Tur.
Kara-Tur is reputed to be a land of silk, spice, and gold, a beautiful land ruled by haughty and cruel warlords. Travelers speak in awe of the Shou Empire, a kingdom of thousands of miles in extent guarded by a mighty wall. In Shou Lung, it is said, the temples are roofed in gold, and the Emperor presides over a court of a thousand kings and a million swords.
From these fantastic lands a single trade route wends its way westward. The Golden Way crosses the great expanse of the Hordelands, winds through Rashemen and Thesk, and finally meets the Inner Sea at the port of Telflamm. Here Shou silk and exotic spices from the isles of War arrive in Faerun after a journey covering thousands of miles and lasting many months. The Golden Way remains open only at the sufferance of the Tuigan, who sometimes exact ruinous tribute for their forbearance or shut down the road altogether.
Ten years ago, bold mercenaries in the service of Amn dared the Trackless Sea, sailing into the sunset for week after week until they reached an unexplored land beyond the sunset--Maztica. Fighting against the strange warriors of the land, they established a foothold on the western continent. Several powerful merchant companies now struggle to wring wealth from this new land. Trade, discovery, and no small amount of fighting against hostile Mazticans and competing Faerunians is the result.
Even less is known of Maztica than of Kara-Tur. It is a land of forbidding natural barriers and hundreds of remote, reclusive cultures, most of whom are hostile to each other. Every year more gold, gemstones, and valuable new crops such as vanilla and coffee are brought back to Faerun in Amnian carracks, a one-sided trade that promises to enrich that nation beyond belief.
The best known and most frequently visited of Faerun’s neighboring subcontinents, Zakhara lies beyond the Great Sea to the south and east. Zakharan dhows are a common sight in the ports of Halruaa, Nimbral, Dambrath, and Luiren, and sea merchants of those lands report that a desert land of hidden wonders and subtle culture lies only a few hundred miles across the sea from Faerun’s southern shores.
Zakhara’s shores are plagued by particularly fierce and numerous corsairs. They demand heavy tribute and sometimes close off sea travel to the exotic southern land altogether. Even when the way is open, Faerunian travelers are not always welcomed in Zakhara’s secretive cities.
Zakhara is a land of great deserts, lush oases, and powerful genies who meddle in the affairs of humankind. It is united by a powerful faith inspiring piety, zeal, and honor, yet tales tell of demon-haunted cities and godless sorcerers who wield strange magic.
((This information was taken from the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Manual