Geography of Ferath

From Ferath

(Redirected from Geography)
Jump to: navigation, search
World map
World map

"Some climb mountains because they are there. Others for the view from the top." ~~ Garriot the Great


Contents

Regions

The Northern Continent

  1. The Merabis Basin
  2. The Tarsul Peninsula
  3. The Drakehorns Range
  4. The Geraegis Mountains
  5. Cedenia
  6. The Ories Islands
  7. The Kovald Plains
  8. The Jungles of Kef
  9. The Rhual

The Southern Continent

  1. Shelgaia
  2. Ianta
  3. Chorach
  4. Eissal

Topography

Much of Ferath is covered by terrain that might seem unusual to those of us here on Earth, but is quite the norm there. A few of these features are briefly described below:

The Great Trees

These twisting hardwood behemoths grow up to half a mile tall, and twine together to form the canopy of Ferath's vast rainforests. A canopy of heavy branches is formed fifteen hundred to two thousand feet above sea level, and from the accumulated debris, moss, and leaves of centuries grow other forests of a more traditional scale. Some of what appear to be trees in these smaller forests are actually the uppermost branches of the great trees, distinguishable to anyone with knowledge of woodscraft by their unique leaves - while the small forests are composed of fairly normal species, the great trees are in a class of their own. The branches of a single great tree extend over several thousand feet, and the roots nearly as far. Beneath the canopy, the trunks are hundreds of feet thick, with mountainous buttress roots supporting the tree's weight.

Great trees produce no flowers, fruit, or seeds that have been positively identified. The age of most living specimens is incalculable; great trees seem to grow slowly and continuously under all but the most catastrophic conditions, as there are few if any clearly countable rings. The great trees are broad-leaved, but not deciduous (they only appear to grow in regions too warm for trees to lose their leaves annually, at least). Their bark is dark gray and heavily creased, usually hosting a thick layer of moss and ferns. On the trunks and thick roots, the bark layer will be dozens of feet thick. These trees have no apparent magic about them, however: as far as the inhabitants of Ferath are concerned, they're completely natural.

The canopy region is fifty to two hundred feet thick in most regions, leaving room inside for tight tunnels within or along the largest branches. Burrowing into a great tree is almost impossible: although the wood itself comparable to a tough hardwood like mahogany or oak, the bark is almost stone-like in its toughness. Thus smaller branches can be chopped or burned off with difficulty, but the trunk and larger branches are well-nigh invulnerable. Yet great trees decay with time like any other tree, and many of them are riddled with expansive fissures and caverns in their trunks and branches. Would-be moles should beware, as the darkened spaces within and beneath the canopy are home to numerous unpleasant flora and fauna.

Dead great trees are rarely seen, perhaps in part because the gaps left by their fallen husks are quickly covered over by new growth. They can occasionally be found beneath the canopy, however, where they host luminous forests of uniquely massive fungi.

D20

A living great tree has hardness 6, and 20 hit points per inch of thickness. Living great trees take half damage from fire. Dead wood taken from one of these behemoths is no tougher than ordinary wood, however.

Solid Canopy Regions

In most of mainland Ferath, the Great Trees grow relatively close together, especially at their crowns. The tightly-woven canopy may as well be solid ground; it is capable of supporting as much weight as any other land, and creates a nearly impenetrable barrier between the surface and subcanopy regions. It does not, however, support large structures well, as these tends to sink into the moss and mud over the years. This limits suitable city sites to the mountains and occasionally right over the trunk of a great tree.

Permeable Canopy Regions

As one moves west over mainland Ferath, the great trees grow less densely in some regions. Parts of the Kef and Ianta, as well as most of Shelgaia, are open enough that dim sunlight can reach the ground or surface water for a few hours each day. These regions tend to be extremely thick with normal jungle growth, owing to this increased sun access and the high humidity that occurs in many of the same regions. Their subcanopy regions are generally not quite as dangerous as those farther east, but it is of course much easier for what unpleasant creatures there are to reach the surface.

Island Regions

Great trees cover Cedenia, Chorach, and most of the Ories Islands. On most islands, great trees tend to grow somewhat shorter than they have on the mainland, with the canopy generally forming a little under the 1000-foot mark. Chorach is an exception to this, perhaps because the island itself is large enough to support the full-sized trees; in any case, its trees are comparable to those on the mainland.

Islands formed entirely from a single great tree or small clusters are not unknown, but are generally found around the coasts of Shelgaia and Eissal.

Coastal Regions

In most coastal regions, the great trees have subsumed whatever beaches or cliffs may have once existed. Their roots plunge directly into the ocean, making the massive array that supports a great tree visible to the eye. The branches of these seaside trees grow at lower altitudes as well, and between branch and root the subcanopy is sealed off by a wall of craggy growth.

On shallow coasts, the roots and the shadow of the branches spread out over a wide area, supporting a tangle of brushy growth overshadowed by sparse canopy. These areas are boggy and treacherous, avoided by sailors and grounded travelers alike. Smaller tribes, however, can do quite well in these areas by a combination of fishing, hunting, and gathering.

In deeper water, the larger buttress roots will often create bays and backwaters shielded from ocean waves and, to a limited degree, weather. With the roots washed clean of smaller growth by wave action, they become a suitable site for port cities. Maintaining these ports takes considerable effort, of course, as cargo must be hauled up and down the steep forest growth to reach inland regions.

Moss Plains

In many places, the thickly intertwined network of branches that forms the canopy supports an additional layer of solid 'ground' more than twenty feet thick. These plains are composed of many layers of living and decomposing moss and vegetation, to such a degree that they create a solid layer of soil suitable for grass and similar small plants to grow in. The thicker moss plains even support lakes, rivers, or small forests. Denser plains are typically supported by the heavy growths of branches of the great trees, and are therefore usually near their trunks. The heavy growth that supports them makes it extremely difficult to simply dig through a moss plain to the undercanopy regions.

Rivers and Lakes

Mostly like those of Earth, except that many of them run through channels in the moss plains or along branches of the great trees. The rivers and such marked on most maps can be assumed to be canopy-level unless noted otherwise. Due to the large amount of chlorophyll and such that they contain, most bodies of fresh water on Ferath have a slight green-brown tint; this is considered normal, and the natives can drink it quite safely.

The Subcanopy

The lightless subcanopy regions of Ferath are widely feared by canopy-dwellers. For whatever reason, these vast, dark spaces are home to a vast variety of hostile, predatory entities. Many of them fear or dislike sunlight, and would not come to the surface even given the opportunity; others, particularly the more intelligent ones, scheme to escape what they consider banishment to this lifeless and lightless realm.

The upper regions of the subcanopy are huge vaulted spaces, hundreds of feet high and wide, empty of all but stale air. The ceilings of these great caverns are the soil of the canopy region, which falls in a continual dusting of dead and particulate matter. Thick knots of rootstuff bind this ceiling together, and in some places these roots trail down into empty air, seeking the soil far below. The air is hot, humid, and still; it is thick with the smells of must and rot.

Permeating this vast emptiness are the trunks and stilt roots of the great trees, which would appear as gigantic columns and fissured mountainsides if there were light to observe them. Travel through this region can generally only be accomplished by scaling these roots and trunks, a task akin to scaling the steep rock faces of a true mountain. Tunnels sometimes wind through the outer layers of the great trees' bark, providing easier, if more circuitous, access to the forest floor.

Forest Floor

The floor of the great forests is a maze of roots. The butressed roots of the great trees rise like hills and mountains overhead, twisting around one another to form a labyrinthine series of canyons and cliffs. Fungus lines these roots, some of it growing into pale, soft forests to match anything on the canopy above. A dim glow of phosphorescent decay fills much of this region; rarely enough to render anything truly visible, but just enough to make the shadows an intricate texture. In some places, the roots form great arched tunnels where they grew around some long-decayed obstacle - or where something huge and pale made its burrow.

Even here, bare soil and rock is rare. Near the mountains, cliff faces and spurs of rock rise out of the mass of roots; the difference between the two substances is apparent only on close examination.

Climate

Temperature

Ferath on the whole is significantly warmer than our own world. Central Ferath, where human civilization is centered, is a semitropical region(think southern North America or the Mediterranean Sea) about 1100 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Much of the Kovald Plains and the Rhual are more-or-less temperate, while truly icy conditions begin in the far north of those regions. Shelgaia, Chorach, and Eissal are in the true tropics. The region around the equator, which would be somewhere about 2-3 inches off the bottom of the map, is probably almost solid desert, baked lifeless by the intense heat.


Weather

While Ferath's seasons follow the normal progression of fall to winter to spring to summer, the planet on the whole is warmer than our own world. Snow is unknown outside of the highest mountains and the more northern civilizations (Cedenia, Kovald Plains, and the Ories Islands). However, most of the world suffers considerably higher precipitation during the winter, which makes travel in that season impractical if not downright dangerous. The relatively dry season of late spring to early fall is therefore when most trade, politics, and war get done.

Central Ferath

This includes the regions of the Drakehorns, the Tarsul Peninsula Peninsula, the known portions of Kef, and the Geraegis Mountains.

The climate of this part of the world can be summed up in a few words: warm and wet. The forests that fill this part of the world are analogous to the subtropical rainforests of Earth. Rain is an almost daily occurence, usually in the evening, shortly before or after sunset. In the winter, coastal areas especially are wracked with torrential downpours, and thunderstorms are common year round.

Fog is common in the early mornings, until burnt off by the rising heat of the day. The associated cloud cover usually, but not always, also fades during the main part of the day.

Southern Ferath

This includes Shelgaia, Chorach and Eissal.

These regions are somewhat hotter than central Ferath, and are considerably more humid. The lowlands of Eissal in particular are wrapped in almost continual mist and fog. Travelers in Shelgaia have often stated that 'raining' is just when the water in the air starts moving.

Chorach is quite hot, as the geothermal activity that dots it adds to the sun's heat. It also enjoys considerably more varied weather than most of Ferath thanks to the ocean winds.

Ouside of the normal rainfall, the Turquoise Sea is usually calm, though every few years ferocious hurricanes blow off the Sunrise Ocean and ravage the Sea and the borders of Shelgaia.

The elves don't say much about the southern reaches of Eissal, but the few tales that have escaped suggest that it becomes drier and warmer as one goes south, until the daytime air is too hot for all but the toughest creatures to survive.

Northern Ferath

This includes the Rhual, the Ories Islands, and the Kovald Plains.

The cover of the Great Trees reduces drastically north of the Drakehorns, though it lasts farther north in the islands than on the mainland. The southern portions of the Rhual, in particular, are baked to a crisp during the hot days. Most of these areas, however, are more temperate and considerably drier than the rest of Ferath. The Rhual gets almost no rainfall, and Kovald Plains very little, though both are subject to rare and spectacular thunderstorms. Snow and ice are not unknown in these parts during the winter, and result in a number of little-believed traveller's tales told in the south. The central Rhual suffers extreme cold during the night, occasionally falling below freezing even in the summer.

Parts of the far north is even frozen for most of the year; there are glaciers on the northern limits of the Rhual and the Northern Range is eternally snowcapped.

Personal tools