Thuria and Beyond
The campaign begins in the region of Thuria, which is part of an alternative earth. The physical and political geography of Thuria is drawn heavily from the world imagined by Robert E. Howard, creator of the Hyborian Age stories of Conan the Barbarian.
This decision was one of convenience – it’s far easier to adapt a richly detailed imaginary world than it is to invent one from scratch. That said, Thuria (and the wider world beyond that region), differ from Howard’s creation in a few important ways:
- BACK STORY: our campaign world is NOT intended to be a prehistoric setting on the real planet earth; instead, think of this simply as an alternative earth
- BLENDED SOURCES: Howard’s world provides a starting point but we are at liberty to include ideas of other writers and legends and at liberty to change anything we don’t like about Howard’s imagined lands; so expect kingdoms, people and places to have altered names
- MORE ’D&D-ISH‘: Halflings, elves, dwarves and all that sort of old school D&D stuff not found in Howard’s work? Yup, it’s in this campaign… albeit with a few changes of style…
THE GREAT KINGDOMS OF THURIA
1000 years before our campaign starts, the kings of the eight realms of Thuria knelt together before the Mitraic prophet Epimetrius and pledged to defend the people and culture of their lands against the threat from the Cult of Set the serpent-god. It was agreed that the Church of Mitra would hold sway over the spiritual lives of the peoples, and that conflicts between the kingdoms should be set aside forever to ensure the strength of this Mitraic bulwark against the evil of Set and the Stygian sorcerers seeking to establish the worldwide dominance of the serpent god. Finally, the scholars of the age devised and set about spreading a Common Tongue understood by all people across these eight kingdoms:
Off the coast of the Thurian section of the continent lie two groups of islands. Neither is under the control of a Thurian kingdom, but both are populated by exiles from the mainland:
Within the Thurian lands, a number of small statelets exist, unrecognised by the terms of the Treaty of the Church of Mitra, but operating as de facto independent realms. These include:
- Grey Elf Kingdom (Ophir/Nemedia)
THE BARBARIAN NORTH
Lying to the north of the Great Kingdoms, three culturally distinct areas have never been settled or conquered by outsiders. Nor have they adopted the Mitraic religion or the Common Tongue. It is not quite fair, perhaps, to include the ancient civilisation of Hyboria here. But this wiki has a distinctly north-western bias due to the campaign involving only player characters from that part of the continent – and the people of the Great Kingdoms would certainly think of Hyboria as an uncivilised land, albeit quite different from the other places in this list.
THE FABLED EAST
Much of the vast wilderness to the east of the Great Kingdoms remains uncivilised – home to scattered barbarian tribes and even non-human nomads including the universally despised orcs. A number of small, isolated city states can also be found on the steppes and among the hills of the Near East. But large human civilisations do also exist around the inland Vilayet Sea.
South of the Vilayet sea lie civilisations whose names are little more than a myth to the Mitra-worshipping north-west people of the Thurian Great Kingdoms.
The term “Settite lands” is a misnomer used by the people of the Great Kingdoms to describe all hot, arid places to the south where the people are generally brown-skinned and black haired. Mitra-worshipping north-westerners have learned to despise and fear the Cult of Set above all else and to assume that worship of the serpent-god is practised without exception by the strange, frightening people of the south.
THE DARK LANDS
South of the Settite lands are places that most north-westerners have only vaguely heard of. Peopled by human inhabitants who resemble the Africans of the real world, this vast, under-explored area is home to many isolated tribes. A number of larger civilisations and cultures have developed in this region too.
Far below the surface of the world, far deeper than any mines or dungeons created by creatures of the daylight, the Underdark is a vast network of tunnels and caverns, some of which are large enough to contain entire cities. Connections between the Underdark and the surface world are not numerous and in the Thurian lands, access to the Underdark may only be gained via a small number of openings in the Karpash Mountains of Zamara.
Passages between the aboveground world and the Underdark of the great continent are more numerous in locations where the surface is less densely populated, such as the vast empty steppes to the east of Hyrkania, the Talakma Mountains north of Meru and fabled places such as Pathenia. In certain places, the Underdark connects with a series of underground seas, some exceedingly large. The deepest of the seas contain the surviving cities of the aboleth.
The Underdark is home to significant populations of sentient races not native to the surface world, including the drow and the illithids.