The Archipelago: Our World at Large
By Kanzite the Bard
The Mystaran Archipelago is made of four distinct landmasses: the Lost Isle of Mystara, the Isles of Eyr, the Isle of Aradia, and the Frozen North. Each land has its own distinct climate, terrain, and cultures.
Mystara, a temperate woodsy area of winding rivers and dense forests, was once home to demons, dragons, dwarves, elves, gnomes, greenskins, humans, and merfolk. Its two cities, the human's Stromness and the elven Ered Eithel, were idyllic places to live in its time. Mystara's glory days however are no more, once the Myst took over the island. Now, it is nothing but a desolate void full of magical fog. Those who attempt to enter Mystara now somehow end up back the way they came.
Within the arid, sandy dunes and occasional oasis of Aradia live efreet, dune elves, djinn, desert naga, scorrow, and ratfolk. Most Aradians are nomadic, or live within the environment, thus there are only a few cities to speak of. Maladhi is a camp town built around Aradia's largest oasis. Mostly, it's a stop for nomadic tribes passing through; but, the occasional seedy merchant may also be found here. Keelhaul Port is something of a pirate haven. Far enough from the eyes of Hazuz, and with decent access to the inner seas, its people sail out to raid ships and settlements upon the shores. Finally, there is Hazuz, the crown jewel of the desert. Made famous by its bazaar, domed roofs, glittering towers, it is here where the Grand Caliph lives in his luxurious palace.
In the more barren lands, other natives can be found. Dune Elves reside in mountain sides of Ake'tavari Pass, where they constantly do battle with local Scorrow. The largest collection of Scorrow however live within the valley of Scorrow Hollow. On a far flung peninsula hangs the floating enclave of the Kokarri; who came here not too long after their sudden arrival in Mystara.
The Isles of Eyr are among the least developed lands and within them dwell the jungle elves, bastet, jungle goblins, jungle orcs, naga, myconid, treants, lizardfolk, jungle halflings, and jungle dwarves. There is one major city within the isles: Shalan'ti. The Shalan'ti are an enlightened people, mostly human, who reside in a gleaming white city built into its mountain. There, their benevolent emperor looks down from the peak upon all below. Wesa Sune'ta is one of the bastet's oldest claimed territories. Once every few years, the bastet tribes of Eyr gather here to conduct their sacred rituals and hunts. The largest tribe of jungle elves live in Sum'ei'ar. These elves do not live in constructed houses, but within the canopies of the jungle trees. When their tribe gets too big, some of its members splinter off to live within one of the other islands. Stormstead is Eyr's newest settlement, built within the last decade, and is home to the refugees of Mystara. Word has it they have trouble with the local natives. Whatever skirmishes they endure, they seem to overcome, and are expected to thrive and grow with the development of new trade routes.
Eyr has a significant bounty of natural splendor, particularly within its largest island. The valley of Rainwood has lush flora and fauna, and even treants! A recent Shalan'ti push into the valley seems to have greatly upset the local treants. Be careful when exploring there, for their violent tendencies have pushed out invaders as well as the indigenous jungle dwarves! The Ku'vari, the archipelago's longest river, is also found here. Spanning from the east in Stormstead toward Shalan'ti in the west, it is a source of travel, sustenance, and recreation for all those that live in this dangerous jungle paradise. Take heed when sailing through what the natives call Pabaliwer, which translates to “frenzy,” for these waters are infested with sharks!
Lastly, we come upon the Frozen North. Until recently, none knew of its existence until the flight of its inhabitants: the arctic dwarves and cold water selkies. The western windstream turned north and carried the Myst with it. Snowy plains and glaciers, once trapped in the Myst, completely disappear! Though we have recently learned of this new land, it is regrettable none of us may ever have the chance to explore it!