Originally a land of desert sands and ancient tombs under pharaonic rule, Atepesh has grown to encompass most of southeastern Eresetu since the end of the War of Gods and Mortals. A god and his priesthood have replaced the pharaohs of old, but much remains as it was in ancient times. Desert still covers much of Atepesh and the river Nen remains the lifeblood of the region, though the fertile savannah in the west and forest to the north now supplement the products of the river's annual inundation.

Atepesh consists of three major regions, each divided into provinces called sepats. The fertile Lower Atepesh surrounds the Nen river delta and contains the bulk of the population of the Theocracy of Atep. Upper Atepesh, inhabited largely by dwarves loyal to Atep, is covered by rocky desert and supplies nearly all of the region's metal ore. To the west of these lies Nubiwatep (New-bih-WAHT-ep), an expansive region named after its golden savannahs and once the home of many orc tribes.

The Theocracy of Atep maintains a strained relationship with the elves of the Tanglewood Forest and has only fleeting contact with the Tuireadhan clans across the Inner Sea. Possessing vast spiritual, political and economic power, the Theocracy sees little need in cultivating large scale alliances or trade agreements with its neighbors, and has in past centuries annexed elven holdings adjacent to Lower Atepesh on various pretexts without having faced serious retaliation. The conquest of Nubiwatep centuries ago provided Atepesh with a vast orcish slave labor force which now carries out many of the realm's basic functions, including farming, mining, and various epic building projects sanctioned by the priesthood to the greater glory of Atep.




Composed of a loose collection of jarldoms ruled by a universally-recognized king, Halmland spans the mountains and surrounding hills north of the Tanglewood Forest and Tuireadh. Travel through Halmland may prove difficult for non-natives, as much of the region consists of nearly impassible mountains bridged by underground tunnel systems known only to the Halmar themselves. Due to the inhospitable terrain, visitors are often fooled into believing Halmland is sparsely populated, but in fact the dwarves have adapted by living both above and below ground as the land allows. Some of the largest Halmar cities exist entirely below ground, and some even cover both surface and cavernous terrain, with vital community functions housed within the safety of the mountains.

The Halmar dwarves have access to very little arable land but great mineral wealth, which leads them to trade extensively with Tuireadhan clans and, to a lesser extent, the elves to the south. Despite these trade arrangements, Halmland remains culturally cut-off in many ways from the surrounding regions due to the racial pride of its people. Due to the particular makeup of their society, the Halmar get along most readily with the Tuireadhans but have difficulty understanding and appreciating the elven way of life. Contact with Atepesh typically only takes the form of rumors from adventuring bands, merchants, or halfling nomads. The Halmar, while fewer in number than their neighbors, are poised to take a much greater role in the shaping of the continent due to recent advances in the mining and working of iron ore.


Tanglewood Forest

The last bastion of an ancient and artistic culture, the Tanglewood Forest is home to nearly all the elves of Eresetu. Amid the verdant greenery of the oldest of forests, elves have molded beautiful tree-cities at the direction of the Council of Nine, living at harmony with the land in their trust. Three representatives from each of the Orders of the Pool make up the Council of Nine, which debates and makes real the interpretations of the sacred pool, passing down edicts to be enacted upon by city and regional Administrators.

The elves have difficulty dealing with the lands around them, which partly explains the decline in their holdings since the end of the great wars of the last age. They stand to gain the most through more open trade and relations with Atepesh but face many religious hurdles in so doing. Additionally, most elves hold a measure of distain toward other cultures, considering them to be misguided for various reasons. For instance, many find the Atepeshite Theocracy's rigid legal structure and wide-scale enslavement of the orcish race to be distasteful if not blatantly offensive. Elves typically view the cultures of Tuireadh and Halmland as less civilized, though they respect the Tuireadhan connection with nature even as they sneer at the barbaric practices which exhibit that connection.



(TIE-rayth, th as in "this")

From the wooded hills in the southeast to the mountainous north, from the rocky cliffs along the Inner Sea to the western plains, Tuireadh features natural beauty in all shapes and forms across the land, a beauty mirrored in the culture of its people. Though the humans of Tuireadh share many cultural and religious beliefs, they have no central government, instead existing in collections of tribes of all sizes and with varying allegiances. Tuireadhans revere strength, and those who exhibit strength, whether strength of arm, courage in battle, or force of will, tend to lead their people. Though the druidic elders lend no value to holy symbols, Tuireadhans often use art to express their connection with Eresetu. In effect, each clan has its own holy symbol or collection of symbols, with some taking the form of beautiful and complex symmetrical patterns and others statuettes representing Eresetu in both male and female forms.

The many tribes of Tuireadh trade independently with whoever possesses the goods they require. Most of this trade occurs between tribes, but some trade takes place with the dwarves to the north and elves to the east. Unfortunately the lack of political unity keeps these arrangements small and does little to counteract the image of Tuireadhans as uncouth barbarians.

Tuireadhans have few formal dealings with surrounding regions, but most respect the Halmar in the north far more than their elven neighbors, whom many view as snooty aristocrats and foppish artists. Most Tuireadhans fear the military might of Atepesh across the Inner Sea and see its culture as devoid of passion and lust for life. Some clan chiefs boast of glorious military victories against the Theocracy of Atep, but geographical distances between the two lands cast much doubt on the truthfulness of these statements. Were such clashes to occur, they would most certainly happen at the leisure of the Theocracy, not the Tuireadhan tribes.


Kingdom of Jok


The icy caverns below the Frostspine Mountains, as well as some of the frozen peaks above, are home to the Vaprak worshipping giants who originally formed the Kingdom of Jok. Named for the warrior-king who formed the realm, the Kingdom represents the greatest threat to nearby Halmland. Though the obelisk at Almatra prohibits god-inspired war, the giants continue to raid dwarven holdings. After all, no one knows if Vaprak is behind the raids, and most agree that the warlike giants would seek violence with or without divine inspiration.


Mindless Waste

West beyond the Tuireadhan watchtowers lies a land of twisted desolation, if one is to believe the ancient texts. The truth is no one knows what lies beyond the watchtowers, because those who have wandered over the western horizon have never returned. Foolish nobles tell tales of a magical paradise that seeks seclusion from the rest of the world, but the vigilant Tuireadhan guardsmen have heard the dark whispers in the night, and seen the tantalizing lures dancing just out of reach. They know that something sinister, perhaps something alien, calls this nightmare home.


Yaxcitlan Jungle


Yaxcitlan, a dense rainforest split by two winding rivers, is home to the reptilian Ulmec people. Near-constant wars between city-states and wild dangers of the deep jungles provide reasons-enough for travelers to maintain their distance, but the occasional enterprising halfling merchant or intrepid explorer manages to return with exotic jewelry or artifacts of purest obsidian to sell to the wealthy elite. That is, unless the Ulmec decide to sacrifice them to Kukucan instead.