Banakur Forest

General Description

Before the Wanderers, a primeval temperate forest covered the lands of western Atelon from the arc formed by the foothills of the Schodni and Darjevka Mountains to the coast and north to the Dunafolda River valley. Like any climax forest, the forest floor was dark and generally devoid of vegetation.  The canopy was formed by mature plants, with a straight branch-less trunk reaching to a height of 30 meters. At maturity, a tree’s trunk could be up to 1 meter in diameter at the base, tapering slightly to its canopy. The canopy was made up of fronds extending from the crown of a tree in all directions for a distance of several meters. The fronds were greenish black and the trunk was a reddish brown in color. The death or destruction of a tree would open up the forest floor and permit the growth of low broadleaf shrubs. These would stunt and then shrink back as trees gradually reclaimed the light space.

The forest was cleared by the Wanderers; occupied by the L'npei  Kingdom of D'Mak following the Expulsion; and then reclaimed by the Keshdumah, settlement by settlement as their power expanded during M'Maoulek's Wars. Following the Great Revolt, the Keshdumah state of Great Road aggressively cleared and settled the forest lands on its eastern frontier, shrinking the forest which is now known as the Banakur to its current size.

Geography of the Banakur

The Banakur Forest is a wild and rugged area.  The Vari River valley, which runs through the forest is narrow and rimmed with bluffs.

In the western part of the forest occupied by Gens Ritsar, the land falls sharply from the Droughkos Ridge into a valley before leveling out into the Chirpali Plain. The land drops steeply again into the Vari River valley and then climbs up the east bank of the Vari into sharply broken lands that gradually transition to rolling hills near the forest’s eastern edge.

This landscape continues through the area occupied by Gens Magira almost as far north as the Dunsta River. Within Magira, the Vari River valley narrows and the bluffs become more steep.  The land opens up at the confluence of the Bratwas and Dobavar rivers and then resumes its steep, narrow character.

Near the Dunsta, in the Gens Tamroti lands, the character of the landscape changes dramatically.  The Vari valley opens up and, once past Kemtarot the bluffs bordering it drop down to a few dozen meters above the valley floor. To the west, the hill country recedes and is gently and easily traversed throughout. To the east, the land continues to be hilly and broken, but the relief is less extreme.

The forest itself engulfs the lands to its center. In some places, the forest is less than 225 km wide, in others, more than 500 km. In all cases, the forest floor is open but dark, gloomy and foreboding. In the east, the forest engulfs  the hills of the United Councilate States of Great Road and Southwest Frontier. To the west and south lie the Gornarod highlands controlled by Jerhez Working and Gradec Working.  North of the forest are the Rapani lands of Selka.

The Great Road Councilate part of the Banakur is a gently rolling area, which becomes more rugged as it approaches the Vari River valley.  Most of the less desirable land west of Abarsha and Melanbac is still forested with small and isolated settlements. Farmsteads are planted near to the settlements and are fortified to withstand L'npei raiders as well as roving bands of Wild L'npei.

The northwestern fringe of the Banakur climbs to the highland ridge which forms the Kenor Morsk of Jerhez Working. Jerhez has fortified this border to intercept bands of Wild L'npei that occasionally wander here in search of an easy meal.

A small plain, roughly bounded by the Risdar and Dunsta rivers separates Gradec from the forest. The Gradec City of Moros hugs the western edge of the plain, just below the fall line of the Dunsta.

Rivers of the Banakur

The Banakur Genslands are dominated by the Vari River, which flows from south to north through the middle of the lowlands they occupy.  Many tributaries of the Vari begin in the Schodnis to the west.  Many others flow from the east, out of the well watered plains of the Great Road and Southwest Frontier Councilates.

The headwaters of the Vari River lie west of the Droughkos Ridge, far beyond the southern edge of Banakur Forest.

From north to south, the main tributaries of the Vari within the Banakur Forest are:

  • The Linku River that flows for almost 400 km from deep within the Keshdumah lands through the eastern Banakur Forest and into the Vari, approximately 120 km north of the Orsha.
  • The Orsha River flows 250 km east from forest edge to join the Vari 130 km inside the lands of Gens Tamroti.
  • The Dunsta River flows 250 km east through the forest, joining the Vari 60 km south of the Orsha.
  • The Meghat River flows  50 km  west through the forest into the Vari at a point 130 km inside the Simy Kas.
  • The Dobavar River begins in the eastern Banakur, flowing 290 km to reach the Vari just 60 km south of the southern mouth of the Simy Kas.
  • The Bratwas River flows  180 km  east until it reaches the Vari 60 km south of the Dobavar.
  • The Lestar River flows west 106 km, joining the Vari in Ritsar, 210 km south of the mouth of the Duhany Kas.
  • The Danita Riverbegins deep in the southern Banakur, flowing east for over 580 km, joining the Vari at the southern edge of the Chirpali Plain, 237 km south of the Lestar.

Peoples of the Banakur

L'npei Gens of the Banakur Forest

They are the sole surviving L’npei Gens of the Kingdom of D'Mak.  When L’npei arrived at the Vari River, the forest had been cleared as far as the Chirpali Plain. The Gens of TamrotiMagira and Ritsar settled along the river and allowed the forest to grow back in the hill country to the west.

Later, as M'Maoulek's Wars began to engulf  D'Mak, the Gens living along the Vari River abandoned their pastures on the eastern bank of the river and the forest returned there as well.  Eventually the Tamroti also abandoned their pastures on their northern border with Gens Tripura and allowed the forest to grow back.  This further increased their isolation from M'Maoulek's destruction.

At the present, the Banakur Forest entirely surrounds the Genslands that are inhabited by the Banakur Gens.

Tamroti is the northernmost of the three Banakur Forest Gens, encompassing 58,000 km² in the upper part of the wide valley of the Vari. Tamroti is geographically part of the open lowlands occupied by the Rapani but is separated from them by the barrier of the Banakur.

South of Tamroti, the Vari enters a long narrow valley.  This is the Simy Kas and it marks the boundary between Tamrotiand Magira.

Tamroti’s administrative center, Kemtarot is located on the Vari, just a few kilometers north of the Dunsta River.  It has less than 6,000 inhabitants, and is little more than a permanent campground, surrounding a few poor structures of wood and mudbrick. Overall, Tamroti has about 292,000 inhabitants.

Ssmall villages are scattered along the herding routes, providing bare necessities and simple entertainments for the nomadic bands.

The Gornarod of the Northern Schodni Workings

The Gradec Working maintains a trading post, named Fort Tamroti, on the Dunsta, inside the Banakur at the edge of the Gens Tamroti lands.  There is a permanent L’npei camp near the Fort, with a population of fewer than 1,000 occupants.  Merchants from Gradec travel down the Dunsta from the City of Moros to Fort Tamroti to trade Gornarod metal objects for leather and wooden goods and forest products.  From Fort Tamroti, independent traders and peddlers make their way to Kemtarot  and from there, up the Vari to the administrative centers of the other two Gens;  Kemagir and Kemritsar.

Moros (population 1,965), on the Dunsta River below Gradec MetelCentre, is the commercial startpoint for merchants traveling into the Banakur.

Gradec also has 34 Travelers' Stations along the Dunsta River.  These stations are roughly 20 km  apart and extend through the Banakur Forest to  Fort Tamroti.  They are similar in design to the stations along the Gornarod Track except that each has a protected dock for the watercraft used by merchants on the Tamroti Trade Route.

Jerhez Working also borders the Banakur Forest, which reaches to Jerhez’s eastern edge. Jerhez maintains posts along the forest’s edge to intercept Wild L'npei raiders.

The Rapani of Selka

The Selka Fifth Rhyde patrols deep into the Banakur Forest.  They raid Dumeraisettlements, protect the Banakur Gens from Keshdumah raiders and serve as a picket line to provide early warning of substantial Keshdumah military incursions.

The Frontier States of the UCS

Great Road Councilate borders the Banakur Forest and is among the most recently settled. Great Road is one of the larger states, with an area of 480,000 km². The great majority of the land is rolling hill country, but about one-fifth is river valley, primarily in the west.  The lands along the Banakur frontier are smallholdings, engaged in subsistence farming.

Great Road is rectangular in shape, bounded on the north by the Tumosura, on the west by the Vari, on the south by the Linkuand the Barkovon the east.  Its eastern half is in the Transition Zone and the west is in the Periphery Zone.

Great Road has a population of 4,786,000, of which 310,000 live in the major cities.  Another 150,000 live in smaller cities and large towns.


Long-time gamer, amateur cartographer, living in a world of my own making.

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