SHATTERLANDS: A geographic region containing several different ethnic, cultural or linguistic groups, competing for control of the region and often containing intermingled settlement patterns.  For example, the Vari River Valley, to the west of Great Road Councilate, that is home to L'npei, Rapani, Gornarod and Keshdumah. Laurence Wolf – A Geography of the Banakur Forest Frontier (University of Anorah Press).

In the Shatterlands, the Vari River Valley bisects the Banakur Forest from south to north.  The valley is narrow and rimmed with bluffs as far as the Dunsta River.  Beyond the Dunsta, in the Gens Tamroti lands, the character of the landscape changes dramatically.  There, the valley opens up and the bluffs bordering it drop down to a few dozen meters above the valley floor.  To the east and the west, the hill country recedes and is gently and easily traversed throughout.

The Banakur Forest is a wild and rugged area.  In some places, the forest is only 60 km wide, in others, more than 150 km.  In all cases, the vegetation is dense, gloomy and foreboding.  The forest comes down to the eastern bank of the Vari.  The west bank of the river was cleared in Wanderer times and has been maintained in that condition by the L'npei Gens who now occupy the valley.  West of the L'npei lands, the forest has grown back and climbs the eastern front of the Schodni Mountains.  The forest itself is occupied by Wild L'npei.

The cleared lands west of the Vari River support the three surviving Gens of the Kingdom of D'Mak.  From south to north they are Gens Ritsar, Gens Magira, and Gens Tamroti.  Gens Ritsar occupies the Chirpali Plain, in a wide, looping bend of the upper Vari.  The valley narrows in a location known as the Duhany Kas, widens and then narrows again in the Simy Kas.  The area between the Duhany and Simy Kasi is the home of Gens Magira.  North of the Simy Kas, the Vari valley opens up in the lands occupied by Gens Tamroti.

Each Gens has an administrative settlement, but these are little more than permanent campgrounds, surrounded by a few poor structures of wood and mudbrick.  Most L'npei live a nomadic life, following herds of livestock that travel established grazing routes through the cleared lands.  A few small villages are scattered along the herding routes, providing bare necessities and simple entertainments for the nomadic bands.

The Rapani March of Selka is located to the north of the forest.  Geographically, the Tamroti lands are part of the same lowlands occupied by the Rapani, but separated from them by the northern reaches of the Banakur Forest.  The Doberai Hills, which are a northern extension of the Schodni Mountains, lie west of the Rapani lowlands.  The southern portion of the Doberai Hills is lightly wooded with isolated stands that gradually merge into the thick growth of the Banakur Forest.

The Rapani are allied to the Banakur Gens and assist them in defending the forest.  Selka's Kalmia Rhyde is permanently stationed on the edge of the Banakur, and sends patrols deep into the forest to intercept and ambush Keshdumah intruders.  Rapani and L'npei raiders also traverse the forest to strike Keshdumah settlements on the Banakur’s eastern frontier.

In the east, the forest extends to the Great Road Councilate border.  Because of its proximity to the forest where the Taikahir is powerful, the western half of Great Road is in the Periphery Zone.  Although the Keshdumah possess techno-weapons of immense power, the Taikahir degrades the efficiency of power sources so that, in the Periphery Zone and throughout the Shatterlands small charges of chemical propellants, portable solar electric cells and battery packs are the only source of mechanical energy and they are intermittent in their effectiveness.

When the Councilate States were formed, the lands south of the Tumosura River were formed into the Great Road Councilate, although at the time it was an unsettled frontier province.  In those days, the only civilized place in Great Road was its capital of Anorah, far to the east on the Barkov River.

Over time, Keshdumah forces secured much of the lands between the Great Road and Linku River.  As lands were settled, the Banakur Forest shrank.  In current times, Great Road Councilate is settled and civilized as far west as a line running from Melanbac to Solisova.  West of there, settlement thins.  Abarsha is still primarily a military base, guarding the Linku and marking the edge of security in the south.

West of Abarsha, the Linku River plunges into the Banakur Forest.  The forest margin is active as a settlement area.  Great Road Councilate establishes and defends military colonies all along the forest’s edge, with financial and material support from the Federal Council.    In addition, individual settlements hire companies of mercenaries, which are loosely affiliated and known collectively as the Dumah Rangers.  There is constant military conflict along the western and southern borders of Great Road.

The Gornarod lands in the Schodni Mountains lie to the west and southwest of the Banakur Forest.  From north to south, three WorkingsJerhez, Gradec and Pozarek border the forest.  Generally, Gornarod do not venture into L'npei lands, although they maintain close commercial and social ties with the Rapani.  However, Gradec maintains a limited commercial relationship with Gens Tamroti.

To protect its merchants from Wild L'npei, Gradec has 8 travelers’ stations along the Dunsta River.  These stations are roughly 40 km apart and extend through the Banakur Forest to the edge of Tamroti lands.  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.  Gradec also maintains a major base at the forest’s edge, just below the junction of the Risdar with the Dunsta.  This is also like a travelers’ station in design but much larger.

None of these Workings are officially engaged in the conflict between L'npei and Keshdumah.  However, in times of active conflict, Gradec merchants have been known to raise mercenary companies to fight inside the Banakur Forest, alongside the Kalmia Rhyde.  If Gornarod troops are fighting alongside L’npei warriors, the Rapani commanders are careful to place their Battles between the L’npei and the Gornarod.  The enmity between those two races is ancient and never far beneath the surface.

Due south of the Banakur Forest are scrub lands transected by the Guer River and broken by the Svedlosi Hills.  This area is claimed by no one, and is inhabited by isolated Gornarod villages, bandits of all races, and bands of Wild L'npei.


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

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