Syvahl, Erylia’s First Land
So far, world building Wednesday has been pretty all over the place. Today, continues that trend! I’ve been trying to tackle things in what I feel was their most important order. In Dungeons & Dragons, the gods are tied to so much, so they needed to be introduced early, in case they played a part in future posts. Characters dying is a very real possibility, so my unique take on how death would work needed to be explained before it happened. Mieveht is the city that is home to the first arc, so I needed to get some of its scale and interconnectivity laid out.
It’s time to zoom out even further. To open up a little bit of room to ask question about the world of Erylia, and to allow some focused questions on different areas, this world building Wednesday is about the continent of Syvahl. Syvahl is the first continent I worked on, and is the most fleshed out of all of the lands. I have vague ideas and drawings for some of the other continents of Erylia, but none as worked on as Syvahl. There is a lot of content to overview here, so the goal is to only give a brief description for each area. One important note, in the current state of Erylia, the main continents do not know of each other. If you’d like to know more about anywhere specific or any cultures, please email us at email@example.com. I’d love to have some focused direction for these posts.
The Lands of Syvahl
Below is the only thing I really have as a functional map of Syvahl. It was originally done as many, many, sheets of graph paper. All were scanned and then placed as closely aligned as I could in GIMP. It’s not a great map, but it is what I have. I’d love to some day commission a well done version of the continent as I see it in my head, as well as all of the other continents and the whole world.
I realize while starting this that there really isn’t a good way to highlight the areas I am talking about. So I will start in the north and work my way clockwise around the map.
The Wastes are the entire northern area of the map, left white. They are a frozen wasteland where very few are brave enough to journey. Those who have managed to enter The Wastes and return, usually do not make the trek a second time. Many sources, over many decades, from all across the continent claim that deep within The Wastes, undead roam free.
The Eastern Coast
The Isylian Plains is a largely human region. It is a very small area tucked underneath The Wastes, but contained within the boundaries of a large mountain range known as Dunatis’ Ring. Port Norsal is the functional capital of the Isylian Plains, as all of the imported goods from the sea come through there, and getting anything another way doubles or triples the time it would take. Though they aren’t really considered a part of the Isylian Plains, there is a large Dwarven city high up in the mountain range in the south west of the region, Starengeld Hall.
Housed within the center of Dunatis’ Ring is Faevale. As the name suggests, Faevale is the realm of the fae creatures of Syvahl. It is an area filled with magic. Built into a giant waterfall flowing from the northern edge of the mountains is Faevale Keep, where an Elven queen rules over the creatures within. Aside from the more mystical creatures that live within Faevale, like fairies, pixies, centaurs, fawns, and satyrs, Faevale is also the birthplace of the Elves, Halflings, and Gnomes. However, this history is long forgotten among the members of those races whose ancestors chose to leave millennia ago.
It is possible to enter Faevale from the rest of Syvahl, though few have ever stepped foot within the realm and been allowed to return home. The Sylvan Pass would allow anyone brave, or foolish, enough to walk right into Faevale. However the path is long and incredibly dangerous, and is guarded by the elves. Undrahk, tucked into the south east of Faevale, leads deep underground. Though it is unlikely many would survive the journey, this underground passage, allows access from, and to, the Under Dark. The most common way in and out of Faevale is transport through The Great Tree. The Great Tree is tied to Elven magic and is linked to trees within the Elven capitals in the western forest.
Khrysahl Valley is a small valley surrounded by mountains from the Dunatis’ Ring mountain range. The valley probably would have been overlooked as a place for human settlement, if it weren’t for one very important fact, it is the half way point between the Isylian Plains and Khaerinthia. The valley gets its name from the crystal clear water of Lake Khrysahl in the north west. The town of Riven, at the mouth of the Khrysahl River, has grown to be an important point of trade and storage for goods moving north and south along the coast.
The last of the human lands along Syvahl’s east coast is Khaerinthia, and it is one of the larger kingdoms, being about 4 times larger than Khrysahl and Isyl together. Thumeria, like Riven and Port Norsal, takes claim as the capital, being built on a peninsula as a trade hub. Thumeria was propped up as a trade capital by ship captains that found it was actually more efficient to sail into the bay, unload into carts, and load a new ship on the other side than it was to sail all the way around.
There is a long underground passage in the west, Torvil’s Pass, that allows crossing into The Vast Expanse, for those looking to get themselves killed in the desert. Though they would prefer not to be lumped in with the humans and would never allow themselves to be considered part of Khaerinthia, the Iyr mountain is home to another large city of Dwarves, Iyr Forge.
Bhrionnu Mountain is a large, semi-active, volcano that makes up Syvahl’s south east coastline. Living inside the volcano, harnessing the power of the magma flowing within, is a tribe of Dwarves. Bhrionnu is home to the largest land of the Dwarves. Instead of being focused in one large city, or in smaller mining colonies like they are in the north, the dwarves of Bhrionnu have spread out to many areas of the mountain and its surrounding hills. Due to the power and techniques the access to magma gives these Dwarves, some of the strongest materials and equipment come from this region.
The Southern Coast
The strip of land that makes up Olsiyr is the result of humans continuing desire to expand. With the Dwarves having massive claim to the land south of Khaerinthia, and the desert trying to kill anyone who takes the pass west, humans crossed the Iyr River. They moved south and settled in a curve of the river, forming what would become the capital of Olsiyr, Olseth. The humans dotted the side of the island, and it’s eventual lake, with settlements reaching towards the coast. A few more towns formed outside the edges of the border of the desert to the north that the humans tended to avoid, The Vast Expanse.
The plateau that makes up Syvahl’s southernmost peninsula is largely made up by the massive city of Mieveht. You can read a bit more in depth about Mieveht’s lore in this previous World Building Wednesday. However, Mieveht has smaller towns built a days travel from the main city, known as it’s Gates. None of the Gates of Mieveht are an actual gate, and there is nothing that stops travelers from bypassing them. Doing so is a good way to raise suspicion however, and if one of the Gates’ guards notice, they may send a rider to ask why.
The Gates were all established as a place for people entering and leaving the city to rest. Each of the Gates fields a small army in the event of an attack on the city, and there is a beacon tower at each gate so the city can be warned in the event of an invasion. The Western Gate is only still standing for this purpose. After the event that brought about The Plague Lands, the West Gate’s bridge was destroyed. With no real destination to the west, the town started to fall, until it was converted to a garrison and training ground. It now holds the largest army on Mieveht, though Hyrciin’s Order of Vehti are much more skilled.
The Western Coast
The area to the west of Mieveht, now known as The Plaguelands, were not always as they are now. Centuries ago, The Plaguelands, were a beautiful, dense, forest and was home to a few Elven settlements. This allowed the elves to trade with the humans, since the journey into Elven territory is long and treacherous. This all changed when an elf from Tel Vashiir, The City of Magic, named Averyn Syndao came to this region to conduct a selfish ritual.
Something went wrong and the ritual lay waste to the entire forest. The forest has never regrown, and the few creatures who roam this wasteland have become tainted with dark magic. The city of Alderick still seems to be standing, though it is unknown if the population was able to sustain itself.
The Elf Lands
For a few reasons, the elven forest that makes up most of Syvahl’s west coast is unfinished. This is largely for real life reasons. When I started work on the land of Syvahl and working on my campaign as a whole, my work afforded me a lot of downtime. Back then, I was able to devote a few hours a day to laying out areas, adding settlements, and writing lore. For over a year now, I have been working in a different area that is faster paced and doesn’t give me this time. The elf lands were my last area to start working on and were never quite finished. Since neither campaign takes place in this area, I never put a focus on building anything up here. Expect a future World Building Wednesday to be me filling in this area and giving it a name.
The Vast Expanse
In the center of Syvahl lies a very large desert, know as The Vast Expanse. The Vast Expanse and the mountains at the southern edge of the elven forest is what has kept them so cut off in the last few centuries. The desert spans from those mountains all the way in the east to the edge of Dunatis’ Ring. Out of necessity, there is a path that runs along the foot of the mountains that make up Dunatis’ Ring, for travel that doesn’t rely on the sea. Due to the nature of being a very long journey through the desert, very few people choose this route.
Floating in the sky above a giant oasis is the city Tel Vashiir, The City of Magic. Tel Vashiir is a city that has been floating a mile above the oasis for longer than most recorded history. Some believe that the city was once an island that Math Mathonwy thrust into the sky, away from common folk, in order to allow mages to study in peace. Others, believe the city was raised by a group of power mages who wanted to see if such a task was even possible. Regardless, Tel Vashiir is now a place where magic flows free. Magic is part of the very essence that allows the city to be. Be able, and allowed, to enter the city is a dream of anyone interested in the arcane.
North of The Vast Expanse, and area of small hills and plains holds an interesting sight. A large encampment of orcs known as Kesh’ru’kai, shows these creatures at their most organized and civil. The orcs of Kesh’ru’kai are some of the most skilled orcs ever seen. It is an orc city that must be earned for orcs as they grow older. North of Kesh’ru’kai are the smaller camps of U’ra’kesh and Ko’ra’kai. Once orc children are old enough to be trained, they are sent to one of these camps, where the will be taught skills to better the tribe. They will also be trained to fight. After many years the orcs from these two camps face each other in a month long battle. Orcs who are skilled and powerful enough earn their right to re-enter the city.
Thank You For Reading
Thank you for reading these world building posts. Mostly, they are a way to force me to actually get some of Erylia’s lore written down and show me areas I need to improve. Also, I hope to fill in any questions that listeners and viewers might have. If you have a specific area of the world you’d like me to tackle, then please, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.