Ruins of the Old Empire
The northern part of the settled world is the subcontinent of Usteidunn, which stretches from the arctic into more temperate lands. It is considerably larger than its sister across the Sea of Ethrann.
The continent can be roughly divided into three pieces: that part east of Rairid Sound, that part to the west of the Tais River, and the land in the middle. The eastern portion is underpopulated by the standards of the Old Empire, but is the sole part of the continent to retain any kind of civilization. Even so, there are fewer people here than there were in the days of old, and there are large abandoned stretches of land. It is largely hilly and less fertile than the west, often rising quickly from the ocean to the Halkinn Mountains, so most towns stick to the best parcels of land.
To the east of Usteidunn is the Upper Sea, which is home to two small kingdoms. Far Kolvir is tiny, and very isolated, while Armaudin has recently been refounded and is not yet taking full advantage of the large island it claims.
The most easterly place in Usteidunn proper is Point Garna, a peninsula made up of the final summits of the Halkinn Mountains as they slowly curve eastward and rise lower and lower from the land beneath them. The point itself is a lonely place, but a lighthouse is maintained there by Mariaul, in a effort to the keep the passage clear for their ships no matter which direction they travel. Off the coast about ten miles is the final hill of the Halkinns, Gotolvi, a round-backed, rocky island that’s caused many wrecks.
The Stony Coast curves northwest from there, until one reaches the border of Lautitha. The largest of Usteidunn’s kingdoms is to the south of two smaller ones, Aivilund, and the halfling redoubt of Gerobas.
In the north, the eastern part of Usteidunn is isolated from the rest of the continent by high mountains; there are several passes to the west, but eastern Usteidunn’s isolation was part of what saved it when the Curse on the World came. To the south, the mountains are lower, but the Rairid Sound separates the east from the west more thoroughly than any range. Further, the lands east of the sound are quite infertile, primarily heath and moor, and are largely abandoned outside of isolated towns. The eladrin kingdom of Odhosa can also be found here, if one knows where to look.
The central and western parts of Usteidunn are even emptier still despite being much more hospitable. The continent is dominated by fertile soils rolling across low hills only occasionally broken by higher ground. Unfortunately, the Tomb Horde was far more numerous here than in the east, and they remain a danger down to this day.
The river Tais runs through the centre of the continent, and this was the core of the old Empire; the ruins of the Imperial City of Ilmand can be found not far up the river from the coast. In the years since the empire fell and the land was depopulated, the forests have grown back over much of the old farmlands, but numerous ruins still dot the landscape. As well as being close to the settled lands of eastern Usteidunn, this part of the continent is criss-crossed by old Imperial roads are still somewhat useable, so the area is relatively less-dangerous than elsewhere due to previous expeditions thinning out some of the dangers.
West of here, though, the continent gives way to a slowly rising wooded plains that rears up into another mountain range, the Halannas. It was the home of the Sister Kingdoms, several successor states to the Empire that managed to hold out a little longer than Ilmand itself. Blessed with thicket-ridden woods, defensible river barriers, and a populace with a martial bent, many escaped to sanctuaries, carrying many treasures with them. Unfortunately, they fell too after a while more, and the undead now have the advantages of the areas defenses. Even worse, the Halannas have always been the heartland of the duergar, and there is substantial evidence that they are expanding their range into the country abandoned by the Imperial races.