Red Mark

When Therafim was first created, all the continents now found were a single landmass, with fairly uniform features. However, when Bahamut and Tiamat fell into the world in those earliest of days, they struck that single continent, and broke it in pieces, which started the slight continental drift that has continued to this day. Nevertheless, Therafim is relatively stable, geologically speaking, except in one part of the world. That part of the world is the continent of Shatterlands (also called the Shatterlands, the two terms interchangeable).

Only the strong survive in the Shatterlands. Ever since those days of primordial upheaval, Shatterlands have been notoriously unstable, with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and other disturbances of the earth wracking the continent regularly. However, because of the regular scattering of ash over the land, those parts that are arable are some of the most fertile on Therafim. And, because of the churning of the depths, mineral deposits in the Shatterlands are far easier to find, and in much richer amounts, than almost anywhere else in the world. The land is dangerous, but livable, though one must be clever as well as strong to hold to hold onto it, for these riches do not come without a price.

The price is one of conflict. Shatterlands is also the home of most of the dragons that live on the surface of Therafim, and most of these are wicked, rapacious, and territorial in nature. Besides this, Shatterlands also acts as the home of large numbers of monstrous creatures, drawn in and twisted by the magical energies that run rampant in this place still wracked by the primordial fury of the gods. Shatterlands' Underdark regions are some of the safest, most stable places on the continent, thanks to high quantities of adamantium that lace many of the lower tunnels, and so this lower realm especially teems with life, including subterranean versions of many species that normally exist only aboveground, having adapted to life beneath the surface simply to survive.

With such upheaval and danger coupled with the immense prospect for riches, it is no wonder, then, that Shatterlands draw all sorts of people, from all walks of life. Just about any race might end up in the Shatterlands in the quest for quick and easy money, for it is said that a single decent crop from magically-infused Shatterlands soil is worth ten crops from lesser soils, and gemstones can be had in places simply lying on the ground, waiting to be picked up. These rumors are, in fact, true. However, they neglect to mention that about five out of ten crops in the Shatterlands fail completely, usually because of some terrible calamity or monster attack, and those places that have such plentiful gems lying around are usually heavily guarded by powerful monstrous creatures or ruthless individuals seeking to keep all the wealth for themselves. Profit is still quite easy to come by. However, so is death. The only real natives of the Shatterlands are those with draconic heritage, the children of the dragons living there, and the kobolds who flock around the mighty dragons. All others are immigrants, and must work and fight to maintain their place on this hostile continent.

The terrain of the Shatterlands is a study in contrasts. The central area of the continent is given over to active and semi-active volcanoes, with hill country taking up much of the places not actively mountainous. However, outside of these rocky, jutting mountains, which are quite jagged, steep and hard to ascend, the land is incredibly lush, with ample forested areas, rolling grasslands, and lots of scrub, at least in areas that have not been cultivated by the hardy farmerfolk that dare to make a living in the Shatterlands. Almost all land in the Shatterlands is occupied by something, however, and if it is not actively claimed by a being strong enough to hold it, then some other creature will take the land instead.

Places of Note:
The Great Arena: Within the territory of Terratos lies a largely independant location, centered around and named after its great central feature: the Great Arena. The Great Arena is indeed the largest, most extensive arena on Therafim, a massive, sprawling colliseum with mulitple arena levels, multiple layers of magical wards and other effects, and enough seating space to house the populations of several teeming metropolises and still have room to spare. Set on the coast just south of Channelwood (found in Terratos), the Great Arena draws spectators from the whole world over, and contestants as well, with arrivals by ship and through regular teleportation services (offered at discount rates for preferred customers) happening at all hours, for the Great Arena's business never really stops. Inside of the Great Arena, almost any sort of entertainment might take place, ranging from relatively peaceful plays and orchestras, to ultraviolent blood matches between trained gladiators. Since there are multiple arena levels, with only the topmost exposed to the open air, more than one feature can be shown at a time, and at least two features are in progress at just about any given time of day. Few rules exist in and around the Great Arena, except that all violence must be confined to the arenas themselves, and outside tampering with the performances is not permitted, with specific rules for what constitutes cheating filling up several volumes for each type of performance. This means that almost any race, including monstrous races like illithids and beholders and neogi, also show up here with frightening regularity. There are an elect cadre of in-house security personel hired by the faceless business consortium that maintain order in the Great Arena and its environs, and investigate all charges of corruption or cheating, and freelance workers are also sometimes brought in for the especially dangerous cases. Around the Great Arena, a large service-oriented town has grown up, offering housing and goods to those who come to watch the performances. In this area, almost anything can be bought for the right price, and the slave market of the Great Arena is one of the most extensive in the world, where almost anyone can be bought for the right price. Many slaving companies across Therafim employ regular teleportation services to deliver their goods as quickly and safely as possible to the market around the Great Arena, and it is common knowledge that the best place to buy and sell slaves is in this market. If someone you know has been kidnapped, and no ransom has been asked, this is the first and best place to start looking.

Scatter Mountain: On the southern end of the Dragonrend mountain range is Scatter Mountain, the largest and most active volcano on the continent. With a caldera filled with constantly bubbling lava, life anywhere in the vicinity of this unstable mountain is a dangerous prospect at best, and instantly fatal at worst. Of course, not all beings feel the same way about such large quantities of heat and molten lava, and Scatter Mountain is home to a large number of fire-based creatures, as well as having several natural gates leading to the Elemental Plane of Fire, through which some creatures occasionally pass when they open, usually during eruptions. One benefit that Scatter Mountain provides for the Shatterlands, however, is an almost constant warm temperature, which means that the growing season lasts essentially all year round, and, because of the many nutrients in the ash that often rains from the sky, and the lava that bubbles out of fissures and volcanoes like Scatter Mountain, as well as the strong magical concentrations in the soil, the land does not need to be fertilized or even lie fallow. The most successful group of people that live on and around Scatter Mountain are fire giants, who make this mighty volcano a base of operations for their various activities in the Shatterlands and elsewhere. Scatter Mountain's fire giant bands are often willing to sell their services as powerful mercenaries to any warlord who has the strength and bravery to approach them on their dangerous home turf with an appropriate offering.

Temple of the Grinning Dragon: This is the largest temple of Aasterinian on Therafim, and it might also be called its largest brothel as well. Centered around the northernmost mountain in the Dragonrend range, and in fact burrowed in and through the entire mountain, the temple is a massive complex devoted to religiously-approved pleasure, and no creature that is willing to abide by the laws of peace and consent here is sent away. This is not just erotic pleasure (though this is certainly a part of the purpose of the temple), but pleasure in all its forms as they appeal to the senses and to the spirit. Great works of art are stored and sometimes made here, and the mountain and its surrounding areas are devoted to creating a place of serene, even pastoral beauty, while the interior of the temple has whole vast caverns that have been magically altered to make them conform to the appearance of different sorts of climates, all the better to enjoy the beauty of such places, and enjoy what they have to offer by way of amusements. It is rumored that the legendary red dragoness hedonist Flayfire makes her home here, hiding out among the other inhabitants of the temple in various alternate forms after the last attempt on her life by a party of adventurers, but this has yet to be confirmed. Almost anyone might be found here, since the laws of the temple are simple enough: do not engage in lethal violence, and do not do anything without the consent of all creatures involved. Beyond these rules, almost anything is permitted, and almost anything is possible.

Terrain Features:
Dragonrend Mountain Range: Where Bahamut and Tiamat struck Therafim in their headlong fall is not certain, but it is believed to be a section of the world that is now sunken beneath the waves (the Endless Rift being a likely candidate). However, the aftershocks of that impact threw up the mountains of the continent of Cargando, and also the Dragonrend Range of Shatterlands. The Dragonrend Mountains are an immensely mineral and magic rich area, and it is possible to find almost any sort of mineral wealth here. It is also possible to work most of those metals, including many that would otherwise be quite difficult to work, like aluminum and adamantium, thanks to many natural sources of heat that can be turned into working furnaces and forges with only minor adjustment. However, the range is also home to some of the most active volcanoes on the planet, and anyone who lives in the vicinity must be constantly on guard against the eventuality of eruptions and earth tremors. Dragons, especially red dragons, are also quite common in these mountains, though almost all dragons, whatever their color or tint, that live here are of an especially greedy and rapacious nature, making it all the more dangerous to live in the vicinity. These dragons, however, are willing to allow other creatures to live in their territories, so long as they are provided with tribute and, sometimes, sacrifices.

Grim Marsh: On the northern end of the continent is the Grim Marsh, a forbidding, lethal saltwater swamp that acts as a filter for much of the continent's vast amounts of waterborn detritus. Unfortunately, much of this detritus has high infusions of magic in it. Because of this, the Grim Marsh is a deadly place, as the creatures that live within it have almost all become infused with these powerful primordial energies. There is talk of a sunken city or two within the marsh, where there was an ancient civilization that lived before the fall of the gods to Therafim used to thrive, and a later civilization that came and tried to rebuild what had been lost, but both of these old civilizations have sunk into obscurity now, leaving nothing but ruins, and that only in places, most of them having been devoured by the swamp.