Seeds of Despair
The cultures and civilizations on those maps (coast versus inland, traders versus introverted, closed cultures, mobile versus sedentary, lowland versus highland, hill-tribes versus plain-tribes; forest-dwellers versus river-fairers, old versus new, stagnant versus innovative, rigid versus egalitarian, and so on). Once you have a general idea of all that, you can start layering the land’s back history — what came before, and what came before that, and what drifted down and to what extent did that knowledge become twisted? Bear in mind that ecosystems evolve as well: a very early culture that deforested its environment and, say, introduced goats into the landscape, will ultimately lead to an arid, rocky, denuded setting for the present culture (think Middle East, Greece, parts of Italy and Spain). You want the landscape to be as protean as the cultures living on it, just working on a slower pace of change.
We know, post MT and RG that the Jaghut ice is melting, With rising sea levels there would be changing coastlines and geographies. Plus even stable geographical features change. Raraku went from becoming a desert to a sea. … Ruthan Gudd is telling about long-ago events involving the T’lan Imass breaking Jaghut sorcery leading to the rising of the seas and destruction of a citadel now buried beneath the sea they’re overlooking.
Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region’s north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor’s tavern, and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches.
Quon Tali: City/States: Human Major Cities: Purage, Quon Tali, Li Heng, Cawn, Unta. Tribes: Quon (Northern-European: Danish), Nom Purge (Scandinavian: Norse), Itko Kan (Asian: Chinese), Seti (American Indian), Dal Hon (Sub-Saharan Africa: Gabon|Ituri), Wickans (Euro-Asian Steppe: Kazakhstan: Cossacks, Tatars, Bulgars), Untans (Mediterranean: Roman), Falari (North-Western European: Irish), Napan (blue-toned Polynesians), Malazan (mix), Kartool (Indian), Geni (South-Eastern Asia: Filipino). Fenn: Barghast.
Furthermore, the Falar archipelago is not depicted as being particularly ice-laden. So, one must conclude that the ice in the Fenn Ranges is not due to overall climate – could be Jaghut, could be ultra-high mountains and localized conditions, or could be something else but the rest of the area around it on either side is not arctic.
‘The first map I ever saw of Seven Cities was Falari, a sea-current map marking out the treacherous areas along this coast – and every other coastline, all the way to Nemil. It had been copied countless times, but the original dated from the days when the only metals being traded were tin, copper, lead and gold. Falar’s trade with Seven Cities goes back a long way, Warleader Gall. Which makes sense, since Falar is halfway between Quon Tali and Seven Cities.’
Captain Kindly observed, ‘It’s odd, Ruthan Gudd, you do not look Falari. Nor is your name Falari.’
‘I am from the island of Strike, Kindly, which lies against the Outer Reach Deeps. Strike is the most isolated of all the islands in the chain, and our legends hold that we are all that remains of the original inhabitants of Falar – the red- and gold-haired folk you see and think of as Falari were in fact invaders from the eastern ocean, from the other side of Seeker’s Deep, or some unknown islands well away from the charted courses across that ocean. They themselves do not even recall their homelands, and most of them believe they have always lived in Falar. But our old maps show different names, Strike names for all the islands and the kingdoms and peoples, and the word “Falar” does not appear among them.’
Seven Cities: Rules by Gnolls engaged in a civil war over a desolate, dying land. Ogres to the west. Beyond them the Necromancers (Shal-Morzinn). The western part of Seven Cities has not been mapped but has been described in The Bonehunters, where it is revealed that three nations lie west of the Jhag Odhan and Trell tribe lands: Nemil, Perish (Grey Helms) and the Shal-Morzinn Empire. Jaghut/Toblakai (Teblor)/Barghast/Trell. Humans: (Arabic and North-Africa: Berber, Tuareg to Riffian). 4 main tribes: Debrahl (Zulu), Gral (Riffian), Khundryl (Huns), Pardu (Taureg). And the Seven Cities themselves echo the older cities of Iraq and Syria, with layer built on ancient layer with an antiquity not quite matched, and only approached in Egypt. Only rumors of a few independent tribes: most are slaves as farmers, servants, workers, and food. However many also escaped as refugees. Gnolls can’t expand with ogres to the west and they hate water. Creating a “Red Blades” human sympathizers to enforce their rule and man their ships.
Genabakis: Demon-Lords. Russian Peoples to the North (Krivich, Ilmen Slavs, Merya, Mordvins), Nathii, and middle the Daru and Gadrobi, the south Morn, Segulan, and Trygalle. /Akkadian Empire, Hurrians (former Mitanni now fallen)/ leading wars against the tall nomadic barbarian Amorites. / Elam, an ancient plundered civilization very different from the surrounding cultures
Lether: Elves (Tiste Liosan) and Trogs (K’chain). Humans only a few coastal cities and in underground breeding pens. The Shake (K’Chain hybrid traits surfacing).
Jakuruku: Wild Magic Wastelands