The World of Yra


Floating Empires

In the Beginning, the World was broken.

The known world consists of thousands upon thousands of airborne islands of igneous rock; ranging in size from immense continents hundreds of miles across bearing several kingdoms, lakes, rivers and mountain ranges to boulder sized rocks; held aloft by powers or laws incomprehensible to all but the most arcane of scholars. These same forces make flight easier than in other worlds; even the bronze-age technology level of nomadic tribes is sufficient to build craft able to fly relatively short distances. The Islands are grouped generally according to their elevation and proximity to other nearby isles. There are four divisions or regions generally noted: The Fire Zone, The Storm Zone, The Belt, and The Dark Zone. Each zone has a unique climate that can be attributed to its distance from the core-sun.

Anachronistic Detail

The world is perhaps best visualized as a group of asteroid belts around a gas planet. However, in this case the gas planet is instead a small lava-sun. Gravity (down) is toward the core, and an adventurer can stand on the side of an island opposite the core. Centrifugal force binds all of the islands into their loose belts. A breathable atmosphere envelops the entire system, ranging from cloying thickness in the Fire Zone to almost lethally thin in the Dark Zone. Although the core provides intense light and heat, the world also has its own “traditional” sun, and several moons.

Strange Vistas

Due to its unique structure, the world known to men as “Yra” is a baffling display of geological wonder. Airborne landmasses, and by necessity the kingdoms upon them, are constantly in motion. Lands that once neighbored each other are torn asunder by wind and moon. Over centuries, kingdoms collide and annihilate each other or are merged into one. Islands in the lower regions move at amazing speeds, having several ‘days’ to one day in the Belt. What follows is a brief summary of the behavior and climate of each of the main zones.

Fire Zone

In the islands closest to the core-sun, heat is overwhelming. Steam geysers, volcanoes and earthquakes are all dangerously commonplace. Near the core climate systems of molten and gaseous rock prevail; lava falls plunge miles from magma flows into the core, and molten rock is hurled skyward from the core in deadly firestorms. Rainfall from condensation in the Storm Zone above is rapidly vaporized here, shrouding the upper reaches of the zone in steam and fog. Islands are dragged inevitably down into the core to be destroyed, reformed, and cast back off into the zone. Sunlight almost never penetrates; natural light is instead the hellish glow of the core, reflected from the bottoms of other islands or the lowermost clouds of the Storm Zone.

It is here where can be found the realm’s nastiest inhabitants, and followers of the Devai of the Human Lands often equate the Fire Zone with the Hells of Deciphae and the Abominations (more on altitude, flight, and religion later). Little civilization is found here, although in the uppermost climes, the desert environment is home to tribes of barbarian humans and the Jihla lizardmen. Very few people from The Belt have ventured into this zone; those who have dared its upper reaches and returned noted feelings of intoxication.

Storm Zone

This region is lodged between the blistering heat of the fire zone with its evaporating water and rising heat, and the temperate Belt. The dangerous zone is as such wracked by storms of epic scale nearly without cease. Hot fronts from below meet with cool, high pressure winds from above to create "tropical" storms. Coriolis "Devourers" are found here, massive horizontal cyclones of immense power. The air is oppressively humid in the main, and flight and navigation here are notoriously challenging. The constant rainfall and moisture give rise to thick, exotic jungle vegetation in the upper islands. In the lower regions, islands have been carved by constant erosion into bizarre and twisted shapes denuded of all but stone.

Within the gargantuan caverns of the islands themselves, unseen creatures and strange civilizations swim in the eternal darkness of underground seas. Nomadic tribes of every humanoid race wander the islands. Long forgotten islands bearing the ruins of lost civilizations that have sunken here from the Belt continue their inevitable downward spiral into the Fire Zone and, finally, to the core. Most unusual of all are the ‘flying seas’, massive bodies of water the size of oceans born aloft presumably by the same forces that elevate the islands themselves.

The Belt

Home to the majority of intelligent life in Yra, the Belt is temperate; with slow (comparatively) moving islands and ideal conditions for agriculture. Flight is safest here, bolstered by mild tropical winds from the Storm Zone and an ideal air pressure. The zone contains more islands and larger islands than any other. The belt is also the preferred habitat for many of the flying creatures of the world, who travel in flocks of thousands or stalk the skies in a solitary search for prey.

The Dark Zone

Planar Junctions

The world is also uniquely situated in a planar sense. Whether the world’s unique geological features are the cause or the result of its proximity to neighboring elemental domains, the barriers in many parts of the world between the planes of fire, earth, and especially, air, are increasingly thin. Rumors too abound in more arcane circles that shifts in Yra’s political climate, poised for war, have attracted the “attention” of other planes as well.

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