The final destruction of Exodus rocked the known world. Mountains rose; land masses sank. Most of the surface area of the world became fused together into one large mass. It is over this major continent — now called Britannia — that Lord British rules. Some nearby islands also acknowledge his authority, while beyond these islands lurk uncharted shoals and rumoured pockets of evil. Britannia extends roughly one thousand miles east to west, and a similar distance north to south, as seen in the map below.
The largest portion of Britannia is grassland. Vast rich green grasslands and fertile farming land stretch the vision and fill the heart with promise. For travelers, grasslands are fast and easy going. Although grasslands afford no cover against the hostile creatures that roam them, they enable you to see danger approaching and prepare for it. In the brush, seas of tall grass and scrubby shrubs, everything is as visible and as vulnerable as on the grasslands; only the going is slower and tougher. There is no advantage to traveling through brush over grasslands, unless you need to reach a point within it or it is well out of the way to circumvent it.
Forests cover nearly all of northwest Britannia. The cool, redolent softness of the leaf-covered earth and the sweet air of the deep forests have enchanted many a traveler into a false sense of well-being in one of the most treacherous of terrains. Dense, dark and mysterious, the forests are a haven to all sorts of creatures. Nor is the forest kind, for it allows no warning; a foe might be upon you too quickly for you to react.
The hills are rustically beautiful, but climbing is time-consuming, even when the rise is gentle. Mountains are rugged natural barriers for anyone without proper equipment. Beware, however, of certain wild creatures to whom the rocky crags are home. The highest peaks are simply impassable.
Swamps are generally poisonous, yet some life-giving herbs grow nowhere else. Some use the deadly mire as fortress against intrusion,for even monsters dislike venturing into the putrid muck. At least, some monsters dislike it; there are rumors of rare and strange monsters that thrive in the swamps and use them to devour their victims. Besides the toxicity, slogging through the slime and hip-deep ooze of the swamps is an extremely slow business.
Britannia's vast oceans are fed by many rivers and streams that find their origin in mountain lakes and jungle swamps.
There are two major lakes: Lost Lake, in western central Britannia, feeds Lost River, which empties into the delta on the northwestern shore, by means of a network of tiny estuaries; Lock Lake, in north central Britannia, is actually a cutoff inlet from the sea and still has a mix of salt water. Whether river, lake or sea, shallows are impassable for large ships; coastal waters are deep enough for tall ships, calm enough for small boats; and deep ocean waters are too dangerous for any but the largest frigates.
The following is an excerpt from the Book of History.
"Lord British's magnificent castle is situated in the center of the continent, overlooking Britanny Bay. This tall building is the greatest architectural structure of the new age. Loyal subjects may pay homage to his majesty, and renew fealty whenever they are in the vicinity of his castle. Nearby lies the capital and arts center of Britannia, the city of Britain, where Bards weave tales of legendary deeds and serenade visitors.
"To the north of the castle of Lord British lies the great mountain range, known as the Serpent's Spine. The peaks of this range are the highest in all Britannia. During the summer months, a small out-of-the-way pass allows knowledgeable travelers to save much time on their journeys. Beware of the one-eyed Cyclops and fierce, two-headed Ettins that inhabit this range.
|"The Serpent's Spine mountains are so known because of their winding length, from Trinsic to the Deep Forest, a full 150 degrees of latitude! The immense peaks are an almost impassable wall to the traveller, usually forcing a long trek around them. There are a few passes through the mountains that can often prove to be a useful shortcut, sometimes cutting three or four days from the journey time.... The Serpent's Spine is riddled with many caves, some of which form notoriously labyrinthine dungeons." — Walker|
"Northwest from the mountains begin the vast woods known as the Deep Forest. Many a traveler has become lost among these tall, majestic trees. If thy feet stray from the beaten path, do not despair, for within the woods lies the beautiful city of Yew, home of the mystic Druids. The High Court of Yew judges all the important cases in Britannia and is famed far and wise for the wisdom of the decisions rendered here.
|"Almost the whole northwestern part of the Britannian mainland is covered by dense woods known as the Deep Forest. More than one traveller became lost underneath the shady oak trees bewitched and dazed by the whispering sound of their leaves. Numerous sorts of creatures inhabit the Deep Forest: deer, wolves, and bears can be encountered fairly often." — Lord Shalineth in 129 A.D.|
"Nearby is the spiritual center of Britannia, the famous Empath Abbey. Within these hallowed walls, wise men and women study the ancient writings of past Masters, and meditate upon the Great Principles that govern the universe. A good meditation, focusing on a proper Mantra, will sometimes yield valuable visions to those whose patience and powers of concentration are strong. The experience is well worth sampling.
"East of the Deep Forest lie the High Steppes of Britannia, famous for beautiful horses. The only difficulties a traveler might encounter here are bands of thieving Rogues and unfriendly Wizards. The High Steppes border an interior lake fabled for mysterious disturbances.
|"Site of one of Britannia's most savage wars, this desolate region lies sandwiched between two great swamps across the mountains northeast of the village of Cove. The bloodstained soil serves as a timeless memorial to the thousands of brave soldiers who met their fate here. Mages know this area as another of the few places where they can find mandrake root and nightshade." — Lord Shalineth in 129 A.D.|
"Beyond the High Steppes lies the famous battlefield, know as the Bloody Plains, where the last major forces of evil were vanquished. Alas, many of our brace men perished here in the fight for virtue. Be very careful when thou passeth through this region. It is whispered that, at some phases of the moon, the spirits of the dead rise and fight the battle again.
"Lost Hope Bay lies to the north of here, with the sturdy town of Minoc perched on its shore. Minoc is home to some of the finest craftsmen in the realm. The Tinkers of Minoc are known far and wide for their skill. A tired traveler will also find a refreshing place to rest at the Wayfarer's Inn. The northeastern tip of Britannia is rather wild. The treacherous marshes, with the noxious vapors that poison the unwary explorer, are home to swarms of large insects and all manner of vile beasts.
"South of Lord British's castle can be found a large plain, mountains, and a dense forest. On the southern edge of the continent is the magnificent city of Trinsic, from whence come Lord British's finest Paladins. The Tap in town has some of the best brew around, and the bartender is a great source of current gossip. Be sure to tip him well!
"The claws of the southern tip of Britannia embrace the Cape of Heroes. Slightly to the west lie the Valorian Isles. The walled town of Jhelom provides Lord British with the best fighters and also has the largest inn of the realm, where the service is outstanding.
"The headquarters for the Order of the Silver Serpent is on an island south of the Cape of Heroes. This wooded fortress was given to the members of the Order by Lord British in recognition of their outstanding service. A visit to Serpent's Hold will instill within the traveler a true feeling for the ways of chivalry.
"Off the western shore of Britannia is the island home of the doughty Rangers. Skara Brae is a beautiful town and spaciously laid out. For those suffering from rare diseases or grievous wounds, a Mystical Healer resides within those walls. The Healer will aid the destitute as readily as the wealthy, expecting no payment save what the sufferer can afford.
|"Dense and dark woods, known as the mystical forest of Spiritwood cover the large peninsula far to the west of Britain. Little is known about the creatures and different species of animals that reside there. Popular legends maintain that the disembodied wisps can sometimes be seen here, highly agile and intelligent though nonetheless dangerous entities not from this dimension." — Lord Shalineth in 129 A.D.|
"In the northeastern part of Britannia lies Verity Isle, famous as the home of the Lycaeum. This pillar of higher learning constitutes the center for the sharpening of the finest minds in Britannia. The Lycaeum's observatory provides Lord British with valuable information about the course of the heavens and provides a vantage point to watch the happenings within his realm. On the southern end of Verity is situated the fabled town of Moonglow. The Magi of Moonglow are constantly improving their skills, being tireless in the pursuit of greater knowledge of the mystic arts. Within Moonglow, however, can be obtained the finest in mystical reagents. These herbs will help those with magical skills prepare and cast their spells.
"This then is the known realm of Britannia. Several small villages also dot the landscape, but all are not recorded in the charts of the realm. Some other islands of varying significance hug the shoreline — most of which are uninhabited and barren. The only islands the traveler should be cautious about when exploring are known as the Fens of the Dead. Disembodied Wisps, Ghosts, long-dead Lichs, and savage Xorns have been reported here.
|"If one stands on the northeast dock of Trinsic and looks out to sea, one can just about see the banks of mist that perpetually enshroud the Fens of the Dead. These treacherous islands east of the village of Paws have been the bane of many a ship captain, sending countless souls into the briny depths. It is a brave hero indeed that will go there in the dead of night! The mages of Britannia have long held the Fens of the Dead as a good source of Mandrake root, and as a result many an entrepreneur has overcome his fears for the sake of a few gold coins." — Walker|
"Existing maps are by no means complete. There are said to be other
unexplored isles, wherein all manner of monsters and evil beings reside:
flame-breathing Dragons, multi-headed Hydras, horned Devils, fiery Lava Lizards
and even dreaded Balrons are rumored to roam the distant shores. Farther out to
sea roam many mythical creatures. The unwary voyager will likely encounter
Giant Squids, Nixies, poisonous Serpents, and mystical Seahorses. The
ever-present danger of whirlpools and waterspouts make seafaring a hazardous
experience at best."