Land Types

Land Types of Tellene
Even a cursory glance at a map of Tellene reveals that a substantial portion of each area contains mountains. Mountains present the most complex and scenic landscapes in the Sovereign Lands. Climatic Land Types (see next section) range from frozen peaks through alpine forests and meadows (tundra), boreal and mid-latitude forests, down to the various lowlands. Some mountains, such as the Lopoliri range even hold rainforests on their slopes. Glacial mountains, such as the Deshada Mountains typically have sharp, jagged, rocky peaks. Such ranges also exhibit fairly level valleys, smoothed and flattened by the flow of glaciers. In contrast, mountains that have not seen glacial activity like the Dashahn range, exhibit narrow and gorge-like valleys. Pictured below is the Tanezh Range, with steep inclines and sharp, deep valleys.

Volcanic Areas:
Volcanic areas exhibit the same characteristics of other mountains with respect to glacial activity. Vegetation in volcanic areas tends to grow more rapidly and more densely due to the prevalence of volcanic ash. The ash, rich in minerals, enriches the top soil, creating an excellent environment for vegetable matter growth. Thus, large lava plateaus are quite favorable to flora, even for farming, as can be attested to by any larger dwarven nation. The picture below shows the volcanic region of the Ka’Asa Mountains, the year following the last lava flow.

Maturelands are the hilly regions that are not very high in elevation, but most of the area has a gradient or incline. The rapid surface erosion creates the sharp slopes exhibited by these badlands. Examples include the Arajyd Hills, the Sliv Elenon Rise and perhaps portions of the Shyf Hills. Maturelands can exhibit any type of vegetation, but the best developed ones have few trees as such cover impedes rapid erosion. Thus, drier regions tend to have more maturelands than areas with enough moisture to support larger vegetation. River valleys in these regions can be dangerous areas and inhabitants live constantly under the specter of floods caused by rapid runoff and the consequential river swelling. Flashfloods are common, specially in areas such as the Norga Tors where irresponsible ranchers allow overgrazing (which in turn accelerates soil erosion).

Land Types by Climate
Atop the high mountains and on Tellene’s polar regions (off of the known world map) some of the snow does not melt during the summer months. It piles higher and higher, compacting itself into ice fields and eventually forming glaciers. These glaciers flow down from mountains such as the Krond, Deshada and Jorakk ranges into Shadesh Bay or Lake Jorakk. The ice flows either melt or form icebergs, depending on location, weather and temperature (season). Roughly a tenth of Tellene’s area is defined as frozen, but only a small fraction of the tenth is known (the remainder being in the largely uncharted and unmapped northlands that lie beyond the northern edge of most maps). The picture below shows the eastern shore of Shadesh Bay in late winter.

Where Tellene’s summer months are too short to thaw the subsoil, the ground cannot sufficiently absorb the melted snow and ice. The result is a marshy vegetation of stunted trees, smallish flowering plants, mosses and lichens. Caribou, reindeer, elk and musk oxen graze on the tundra. Roughly a twentieth of Tellene’s area is tundra. Examples include the alpine highlands of the Ka’Asa range, the rocky, barren tundra of the upper Elenons, and the Lands of Torakk (northeastern Torakk is depicted below). While typically not populated by humans (the Torakki and Slen being notable exceptions), many humanoids and some larger, fiercer, more monstrous beasts are drawn to the tundra in search of reindeer and caribou.

Boreal Forests:
A forest of conifers, aspens, birches and so forth cover the northern part of Tellene or roughly a tenth of the land. Examples include the Brindonwood, Rytarr Woods and the forested slopes of most mountains. In these areas it is extremely cold from Renewal to Harvest (and often the months of Sewing and Reaping as well). In contrast, the summer months are very hot but too short for typical broad-leafed trees. Since the soils tend to be unfit for farming, inhabitants here rely on mining, logging and the like. A stretch of the Khorren Woods, north of the Upper Byth River is shown below.

Mid-Latitude Forest:
Forests of deciduous trees mixed with the coniferous variety grow wherever there is adequate rainfall and/or drainage. These mid-latitude forests dominate from central Kalamar north until they give way to Boreal Forests. These forested areas occupy vast areas of civilized Tellene, essentially wherever the summer months are at least warm, but winter months become chilly or even frigid. Most forests north of Tarisato and Zazahni are of the mid-latitude variety. Pictured below is a path through the Kalokopeli Forest.

Wherever drainage and rainfall are not sufficient to support a mid-latitude forest, prairie grasses will dominate the landscape. Also called grasslands or steppes, these areas are dominated by hardy grasses and other vegetation that can survive droughts and freezing temperatures. A majority of the Young Kingdoms, Torakk and Drhokker are grasslands. The prairies provide grazing land for cattle, horses or sheep. Note that, once they’ve taken root, trees do grow in the grassland, but not in abundance. The steppes of Drhokker were the original breeding grounds of the equines and the homeland of the Drhokker horse-lords. Below, a Kasite returns home after plowing his lord’s fields.

Where winters are cool and wet and the summer months are dry, the terrain classified as scrub prevails. Scrub exists in primarily in hilly or mountainous areas, especially around Reanaaria Bay, but also in the northern portion of Brandobia and a few spots of the Young Kingdoms (near Shyta-na-Dobyo). Typical vegetation includes evergreen bushes, citrus fruit trees, olives, grape vines, cypress and other coniferous trees. Scrub makes up a relatively small portion of Tellene’s surface. The hilly nature tends to make scrubby areas picturesque.

Deserts are dry areas with little or no vegetation and massive temperature swings. Roughly a fifth of Tellene’s surface can be classified desert, the prime examples being the massive Elos and the Khydoban deserts, although many highlands also qualify for this classification. The Elos (pictured below) remains dry due to the shadow of the imposing Elenons, which deter rain clouds from crossing to the east. Runoff and monsoon season save the Elos from being devoid of vegetation, in fact, many thousands of plant and animal species thrive even in the arid Elos. Sagebrush, yucca, cacti and desert brush provide sustenance for the many animal species. In contrast, the Khydoban, kept dry by a combination of unfavorable weather patterns and topography, is characterized by sandy dunes and large tracts of featureless terrain. Few inhabit either desert, though both deserts are home to many tribes of desert nomads of both human and humanoid decent. These nomads survive as sheepherders, scavengers and hunter-gatherers of desert species. They settle in or travel from oasis to oasis.

The grasslands of Svimohzia and Tarisato are known as savannas. These areas are characterized by winter droughts and warm summer rains. Copses of various trees, especially palms, dimple the grasslands. Thicker forests ring the coasts and fringe rivers and streams. These areas are ideal for ranching and would be excellent for farming but for the irregularity and unpredictability of rainfall; in times of plenty, most Svimohz lords fill huge granaries in anticipation of the lean times surely waiting just around the corner. Sugar, sisal, bananas, pineapple and palm oil are easily obtained from Tellene’s savannas, such as in central Zazahni, depicted below.

Tropical Forest:
The Obakasek and Vohven jungles are Tellene’s only rainforests. Covered by a canopy of trees towering to well over hundred feet (indeed, some explorers of the Vohven’s depths claim to have discovered a gigantic area soaring to a hundred yards in height, but this has never been successfully substantiated), both of these forests contain a staggering variety of trees. Despite the capability for rapid growth, the area is all but useless to farmers; the soils in these forests are leached greatly by rain and the rapid rate of decay thwarts the formation of humus. Still, the tropical forests of Tellene provide important products, including abaca, balsa, bamboo, baobab, cassava, cocoa, coffee, hemp, kapok, mahogany, rubber, sapodilla and teak.

Land Types

DANgerous Kalamar 4 Kallak