Aritae is a diverse land. Geographically, temperate shrubland dominates the central part of the continent, with light forests dotting the landscape and growing denser as one moves south. Moorland, mostly infertile and difficult to cultivate, composes much of the open land. Rolling hills begin to emerge the closer one gets to the rugged mountains of the north. The southernmost woodland reaches give way to swamps and fens that receive a tremendous amount of rainfall and eventually transition into the vast, canopied lowland jungles of Anatar. The broad Zehuari River (“Serpent’s Tongue” in the old Bal-Shanaari language) originates in the mountains and runs more or less down the center of the Aritaean landmass, forking in the south and winding down into the jungles toward the sea.
There are few intact roads to be found in Aritae; most of the old empire’s trade routes including the once-busy High Road fell into disrepair centuries ago, making travel a dangerous proposition. There are no unified nations in Aritae; several city-states exist but they are generally concerned only with their own interests and engage in only basic trade. Every so often, one state will raid another, or petty border wars will erupt, but these usually leave little lasting imprint on the day-to-day life of most folk. Most villages and townships are located along the banks of the Zehuari; river travel, while by no means safe, tends to be less dangerous than trying to find a path overland through the unchecked wilderness. Travelers to new settlements are usually greeted with a healthy dose of suspicion, since few people are able to make it out and about on their own these days.