The plains and deserts of Southern Allansia are a harsh and dangerous place to live. Much of the desert is virtually uninhabitable, plagued by vicious and unpredictable weather. The natives survive by rearing cattle and shepherding them to and from the many water holes and oases. Due to these harsh conditions those peoples native to the deserts are far hardier than their Northern Brethren. The Nomads are the masters of the Deep desert, they find little need for warfare and armies as they have little that is of use to others and they rarely war amongst themselves. The population is concentrated on the western and southern coasts, many people here supplement their herding with fishing and a little agriculture. The population of the deep desert is very small, consisting mostly of Elven clans who must constantly move to ensure fresh grass for their livestock.
As well as the Nomadic clans the other major culture within Southern Allansia's deserts is the Rising Sun Empire. The Empire was formed by several Nomadic Clans establishing small permanent villages on the south-east coast, developing a fishing and farming based community to support the population. This allowed select members of the population to become specialists in their chosen fields. In the beginning the Empire was very much like a commune, in which each individual acted for the good of the village. As the population grew, rather than expanding the size of the older villages new villages were founded. As this process continued the newest villages found the need to develop their farming technologies far more, due to the increasingly hostile surroundings. Such advanced farming techniques such as Irrigation allowed the land surrounding a village to support a greater population. As villages began to grow in individual size the commune system began to fail, many farmers became resentful of individuals avoiding hard work in the city. Within thirty years the resentment became hatred and the farmers revolted, at first with stoppages and then all out strikes, these revolts threatened to cause the collapse of the city. As food became scarce the people of the city organised and counterattacked under the leadership of a man by the name of Tokira. It took less than a week for the farmers to be crushed and, subjugated under Tokira and his underlings, they were forced back to work. Fuelled by their victory Tokira turned to neighbouring villages. By the time of his death twenty years later Tokira had managed to found the Rising Sun Empire from these villages, subverting some with the luxuries he could offer, in other cases by simple military force. Tokira appointed his eldest son as his successor, a tradition that has been carried on until the present day. The Rising Sun Empire accounts for approximately one third of the population of Southern Allansia, stretching all over the eastern coast, between the Drakespire mountains and the southern sea.
The Nomadic clans and the Rising Sun Empire have a long history of aggression. It is however due to a near symbiotic relationship between the two that prevents escalation to full scale warfare. The Empire needs the Nomads for Meat and Hides, the Nomads accept in exchange currency, luxury goods and high quality metal items. Many of the Nomads act as traders between the North and South, as their great knowledge of the desert allows them to travel unhindered by storms, and Nomad Caravans bearing goods from the South make frequent trips over the Drakespine Mountains to trade with all in the Markets of the Great Forest.
The Drakespine Mountains are a long stretch of mountains that split the fertile Forests of Allansia from the Deserts of the South. The mountain range stretches the full width of Allansia, and arcs round to cover the lower part of the northern coastline. The name of the range is influenced by the name of the highest peak, Mount Drakespire. In the range there are two major social groups, the Deseryian Concordance and the Drakespire Alliance.
The Drakespire Alliance was formed around 600 years ago from groups of miners, who banded together to demand better prices for their materials from buyers in the North and South. The Alliance had few members in the beginning, but grew quickly and soon had support from many of the settlements and villages of the Mountains. Within a hundred years Northern purchasers, angered by the continually rising prices, sent many of their own people to the Mountains to set up rival mining operations. The various company agents, however, signed an agreement between each other in the town of Deseryia, and the concordance was born. Ever since there has been friendly but intense competition between these two groups for the trade in mined minerals, ores and finished goods. Some of the best weapons in Allansia are made in the workshops of the Drakespine mountains.
The concordance is made up of many small villages and mining camps, dotted around the eastern end of the mountains, stretching to the peak of Drakespire itself. The alliance occupies the western arm of the range. The two groups have allied villages and farms surrounding the mountains. The only major settlements in the area are the town of Deseryia and the Alliance's stronghold Drakeholme. Whilst the concordance is primarily involved in gold panning and surface level mining, the alliance is involved in much deep level mining and empty tunnels are used as living space. Many alliance settlements are completely underground.
The council is the voice of all of the inhabitants of the forest. Each major population centre has the right to send a representative to meetings of the council. The council acts as a mediator for rival villages, but each settlement rules itself. Due to the nature of the great forest the population is very dispersed, the council therefore uses a group commonly known as rangers as a police and intelligence gathering force. Individual rangers are skilled woodsmen who work for the good of the council the denizens of the forest, acting as justices and militia commanders amongst other duties, such as the power to wed. A ranger is usually afforded any comfort available at the settlement he or she is staying, but rarely stay long.
Settlements in the forest are small, mostly relying on hunting, gathering and small amounts of farming in the lighter woods or clearings. Most inhabitants see the forest as precious as it provides a place to live, sustenance and safety from hostile forces, and therefore they clear as few trees as possible, so that whilst they may clear several acres for farming, their village will be high in the trees. In less forested areas, the use of farming increases significantly, but people still build their villages in the trees, or if unavailable raise them with stilts.
The Northern Empire is made up of over a dozen provinces, each ruled by a Lord, appointed by the Emperor, the Emperor is kept in check by the Senate, a group of appointed individuals from the various provinces. The Northern Empire was formed six hundred years ago after the relatively small kingdom of Cerinthia managed to conquer the majority of the North of Allansia. Sufficient time has passed so that citizens consider themselves part of the Cerinthian Empire rather than the subjugated members of a conquered kingdom. The Empire ceased expansion soon after the fall of the last of the old Kingdoms, it had been observed that the Empire had begun to reach its practical limits. The Empire is by far the most structured culture in Allansia, each province has one city that is surrounded by farming villages and in some cases small towns. The Lords are responsible for law, tax collection and local civilian spending, they are assisted by several layers of bureaucracy. The capital, Cerinthia is massive in comparison to any other city in Allansia, it is from here that the Emperor rules and the Senate are located. The main government of the Cerinthian Empire controls all military spending and the appointment of new Lords.
Each Lord has the power to grant the title of Duke to his advisors and Allies, as well as appoint senators for his province. Such titles tend to be accompanied by a home or source of annual income provided by the Lord. Whilst there can be rivalries between the Lords, they are always kept out of the public eye, stealthy attacks of character or assets are the usual weapons employed by rival Lords, the main reason for this being that the Emperor looks upon such activities unfavourably.
The appointment to senator is always accompanied by a Ducal title, a substantial yearly income, and housing for the senator and his family in the capital. This is in addition to any rewards from the governor of the province he is representing. A senator remains in office until such time as his Lord decides to replace him.
Upon the death of a Lord, a new Lord will be appointed by the Emperor, there is a tradition for the late Lords offspring to be considered for this position, along with any other candidates. It is therefore common for the eldest male child to inherit the position, rarely will two members of the same family be given provinces, primarily to prevent rebellion. Ducal titles are however inherited by the offspring of a Duke, the title is passed on also to wives of the Dukes sons, but not the husbands of his daughters. As the title is lost at marriage it is convention for such Daughters to marry Dukes, so they might retain their title.
The Northern Wastelands are primarily made up of volcanic rocks and ash from long dead volcanoes. Whilst most is uninhabitable the coastal regions are home to primitive hunter/gatherer communities, the area closest to the Cerinthian Empire is quarried for building stone. There are stories of lost cities covered in ash, and hidden underground complexes located in the interior of the wastelands. Whilst some of these stories seen wildly exaggerated, occasionally they are supported by strange coins and ancient items.