The Mainland is the largest of The World’s three continents. It is, compared to the other two, the most centrally located, and most of The World’s major historical events happened there. The Mainland is fairly diverse in terms of ecology and population. The Mainland holds the greatest populations of the central races, the entirety of The Underdark, and many verities of creatures and monsters.
Politics and Geography
The Mainland can be thought of as being organized into 5 geo-political regions, which are networks of settlements of various sizes geographically close to each other and connected by their shared affiliation with a stronghold. The regions do not have clearly defined borders, and there tends to be a lot of unsettled land between towns, and there are occasionally disputes between strongholds over settlements, but these rarely result in armed conflicts, instead being settled simply by which stronghold the town pledges it’s allegiance to. This does pose a problem to any cartographer wanting to make a political map, and no two such maps ever look the same; borders are difficult to define because technically any unsettled area doesn’t belong to any stronghold (as there is no settlement there to affiliate itself with anyone), and it’s not unheard of for a settlement affiliated with one stronghold to be among settlements sworn to another.
The Mainland does contain several independent settlements, but they are becoming fewer as the strongholds (in particular The Sapphire Court and Arcanopolis) are working on extending their political reach, and as small sentiments find themselves in increasing need of outside support. Generally, any settlement able to survive independently would have it’s own surplus of resources and manpower. The current political situation in The Mainland is that any independent settlement requesting aid from another city risks falling under a stronghold’s control.
In addition to the 5 main geo-political regions, there are two geographic regions. These are considered to be separate because whatever political structures these regions may or may not have is difficult to ascertain from the outside, and travelers to the Central Marshes and The Underdark rarely return to share what they’ve found.
Trade and Travel
Trade and travel are usually inclusive to a geo-political region (that is settlements in a given region usually only trade with other settlements of that region, and even then mostly the stronghold, and the average person doesn’t do much long distant travel), but inter-regional trade and travel happens more often between strongholds and other large cities, in particular independent cities like Avenderohl. Both within and between regions, most trading and traveling is done on a network of roads and trails known as The Halfling Roads, no named because they are most frequently used by nomadic tribes of Halflings (mostly Lightfoot Halflings).