Wednesday, 20 March 2013


The northern landmass Sawa is the continent of Fire - the power of the North. Sawa with its rugged coastline, many islands, and inland seas is the smallest continent; the far north is ice-covered. The landscape is shaped by volcanic activity, from the Great Talash-Keh's vast mountains, to fields of boiling mud, to the omnipresent geysirs. Travelling Sawa is treacherous; dangers include unstable ground - thinly covered chasms filled with boiling lava -, toxic fumes, hot ash clouds, and lahare, the giant landslides accompanying volcanic eruptions.

"Where the water fell upward/ and the mountain shifted in its sleep/ we bonded hand in hand/ an alloy of loyalty and trust/ and like such metals/ will never part again."
— Nuralk, "Ode of Vhalo", verse 3

Sawan humans are the blocky, tall northern type, the coasts are populated by seafolk. The Great and Lesser Talash-Keh kingdoms are considered "dwarven lands" due to the dominant population; Mul'Geranan is populated only by mul'ahman and therefore nearly invisible above ground; the infamous state of Sawaland, an openly racistic country of pro-human orientation, is a black mark on the map; and last not least the heroic warriors of Brighthold are widely known, keeping the warring neighbouring tribes in check.

"We inhabit the lands of fire, and we Sawans are proud of our ability to start all over. I can't imagine living in a place where the ground never changes."
— Mugikri, Sawan farmer

Artist's notes
Volcanism fascinates me, and I have Sawa as a playground for it. The trouble with painting volcanic landscapes is that everything's covered in smoke...
I found it difficult to describe Sawa's diversity correctly; it has landscapes like Iceland and Alaska as well as Polynesia-inspired tropical zones. The landscape changes so frequently - mountains coming up here and there and sinking back into the ground - that mapmakers can make good coin here.

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