The Dragon Sea
The vast sea which covers the world. Thousands of islands dot its surface. Today, it is used as a vast trade route among the islands.
The Eye of Io
Despite its vastness, the Dragon Sea is surprisingly calm. Storms happen rarely, ensuring safe travel from island to island even across great distances. However, that is not true for all parts of the world. Swirling about the southern pole is a roiling storm held in check by the Thunder Lords. The storm is called the Eye of Io, and it measures nearly one thousand miles in diameter. Some say the Eye of Io is a vestige of the ancient storm that sank the continents of Iomandra tens of thousands of years ago. Whatever the truth, only magically warded ships can enter the Eye safely, and even then, the Thunder Lords are just as likely to smash a ship to smithereens as brook intrusion into their tempestuous domain. It is also believed that the Eye of Io is a gateway to a distant plane called the Elemental Chaos, but any captain wishing to cross over must pay a king’s ransom in tribute to the Thunder Lords.
The north pole of Iomandra is covered by a glacial mass that one might mistake for a true continent. This great icy wasteland is called the Frostfell. Rocky islands protrude from the thick sheets of ice here and there, but the land is frigid and inhospitable. White dragons and other cold-dwelling creatures lair in caves carved out of the rock and ice, and many ships have been lost exploring the Frostfell for secrets of the ancient dragon dynasties. Seafaring explorers are also drawn to the Frostfell by ageless rumors of a great caldera hiding an obsidian palace-fortress with the spoils of a thousand dragons locked in its vaults.
The Black Curtain
A ship that travels west or east eventually comes to the Black Curtain, a miles-high barrier of dark mist that stretches across the horizon and envelops the world like a death shroud. Ships can’t sail around the Black Curtain without coming into contact with the Frostfell to the north or the Eye of Io to the south.
Within the Black Curtain, vision (including darkvision) is limited to a few feet. This alone is enough to discourage timid seafarers, but some believe that the Black Curtain isn’t boundless—that it hides idyllic lands untouched by the wrath of Io. Many hopeful explorers have passed through the Black Curtain, hoping to come out the other side and see a vast, unclaimed paradise. None of them have ever returned.
The Black Curtain hasn’t always existed; it came into being some years after Io sank the continents, but its origin is unknown. It had already grown quite immense by the time the Arkhosian dynasties recovered from the worldwide devastation.
Perhaps the most troubling thing about the Black Curtain is that it seems to be closing in. Islands on the edge of the black mist are gradually being swallowed up. It may take years, but the Black Curtain will eventually engulf the entire world. Consequently, many learned scholars have dedicated their lives to solving the mystery of this sinister phenomenon.
The Demonmaw Sargasso
Due west of ancient Bael Nerath and the islands of Arkhosia lies a vast stretch of the Dragon Sea called the Demonmaw Sargasso. The perimeter of the sargasso is so shallow that sailors can see the black coral that covers the sea floor. After a few miles, these shallows give way as the sea floor plunges into an inky abyss, where the waters are eerily calm. A lucky ship can use oars to cross the sargasso without incident. An unlucky ship finds itself inexorably drawn to a location where the watery horizon dips menacingly into a briny vortex. By the time one sees the vortex, it’s already too late: The hungry Demonmaw pulls the vessel down into its black depths, never to be seen again.
The Hollowdark is the name given to the subterranean realms of Iomandra, many of which flooded or collapsed when the continents sank thousands of years ago. What’s left of the Hollowdark can be reached via remote caves scattered on islands all across the Dragon Sea. Few surface dwellers have any clue what Hollowdark denizens may have survived the ancient calamity, and most don’t wish to find out. Consequently, known entrances to the Hollowdark are generally avoided.
The Feywild is a reflection of Iomandra before its continents sank into the sea. Consequently, land there is bountiful. Sharing this knowledge with the more expansionist nations of Iomandra would almost certainly lead to an invasion of the Feywild. Most eladrin and a few elves reside in the Feywild.
The Draconic Isles
The Draconic Isles is the singular name given to the thousands of islands that dot the surface of Iomandra. And they are called the Draconic Isles for good reason. By ancient law, all land belongs to the scions of Io—the true dragons. This was true when Iomandra had vast continents; it is still true now. When a dragon reaches adult age, it is expected to leave its nest and claim an island of its own. A weak dragon might find a small, uncontested island to rule. An elder dragon or ancient wyrm will seek to rule the largest island it can find, preferably one with abundant food supplies. Not every island of Iomandra has a dragon overlord. Some islands are simply too small or wretched. Others are hotly contested. Others still haven’t been claimed because no dragon has found them yet. When a dragon takes ownership of an island, it expects all of the island’s other inhabitants to pay it tribute. Those who do not comply are devoured or driven off. Most sensible creatures acknowledge the dragon’s status and may even stand to benefit from the dragon’s protection (depending on its disposition). An island always adopts the name of the dragon that lives there; when a dragon overlord changes, so too does the island’s name . . . much to the chagrin of the world’s foremost cartographers. Nothing is more precious to a dragon than its island dominion. A dragon that cannot find an island to rule will do anything to wrest control of one. Dragons who rule islands must therefore be wary of rivals. Their lairs are often trapped or guarded, and they are smart enough to use minions or adventurers to eliminate likely challengers. It’s worth noting that over the course of history, many influential warlords and emperors have claimed to be scions of Io, but the true dragons of the world have never acknowledged such claims. In one notable case, an ancient gold dragon named Mazuzura openly refuted such a bold claim made by Emperor Azunkhan V of the Dragovar by attacking his palace in broad daylight and devouring him. Today, the Dragovar Dynasty spans dozens of major islands, all with powerful dragon overlords. These mighty dragons horribly tax the coffers of the Dragovar, but they also provide the greatest protection that gold can buy.