Regions of Cyrodiil

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Infragris
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Regions of Cyrodiil

Post by Infragris »

The geographical/ecological regions of Cyrodiil. A region, in gameplay terms, is an area with unique weather patterns, terrain textures and assets, flora, and specific creatures or leveled lists (and associated danger level). Certain areas are also associated with particular types of architecture. Note that regions, while important, rarely coincide with political borders and do not always feature a unique culture or ecology.

STIRK ISLE
Small, pseudo-tropical southern Mediterranean climate centered around the island of Stirk and some smaller islands surrounding it.

ABECEAN SEA
A vast cross-provincial sea region covering most of the western seaboard provinces such as Valenwood and Hammerfell. The Abecean is exposed to the vast western ocean, and is occasionally visited by great storms which developed on the shores of distant Yokuda, gaining in power as they move east.

THE GOLD COAST
The wide grasslands of the south-western coast. Rolling hills and fields of yellow grass. Savannah-like in terms of flora and climate, though the influence of the sea causes rain and storms. Much of the region is unoccupied and uncultivated, with cities, orchards and farmsteads clinging to the trade road. There are some minor fishing villages along the coast. Lack of population is a lingering effect of migration to the east and the destructive wars with the Camoran Usurper some decades ago.

THE GILDED HILLS
A rocky highland on the northwestern coast. Serves as a transit region between the coastal lowlands and the Colovian Highlands. Environment is mostly the same as the Gold Coast. The land is craggy and uneven, with high cliffs along the coastline. Vegetation is sparse, especially where the land borders on Hammerfell. Travel is made difficult by the gorge of the Soetar River, which divides the region from the southern grasslands. The city of Sutch rests on a stone spire in this ravine. On the southern border of the region lies Lake Umbranox, called the Lan Taifoi Hai by the Redguards, source of the local salt industry. Apart from the vineyards on the southern slopes, there is little agriculture.

KVETCHI PASS
A dour valley surrounding the city of Kvatch, consisting of mostly open grasslands. The land is poor and infertile, dotted with old ruins, cairns and stone pillars attesting to the activities of the early Colovians. Farms and settlements focus on livestock, and are mostly gathered along the Gold Road, which follows the lowest point of the valley, and the lonely hill of Kvatch. To the north lie the foothills of the Highlands, dotted with patches of pine-like trees, lonely farmsteads and the occasional vineyard. Along the south lies a range of low, eroded hills and moors, crowned by fortification both old and new. The Strid riverbanks south of this line is marshy, mangrove-lined, and difficult to traverse.

THE COLOVIAN HIGHLANDS
A range of hills, mountains and plateaus along Cyrodiils's western border. The land is rough and inhospitable, featuring vast cliffs, ravines, and rock formations sculpted by the western winds. The lower slopes are occasionally covered in sparse growths of thorn bushes and scraggly olive trees. The climate is dry and hot, rain falls seldom. Though the Highlands are not a real mountain range, the highest peaks do catch some seasonal snowfall, feeding into several fast, dangerous rivers which have carved treacherous ravines deep into the hillsides. Besides a couple of major cities to the north, most Highlanders live in isolated villages, focused on mining and logging. The higher cliffs feature the archetypal fortresses of the Colo-Nordic lords.

THE BARROWLANDS
A lifeless desert mesa in the northern corner of the Colovian Highlands. Similar to the Highlands, but more dangerous and uninhabitable. Despite its desert-like appearance, the high altitude makes it bitter cold, and snow is not infrequent. Dust storms also happen on occasion. The region is dominated by the elaborate barrow structures of the early Colovian kings, some the size of cities. Vast, ink-black ravines split the mesa floor, revealing ancient barrow cities carved into their sides. In the center stands the sacred city of Sancre Tor, an underground complex carved into the hill and surrounded on all sides with a necropolis of tombs, temples, and mausoleums. Apart from the pilgrims and mad prophets who live at the foot of the temple city, the Barrowlands support no life.

THE WEST WEALD
A lush agricultural lowland. Consists of vast, rolling hills covered in vineyards, fields, and farmsteads. This is by far the most peaceful area of the west. The towers of wealthy trade-cities like Skingrad, Sarchal and Dethagrad rise up out of the surrounding lowlands, visible for miles around. The region is crossed with property walls, bocage rows, drainage ditches, and well-paved roads. Here and there, patches of wilderness survive around pools, marshlands or ancient ruins. These are visible from afar in the open landscape. Wilderness grows more frequent to the southern border, where reed-filled marshes and mangroves make travel difficult to impossible. The region is known for its wine production, goat cheese and flowers.

THE MASSIQUERAN FOREST
A large, deciduous rain-forest to the west of the Heartlands. Also known as the Forests of Division. Unlike the dense, tropical jungles of the east, the Massiqueran is temperate in nature, characterized by tall, redwood-like trees. The jungle floor is relatively sparse and cleared of undergrowth due to the lack of light, blocked as it is by the high canopy. Many smaller roads and creeks criss-cross the forest. Isolated villages thrive off logging and charcoal burning. The deeper forests are said to be haunted by armies of ghosts, victims and soldiers of the War of Righteousness.

THE RUMA FLOODLANDS
A densely forested wetlands in the heart of the Massiqueran. The floodlands are formed by the merging of several Highlands rivers, which feed into lake Rumare. Most of the region consists of shifting sandbanks, potholes, slow streams and shallow pools. Rains and the seasonal flooding of Rumare occasionally rearrange the landscape, making most maps unreliable. Despite this, the eastern banks feature many thriving settlements, chained together by the reliable stonework of the Red Ring Road. The inner floodlands are rumored to hold several lost temple complexes, dedicated to ancient gods.

THE RIVERLANDS
A long, cross-provincial region straddling the border of Cyrodiil and northern Elsweyr. A range of pleasant, grassy hills is the origin of several prominent rivers feeding into Rumare and the Niben. Though peaceful now, the region carries old scars of conflicts between the Khajiit and the ancient Empires. It was once the site of a vital trade route bringing moon sugar to the Imperial City, back during the First Era when this trade was legal and a major part of the Heartlands economy. The Khajiit still consider the northern Riverlands one of their ancestral bounty-lands.

THE JERALL MOUNTAINS
A mountain range in northern Cyrodiil, forming the lower foothills of the Skyrim mountains. The southern valleys are covered in thick pine forests and lakes. Ice-cold rivers like the Brumathelion feed lake Rumare. The upper peaks are covered in ice and eternal snowstorms. Safe passage is only possible through the ancient caravan way of Pale Pass. The valleys to the south are home to a number of humble settlements, such as the heavily fortified city of Bruma with its famous markets, and the ancient and remote town of Artemon.

THE HEARTLANDS
A subtropical region in the very center of Cyrodiil, consisting of the islands and the banks of Lake Rumare. Distinguished by the typical ochre-red tinmi soil, responsible for the rich reddish hues of the lake water and local vegetation. The Heartland have been shaped by centuries of intensive agriculture. The jungle which surrounds it gives way to endless rice paddies, pastures, farmsteads, and wealthy merchant towns. The eight Imperial Isles form the bulk of the Imperial City, which spills out across them, over the mudflats, wetlands and swamps of lake Rumare. Ancient sections of the City are lost and overgrown, sunken into the waters or clinging on to the surrounding lake shores.

THE ORA DEMERGATUR
Also known as the Drowned Shore, this formerly populated agrarian district suffered from mismanagement of local infrastructure, resulting in a fatal dam break and flooding several years ago. Political gridlock in the Elder Council has hampered attempts to restore the shore, leaving it an uninhabited wasteland. The region consists of vast mudflats, criss-crossed by little streams and dotted with the half-sunken remains of villages, forts and temples. Lack of human activity has made it a refuge for all kinds of wildlife.

THE SERICAN WOODS
One of the dense jungles of the Nibenay. A nearly impassable tropical wilderness, home to countless beasts, violent spirits and obscure cults. Though it is traditionally taboo to enter the heart of the jungle, it is still home to many settlements. The cities of Cephoriad and Cheydinhal lie on the Blue Road, a route which boldly runs through the jungle via a canopy tunnel that which is constantly maintained by the Imperial Legion. In the heart of the jungle lie the ancient ur-cities of the First Empire: centers of worship and industry built by the Marukhati, later abandoned due to war and plague.

THE VALUS MOUNTAINS
The Valus Mountains form the eastern fringe of Cyrodiil. These mountains suffer from the ashy pollution of Morrowind, lessening sunlight and infecting native lifeforms. This, combined with frequent forest fires, have pushed back the jungle and given rise to an atypical ecosystem: trees are smaller ans scragglier, and traditional grass is interspersed with spiny plants and fields of small fungi. Notable settlements are Culadiil, a small, rural township on lake Sira, and the Valley of Horns, said to contain the legendary tribal city of the Minotaurs.

THE NIBEN VALLEY
More sacred even than Lake Rumare or the great jungles is the Niben River, considered the greatest and oldest of all rivers. Its banks are crowded with farms, fishing villages, fortresses and temples, forming the lifeblood of Imperial civilization. In the heart of the valley lies a black clot in the form of the city of Bravil, a city known for its vast shipwright, dying and soap industries whose infamous slums are but a symptom of the slow erosion of the traditional lifestyle of the local farmers and fishermen. Luckily, other ancient and venerable cities such as Caer Suvio, Caer Ancra and Contramantarci still show the grandeur of Ald Niben and its serene rulers, the Hierophants.

THE VALLEY OF ALTARS
This valley is characterized by its twisting rivers, steep, forested hills, and veritable pillars of rock on which lie temples and monasteries of innumerable minor cults. The valley would have been classified as a jungle in any other province, but in the Nibenay, compared to the impassable Serican Woods and Blackwood to its north and south, it is considered merely somewhat forested, pleasant and easily traversable -- if one has a boat. As its name implies, the valley is home to hundreds of cults and temples spread out across its innumerable valleys and spires. The most prominent of these orders are housed in the famously pluralistic town of Ato, and in the antique, First Era temple-city of Vengheto.

THE MARSHES OF MIR
Surrounding the city of Mir Corrup and the caustic, boiling waters of Lake Canulus lie the wastelands and dead forests of the Marshes of Mir. The region's toxic subterrean volcanic activity has undone the city's former greatness, swallowing up the villas and sacred baths that once surrounded it.

BLACKWOOD
Blackwood is the oldest, darkest and most dangerous of the Nibenese jungles. Home to eastern horrors and violent tiger spirits, none dare enter the forest save Argonian tribals and the most dedicated of the Nibenese deepwood cults. True to its name, the forest is black as the night, a living nightmare of black bark, seeping ichor and slow-running rivers which glow phosporescent white in the night. Deep in the very heart of the jungle lie the mines and ancient temples of the extinct Kothringi culture, victims of the Knahaten Flu. Those who could lay claim to the silver mines would be rich beyond their wildest dreams - if they could survive the nightmares that surround them.

THE MOLAQUIN REN
The Molaquin Ren, referred to as the 'Ren to common Imperials, is former Elsweyr territory recently annexed by Cyrodiil. It mostly consists of palm forests, interspersed with small plantations and villas once owned by wealthy Khajiiti landowners and now occupied by even more wealthy Imperial speculators. The forests quickly give way to pseudo-desert to the northwest, where a range of hills occludes Elsweyr from sight.

(MANGROVE REGION)
The southern mangroves are by far the largest area of their kind in Cyrodiil, and run from the southern run of the Niben all the way along the Argonian side of Topal Bay.

TOPAL BAY
The subtropical Topal Bay borders three provinces. The warm waters of the bay are said to capture moonlight in a way that is wholly their own.

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Infragris
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Post by Infragris »

In the Creatures thread, Saint_Jiub suggested the paleoarctic ecozone as basis for Colovia,which I wholeheartedly support. On a related note, I suggested the use of Devonian themes for the Nibenay's inner jungle, at least as an abstract basis.

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Post by R-Zero »

Infragris wrote:In the Creatures thread, Saint_Jiub suggested the paleoarctic ecozone as basis for Colovia,which I wholeheartedly support.
The problem with Palearctic is that it's just too damn big and diverse - I mean really, it's almost all of Eurasia plus North Africa. What part of this zone are we talking about? Siberia? Sahara?
I suggested the use of Devonian themes for the Nibenay's inner jungle, at least as an abstract basis.
Looks more like inner Black Marsh (if even Tamriel) to me - way too ancient and exotic. I imagined Nibenay looking more like modern Southeast Asian jungles with a touch of Permian forests and their giant amphibians.

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Post by Infragris »

We have a lot of different region to cover, so sampling from specific regions within the ecozone could give a good balance of diverse environments that still carry a unified theme (and can be home to roughly the same creatures). Specifically, I would point to the mediterrenean/balkan regions for Colovia, and Himalayan inspirations for the notheastern mountains regions.

Southern areas like Blackwood and the Marshes of Mir are supposed to be heavily influenced by Argonian outwash - creatures and flora seeping across the borders. The Heartlands and northern jungles would be a lot less crazy. Either way, it wasn't so much my intention to use the colors or esthetic of the Devonian, as well as the idea of original, archetypical life - the Niben being the origin of life on Tamriel.

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Post by Ted »

My suggestions for regions
Image

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Post by R-Zero »

Infragris wrote:mediterrenean/balkan regions for Colovia, and Himalayan inspirations for the notheastern mountains regions.
Seems just right.
the idea of original, archetypical life - the Niben being the origin of life on Tamriel
To clarify - by this you mean non-specialized species, like common ancestors of cetaceans and hippos and extinct carnivorous ungulates, for example?

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Post by Infragris »

R-Zero wrote: To clarify - by this you mean non-specialized species, like common ancestors of cetaceans and hippos and extinct carnivorous ungulates, for example?
Sort of, yes - though at the moment it's just a proposal, and not everyone is as chuffed with it as I am. On the one hand, we have some concepts that focus on amphibians (the Gila, River Newt, and Bullfrog) or "simple" lifeforms (crayfish, kollops, crabs, sea-snails) - halfway creatures, at home on land and in the water. The mammals would appeal to more generic "archetypes" that don't refer to one real-life counterpart - the platonic ideal of a mountain pack-animal, for example, or the Jungian dream-shadow or every kind of simian predator (the Troll, in other words).

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Post by vrolok »

That's a good idea, I think. While Colovia will focus on more or less modern creatures, give or take, Niben will be more prehistoric, but not Ice Age like Skyrim. It creates dichotomy, but at the same time is not over the top. I fully support the idea.

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Post by Anumaril »

Infragris wrote:The southern border, marked by the Brena River, is marshy and difficult to traverse.
Small fix, but it's the Strid River to the south of Kvatch, unless the name has been changed.
King Rislav and his guard began riding westward as fast as if they had been "kissed by wild Kynareth," as the chroniclers said. He did not dare to look behind him, but his plan went faultlessly. The far eastern end of the pass was sealed by rolling boulders, giving the Alessian no direction to go but westward. The Skingrad archers rained arrows down upon the Imperial army from far above on the plateaus, remaining safe from reprisal. The furious Emperor Gorieus chased Rislav from the Weald to the Highlands, leaving Skingrad far behind, all the while his army growing steadily smaller and smaller.

In the ancient Highland forest, the Imperial army met the army of Rislav's father-in-law, the King of Kvatch. The Alessian army likely still outnumbered their opponents, but they were exhausted and their morale had been obliterated by the chase amid a sea of arrows. After an hour's battle, they retreated north into what is now the Imperial Reserve, and from there, further north and east, to slip back to nurse their wounds and pride in Nibenay.
While I agree on most of your descriptions, that of the West Weald and Kvetchi pass I have to debate on, mostly on account of the lorebook 'Rislav the Righteous'. I've imagined that region, largely Kvatch and the western West Weald, as much more dry and arid. While, yes, the land is poor and infertile, I would not say it due to it's rainy nature, but rather it's dryness. As cited in that book "The winter rains had washed through the roads to the south, sending much of the West Weald spilling into Valenwood.", indicating to me that this region is rather arid save for the winter season, when heavy rainfall is absolutely devastating to terrain and roadways due to the lack of moisture, making the soil loose.

From the passage I've quoted, we can derive the existence of high plateaus nearby Skingrad and along the Gold Road, likely on it's north face. Personally, I imagine rough cliffs and loose runoff hills to the south of the road that would land the clumsy right into Valenwood should they stumble, territory extremely evident of the disastrous winter rains. While the mouth of the Strid may be a marsh, I don't imagine the majority of the northern Cyrodiil face to be, instead, something like THIS, with incrementally rising cliffs and runoff until you reach the land nearby the Gold Road and the plateaus to it's north. Also mentioned is the 'ancient Highland forest', a location I assume would be those pines to the north of Kvatch you mention, as it couldn't be the Massiqueran.

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Post by Infragris »

I always get those rivers mixed up.

I don't really see the problem with the geography of Rislav. The mention of winter rains does not necessarily imply that the region is dry for the rest of the year. You also don't need a dry/plateau region to have this kind of geologic effect. In my concept, the Weald is a relatively flat, agricultural region: extensive agriculture loosens the ground, and heavy rains on top of that can wash the whole thing away. I've lived in places where this used to happen frequently. The Kvetchi Pass concept is that it is a on a vast slope southwards: every time it rains, the fertile topsoil is washed into the river, making the land poor.

Also, I don't think these battles made it anywhere near to the Kvetchi Pass: Rislav confronted Gorieus in the northern West Weald, headed into the Highlands, and then forced the enemy into the Imperial Reserve, the utter northwestern border between the Highlands and Hammerfell. Judging by this, Rislav made his way to the northwest, meeting up with the Kvatchi king somewhere near Sarchal. It could actually have been in the Massiqueran, if we assume the forest was larger in olden days.

Also note that the story of Rislav happened in 1E 478: four thousand years ago. Climate and terrain could have changed drastically in that period.

The kind of wilderness you describe does exist, but in the Colovian Highlands proper: that region would be composed almost exclusively of the terrain you are describing, and takes up nearly half of the western area. Part of the reason why I want to make the Kvatch and Weald regions different is to have some necessary variations in western terrain types.

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Post by worsas »

We used to have a concept for the westweald being a verdid landscape with flower fields, based on a random reference in Dance In Fire. There are actually some ground textures and a couple of flowery trees left from that era.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/223 ... weald1.jpg
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/223 ... weald2.jpg

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Post by Infragris »

Updated OP with new map and descriptions.

EDIT: these maps are not up-to-date, refer to the cartography thread for the latest info.

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