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The Region of Vulcaniaby LoZompatore.
Here is a collection of canonical and deduced information about the region of Vulcania.
- Forests, mountains and frozen lands come from the general HW's Mystara map. The deserts come from VotPA and HW maps.
- As per VotPA description, Vanya's Rest is placed on a cliff. The capital of N'djatwaland is built near a lake and a big waterfall.
- The Tanagoros' and the Ice gnomes' positions come from the post-cataclysmic migration map of the HW set.
- The position of the ancient elven colonies comes from GAZ5 and pre and post-cataclysmic HW maps.
Here is some thoughts about the main political entities of the area:
The extent of the N'djatwa dominion may be obtained from the VotPA.
One of the three northern villages is visited by the Princess Ark; here we know that some abandoned routes lead to the lost kingdom of Varellya, but now they are deserted, so the northern border of N'djatwaland should be not very far from the villages. The eastern border comes from the tale about the "horrible monsters" of the Lost Valley, and form the fact that the N'djatwas control the mountain passes that connect the Lost Valley to the Green Bay (I added a certain number of keeps in the mountains, even if their exact number is not known).
The southern extent of the N'djatwa dominion is deduced from VotPA: when the Princess Ark leaves N'djatwaland it flies over the Green River, leaving behind the N'djatwa territory. The western border of N'djatwaland is deduced from the diplomatic mission of Prince Haldemar to the capital M'banyka. Here he sees many captured gnomes and humanoids being brought in the city from the nearby mountains. This should mean that the western border of N'djatwaland should not be too far from the capital city.
As you see, the N'djatwaland is a very large kingdom. Its extent is comparable to the whole Known World (which extends in a similar latitude, so the comparison it's not affected by mapping distortions). This may lead to a quite large number of N'djatwas inhabiting this area.
This gnomish empire should be quite large, as from Heard's article:
There came a time when there weren't enough Snartans to sustain the empire that they had conquered. Snarta controls another three or four earthshakers besides Snartapolis, to guard the far reaches of its empire. Snartans are universally feared and hated throughout Vulcania.
From the same article we know that Snartan's soldiers use helms with decorations made of horse hair, so we may think that the area they control is not too much cold. Probably the plains are the most common land of the empire, even if we know that at least a region is occupied by a mountain range:
Like many other Vulcanian gnomes, they did discover the secret of the volcanoes and their fire elemental pupae.
Forests should not be the best terrain in order to have the Snartan earthshakers to operate. Anyway, considering that the earthshaker use coal to keep moving, we may think that their empire stretches along the forest's border. The Snartans may also find the fuel for their machines in suitable coal mines in the Vulcanian Line. (These mountains may also harbour wide stretches of woods, that provides other sources of fuel).
In the article we also read about other earthshakers that are enemies of the Snartans:
Several gates on the outside walls open to reveal giant harpoons whose role is to lodge themselves into the body of enemy earthshakers and reel them closer so the Snartan Hoplites can board them and conquer them.
So we must think that the Snartans does not control the whole Vulcanian plain. The region, instead, should be something like a huge battleground where many gnomish clans battle each other for supremacy.
I put the Snartan territory east of the Lost Valley (as for VotPA description), although I placed it in the western part of the Vulcanian plain because Heard said that the Snartans come from the ancient Milenian region, so they should have settled this region coming from the west.
THE ALPHATIAN COLONIES:
From the Book of Wondrous Inventions we know that the Alphatians built several colonies in the Vulcanian region; these outposts are involved in a constant warfare against the gnomes and their earthshakers:
Legends say that only gnomes and their huge frightening machines populate this part of the world, called by some the Land of Earthshakers.
It was there that Jaggar, a Glantrian Wizard-Prince, spent part of his life in exploration of the land. During his many adventures among the gnomes, he discovered Alphatian outposts that were quite hostile to the gnomes and their machines. As an answer to the horrendous gnomish creations, the Alphatians introduced the Gargantoids, their own version of the Earthshakers. At the end of a huge battle against gnomish steam powered earthshakers and Alphatian magical gargantoids, the gnomes were defeated and Jaggar nearly captured.
Considering that, in general, the Alphatians get along well with the gnomes I supposed that the main enemy of the Alphatians in the region is the aggressive and "unhuman" Empire of Snarta. So their colonies should be placed near the border of the gnomish empire. We know also that the gargantoids are smaller machines than the earthshakers, so I supposed that they should have considerable advantages fighting in the forests instead that in the plains.
From VotPA we know that - thanks to the Haldemar's diplomatic efforts - the N'djatwa and the Alphatians have some diplomatic ties. Possibly this relationship started as early as AC965 (when Haldemar discovers the N'djatwa), thanks to a "Scroll of Communication" that we know it is used by the crew to send messages to Sundsvall in the previous episodes of the Voyage. So the colonies may be built between AC965 and AC1004 (when PWAs says that Jaggar brought to Glantri a captured gargantoid).
Taking into account all the information above, that's why I placed the Alphatian colonies in the forests between the Empire of Snarta and the Diamond Ring.
(I placed three colonies, even if their exact number is not known. Anyway, we know that there are at least two of them). These colonies may be used as a docking bay for the Alphatian skyships en route to the Hollow World before and after AC1009. This would explain also why in the PWAs the Alphatians prefer to enter in the Hollow World from the Southern Polar Opening, which is the farthest from Alphatia.
THE HELDANNIC OUTPOST (SCHRECKFABRIK?):
I'm not sure if there is an Heldannic Outpost in the Vulcanian region. Anyway, there are some clues about its existence:
1) From the VotPA, in the episode of the N'djatwa (about Herr Rolf's background):
I learned that he is an officer of the Heldannic Order, as I suspected
but he left his citadel on a flying ship! So they do have such ships here, after all! His original mission had something to do with the stars. Then his ship was attacked by the N'djatwas, and he was captured.
The "citadel" might well be either the Vanya's rest fortress or an outpost in the Vulcanian region.
2) From the Heard's article in the Vaults about the "Schreckmaschine Mk I", (a machine similar to a rhino) that is built by the Vulcanian gnomes and used by the Heldannic Knights.
I named this (supposed) outpost with the plain name "Schreckfabrick", that seemed suitable for me.
The sole clue about the placement of this outpost is the information about a magical cooling device that keeps comfortable the machine interior:
The only magic, aside from the gnomes' internal machinery, is a permanent spell to keep the inside of the schreckmaschine cool, an important consideration while operating in Davania.
For this reason I placed the Schreckfabrick in the northern forest of Vulcania (so that it's near to the tropic), far from the main Alphatian sky-routes and from the earthshakers.
Shaper-Durblaga is a lawful Immortal depicted in the IM3 module. From his background we know that Durblaga was an orc that reached Immortality in the Vulcanian region, where he built his fortress in a deserted place.
This fortress act as a shelter and a place of rest for those who seek refuge from the wild and dangerous surroundings.
Shaper-Durblaga gained Immortality in the Sphere of Energy, so he must have changed a great extension of land around his fortress (so now this area should not be very deserted or inhospitable).
I didn't explicitly place the fortress and the land of Durblaga (that possibly still exist and is inhabited by his clerics), mostly because I think that there are a lot of suitable places in the map.