After my well-received map of Faerûn, I received some requests to map some of the other continents of Toril in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Although a map of Kara-Tur is likely some way off – it would require almost as much work as Faerûn – and there isn’t enough information on Katashaka or Ossë to make mapping them viable, I have decided to add maps of Maztica and Zakhara. Zakhara will follow at some point, but the Maztica map is completed.
Maztica, referred to by its natives as “the True World” and by the colonialist Faerûnians who “discovered” it as “the New World”, lies to the west of Faerûn across the Trackless Sea. It was only officially “discovered” ten years ago, in 1361 DR, by Captain Cordell of the Golden Company of Amn, who landed a fleet on the east coast. However, it is believed that the elves of nearby Evermeet had much greater knowledge of the continent extending back millennia, and the Northmen of the Trackless Sea may have explored some of its north-eastern fringes some time ago without realising it was part of a much greater landmass.
The explored region of Maztica lies towards the southern end of the continent and runs from roughly due west of Amn to due west of Chult and Halruaa. This region extends for about 1,800 miles from north to south is about 800 miles wide. Magical divinations have revealed that the entire landmass extends for 4,500 miles from north to south and is around 2,000 miles wide at its widest extent in the north, and incorporates several offshore islands.
One of the most fiercely-debated topics in Faerûnian cartographic circles – to the point where blows have been exchanged and curses sought – is to what extent “Maztica” should be said to incorporate the entire landmass or if it should only be said to include the southern explored region. This point is debate most fiercely between the merchant lords of Amn, who “discovered” the continent and gave it its name (actually adapting the local name), and the Dukes of Baldur’s Gate, who hold that Maztica is in actuality the fabled and over-accented continent of Anchôromé, discovered by great Balduran himself, and the entire landmass should be known by that name. A compromise, that “Maztica” applies to the southern region and Anchôromé to the north, has achieved some popularity in recent years.
However, this compromise has been rejected by some learned mages of note, who instead contend that Anchôromé is more properly the name given to a vast archipelago of hundreds of islands located off the north-eastern coast of Maztica and extending to within 300 miles of the island kingdom of Tuern, far to the north-east of Evermeet, and Balduran’s explorations were actually in this region and he never set foot on the continent beyond. The matter remains fiercely debated.
Faerûnian Colonies in the True World
Several nations and powers of Faerûn have established holdings on the continent of Maztica but a full-scale colonisation effort has been prevented due to the events following Captain Cordell’s arrival. Cordell’s small army, with its heavy armour, stronger weapons and offensive magic, proved superior to the natives of Payit and Pezelac, the regions where they landed (and which are now loosely grouped as “New Amn,” a grandiose name that suggests more authority than the Amnians actually have), but was less effective against the professional, well-trained army of Kultaka to the west and to the extremely hostile depredations of the Nexalese Empire to the south-west. After a series of brutal battles, a series of events was set in motion that saw the restoration of the exiled Maztican god Qotal, the utter destruction of Nexal by volcanic eruption and the formation of a loose alliance between the Amnian forces and several native powers.
In the resulting chaos, the Maztican pantheon, represented by the god Qotal, permitted the establishment of Faerûnian colonies in Maztica without contest in a limited manner, as recompense for the Faerûnian help (particularly of those followers of Helm among the Amnian mercenaries) in destroying Nexal and restoring balance to Maztica. Any large-scale invasion of Maztica by Faerûnian powers would be extremely ill-advised, as it would also require both a magical and religious incursion into areas controlled by a different pantheon, and only achievable by endangering the Balance of the planet (maintained by Ao).
The current colonies in Maztica are therefore limited, consisting solely of Helmsport (which is essentially a district of the native port of Ulatos given over to the Amnians), New Waterdeep on the Gulf of Kultaka, Trythosford (a sub-colony of New Waterdeep) to the far north and Fort Flame (a colony of Baldur’s Gate) even further north, on the Bay of Balduran. Another outpost established by Fort Flame to the north was destroyed some years ago. Worshippers of Gond in Lantan have also built the Great Lighthouse on the island of St. Ippen, but have not yet established holdings on the mainland.
Geographic Regions of Maztica
Explored Maztica consists of several key geographic regions.
- The Pasocada Basin (consisting of badlands, mesas, buttes and river valleys) in the north-west, dominated by Mihaca, the fabled City of Gold.
- The Borderlands, dominated by the Faerûnian colonies of New Waterdeep and Trythosford.
- Huacli, a nation of city-states conquered by Nexal but which recently regained its freedom.
- Nexal, formerly the greatest empire in the True World until its destruction ten years ago.
- Kultaka, a fierce nation of (mostly) honourable warriors who defend its independence with ferocity, but are happy to trade with friendly outlanders.
- Pezelac and Payit, more temperate lands which are united (somewhat uneasily) with Faerûnian colonists as the nation of New Amn (a name which suggests a much firmer outlander control of the region that perhaps is the case).
- Far Payit, consisting of a massive peninsula, dominated by the Narabatun and Ocostun jungles and the Palankal mountain range that forms its spine.
- Kolan, a nation on the west coast which blended several Maztican cultures, including the Nexalese of the north and the Green Folk of the south. Kolan paid tribute to Nexal, but has recently regained full autonomy.
- The House of Tezca, a vast desert extending far to the south.
- The Chapultelel Jungle, which extends across the entire southern end of the landmass and is the home of the Green Folk, a private people.
- Lopango, the Land of Fire, which consists of a large mountain range (with some active volcanoes) rising up beyond Chapultelel and dominating a large body of land beyond (which rivals the rest of explored Maztica in size). Attempts to explore this region have met with fierce resistance by the natives. Beyond Lopango lies the unexplored continent of Katashaka.
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