Moonlight in the Boughs
The Three Worlds
(taken from 13th Age, page 257)
The world has three great realms: the land, the underworld, and
People live on the land, which is a big, flat disk surrounded on all sides by ocean. The most important and civilized part of the land, near the center, is the Dragon Empire and neighboring territories. On all sides there are terrors and dangers, but the Emperor, the Archmage, the Priestess, the Great Gold Wyrm, and the Crusader keep many of the people of the Empire safe most of the time. The Elf Queen protects her people in the woods and wilds, as well, as does the Dwarf King in the underworld.
The map of the Dragon Empire is a map of the land. Maps of the underworld and overworld look quite different.
Below the land are endless tunnels, chambers, rivers, and lakes—the homes of the dwarves, dark elves, and countless monsters. Portions of the underworld are under dwarf or dark elf control, and other portions are controlled by nefarious creatures, but most of it is wild. The Dwarf King claims to own all the areas of the underworld, but that’s more a statement of intent than a statement of fact. Maps of the underworld can reliably locate a few definite features, such as the Throne Under the Mountain, but explorers are mostly on their own. The underworld changes constantly, with new passages opening up and others closing off. Occasionally, living dungeons roar up from the deeps; if they’re not killed off, they eventually erupt onto the surface.
High above the land is the overworld, the realm of clouds. Clouds can support weight, and various creatures live in the overworld, all of them fearsome. Floating here and there amid the clouds are flying mountains, storm and cloud giants, dragons, and cloud cities. All mighty flying creatures travel to the overworld when traversing great distances. The Archmage’s Tower and the Priestess’s Cathedral both extend magically into the overworld and adventurous mortals can access it by climbing certain mountains.