The Orkney Mountains, a rugged chain of mountains that stretches from the icy wastelands of the southeast deep into the continent’s center, dominate the southern lands of Thedas. A smaller mountain chain called the Frostback Mountains juts between Ferelden and Orlais and holds the dwarven city of Orzammar (thought to be the last until the rediscovery of Kal-Sharok). The mountains define the southern border of Thedas, while the vast Tirishan forest and the Hunterhorn Mountains define the western border, cradling between them the fertile Orlesian Empire. An unbroken expanse of trees, the Tirishan is one of the wonders of the world and is as mysterious and dangerous as the hottest of the deserts.
Thedas is divided in the middle by the Waking Sea. The central lands north of the Waking Sea are known as the Free Marches. They consist of forest and plains, and they have the best agricultural lands on the continent. This land is covered with the city-states known as the Free Marches.
The Arlathan Forest, once home to the only known city of the elves that was destroyed by the Tevinter Imperium, lies just north of the Free Marches, and it forms the border between the Imperium and the more exotic realms of Antiva and Rivain. This ancient forest is neither as dark as the Tirishan nor as dangerous, but its oft-plundered ruins are a sad tribute to the culture that once was. Little of the old elves remain, and the forest is often called “the Mourning Lands” by those who visit it, because it seems few humans can make a living there, as if the forest itself resents their presence.
The lands of Tevinter around the Nocen Sea are quite temperate and were the first realms inhabited by mankind. Ruins here are plentiful, dating back to a time when the Old Gods were worshipped and the blood magic of the magisters ruled over the land. The islands of Seheron and Par Vollen in the Boeric Ocean are junglelike and humid. They have been transformed over centuries of control by the Qunari into bastions of military and religious efficiency.
The Anderfels, to the northwest, is the first part of a great land of dry steppes. It is a harsh land famous for producing a rugged people resentful of their former Tevinter overlords, and it is the true home to the Grey Wardens at Weisshaupt Fortress. The Donark Forest marks its northern border and is a rain forest of tall trees and uncivilized freemen who have notoriously evaded control by their southern cousins.
What lies beyond the snowy wastes of the south is a mystery. The freezing temperatures and barren land have kept even the most intrepid cartographers at bay. Similarly, the far western reaches of the Anderfels have never been fully explored, even by the Anders themselves. It is unknown if the dry steppes are shadowed by mountains, or if they extend all the way to a nameless sea. There must be other lands, continents, or islands, perhaps across the Amaranthine or north of Par Vollen, for the Qunari arrived in Thedas from somewhere, but beyond that deduction, nothing is presently known.
- Free Marches
- Orzammar and the Deep Roads
- Par Vollen
This is a mixture of lore that I (Crimea River) have collected from the codex, the wiki, the guides, and playing through the games. I have not copied directly from the guide, and there are obviously things I have left out. If you want to read more game lore, buy the guides if you want to read a ton of lore.