Strictly speaking, Marath Suvla (the main game location) is in Troll Country. If you get the impression from its name that it's full of trolls and probably a really terrible place to live, then you pretty much have it nailed. It is northwest of the Caliphate, north of Tarsikka, and east of the Principalities of Verdien; not, in fact, all that far from Verdien's border. In 1208 (three years ago at the start of play), the Caliphate established a provincial governor, the Khedive, over their colony there. Back home, however, the Caliphate is under constant pressure from ghuls in the Sultanate, and cannot supply their colony with the soldiers and material that they desperately need to hold the ground against the trolls. At the campaign's beginning, the Caliphate has invited two other coalitions to join in the exploration and defense of legendary Marath Suvla.
Political Factions of Marath Suvla
The Caliphate and the Great Kingdom
The Caliphate of Dusk is directly allied with the Great Kingdom of Tarsikka, because Tarsikka is on warmer terms with their southeastern neighbors than they are with their western neighbors, the Principalities of Verdien. Both nations are engaged in constant and desperate struggles against monstrous enemies at home, however. Though not formally a participant in this alliance, the Tharici are more welcome within this faction than elsewhere. This group accepts ritualists, mystery cultists, and homunculi more readily than other factions. Players aligned with this group should expect their contacts to have some of the best information about the region at the start of play.
The Redwood Throne
The Redwood Throne has organized a mission to rescue Marath Suvla from the menace of the trolls. In this effort, they have accepted the services of Gauntishmen and Oresunders, as well as many Verdiens. The Redwood Throne is on decidedly chilly diplomatic terms with the Caliphate and the Great Kingdom, as they have clashed a number of times throughout history, and the Caliphate is energetic in expelling the Throne's missionaries. The Throne claims to be allied with the Guilds of the Hulder, but both groups are more dedicated to their own advantage than mutual benefit. The normally restrictive Redwood Throne has relaxed some of their more oppressive policies in recruiting foreigners: though ritualists and homunculi may not be favored, nor are they turned away. (Practitioners of mystery cults are well advised to keep it a secret.) Players aligned with this political faction should expect their contacts to offer some of the richest rewards in coin, as well as less tangible social advantages with the world beyond Marath Suvla.
The Guilds of the Hulder
Though also based in the Principalities of Verdien, the Guilds of the Hulder act independently of the Throne's influence and draw upon a different pool of talent. The most gifted craftsmen of the Principalities and Athral Isle already belong to these guilds, and they also offer rich rewards to warriors and scholars of the Principalities and Athral Isle who join their cause. Many Athrals see this as a chance to make their fortune outside of the Gauntish dominion. The Guilds compete fiercely with the more state-supported tradesmen of the Caliphate, while decidedly neutral on questions of ritualists, mystery cults, and the like. Players aligned with this political faction should expect their contacts to offer them some of the richest rewards in finished goods or crafting secrets.
Legends of Marath Suvla
The Caliphate of Dusk believes that Tariq Silkinti, the Molten Sheik, met his glorious end here, though stories on how that might have happened have been confused in the millennia since. Refugees from the Emirate of Rahaal claim that the Marrashi invaders ransacked their libraries and questioned their historians about the location of Marath Suvla as well.
The Tarsikkans believe that Marath Suvla was once within their borders. Their stories recall it as a necropolis.
Thirteen centuries ago, a group of wanderers from the Principalities of Verdien found Marath Suvla, and the Redwood Throne was revealed to them in all its majesty. They returned to Luzerne City with word of this miracle and laid the foundation for the Church.
The Gauntish are unique in that none of their legends speak of Marath Suvla whatsoever.
Oresunders believe that when their gods, the Pentaverate, departed, they went south and east, the direction of Marath Suvla. The few Oresunders who have spoken directly to a troll have heard the trolls speak of it as a holy place, giving rise to endless speculation among the scholars of Oresund.
Athrals have heard that their own countrymen, in ages long past, first learned the ways of the Displaced Hand in Marath Suvla from the dying remnant of those they call the Firstborn.
The Tharici have heard the stories of every nation. They say that all of them have some truth and none have all the truth. To them, Marath Suvla is the heart of their most secret magic.
Celestials believe that Marath Suvla was once a battlefield and became a great tomb. Marath Suvla is to be guarded against the forces of evil at all costs. In general, though, Celestials know little of Marath Suvla or other parts of the world, as they have spent the majority of their time over the eons of their existence battling the forces of evil that assail Heaven, rather than observing the world directly.
Any personal memories the Returned might have of Marath Suvla are now obscured and lost to them. Notably, the Returned do not remember how they died, but many of them will have no recollection of ever going to Marath Suvla, which was a Tharician city relatively distant from the heart of the Empire.