First, apologies. I had put this aside to give a detailed reply to, it somehow slipped my mind, and I’ve only just stumbled across it again. Didn’t mean to leave it so long. I’ll try to hit up one of these a day or so.
I understand that there are around five continents on Upperside and three on Underside, but I don’t believe any of their names have been mentioned, aside from Alténiä and Cestia. What are their sizes, from largest to smallest? What sort of terrain and climate predominate on each, and which is the most historically relevant?
On Upperside, from largest to smallest, you’ve got:
Alténiä (the really huge one, that can be divided roughly into three from north to south, the breakpoints being at the Ventiriast - a very large crack from ocean to ocean - and the Brightwall), home to such countries as Ancyr, Azikhan, Chresytané, the Icemarch (which includes the mountains of the Talíär), the Iniosotac-Variasotec Commonwealth, Mossstone, the Nine Dominions (just above the land-bridge at the rim, which in combination with the Icemarch should tell you just how big the continent is), Selenaria (the Moon-Worshipping Empire, and one of the Old Empires which gave rise to the modern one), Travinthia, and Veranthyr.
Ochale, home to such countries as Ochale (eponymously), Moraneth, and the Bright Desert.
Talessia, home to such countries as the industrial power of Breysvard, Elwynvard, Merianvard (perhaps best known as containing the surviving territory and bay of Somáras, home to big historical religious oops) and Tortelsvard.
Cestia, Greater and Lesser (two islands constituting one continent). The former constituting the Empire of Greater Cestia, one of the other big Old Empires, incorporating polities like Alatia, Cestia (proper), Cúrallémar, Éävallë, Fallingwaters, Palar, Stonesmight and Stonewall - and now host to the Empire’s capital; the latter including Vintiver, the religious center of the Deeping, and the city-states of Baryvekar and Eume.
and the Silver Crescent, although it’s really more of a curved teardrop-shape, including such fine countries as Kaládav, Leirin (land of mists and drowned democrats), Sigménar, Stormhold, Sudmir, and Telírvess.
On the Underside, the big continents are:
Dyr, home to places like Ellestre, Jussovy, Lossarth, Octania, Saralainn, and the Sweetshallow; and
Traele, home to among others Andíné, Isahan, and Ordíné.
(These two are approximately the same size.)
- Llorallin, an island-continent home to the three nations of Elmenésdéïn, High Daëntry, and the Sixshires.
But really, on the Underside, much more relevant and indeed important in historical terms are island nations (especially in the Great Tranquilline Ocean, with the above three approximately surround), such as Cimoníë - notable for the emergence of the first World Shaft - Ildathach, Ossiréï, the Thousand Shimmering Islands, and in particular, the Imperial Kanatai Shogunate.
(Sorry, no absolute sizes, until I finish a map I’m happy with.)
To generalize on climate, the majority of all these continents have climates varying from largely temperate to mildly tropical, and tend to be heavily forested with extensive lake and river systems, since Eliéra as a world is both cooler and wetter than Earth. There tend to be mountain ranges running down from the hub with lesser ranges branching off them. You can find arctic zones near the hub; there are also some deserts, jungles, and other extreme biomes to be found but their presence is mostly due to local variation, rather than there being consistent climate bands.
For example: you’ve got the Desert of Ophthyris in southern Alténiä, caught between a couple of mountain ranges, which is a vast expanse of red-rock canyons and mesas that wouldn’t be that out of place in the US southwest; although the glassland in the middle would be. This contrasts with the Bright Desert over in Ochale, with its near-white sands. Moraneth in Ochale is locally tropical and jungled; meanwhile the Cyrsan Islands (also on Upperside) enjoy a similar climate. So does Kanatai on Underside (in its case because the planetary mechanisms vent heat beneath the Alaercíma), along with Ildathach and most of the Thousand Shimmering Islands.
And on the other end of the scale, the arctic Icemarch exists because of the cold air pouring down from the Talíär, and the equivalent flow from the Dalthíär on Underside creates a icy spot and sea of bergs in the middle of the Tranquilline.
In terms of historical relevance –
Ergh. Well, this is hard to answer without being rather unfair, since there is SO MUCH HISTORY and I’ve barely written enough to scratch the surface. (The Underside, in the past, has been somewhat hard done by, something I’m working on repairing at the moment.)
If one were to look at the rise of the Empire specifically, you’d pick Greater Cestia and Northern Alteníä, where the polities that formed the Union of Empires were located, Greater Cestia itself and Selenaria. By the time the Imperial Charter was signed, you could add the Silver Crescent and Lesser Cestia to that. And this “Old Empires” region kept a leading role for a long time.
But history moves around a lot. The Drowning happened in Leirin, in the Crescent, but as time moves forward, the Iniositac-Variasotec Commonwealth in Central Alténíä set the pattern for a very different kind of cooperative colonization, and Breysvard in Talessia was the heart of the Era-of-Steel-and-Steam industrial revolution, and Cimoníë on the Underside was the breakthrough point of the first World Shaft and everything that turned on that…
…not to mention that while all this was going on, other places had their entire own history, like the consolidation of Kanatai under a single emperor and shogun, or the tempestuous union of Llorallin, or the lumeneldrae islanders settling the Thousand Shimmering Islands using means not all that dissimilar to those of Earth’s ancient Polynesian peoples…
…and, of course, in later history we get the role of southern Dyr and Traele as centers for the resistance to the Consolidation in the form of the Cerenaith Alliance, culminating with the narrowly-avoided-or-not Eclipse War.
So. Um. Lots of places. Sort of like Earth, really.