Avalon is a large continent surrounded on east, south and west by sea. On the mainland the layout can be oversimplified to four distinct areas. To the south (where the Meeting Place is) is City of Mercinae, to the northwest is the City of Thakria, on the central plains is the City of Silverfalls, and to the far east is the City of Parrius; where the four cities lie. The central west of Avalon is mainly woodland (The Greenwood), while the southwest is home to the Goblin City and the concentration of the evil Star-Sorcerer.
New players should be wary of travelling to the wildlands without some form of protection, or else you may find yourself getting hurt! Your aim is to score experience points by performing quests, slaying things, or just by living out your life in Avalon, to gain gold coins from treasure, quests and commerce, and most importantly to build yourself a well-rounded character. The highest possible level (although it is hardly realistic to call it that) is the God, beings of supreme power with great influence over mortals lives.
Of similar importance to the major cities in Avalon is the extensive infrastructure of villages and towns which, although individually far smaller in size, are collectively a part of the continent's economy. Towns grew from villages; close-knit conurbations that, with time, linked together to form a more sizeable community.
Speckling the northern and eastern prairies of Avalon are dozens of villages that range from the small hamlet of Ladakh to the large trading plains settlement of Kritanisti. Any of the villages in Avalon can become a significant cog in the machinery of commerce, each and every one of them making up a part of the vibrant trading networks that span the continent. Be prepared to discover many varied, and often intriguing, customs as you pass through these communities. Some of the villages are as old as the cities themselves. Their insular communities hold many untapped mysteries - secrets welled up for centuries. Many have very particular, often peculiar, traditions. All are worth exploring.
For those keen on exploration of Avalon, it is worth mentioning here an interesting spectacle which can be witnessed every evening in the little village of Greeny's Edge. The priest of that village, Telamon, commences a ritual of worship to the god of light at the beginning of the twilight and it is said that those lucky enough to be present throughout the ritual will reap enormous benefit, both spiritual and physical. Telamon is a welcoming soul and will turn nobody away from his temple. Greeny's Edge is east of Thakria, in the far northwest of the continent. Mind also as you travel to Greeny's Edge that you are not waylaid in the snow-bound village of Snowfoot, also in the northwestern regions of Avalon.
In the northeastern plains of Avalon there are a number of villages of note. The town of Eastpoint (a short distance north of the city of Parrius) is renowned for its wandering minstrel and fishing community. The minstrel responds well to greeting and often has quests and stories for the wandering folk. Further north along the coast is the village of Astrea's Delta. Ethanius is Thane of that town, and his ancient rivalry with Orthalgin of Greeny's Edge is common knowledge. There is also a Sage who sits in the Lands Edge Tavern of Astrea's Delta whose wisdom is renowned around the continent. Lately, also, rumour tells that Princess Herabia of Thakria, mad since her late teenage years, has wandered east to Astrea's Delta.
There are four great cities situated on the shores of the continent, Mercinae, Parrius, Thakria and the most recent, Silverfalls. New characters begin their lives as a citizen of one of these cities. Within the walls of your home town you will find food, shelter and a multitude of shops and stalls to provide the every need of the merchant adventurer. The cities are run by Barons who are democratically elected by the population and who have sworn an oath of allegiance to a Prince from within their ranks.
There are many forests around Avalon, a little more than a dozen of which possess what can only be classed as an independent, individualised consciousness. The greater the size of the forest, the more potent the consciousness; and the relationship between the forest and individuals (such as druids and rangers) lies at the core of sylvan lore and animism - their most specialist, powerful of skillsets. Affinity (or antipathy) of each forest is not limited to those with animism and sylvan lore. All actions, all events, all occurrences within the confines of the woodland perimeter are watched by the forest consciousness, and remembered indefinitely.
What you do within the forest, whether directly for/against it or in your interactions with other creatures or Avalonians - almost everything is used to define the opinion or "affinity" of woodland consciousness towards you. If your actions are of benefit to the forests, its creatures and its friends, then you will find you gain an affinity. If, conversely, they are detrimental then you will build its antipathy. The various ancient forests of Avalon tend to have a demeanour (usually defined by its soulmate - see HELP SOULMATES) and this demeanour, along with the forest's memory of a person's recent affinity-altering actions and circumstances (amongst other factors) contrive to modify the affinity gain or loss attributed to an individual player.
The masters of the sylvan lore and animism are able to harness this affinity or antipathy according to their will but the forests are also able to act autonomously... Little is known of its powers save that they manifest only rarely but with enormous effect. The soulmate of a particular ancient woodland is invariably a ranger or animist of singular power, able to affect the very demeanour of the forest towards all mortalkind.
Avalon's many rivers and streams provide excellent means of transport for the wary. The lengthiest of them all is the River Leithe, carrying the life-blood of trade and treasures between the cities of Mercinae, Thakria and Parrius to the east. It is upon these rivers and their tributaries, that you will be sure to find safe passage from city to city. Ferry-boats and barges traverse these watery by-ways, departing regularly from most city and village docks. By spending a few gold pieces on a river-boat cruise, you are sure to avoid some of the more sinister dangers of the overland routes. Ferries depart from the docks of the Leithe in Mercinae, from the lakeside quay in Thakria and the three fingers dock in Parrius.
For your information, the River Leithe forks north from the centre of Mercinae through to the northwest to the Moonstone Lake beside the city of Thakria. The Leithe forks a short distance north of Mercinae into the Rivers Silverlight and Callieton. The Silverlight runs northwards past the village Kristanisti and the town of Springdale. The Callieton River runs eastwards, south of the villages of Nassau and Ariadne, past Lake Thrullmere, to the city of Parrius.