The Lay of the Land

Geography

Tsurukoku is a primarily mountainous region with a total land area of 144,500 square miles. It is shaped like an elongated boomerang, with the western arm much longer than the eastern arm. The distance from the westernmost point to the easternmost point is ten times the distance from the northernmost point to the southernmost point.

The empire is bordered on the west by the Great Sea, to the north by the Ashlands, to the south by the Nagara River and to the east by the Xin Empire. About 10% of the land area is totally uninhabitable due to the extremely mountainous conditions, and about 50% of the land contains 90% of the population.

The Tsuchitora mountain range runs north to south along all of Tsurukoku’s eastern border. A smaller range, of which its volcanic namesake, Mount Hizuru, is a part, runs parallel to Tsuchitora for several hundred miles before swinging west. The largest mountain range is Iwayama, which runs east to west through the center of the country.

The Nagara River is the mightiest of the Tsurukokan rivers. It is the home of one the five spiritual guardians of Tsurukoku, the great dragon spirit that shares its name. The roots of the river are in the Tsuchitora range, and it is fed by each of the other mountain ranges as it flows west toward the Great Sea. The river is considered the southern border of the empire. Kuni

Tsurukoku is divided into seven kuni, or “countries,” which were initially administrative units in the time of the Mikado, but now serve simply as geographical regions. The regions, from west to east, are:

Kansai

The lands “West of the Checkpoints” were originally defined as all those west of the ancient capital of Aono-kyō. This region meets the Great Sea on the west, and is home to the port city of Kanba.

Cities

Itō – the capital of Tsurukoku under the Itō shogunate. Home to 200,000 people and over 1,000 shrines.

Kanba – this port city sits at the mouth of the Nagara River. It is controlled by the Itō clan, which allows the Shogun to tax all boat traffic entering or exiting Tsurukoku. Okano.

Nakasendō

The “Road through the Central Mountains” is home to the ancient capital of Aono-kyō. The Iwayama mountain range cuts through the northern half of this region.

Cities

Aono-kyō – the Imperial capital is still home to the Mikado and the Imperial court. Aono-kyō is the center of the fine arts in the Land of the Crane.

Kobayashi – the capital of Tsurukoku under the first shogunate, Kobayashi is still a thriving city, home to 50,000.

Iwayama

Named for the Iwayama mountain range, which dominates its northern half, this region is also home to some of the most fertile farmland in Tsurukoku. The southern third of the region is entirely flat plains.

Cities

Tanaka

Koguwa-jukai

This region is named for the largest forest in Tsurukoku, which falls almost entirely within its borders. The forest is comprised primarily of mulberry trees, which are used for two purposes. First, the silkworms that eat the mulberry leaves are harvested to make silk. Second, the bark of the trees is harvested to make paper.

Cities

Morimoto

Suzuki

Tetsumoto

The “Birthplace of Iron” is extremely mountainous, since it contains the tail end of the Tsuchitora range and the eastern end of the Iwayama range. As is implied by its name, the iron and jade mines in this region are the most prolific in the empire.

Cities

Nakamura – located near the western border of Nakamura lands, their capital city is opulent, with jade nearly omnipresent.

Nakanaori – home of a jade mine and an underground river considered sacred by Fenists. The Nakanaori waterfall, where the underground river emerges from the earth, is the site of a major Fenist shrine.

Yamamoto

Kawao The “River’s Tail” covers most of the southern portion of Tsuchitora. Here, the Nagara River begins its journey west. The region is famous for its hot springs, glacial water and sake production.

Cities

Kurosawa – The capital of Kawao.

Takayama and Tsumago – For ten generations, the twin towns of Takayama and Tsumago, controlled by Kurosawa, have produced the finest sake in Tsurukokus. Samurai and shinkan,noble and peasant, human and kitsune alike have coveted the amakuchi, or sweet sake, of Takayama and the karakuchi, or dry sake, of Tsumago.

Mizukoshi – this mining town is a small settlement near the eastern border of Watanabe lands. It manages to get captured by the Nakamura nearly every time they invade.

Watanabe – the capital of Watanabe han originated as a trading post along the Shiratama river. Because of Nakamura’s constant incursions, it’s extremely well fortified.

Tōsandō

The “East Mountain Road” is the easternmost region of the empire, and is home to the northernmost section of the Tsuchitora mountain range and the entirety of the Hizuru range.

Cities

Izawa – A large mining town and foundry, famous for producing temple bells.

Takahashi

Umeda

Shrines and Monasteries

Temple of the Fire Crane

Bridge of the East Wind

Shrine of the Five Gates


Some material is from the Land of the Crane Campaign Setting © 2005, 2009 by David Garrett. Used with permission. Original can be found here: OrginalGeog

The Lay of the Land

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