Ethengar is a vast grassy plain, offering little protection from either the bitter winds of winter or the blistering sun of summer. This rough land tests the people who live on it every day, and those who survive that test grow strong and hardy. It is a land of warrior horsemen, as fierce and deadly as they are skilled.
from GAZ12 The Golden Khan of Ethengar, by Jim Bambra
Map (updated 7th February 2016)
- GAZ12 The Golden Khan of Ethengar (1989) (PDF at DriveThruRPG)
- GAZ6 The Dwarves of Rockhome (1988) (PDF at DriveThruRPG)
- TM1 The Western Countries (1989)
- Rules Cyclopedia (1991) (PDF at DriveThruRPG)
The Ethengar steppes make for a rather boring hex map, due to the lack of variation. To solve this problem, the designers created two variants of the grassland hex: poor and choice grazing land. They also added in various depressions, along with rivers and small lakes. Then there’s the Land of Black Sand. Other than that, the land is largely a featureless plain; the nomadic nature of the Khanates means very few permanent settlements can be shown, resulting in a country with but three or four camps and no cities, towns or villages at all. It’s quite unique in the Known World.
Another problem is the elevations of the terrain. The text states it to be a plateau, above much of the surrounding terrain. However, Rockhome’s rivers flow downhill into the steppes, and there is no barrier marked between the steppes and the nearby coast.
But by far the biggest criticism of the steppes is their size: they have repeatedly been said to be far too small for the horsemen’s culture.
- Altitude – “The steppes are on a plateau that rises high above the surrounding lands. Mountains border this plateau, except to the east and part of the north.” “The steppes are 3,800 feet high in the west, gradually rising to 4,000 feet in the east and south.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 6a)
- Bargha – the site of the Golden Khan’s winter court. (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7b, 15a, 19a-b)
- Battle, 919 AC – “919 AC: Ethengar Horde under Toktai Khan attacks Hayavik in the Heldann Freeholds. The attack is repulsed and the Horde returns to the steppes.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c)
- Battle, 926 AC – “926 AC: Toktai Khan besieges Hayavik and is killed in the final battle. Hayavik destroyed.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c)
- Battle of Chongor, 1709 BC – “Akkila-Khan joins with the Ethengars and defeats King Loark at the battle of Chongor.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5b)
- Battle of Skullhorn Pass – “645 AC: A Great Khan attempts a major invasion of Glantri but is defeated at Skullhorn Pass.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c) This battle could be marked on the map.
- Chagon-Nah – “Around the junction of the Hrap and Krandai river, the land is wet and waterlogged, with large expanses of water lying between the confluence of the two rivers. In spring, large lakes from here form here from the meltwaters cascading down from the Makkres Mountains. As spring gives way to summer, the lakes begin to dry up, leaving many small islands surrounded by small lakes and ponds. Great numbers of trees and bushes grow here in the fertile soil …” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7a) The lakes of Chagon-Nah are therefore largely seasonal. This has not been marked on the map. Chagon-Nah is the site of the Golden Khan’s summer court. (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7a, 15a, 19a-b)
- Heldanntai battles, 994 AC – “994 AC: Uighurs seek Moglai Khan’s aid against settlers from the Heldann Freeholds. The settlers are slaughtered.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c)
- Krandai River bridge – “A wide wooden bridge has recently replaced the ferry that used to cross the Krandai River below Bargha.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 8c) This bridge is obscured by the hex icon for Bargha, and therefore has not been marked on the map.
- Lake Talkai – “Lake Talkai forms in the spring months from water flowing into the Sea of Flowers … In summer the grasses, although protected from the scorching winds, are subject to high temperatures … Lake Talkai dries up and fine grasses grow on its damp bed.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 6c) So Lake Talkai is a seasonal lake. This has not been marked on the map.
- Land of Black Sand – formed in 1700 BC as a direct result of the explosion caused by elves in the Broken Lands. “In this strange place, permanent gates opened between the Spirit World, the Known World, and the Sphere of Entropy.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c) “This blighted area is covered in thick black sand and boulders. … the Land of Black Sand contains a gate to the Spirit World. This lies at the top of the World Mountain…” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7c)
- Land of Blossoms – “Here cherry trees burst into bloom in early summer turning the banks of the river [Krandai] pink.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7b)
- Land of Purple Grass – “The Land of Purple Grass lies in a depression in the northwest part of the steppes. It is covered with thick purple grasses that thrive all year round.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7a)
- Maghurtai, 985 AC – “985 AC: The united Murkits defeat the warring clans of the Maghurs. All Maghur males are put to the sword.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 5c) GAZ12’s poster map has this battle marked as taking place in 986 AC, but this is likely a mistake. The updated map reflects the text’s 985 AC.
- Overland Trade Route – “The Overland Trade Route passes through the Ethengar Khanates to link Darokin with the Heldann Freeholds, Rockhome, the Northern Reaches, and beyond.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 8b) This refers to the roads and trails on GAZ12’s map, although there is no trail marked leading to Vestland. The roads are said to be under construction – the work of Rockhome dwarves employed by the Golden Khan.
- Rivers (Dol-Anur, Hrap, Krandai, Streel, Styrdal) – “The rivers of the steppes are shallow, broad, and slow flowing. They flow from the surrounding mountains and hills and frequently burst their banks in spring as the meltwaters run off the peaks. The rivers follow the downward tilt of the land tp the west to join the Streel River before turning south to flow into the Broken Lands.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 8a)
- Sea of Flowers – “In the middle of the Sea of Grass lies the Sea of Flowers. Here the steppes enter a sheltered depression protected from the worst ravages of the winds. The Sea of Flowers is the most fertile part of the steppes as this area is well irrigated by water flowing from the higher land surrounding it. In spring, this region is covered with the many colourful flowers that give it its name. … In summer the grasses, although protected from the scorching winds, are subject to high temperatures that turn the Sea of Flowers into a land of yellow grass.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 6c)
- Sea of Grass – “The Ethengars call their land the Sea of Grass. A vast expanse of flat grasslands dotted with the occasional clump of trees and rocky terrain, the Sea of Grass is far from being rich and lush. In some areas the grasses grow only in small patches, sufficient to feed a herd for a day before being exhausted. Along the banks of the rivers, the grass grows thicker and is capable of feeding a herd a week or more before a clan needs to move on.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 6c) Although GAZ12’s map places the Sea of Grass label in a small area of the territory of the Kaeruts west of the Streel, it seems clear that this label can be applied to the whole area of the Khanates. Therefore the label has been enlarged and placed on both sides of the Streel, covering the whole territory.
- The Steppes – “Today the steppes are not fertile enough to support crops or large herds. In some places they are little more than arid wildernesses of gravel, sand, and rock, constantly lashed by winds from the surrounding mountains.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 6a)
- World Mountain – “a vast towering edifice upon which the bodies of the Great Khans are laid to rest. Here a narrow bridge connects the World Mountain to the Spirit World.” (GAZ12 DM’s Guide page 7c)