The city of Karcau (pronounced KAHR-cow) is the only major population center in the land of Sinaria in Ustalav. It is renowned as a shining light of civilisation in a region of dark, dreary wilderness. The city is most famous for the Karcau Opera and has a reputation as a place that both produces musical genius and fosters it, it is this reputation that has lead to Karcau’s nickname of the Village of Voices. Karcau is nestled on the banks of Lake Prophyria and its waters cut their way through the city, criss-crossing it in various canals. These canals mirror the situation below the city as Karcau was built atop an underground lake and its foundations are shot through with underwater tunnels creating a mostly submerged labyrinth.
West of Karcau
First is the Howling Moor, a stretch of grassy wetland prowled by wolves. The abandoned Wolfhunters Lodge lies in the center of the moor, while the Mossbound Caves are said to be closer to the river. Continuing on, the ground dries out to become the Westfen, where the logging village of Axfen whittles away at the edge of the dangerous Willow Wood. To go further west, one must either follow the river north around the forest, passing by the cursed Castle Kronquist; brave the bears and boars of the Willow Wood; or take the inconvenient King’s Road south, around, and then back north. Either way, all paths lead to the town of Ardagh, famous for its brewery, seated at the junction of the Moutray and Vhatsuntide Rivers.
North of Karcau
Across the Moutray River is a series of swamps. First is Ridgemarsh, a bog whose elevated ridges that parallel the river—making travel alongside the Moutray easy, but venturing further into the swamps a painful and thankless task. It has a single structure—a lighthouse to mark a treacherous turn of the river. Ridgemarsh starts across from the Willow Wood and runs all the way to the Freeman’s Bluff—a steep hill which supports a farming settlement of Karcau criminals and escaped slaves. Travelers through the Staunch Mire arrive at Graidmere swamp, a waterlogged land unsuitable for building or camping. It does have sunken monastery dedicated to the fallen god Aroden which collapsed into the swamp a century ago. Beyond that is the Glamrocks, a low mountain range, and traveling around them one arrives at the harsh scrubland of Sarkosis, reputedly roamed by the savage Kellids. East of Freeman’s Bluff is the infamous swamp Witches’ Cauldron, named after the covey of hags which make it their home.
East of Karcau
Karcau is fed by the bounty of Plantation Row, a series of manorhouses and accompanying fields which line the southern bank of Lake Prophyria. Most of the manors are inhabited, but farmers retreat indoors after dark. Legends surround Talglory Manor, abandoned for decades since the fire which killed Vorel Talglory despite repeated attempts by his descendants to renovate it. Past Plantation Row, Stark Tower guards the edge of the West Sellen River and marks the eastern border of Ustalav. Row across that and you’re in the Blind Hills of Numeria. Dravod Knock is the first Numerian settlement you’ll reach—a rough-and-tumble slavers enclave which exports the tough barbarian people of Numeria down river to fight in the wars of the southern empires.
South of Karcau
The King’s Road leads southwest out of the town, and towards quieter, more civilized lands. One exception is the Shadowpines, a haunted wood fifteen miles south of Karcau which marks the beginning of Barstoi province.