Azshar is not a real country. It is, instead, a continent. Specifically, it is a barren, desolate, Earthen continent that lies several hundred miles west of Cardinal, and just north from The Devil's Throne. Its thick, but elongated landmass stretches thousands of miles from the North Pole southward. It's climate and geography are so hostile that maintaining civilization here is a very difficult task, to put it lightly. It is a region of frontiersmen, rogues, criminals, bandit tribes, and the desperately unfortunate. And sand. Lots, and lots of sand. When you come to Azshar, you will either have a fantastic time, or you will regret ever laying foot there.
Places of Habitation
There are two medium-to-large cities and many tiny settlements across the badlands. The smaller towns are usually located near oases or coal mines, but are frequently attacked by the Slang Voestijin raiders.
The larger towns are hardly civilized, but if the dozen-man settlements and the endless dunes and eroded mesas find you no comfort, then one must pick between these two:
This is the only major human city in Azshar. Consisting of approximately 350,000 people, it would be barely more than a distraction on a Cardinalian map, but here, it is a significant monument against the harsh elements of the world. As Azshar is not an actual recognized country, HÃ¼plaatste is not Azshar's capital city. However, as it is considered the largest and least hostile civilized place in the grand, barren continent to the rest of the world, the majority of people deal with this city when they wish to deal centrally with all of Azshar.
When one speaks of HÃ¼plaatste as being the least hostile place in Azshar, it is a very relative term. Only a handful of people truly enjoy living there. It is run by a sort of power-wielder mafia, who extort grand sums from citizens and force thousands into watered-down slavery, in exchange for protection from the Slangen raiders. However, despite the lawlessness of the land, the mafia lurks in the shadows, so as to present another face of the city to tourists.
Yes, tourists. Tourists often come to HÃ¼plaatste because of the lawless, rebel-like culture there. It is a hot spot for young adult travellers who are tired of being under the thumb of the other governments of the world. In this city, you can more or less do whatever you want, so long as you are willing to accept the likelyhood of consequences, if any. A man can have many wives, and a woman can have many husbands. Prostitution is completely legal, as is walking around in public nude. You can drink and drive (and thus kill yourself, if you wish). You can even kill someone, if you don't like them. Kill a member of the mafia, however, and your own days are certainly numbered. Anger someone with power, or connections to power, and your whole family may suffer. Earn great riches, only to have them be stolen away the instant you drop your guard. Try to attack the city, and you'll have an entire city trying to kill you.
The Empirical Outpost
A mere kilometer from the edge of HÃ¼plaatste lies a heavily armoured compound, its walls bristling with power-grade defenses. This is the Empirical outpost in Azshar. It includes a portal facility, for those wishing transport between continents, but its primary function is for trade. HÃ¼plaatste, and other habitations in Azshar, are not always capable of producing everything they need, in their climate. Empirical thus operates as a middleman, enabling the trade of necessities (and luxuries merely wanted in the desert) to Azshar. Azshar also produces some fine commodities in its own right, which are traded back to other locations Empirical has contact with. Naturally, Empirical makes a good sum of money doing this. Nonetheless, the Azsharan compound is viewed as a poor assignment location, and thus tends to have employees with lower seniority, as well as a higher turnover rate than other locales.
All inbound persons must sit in on a lecture on Azshar, its laws (or rather, lack thereof), and the inherent dangers of its climate and populace, before being allowed to leave the compound. This applies to power wielders as well. Empirical frowns on people getting themselves killed because they acted like stupid tourists.
This city is the single most Namek-populated place in all of Earth. Kuil, as it is commonly known, is a massive encampment of Slang Voestijin bandits, and it is their central home, where their leadership resides. Kuil is an entirely underground city, buried deep into the soft eastern sands. The Slang Voestijin clan is a family of closely related Nameks. Almost all who live in Kuil belong to the Slangen clan. The city has an extraordinarily isolationist and racist viewpoint against all non-Namekian creatures on the planet. Thus, they regularly attack human and demi-human settlements all over the Azshari Badlands to sustain their society (because it is Namekian, this is a surprisingly small task). They do allow foreign Nameks into the city, but they are heavily suspicious of them, since they view most outside Nameks as being tainted by the stink of Human society. Over 500,000 Nameks call Kuil home.
Slangen Kuilsei and the Slang Voestijin clan are both run by a government headed up by a warlord commander known as a Zandkoning, who attends to military matters, major city matters, and breeding more Slang Voestijin (and enjoying the excess spoils of his raids), as well as a council of Kampioenen, who have proven their worth to the Zandkoning and discuss matters less befitting His Dryness's attention.
If you go further west, beyond Azshar's capital and Slangen Kuilsei, then you will come to the Duirin Wastelands. Surprisingly enough, the Wastelands take up a sizeable portion of the continent -- roughly one third of its landmass. Scattered throughout this desolate area are many remnants of an ancient, highly advanced civilization. Though time and tectonic activity have upheaved and buried most of the old cities, some skeletal frames and lonely spires remain to remind natives of what this land used to be.
The sentient population of the Duirin Wastelands is almost entirely human. They tend to live in small settlements within fortified enclosures of the ancient ruins. The towns hold a few thousand denizens, at best, in the more complex ruins. The vast majority of them normally never peak over a thousand.
Defense of the settlements has come at a high priority for those bleak souls who reside here, making its people unusually strong and gifted in combat. The ruins are also home to many dangerous things that would love to eat the unwitting villagers alive. Frequently, they are creatures that have been mutated by some unnatural force, like constant exposure to radiation from derelict relics of forgotten technology. There are monstrous insects and other hideous wildlife, but amongst the horrors, mutated humans draw, perhaps, the most fear. They have become hideous beasts with ravenous apetites and will eat whatever they can sieze, including human flesh.
On top of this grim state of affairs, the ancient ruins have attracted both the war-hungry Nameks from Slangen Kuilsei as well as the power-thirsty thugs from HÃ¼plaatste. There are rumors abound that within some of the fallen metropolises are great bounties of technology that remain functional after the long ages of disuse. Already, many bafflingly powerful (but arguably reliable) weapons have been discovered, and that, by itself, has fueled a raging gang war over particular sites. Neither side respects the slummy communities who, many times, end up in the middle of the warfare, and so, innocent lives are lost.
However, they say there is a strange canine demihuman stalking the sands, shrouded in a large hat and a long, decorated, leather poncho, who watches over the Wastelands. Though nobody has been able to prove the man's identity, the rumors about him are fairly consistent. He appears as a nightmare to the warring tribes, and as a beacon of hope to the huddling people of the wastes. They say that every gang war that has ever ended in horrific calamity was ended so by this nameless warrior. They say he can shift the very sandscape, rearrange battlefields, and sink entire power wielder armies dozens of feet below the sands before they know what happened. They even say that the mutant men and creatures respect him, and will do his bidding, though this, too, has never been proved. However, his appearances are fleeting, and difficult to predict. He calls no township home, and declares no allegiance. He has no friends, only the rolling sands and the shroud of mystery around him. Little else is known.
Venustas the hidden gem of Azshar is nestled far into the sandy reaches. Many if not most Azshar natives have never been to, or seen the city. The city of Venustas is shrouded in mystery its existence a myth. The city magically hidden from outsiders.