Pydna is about the size of the continental USA, making it small for a continent, but large by most other geographic standards. The colored areas on the map generally do not usually refer to countries, but instead indicate cultural and geographic regions, each of which operate quite differently from the others. These areas are:
Bara: A rough land of tall mountains, jagged cliffs, and coarse terrain. It's inhabitants are equally course tribes of goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, and trolls, who mostly live in small villages, caves, and migratory tribes. "Bara" is the name given to this land by outsiders, as the native inhabitants simply identify with their tribe or locality. Bara has no sizable cities or significant civilizations, but there are a few impressive temples carved out of the solid cliffs by the hobgoblins. These religious centers serve as the few cultural centers in the region, and serve as major repositories of magical knowledge. Bara is a dry land with thin soils and long, harsh winters. While farming is the main source of food for most of the hobgoblins, many of its other inhabitants have had to make a living by hunting, herding, and fishing.
Nydia: This wet, fertile region is mostly occupied by humans, who have established several different kingdoms, each of which are divided from the others by the lands many rivers. Unlike the other humans in Pydna, these people hail from a tropical climate, and have dark, black skin as a result. They have set up a few big cities, mostly along the rivers. These urban centers serve as capitals, trading centers, and places of religious pilgrimage. Nydians are known for their religiosity, and have done much to spread their faith to other regions of the continent.
Validor: One of two Elven realms, the warm land of Validor is itself divided into two kingdoms: West Validor and East Validor. Although the naming of these realms is less-than-creative, the Validorian elves are well-known for their artistic skill and commercial prowess, as well as their skill with weaving fine silk clothing. They enjoy warm relations with the Nydians, but frequently engage in warfare with the inhabitants of the dry wastes to the north. Much like the Nyidans, the elves of Validor have several major schools, teaching subjects like magic, history, philosophy, medicine, rhetoric, music, math, science, and art.
Dry Wastes: The least-inhabited region of Pydna, at least on the surface, the Dry Wastes are a contested, sandy region. This desert land has no cities, no major rivers, few oases, and few sources of food or water. Even the coastline is a desolate place. Apart from some bands of migratory Orcs and Hobgoblins from Bara, this land has no real population... at least on the surface. Beneath the Wastes lie some of the richest mineral reserves anywhere on Other Earth. Massive deposits of gold, copper, silver, iron, tin, bauxite, and cobalt await those who would exploit them. It is underground that the real inhabitants of the Dry Wastes live: hundreds of tribes of reptilian Kobolds, the likes of which very rarely venture to the surface. It is not uncommon for these creatures to spend their entire lives underground and work for nearly all of them in the mines in some capacity. The other realms of Pydna are vaguely aware of the kobold tribes, but so far, almost no one on the surface knows of the treasure down below. Almost no one. Almost.
Oribon: The largest united realm in Pydna, this Dwarven kingdom is also among the poorest. Thousands of years ago, the dwarves of Oribon traveled in tunnels under the Ocean in their search for mineral wealth. When one of them dared venture to the surface, he discovered what was to him, a new continent. Colonization efforts quickly followed, and the Oribonian dwarves expanded their realm to the limits of their ability to conquer and administer. Centuries passed as the minerals were gradually depleted, and when they were, the kingdom found itself largely without a purpose. Nearly the entire Dwarven population relocated to the surface, where they took up agriculture and forestry, with mixed success at best. Legends in Oribon speak of a massive mineral reserve somewhere in Pydna, a tale spoken of only in whispers. Oribon has several major cities, all one major centers of smithing and smelting, but their fires have long since grown cold.
Alegor: Alegor is divided into countless villages and shires, each governing itself. It's halfling inhabitants are among the nicest, cheeriest, blandest, and arguably most boring people in the realm. With no cities or great schools to speak of, it's a wonder the inhabitants are as advanced as they are, with some of the best farming and crafts in Pydna. Even Bara has larger centers of learning than Alegor. Instead of learning much in the ways of magic and science, the Alegorian halflings study crafts, farming, and limited amounts of arts and letters, just enough to run affairs on the local level. While magic exists, it is usually limited to those few halflings who are born with it as sorcerers. The sorcerers, in turn, teach their skill to new mages. Most of these mages wander the countryside and use their spells to help out when there is a need, leaving as soon as their job as done. While crime and military threats exist, few such dangers cannot be handled by the halfling militias comprised of every adult male farmer. While their lives are not completely perfect, the halfling of Alegor have little crime, almost no unemployment, few diseases, and no desire to expand at the expense of others. In addition, many halfling products fetch a good price on the Pydnian markets, such as wool, ale, furs (they have some hunters), fish, cheese, honey, and wine. Life has changed little for the haflings of Alegor for countless centuries. Their culture slowly advanced over the years, but seems to have stopped about 400 years ago. Far from being intellectually inferior or ignorant, it seems as if the halflings are simply content to stay at the level they have reached.
Rytha: A badly divided region, Rytha used to be a single kingdom with aspirations to conquer all of Pydna. A devastating civil war changed all that. Now, it is several different realms, mostly human, all fighting against each other for dominance. The empire's former capital, Indoria, is now an independent city-state and still maintains its place as the largest and richest city in the entire continent. The land of Rytha currently consists of kingdoms, principalities, duchies, counties, and city-states, which are not even nominally united under a monarch anymore. While bound by common language and monotheistic religion (Worship of "The One", or "He Who is Above All"), the similarities between its inhabitants mostly stops there. The two islands to the east, North and South Ripha, seceded from the old kingdom of Rhytha at the first opportunity, and now form a confederation with each other. These islands are known for their favorable position along trade winds and thus well-situated to engage in commerce with the rest of the world.
Isle of Diocles: They say no man is an island onto himself. This may be true for most, but or the archmage Diocles, this is hardly the case. Living in his Ebony tower, this wizard has set up a small community of his own people. His Ebon tower is the tallest structure in all of Pydna and was made by his own magic. But what is most unusual about him is his species: Dicoles is a dracon, hailing from his native continent far to the south. He left the dracon realms to escape what he saw as a neverending series of wars. Arriving by his enchanted ship, he discovered an uninhabited island just off the coast of mainland Pydna. It was dry, rocky, and had no serious natural resources. Using his magic, he gradually improved the soil and tapped an aquifer to bring fresh water to the surface. He then sent for dracon settlers. By the time mainland Pydna found out, the powers there decided it was easier to keep him in place than it was to dislodge the mage. Diocles is the de facto ruler of the island, but the few dracon settlements there basically run themselves, engaging in small amounts of farming, fishing, and trade. The mage himself mostly keeps to himself, living with his rather extensive family and household on a large estate surrounding the tower.
Sunria: The second elven kingdom in Pydna, Sunria is split into three kingdoms: North Sunria, South Sunria, and the Delta. This latter part just calls itself, "The Kingdom of Sunria", but most just call it "the Delta", as it is situated along the river near the coast there. Although not a barbarous land, Sunria is considerably less refined than Validor, and outside of the Delta and some other riverine areas, it has far fewer big cities.
Southern Swamps: Much like Bara, this is a tough, wild region. Where Bara is cold and dry, the Southern Swamps are wet, hot, and fertile. Inhabited by tribes of lizardfolk and nagas, this realm is divided into tribes, villages, and petty kingdoms. Like Bara, it also has great temples as places of learning, but unlike Bara, this realm used to be more civilized. Thousands of years ago, the land was flat and fertile, and the naga once had big cities, places which quickly became centers of trade for them and the rural lizardfolk. Then came centuries of increased rains, gradually leading the land to become inundated to the point of saturation. Vast swaps rose where farms once were, and the nagas retreated into small, mountaintop towns, leaving the lizardfolk to their villages. Even today, intrepid explorers and lizards occasionally poke through the ruins of the once-proud civilization, and bands of brave adventurers sometimes return from a voyage through the swamps with an ancient relic of great magical power.