Review of Thónia: The End of The World

Alex Greene's picture

Thónia is an almanac of the country described by travellers in the Venarian Sea as "The End of The World." Shielded and isolated from the rest of Lythia by the Thónian Alps, reputed to have the highest mountains in Lythia, the Thónian Peninsula contains many different terrains, from snowcapped mountains to savannah, to coastal mangrove swamps.

Thónia: The End of The World is a 68-page book describing this remote corner of mainland Lythia, and Thónia’s most sophisticated kingdom, in the Mashánga River Plain.

The blurb reads:-

"In the far Southwest - beyond the deserts of Hèpekéria and the reaver-infested waters of Árlanto - is a wild land where snow-capped mountains overlook steamy jungles and dangerous predators prowl river, land, and sky. From the dark slaves that are taken from its jungles come stories of lost kingdoms, inhuman races, fabulous beasts and extraordinary lodes of gold and gems. The slaves insist - the dangers are real, and so too are the treasures."

The gods have not been kind to Thónia. Three thousand years of human civilisation were brought to an end by the Red Death, which ran through the country like wildfire. Slavers are picking off what's left, and civilisation in Thónia is struggling to get back on its feet, with isolated enclaves here and there.

Non-human civilisations are still thriving, including a colony of Ílmè meredragons (the same species that live on the shores of Lake Benath on Harn) living in the Mashanga River, and an elder race called the Ándanùji, who live in the Western and Eastern Alps and the Háeah Mountains.

About those civilisations. Some have fared far better than the others, but all of them suffered depletion from the Red Death, and they are routinely being plundered by outsiders. The cultures listed in this book are the Anoro Thon, the Aqaros Thon, the Garo Thon, the Makar Thon, the Oqono Thon, the Ulan Thon, the Salo Tuvâra of H’anvúchè, the Nko (Northern) Tuvâra, and the Faláni raiders / slavers. Each culture is looked at in great detail. Some are better known than others, some are secretive, some are hostile, but if you thought Hârn was underpopulated, you haven't been to Thónia to see all its ruined villages and cities.

Reasons for adventuring include exploration, particularly of the more mythical "lost cities" such as the legendary Lost City of Áhnàgu, and the ruins of Quarachel. True dragons dwell in the mountains, and dragon hunters could find plenty of opportunities to track down actual dragons and their cousins for the likes of the Pàmesáni Arenas - though the less ambitious types could enjoy hunting and trapping Ulánian Leopards, Highland Gorillas, Quagga, Hippopotamus and other beasts which might wander into the peninsula from Anzelôria.

Other reasons to visit Thónia could include providing protection for some of the locals from rapacious Faláni, or even neighbouring Thónian tribes. Treasures could include artefacts more than 3,000 years old, bronze, gold, silver and gemstones, not to mention exotic drugs and poisons.

Note: The Yelgri section on Thonia 6 (p. 10 of the document) is possibly incomplete after the line "Smaller numbers of yelgri can be found in the Thónian Alps and on rare occasion have been sighted by sailors -" Note, also, that on p. 16, in the description of the history of the Red Death, there is a missing word in "Over half the population was killed, including virtually of Thónia’s urban population." Those are the only two spotted so far: if any others turn up, they will become known.

The book is such a dense read that it demands multiple sittings to digest its contents. There is so much going on in Thónia. Gamesmasters looking for adventure hooks to lure the player characters to Thónia will find plenty of material in here to use. Enough for whole campaigns.