It all began with a stone, Or so the legend says. In ages past, a sentient jewel, enormous and beautiful banished the darkness. Its many-colored light filled the world with life and brought forth mighty Gods. Bathed in that light, the world entered an age of bliss. Until, after a time, the Gods fell into slumber. That world was called: Vana'diel.
- —Final Fantasy XI Prologue
Although many regions of Vana'diel have been documented throughout the history of Final Fantasy XI, only three major regions have actually be shown through the use of maps.
The Humes built their city, the Republic of Bastok, in the wastes of Gustaburg. They posses near equal abilities in all fields, and are physically basic compared to other races. It is the Humes adaptability that has spread them throughout the lands, making them the most numerous of the five races. Humes are said to suffer from the sin of apathy.
The most imposing of all the races, the Galka possess towering, bulky physiques. Their home city was destroyed hundreds of years ago by the Anticans, making the Galkan people refugees. Many have since settled in Bastok with the Humes, but are regarded as an underclass. Galkas are unique from other races as they are all male with no females, reproducing instead through reincarnation. They posses high Vitality and HP, but have the lowest MP of the five races. They are said to suffer from the sin of rage.
Native to the Kingdom of San d'Oria, the Elvaan are characterized by their tall, slender figures and large pointed ears. Many Elvaan are deeply religious, possessing an unbreakable faith that is reflected in their everyday life. They are blessed with high Strength and Mind, but possess low Intelligence. The Elvaan are said to suffer from the sin of arrogance.
The cat-like race of the Mithra posses a gender imbalance, with a high ratio of females to males. As such, only women are allowed away from the safety of their homeland to adventure around Vana'diel. They possess excellent Agility and Dexterity. Mithra are said to suffer from the sin of envy.
The tiny Tarutarus' ages are not reflected in their size. Residing in the Federation of Windurst the Tarutaru are famed for their discovery and development of magic, which they excel at thanks to their high Intelligence. However, the small physique of a Taru means they have the lowest Strength compared to other races. Tarutaru are said to suffer from the sin of cowardice.
The nations that compromised the Allied Forces of Altana are troubled by three races of beastmen in particular: the Orcs (especially around San d'Oria), the Yagudo (especially around Windurst) and the Quadavs (especially around Bastok). Meanwhile, the Empire of Aht Urhgan is under siege from Troll, Lamia and Mamool Ja forces, the latter of which includes rebellious creations of the Tarutaru called Poroggos.
In contrast, the Goblins and Qiqirn are beastmen known to trade with the Enlightened Races. Other, more remote, hostile beastmen include the Gigas, Antica, Sahagin and Tonberries. The Tonberry beastmen are the remnant of the Kuluu. The Demons are often counted as beastmen, but are part of another family.
Ancient lore states that the Zilart were children of the Gods. It is said the Zilart lived a blissful existence, extracting gold from stones, traveling the sky and building mighty cities. However one day the Zilart decided to reach up to the heavens and become equal to their parents. Enraged by such insolence the Holy Gatekeeper smote the Zilart and their cities, casting them to the bottom of the sea. Several large, ruined structures that exist through Vana'diel, comprised of what has been named 'Cermet' are thought to be remnants of this once mighty race.
Less well heard of than the extinct Zilart race, the Kuluu are thought to have been somehow eradicated off the face of Vana'diel around the same time as the Zilart. All that remains of the Kuluu are several stone structures scattered across Vana'diel, differing from those of Zilart origin in that these are made of stone. Tonberries are present in many of these buildings leading some scholars to speculate at a possible link between the hate filled Tonberry and Kuluu. This link is expanded upon by the spirit of a fallen Kuluuian sage within Chains of Promathia story.
Vana'diel is broken up into regions across various landmasses, which are then broken up into zones. These locations are where adventurers must travel to defeat monsters, complete various missions and quests and sometimes traverse across to get from one city to another.
Quon is the largest continent of Vana'diel. Climates vary from the frigid cold of the northern glaciers to the sweltering heat of the southern deserts. This land has an abundance of plant and animal life, and a large variety of mammals make Quon their home. The Quon continent is populated by the Hume, Elvaan, and Galka races at a ratio of 6:3:1.
The main nations are the Elvaan Kingdom of San d'Oria, situated in the central northern forest belt; the southern Hume Republic of Bastok, surrounded by mountains and desert; and the Hume-governed Duchy of Jeuno, built upon the bridges that connect Quon to the continent of Mindartia. The staple food of San d'Oria is wheat, while Bastok relies on harvesting rye and popotoes. Many regions also herd giant sheep as livestock. The advance troops of the Orcish Empire to the north and the stronghold of the Quadav in the swamplands to the east comprise the two main beastmen powers on the continent.
|Cities and Towns|
|The Republic of Bastok||The Kingdom of San d'Oria||The Grand Duchy of Jeuno||The Tavnazian Safehold||Selbina|
Mindartia is a continent situated to the east of Quon. With the exception of Sarutabaruta in the south and Li'Telor in the northeast, Mindartia is mainly composed of dry, rocky badlands. The vegetation here has adapted to suit the arid conditions, and animal life is dominated by reptile and insect species. The main races of people are the Tarutaru and the Mithra at a ratio of roughly 8:2. The Federation of Windurst is the homeland of the Tarutaru, and features the magical city of Windurst and the port town of Mhaura as its centers of civilization.
Corn and popotoes are the staple food source of Windurst, with dhalmels and rarabs kept as livestock. The beastmen presence takes the form of the Yagudo Theomilitary, a race of militarized, idol worshiping bird-beastmen that maintain a fort in western Sarutaburuta and a large encampment at their stronghold in Castle Oztroja, near the border of Aragoneu and Li'Telor. The Yagudo maintain a pretense of friendly relations with Windurst, having suffered setbacks during the Crystal War.
|Cities and Towns|
|The Federation of Windurst||Mhaura|
Aradjiah is home to the majestic Aht Urhgan Empire, which until recently denied all access to anyone from outside its borders. Currently inhabitants of the Middle Lands are unable to explore the whole of this continent due to the war raging between the Empire of Aht Urhgan and the Far Eastern Empires.
The west side of Aradjiah that may be explored by Adventurers is frequently referred to as 'The Near East' to distinguish the two sides. Aradjiah itself possess a mostly warm and humid climate. Unlike the Middle Lands which see racial divides due to home cities, Aradjiah has an equal mix of the five races all over the continent.
|Halvung Territory||Mamool Ja Savagelands||Ruins of Alzadaal||West Aht Urhgan||Arrapago Islands|
|Cities and Towns|
|Empire of Aht Urhgan|
Elshimo is a large island situated South East of the Mindartia continent. It is a tropical island possessing a mostly Mithran population, due to its proximity to the Mithran homeland further south. Here can be found Kazham and Norg, two relatively minor cities, as well as the remnants of the Kuluu's Temple of Uggalepih destroyed 1000 years ago.
|Elshimo Lowlands||Elshimo Uplands|
|Cities and Towns|
Kuzotz is a large desert island to the southwest of the Quon continent. Once home to the Galka, their early civilization was overrun and destroyed by Anticans some 600 years ago, forcing the Galka to leave in search of a new home, leaving behind a sprawling network of beneath-the-desert chambers and connecting caves. Many Adventurers search this continent to find artifacts from the lost Galkan city. The only bastion of the enlightened races here is the Oasis of Rabao, a small trading outpost.
|Cities and Towns|
A continent lying to the far west of the Quon continent separated by the Sea of Zafmlug. Besides the island nation of Adoulin, until recently, the continent has been a vast wilderness unexplored for hundreds of years. With the release of Seekers of Adoulin, pioneers have finally been set free on the wilderness and have begun to colonize the areas of Eastern Ulbuka. The fierce wilds of Western Ulbuka remain untouched, however....
|East Ulbuka Territory||The Adoulin Islands|
|Cities and Towns|
|Sacred City of Adoulin|
Nations of the Enlightened RacesEdit
The youngest of the three major nations of the Enlightened Races, Bastok was built as a mining community that took hold in the Gustaberg Regions of the Quon continent. Originally a simple mine (Zeruhn Mines) with a few sparse settlements, the area exploded into life in 683 C.E., when the vast resources of the mines allowed for the enterprising Humes to develop innovative technologies that would eventually turn the small mining community into a dominant force in world affairs.
Galkan laborers also make up a large portion of the population. In fact, it is said that the Galkan were reduced to a slave class in Bastok after their homeland of Zepwell Island was overrun by the beastrace known as Anticans. Many historians credit this as being Bastok's true Renaissance, as without the Galka's strength, the city would never have grown as quickly as it had.
The modern-day Republic is run as a democracy, headed by a President who is chosen by popular vote. The current Bastokan Head of State is President Karst, whose office is in the Metalworks, which many citizens believe to be the true heart of Bastok. It is there also that Chief Engineer Cid and his expansive team of engineers and inventors work tirelessly to create the many technologies that keep Bastok running. It is rumored that Cid has begun to rival the Jeunoan airship technology with that of his own. Darksteel and cermet refinery, mining technologies, elevators, and more were all innovations of the Metalworks.
The Flag of the Republic represents the heart of what Bastok is. The blue represents the rivers of Bastok, its main power source. The cog in the background represents its heavy roots in technological advancement, and the smokestacks in the foreground are symbols of the Metalworks.
At one time, the Kingdom of San d'Oria was the pride of the Enlightened Races. Noble Elvaans ruled the lands with honor and dedication to the Goddess of the Dawn, Altana. Even as recently as the Crystal War, the most courageous and valiant warriors would pour from the nation's gates to defend Vana'diel from the armies of the Shadow Lord. The royal family that holds the throne has done so for ages, ensuring that tradition and national pride remain steadfast values that the Elvaan swear their very lives upon.
In modern times, much of the roar has faded from "the Great Lion". Politically weakening and financially insecure, San d'Oria now relies almost exclusively upon its adventurer class to carve a niche into world affairs. The enterprising Humes of Bastok and the wily, politically savvy Tarutarus of Windurst seem to have taken much of the spotlight, leaving San d'Oria seemingly doomed to a slow, languorous decline.
King Destin rules San d'Oria, though much of the true power in the nation belongs to his sons, Princes Trion and Pieuje. It is said that the two do not get along at all, and between them, numerous political and religious quarrels have broken out that have gone so far as to effect even the highest levels of the government and the church. Many of San d'Oria's troubles are reflected in the turmoil caused by the royal pair. Of course, both of them contribute what they can while still trying to strangle one another. It is said that they were the closest of brothers at least until the debate over the crown began.
Windurst, one of the oldest civilizations on Vana'diel, began in the south of the continent of Quon as a group of nameless Tarutaru tribes. The Tarutaru have, over the millennia, used their magical powers to build a nation of powerful mages. Their powers enabled them to grow into a mighty nation. This nation, in turn, became an expansionist power, and held much of the known world under its sway. It is said that during these times, unparalleled peace and prosperity echoed throughout Vana'diel. The Tarutaru tribes grew until it seemed that there was no greater force on the planet.
After a time, they grew too large, and like many nations, began a slow decline. A great deal of in-fighting over the years furthered this weakness. Eventually, the Tarutaru were able to settle their differences and moved as a people to Mindartia, where legend says a "bright star" lead them. They were finally able to settle and build a lasting nation, Windurst, there on the shores of the southern ocean. In 863 C.E., during the first of the wars against the Shadow Lord, Windurst received a terrible blow to its newfound pride; their city was reduced to ruin by the forces of the Dark One. It would not be until after the war when they would attempt to rebuild.
Heaven's Tower, a massive tree well over a hundred stories tall, is the center of government for the Federation. From here, the Star Sibyl rules Windurst. She is believed to be the reincarnation of the Dawn Maiden, or the Goddess Altana. Because of this connection, she is not only the Windurstian Head of State, but the nation's spiritual and moral leader, as well. Serving under the Star Sibyl are the five ministries of Windurst: the Rhinostery, the Opistery, the Aurastery, the Manustery, and the Orastery. Each ministry is headed by a Tarutaru Minister, and is given a specific task.
Windurst is a peaceful state; though not, many would say, without its price. In order to stem the tide of war with the native beastrace known as the Yagudo, they offer large offerings as conditions of a truce. Even so, the best agreement that could be reached involved the Yagudo only agreeing to "slow" aggressions against Windurst. This arrangement held no power over citizens of either society who might happen to meet on the plains of the Sarutabaruta.
Many argue that this "false peace" is bought with the blood of other nations, and that the Star Sibyl has turned a blind eye to the larger conflict that has enveloped the world. Regardless, the people of Windurst, while no longer the self-appointed stewards of Vana'diel, enjoy lives rich in cultural achievement fueled by a flourishing economy.
Much like Republic of Bastok, the Grand Duchy of Jeuno has very humble origins that belie the capital's rapid rise to prominence. Originally, the gulf between the continents of Quon and Mindartia, Jeuno was a small fishing hamlet until the appearance of two young boys, Kam'lanaut and Eald'narche. With their arcane abilities, they turned back wave after wave of native beastmen and allowed the small village an opportunity to grow and trade unhindered by the attacks that plagued other towns. Within a short amount of time, people from all over the world flocked to the gulf, lured by promises of protection and wealth. With the combined resources and labor produced by this mass influx, a massive city was quickly built.
So dominating was this city in its economic scope and socio-political clout that the three Great Nations were forced to recognize its virtual superiority over them. Still, the Grand Duchy remained a center for trade, and refused to get involved directly in Vana'diel's political life. A Neutrality Order was issued by crowned Archduke Kam'lanaut, forbidding any military involvement in the international strife of Jeuno's neighbors.
For all of its neutrality, Jeuno's influence on the world is still quite profound. For one thing, it is the only place in the world where an airship pass (as air travel is regulated by Jeuno, even between other nations) can be purchased or earned. Even more important was the establishment of a common currency, or the "gil", a coin which bears the face of Kam'lanaut himself.
The city itself connects the two great continents of Quon and Mindartia via a series of interconnecting bridges that link up with a central hub. This hub is a massive tower that could be considered the center of Jeuno itself. Each of the city's districts are set within the various levels of the tower's infrastructure, set upon "plates" that run around the central tower on all sides. Only Castle Zvahl in Xarcabard matches Jeuno in terms of sheer size.
The Empire of Aht Urhgan is one of the enlightened political powers in the Aradijiah continent. Aht Urhgan itself is currently at war with the nations of the Far East, which lies to the east of the Empire.
The Empire is not particularly popular among the other nations of Vana'diel due in large part to their non-involvement in the Crystal War. As the Empire fights to maintain control of the mysterious Astral Candescence, they receive an eye-for-an-eye plea of neutrality from each of the major nations of the 'middle lands'.
The Empire of Aht Urhgan mints its own currency. While most of the vendors accept gil currency, the official currency is Imperial Currency, which comes in various denominations based on the precious mineral of which the coin is made.
The Sacred City of Adoulin is located on a large archipelago near the Ulbuka continent, far to the west of the continent of Quon. It was founded by pioneers lead by August, a man known as the Founder King, who chased away the Velkk from the islands and claimed the land as their own.
Attempts to colonize more of the continent was made over the next few hundred years, but proved unsuccessful. Then, about 200 years ago, the colonization initiative was scrapped altogether, and a massive wall was constructed to separate the city proper from the seemingly untamable wilds.
Recently, the leader of the ruling council of Adoulin, Ygnas S. Adoulin, issued a proclomation that the colonization effort would be reborn, and welcomed would-be pioneers to try their luck. This caused wealth seeking adventurers from all over Vana'Diel to pour into Adoulin. What will be the result of this resurgance of colonization? Only time will tell.
Selbina is a small fishing port town residing on the Valkurm Dunes. Here, new adventurers find haven from troublesome monsters. Outlets of the Fishermans' and Weavers' guilds are the primary attraction here. Selbina is a town independent of any nation, and maintains a quiet, neutral position. Most notable is the Selbina/Mhaura Ferry, which runs throughout the year. Although the origin of the ferry itself is in some doubt, many credit a Selbinan shipwright as the one who started the ferry many years ago.
A port town on the Buburimu Peninsula, Mhaura is most noted for the architecture on which it stands. Every building is built into the sides of the rocky cliffs along the sea. Mhaura is technically part of Windurst as its Governor is chosen by the Star Sibyl, but carries no military force or official ties to the Grand Duchy of Jeuno. Mhaura is also home to an outlet of the Goldsmithing Guild.
Tavnazia was originally a sister nation of San d'Oria, residing to the southwest. However, due to a devastating attack by the beastmen, the land that connected Tavnazia to Quon was destroyed, and the original city was overrun. The residents have gathered themselves in this Safehold, and have just now begun to receive aid by airship from Jeuno. The Safehold is essentially small city built into caves, concealed from Orc and Gigas attacks, but has an intricate system of tunnels and provides a home for these refugees.
Until the recent post-war years, Kazham was a mere fishing village. It is located on an isolated portion of the Elshimo Islands, halfway between the Mithra homeland to the south, and the continent of Mindartia to the north. The current Chieftainess, Jakoh Wahcondalo, elevated the small village to that of influential world power through her canny dealings with other nations. Many Mithra still live there relatively untouched by the rest of the world, though airships from Jeuno have brought more adventurers to this land in recent years. The Mithra here hold to the ancient land-based religion of their people, worshiping Vana'diel itself as their goddess. They venerate Ifrit as the guardian of their lands and are regarded as infidels by the church of Altana based in San d'Oria.
Norg is the pirate stronghold and land in which all ninjas and samurai received their training. Gilgamesh, his family, and his underlings base their operations in this obscure corner of Elshimo which can only be reached through the subterranean windings of Sea Serpent Grotto. Ships depart from the docks here but no adventurers are allowed aboard thus far. The pirates of Norg are known to have connections with the Tenshodo in Lower Jeuno (which also has ships which no adventurer may board) and the Tenshodo branch in Port Bastok.
Rabao is an oasis outpost in the West Altepa Desert built around a sparkling spring. Some Galka reside there in the spirit of their great forefathers who once had a great civilization in the deserts, though other races also live there now.
Nashmau is a small town to the north of Al Zahbi. It is home to the Qiqirn, a rat like race of friendly beastmen.
In modern times, Davoi is an Orc stronghold located on the continent of Quon between Jeuno and San d'Oria. Prior to the Crystal War, it was actually a small, remote Elvaan monastery. After overpowering the San d'Orian forces, the Orcs made it their primary base as the surrounding terrain was much to their liking and very defensible, particularly the Monastic Cavern in the heart of Davoi. Try as they may, the forces of the Kingdom of San d'Oria never regained the strength to wrest the region back from control of the beastmen.
Beadeaux is the home of the Quadav. Located between Jeuno and Bastok, deep within the Pashhow Marshlands, this choice of capital was as much a choice of necessity after defeat in the Crystal War as it was outside of the reach of the major allied stronghold's reach. The Quadav have burrowed into the ground here, and the deeper and darker the caverns become, the more dangerous they are. This is the home of the Adamantking.
Castle Oztroja is the home of the Yagudo. It is located on the Mindartia continent within the Meriphataud Mountains with its entrance found near the end of Drogaroga's spine - a long cermet conduit that runs through the mountain range. It is the capital of the Yagudo empire, headed by Tzee Xicu the Manifest.
Located in the mountains of Gustaberg, Oldton Movalpolos and Newton Movalpolos are home to the Moblins. Moblins are generally aggressive to adventurers that venture into their capital, but do not exert much in the way of political or military leverage against their neighbors.
This massive castle, consisting of two areas, Castle Zvahl Baileys and Castle Zvahl Keep, sits atop the ridges in the Valdeaunia region, so massive in fact that it spans three zones, larger than any of the other strongholds. During the time of the Crystal War, this was the seat of the Shadow Lord, the dark lord that drew together all beastmen armies to make war on the enlightened races of Vana'diel. Even today, Yagudo, Quadav, Orcs, and Goblins all man the bastions here as well as the Shadow Lord's own kind, Kindred.