Issylra

Issylra
Official art of northeastern Issylra (with Vasselheim to the south), the northern Ozmit Sea, and the northern Bladeshimmer Shoreline of Tal'Dorei, by Andy Law.[art 1]
Full nameIssylra
Location information
PlaneMaterial Plane
WorldExandria
Ecological information
Terrain
  • Tundra
  • Boreal forests
FloraIssylran tulips[1]
Notable locations
Points of interest

Issylra[2] (pronounced "ih-seel-rah")[3] is one of the continents on the world of Exandria.[4] It is a very large, wide continent, almost the Exandrian equivalent of Asia, much of it wild, untamed wilderness.[5] Given the description of Issylra's size, very little of Issylra has been explored onstream or even described.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Issylra is north of Marquet,[6] northwest of Tal'Dorei,[7] and even farther northwest of Wildemount.[8]

Othanzia[edit | edit source]

Most of Issylra's developed territory is within the country of Othanzia, which is home to the ancient city of Vasselheim, widely considered the cradle of civilization and the center of several faiths.[8] The city is located on a mountain spire 20 to 30 miles from the coast.[9] Enfolding the city, there is the Vesper Timberland, which is a sprawling forest with occasional mountaintops, stretching far to the north of Vasselheim.[10] North of that is the Thorain Tundra from which a white dragon, Rimefang, hailed.[11]

Two days' ride northwest of Vasselheim, through the Timberland, are ruins and a lake that were frozen over by proximity to Rimefang's lair in 810 PD,[12] and farther along the road is the bitterly cold town of Muldire.[13] Beyond that are the Tordusk Pass and the Zenwick Mountains, with woods at their base.[14] In the Zenwick Mountains is the Silted Vale, a valley with natural healing properties that attracted a particularly violent ecosystem.[15] The Zenwick Mountains also used to be the location of the Crypts of Thomara, until Vecna animated the Primordial earth titan in which the dwarven vault city had been constructed,[16] leaving a large gash as it unearthed itself to march toward Vasselheim.

Several hours' travel to the southwest of Vasselheim is the Marrowglade Loch, a small lake surrounded by swamp. There are ruins of structures that were dedicated to the Raven Queen before the area sank underwater.[17]

Farther southwest, two days' ride from Vasselheim, are the steep Sunderpeak Mountains.[18] Immediately appearing at the top of a path scaling the mountains is a valley caldera containing a rift to the Elemental Plane of Fire, responsible for the creation of the Cindergrove. The rift is overseen by the Ashari village of Pyrah, which was devastated in the wake of Thordak's escape from the Plane of Fire.

Even farther southwest of Vasselheim, 200 or 250 miles away along the coast, is the small fishing city of Shorecomb.[19] About five miles offshore is the volcanic island of Scaldseat, beneath which is the fabled Core Anvil.[20]

Demithore Valley[edit | edit source]

The Demithore Valley is located to the southwest of Othanzia and is bordered by the Sunderpeak Mountains to the northeast, and another range of jagged dark peaks, likely the Utesspire Mountains, to the west. From the valley, the Ascendant Bridge Mountain is visible.[21] The valley is full of thick, mostly untouched forest with green and blue foliage. Spectrum Gorge, a deep rift with considerable mineral deposits and geothermal activity, is located within this forest.[22] Hearthdell, a small village on Ottumback Hill, is within the valley.[23] It also contains the Serratus Wilderness and Irriam Canyon.[24]

Caramarin Reach[edit | edit source]

The Caramarin Reach is a region that is at least partially mountainous. The village of Ria'Doin, built on Lake Umamu, is within this area.[25]

Other locations[edit | edit source]

There are lesser republics in Issylra, but the dangerous Utesspire Mountains prevent Othanzia from expanding further.[8]

In an unknown location on the continent is the village of Hishari, which began as a commune but devolved into a cult and was found destroyed a few decades prior to 843 PD. The village has since been used as a cautionary tale about the danger of cults and their leaders.[26] There is also an elven settlement somewhere on the continent, named Ivaadel, where Ludinus Da'leth lived prior to moving to Molaesmyr as a young man.[27]

Climate[edit | edit source]

Issylra is farther north than Tal'Dorei, and has a much colder climate. It is usually coated in snow or at least has cold, cloudy weather.[28] The Vesper Timberland is a taiga or boreal forest,[8] indicating it is just subarctic.

Society[edit | edit source]

The Cobalt Soul maintains at least one satellite archive in Issylra to collect information and artifacts.[29]

Issylra historically has cultures worshiping natural spirits of the land before the Prime Deities became predominant in Exandrian pantheon. There are also many cultures fervoursly following the gods of the main pantheon. The differences between them cause substantial tension on the continent.[30]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

People from Issylra are notably pale compared to most people, standing out among the cosmopolitan crowd on Bisaft Isle.[31]

History[edit | edit source]

Issylra is considered to be the place where civilization on Exandria first arose. It therefore remains a religious and historical center, particularly its largest city, Vasselheim. Issylra is also where most of the flying cities of the Age of Arcanum originated. Because the events of the Calamity affected the area so greatly, it remains suspicious of arcane magic to the present day.[32]

Humans, rock gnomes, and tieflings originate on Issylra. Rock gnomes and tieflings migrated across the Ozmit Sea to Tal'Dorei during the Age of Arcanum[33] and humans sailed across centuries after the Divergence.[34]

Campaign 1: Vox Machina[edit | edit source]

Vox Machina traveled to Issylra, several times. On their first visit, to Vasselheim and the surroundings, they secured one of the Horns of Orcus in a vault in the Platinum Sanctuary, were inducted into the Slayer's Take, and traveled to Pyrah as part of Keyleth's Aramenté. Pike Trickfoot began restoring the rediscovered Temple of Renewal.[35]

After the Chroma Conclave's attack, Vox Machina returned to the Slayer's Take and thus began their quest for several Vestiges of Divergence. They began with a delve into Purvan Suul's sunken tomb, leading directly to Vax'ildan's arc as champion of the Raven Queen. The party returned to Pyrah, which had been ruined by Thordak.[36] Grog Strongjaw later awakened his Vestige, the Titanstone Knuckles, in a spar with Earthbreaker Groon in Vasselheim.[37]

Upon attaining godhood, Vecna attempted a "miracle of terror" to cement his power on Exandria. He teleported his city to the Zenwick Mountains, placed the city on the fallen Earth Titan there, and marched the animated titan toward Vasselheim. In a race against time, Vox Machina traveled to the Core Anvil off the coast of Shorecomb to craft the implements needed to take on Vecna, and then, with support from their allies, banished Vecna and stopped the assault on the city.[38]

Campaign 3: Bells Hells[edit | edit source]

Team Issylra[edit | edit source]

Laudna, Ashton, and Orym were teleported to the Spectrum Gorge during the apogee solstice.[22] They quickly met three others who had similarly been teleported into the area: Deni$e Bembachula, a barbarian from Tal'Dorei and Dariax's ex-girlfriend;[39] Bor'Dor Dog'Son, a shepherd from Pride's Call who had spontaneously developed magical powers upon being teleported;[40] and Prism Grimpoppy, a mage apprentice of the Cobalt Soul.[41] The six of them were attacked by two shambling mounds and a corpse flower, and after fighting them off together decided to all make camp and rest for the night before heading towards the nearest settlement in the morning.[42] They all realized where exactly they were in the morning, when Orym's scouting and Laudna and Prism's geographical knowledge helped them recognize the Ascendant Bridge Mountain.[43] The party then continued on to Hearthdell, where they learned from Elder Abbadina that missionaries of the Dawnfather from Vasselheim had overtaken the town; in order to help them, she in turn required their help to confront the missionaries and rid the town of them.[44] They did so, and upon searching the temple after the battle, learned that Vasselheim had been attempting to take over several towns in the region, specifically due to the nexus point in Hearthdell. Abbadina Scryed on several of their allies, and Team Issylra left the town in the direction of Irriam Canyon.[45] They reached the canyon after traveling through the Serratus Wilderness,[46] and were able to free Hevestro, who had become trapped by Evithorir, a spirit released from imprisonment by the solstice. As they waited while Hevestro processed the deaths of his companions, Bor'Dor revealed he was an agent of the Ruby Vanguard upon being questioned by Deni$e, and a brief fight broke out in which Laudna killed him. Hevestro returned and sent Deni$e back to Tal'Dorei, then sent Prism and the members of Bells Hells on to Jrusar.[47]

Ruidus scouting mission[edit | edit source]

While traveling on Ruidus, Bells Hells found a cavern through which a subterranean river flowed, and traced it to its source, a crack within the cavern. Fearne traveled through and found it led to a lake, seemingly no longer on the moon.[48] She returned and told the rest of the party, who soon followed. They traveled to a small abandoned village along the lake, and were able to identify it as Ria'Doin on Lake Umamu. Laudna investigated and found records of residents disappearing, some walking into the lake, which abruptly cut off. FCG spoke to a nearby bird who confirmed that the village had been abandoned for some time, and that looters occasionally would pass through but also walk into the lake. The party decided to rest on the second floor of the largest house, during which Orym and Imogen discovered that Sending was working again and notified both Keyleth and Caleb of the back door to Ruidus, in the process learning that they were indeed on Issylra. However, when Orym went to contact Dorian, he suddenly felt a pull to the lake, which quickly began to also affect Ashton, Chetney, and FCG. Imogen, Fearne, and Laudna followed them as they walked into the lake, and found a shadowy creature beneath. Upon dealing damage to the creature, all but Ashton regained control of themselves, and a brief fight ensued as they fought free, with FCG finally saving Ashton with Turn Undead on the shadow entity. The party decided to leave warnings and the notes that Laudna had found for Keyleth's team, and returned through the portal to complete their rest in the cavern on Ruidus.[49]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The religious sites and relics of Issylra are inspired by ancient Mesopotamian and Sumerian temples, and the settlements around them are patterned after 12th-century Norway.[7]

Background art of Rimecleft, shown at the second watch party, by Titmouse.[art 2]

When developing The Legend of Vox Machina, the team decided to morph the narrative to tell a more concise and coherent story framed by the animation needs, moving the lair of Kamaljiori from Tal'Dorei's Frostweald to the new location called Rimecleft, exempting Vox Machina from traveling back and forth between continents.[50]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 1:11:24.
  2. Matthew Mercer spelled "Issylra" on Twitter.
  3. "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) at 3:18:05.
  4. Matthew Mercer confirmed that Exandria is the world, Issylra is a continent, and Othanzia is a region in Issylra.
  5. "Return to Vasselheim" (1x43) at 1:11:37.
  6. "The Chase to Glintshore" (1x67) at 1:14:46.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 98.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 159.
  9. "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) at 28:54.
  10. "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) at 28:16.
  11. "Trial of the Take: Part 2" (1x19) at 52:19. See also 1:57:18 for the name of the tundra.
  12. "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 2:34:21.
  13. "Trial of the Take: Part 1" (1x18) at 52:51.
  14. "The Ominous March" (1x109) from 1:37:13 through 1:39:03.
  15. "The Ominous March" (1x109) at 1:41:16.
  16. "The Ominous March" (1x109) at 1:40:39.
  17. "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 46:28.
  18. "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 1:45:22.
  19. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:36:38.
  20. "Scaldseat" (1x107) at 46:11.
  21. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 4:02:30.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 17:04.
  23. "Faith or Famine" (3x60) at 47:50.
  24. "A Long Walk of Reflection" (3x62) at 2:45:20.
  25. "Doorways to Darker Depths" (3x86) at 1:27:39.
  26. "Fight at the Museum..." (3x21) at 2:09:18.
  27. "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 1:37:50.
  28. See "Critical Role Panel w/ Matthew Mercer and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn from MomoCon" at 33:32.
  29. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", p. 52.
  30. "4-Sided Dive: Why, Matthew?! Why?" (4SDx15) at 58:21.
  31. "A Storm of Memories" (2x46) at 35:25.
  32. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", p. 145.
  33. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 26. See also p. 28.
  34. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 8.
  35. They arrived in "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) and stayed through "The Rematch" (1x23).
  36. This arc takes place between the end of "Dangerous Dealings" (1x42) and the first half of "The Family Business" (1x47).
  37. See the end of "Loose Ends" (1x84) and "A Bard's Lament" (1x85).
  38. This takes place between the second half of "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) and the beginning of "The Chapter Closes" (1x115).
  39. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 3:52:41.
  40. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 1:30:22.
  41. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 1:46:33.
  42. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 3:25:06.
  43. "Somewhere Out There" (3x59) at 4:02:56.
  44. "Faith or Famine" (3x60).
  45. "Crisis of Faith" (3x61).
  46. "A Long Walk of Reflection" (3x62).
  47. "A Haunted Past" (3x63).
  48. "Intense Interrogations" (3x85) at 3:29:12.
  49. "Doorways to Darker Depths" (3x86).
  50. The Legend of Vox Machina, Season 2, Episodes 4-6 Q&A at 38:10.

Art:

  1. Official art of northeastern Issylra (with Vasselheim to the south), the northern Ozmit Sea, and the northern Bladeshimmer Shoreline of Tal'Dorei, by Andy Law (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Background art of Rimecleft, shown at the second watch party, by Titmouse (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.