Terra Incognita are a special part of the Anaphar cosmology, places that lie outside the normal bounds of reality and sometimes follow their very own set of rules. How and why these were created is unknown, but older texts point out that these pocket-realms did not exist in the Old Times.
The first important part of any Terra Incognita is the Gateway, the entry point into the pocket-realm, which – contrary to the name – can be pretty much anything. Sometimes it is just a small valley between two hills, at other times a real gate that stands closed and unbreakable deep within some mountains.
What is always necessary to enter one of the Terra Incognita is the Gatekey, mostly a real item that needs to be carried or used to find entrance into the realm. Rarely, though, the Gatekey is something intangible – like a song or series of whistles, a thought maybe even.
Once the Gateway is crossed, one stands within the bounds of a pocket world that does not always conform to what one would expect from reality. Weather and time can both be changed or set permanently in one of the Terra Incognita, and it is unclear how far these manipulations go.
Size is an important factor, as no Terra Incognita can grow beyond a certain size (around 15 to 20 km). These are all observations that might still turn out false, though. But so far no Terra Incognita has been discovered that exceeded this size-limit.
Something that many people do not realize until it is specifically pointed out is the fact that pure nothingness surrounds a Terra Incognita. Beneath the far-stretching sky this effect seems so far off that people do not realize it all that fast, but once it is pointed out, one cannot look away.
Just between the sky and the ground level there is a great line of simple black nothingness, the pure expression of Oblivion, as it has been dubbed. So far none have found any explanation for this phenomenon and those whom have reached the borders of a Terra Incognita returned – if at all – with their mind shattered.
Known Terra Incognita
Over the course of history a few Terra Incognita have been uncovered – among them were some that even contained living civilizations:
Found more by accident than purpose, Terra Dolshé was the first Terra Incognita to be uncovered. The Gateway is a valley between two steep hills, and the explorers went through it when a mighty blizzard was close to killing them all, and it seemingly reacted to the presence of Jarik Dolshé, a Githzerai archeologist.
As soon as they crossed the threshold, the blizzard faded into nothingness, bound behind the planar boundaries. Within the realm the archeologists found a world locked in perpetual daylight and good weather, and a city built for thousands nestled within the hilly terrain, fed by two small rivulets.
Together the group explored some parts of the city, and made some great finds, not the least of which was a cache of magical weapons and armors within what seemed to be an armory.
After days of exploration one of the team decided to explore the edges of the pocket-world, and finally realized Oblivion. The team became extremely fearful once they had realized that nothingness surrounded this world, and fled the realm, returning years later with several dozen other people in tow.
Found in the Year 17, Terra Karun-Torai was the first inhabited Terra Incognita found. The Gateway as a literal gate, found deep within the Midland Mountains. It measured eight meters in height, and six in width, and was ornamented heavily.
Scribed onto the surface of it was a riddle, complex, but at the same time astonishingly easy. Solving the riddle was the Gatekey, and when the logic behind it was finally cracked, the gates swung open with much noise and out came a group of Hobgoblins and Goblins, formally welcoming the Travellers, as they called them, into their realm.
The Terra Incognita was a beautiful landscape, with plains, hills and some mountains mixing with great forests. Several smaller villages surrounded one semi-large city nestled onto the mountain, and within lived tens of thousands of goblinoids, creatures not seen in the world since the Awakening. They were quite friendly and civil, agreeing to continued talks with the Travellers.
Since it’s initial exploration Terra Karun-Torai has opened up significantly, sending out travellers of their own to get to know the world beyond. They have expanded and now own several villages within the Midland Mountain valleys.