I thought I would start off with the Cities of the Heart (as it is the first region in Adventurers Guide to Zakhara (in Chapter 6). (I also think that Huzuz - the City of Delights - is supposed to be a major location, so it makes sense to try to understand how it's region works.) I might start up similar threads to discuss other regions, at some point.
I see four cities mentioned in Chapter 6:
- Halwa, City of Slitude,
- Hiyal, City of Intrigue,
- Huzuz, City of Delights and
- Wasat, the Middle City
It looks like Huzuz is the most important of the four cities, as it is home of the Grand Caliph. I'm wondering if these four cities constitute a single "political" entity ruled by the Grand Caliph or if Cities of the Heart is part of a bigger political region or not actually a region at all*.
* = Maybe just a convenient name for four nearby cities that otherwise have no special association.
Skimming through the rest of the book and Fortunes and Fates I do not see anything about the other places in the region those four cities are in. I see a number of places on the map, but do not notice any sort of "political border" to separate Cities of the Heart from any other region.
I see the following eight towns:
- Aib (south of Hiyal)
- Hayyir (North of Wasat)
- Magrib (west of Huzuz on the west side of Suq Bay)
- Saraq (west of Huzuz)
- Taham (north of Hiyal)
- Zarif (between Huzuz and Halwa)
- Zayir (between Huzuz and Hilm, City of Kindness)
- Zill (East of Wasat)
Aside from Zayir, which seems like it could be "owned" by Hilm, all of these towns look like they might be "owned" by the Cities of the Heart. Is this the case or are some or all of them independent? Are some or all of these towns fleshed out in other products?
Things get more confusing after this. I see six occupied Qal'at (does the plural have an "s" on the end) on the eastern side of Suq Bay, four occupied Qal'at and three unoccupied Qal'at on the west side and one unoccupied Qal'at to the north.
Does any other product (or something I missed in Land of Fate give a name for these forts? Or is this something that GMs are expected to make up for themselves? (And if you need to make it up, is there a preferred naming pattern for a fort name?)
I also see four sorcerer's towers to the east of Suq Bay and one to the north. Again there are no names, but I'm guessing that a sorcerer's tower would either belong to a specific sorcerer or maybe an individual organisation. Is there anywhere where that is explained? Are there any NPC sorcerers written down anywhere or does a GM need to make them all up? What sort of servants and staff, if any, would these towers have?
I see four haram (again, do I add an "s" to pluralise this?) to the east of Suq Bay. I see no names or religions mentioned. Is there anything written down that can help me work out what is what? Or do I need to look at the most common faiths in the descriptions of those specific cities to see if I can guess which religions are ones that might have a haram?
The wells, artisian wells around that half of the map also are unnamed, but Hamid Oasis has a name. Wouldn't a well be named after someone (maybe the person who dug it) or be named after the general area they are in?
The ruins to the west of Wasat and the runins to the north-east of the Ghost Mountains have no names. Is either of those places revealed in an adventure?
And if any of the places is not developed in the Al-Qadim canon, is there any fan material for any of them?