We lucky few
Panacea is the world’s only major continent, with landmass originally covering approximately forty percent of the world’s surface. Average elevation is one hundred feet above sea level, though several large plateaus and mountain ranges can reach elevations of twenty thousand feet. The entire continent is riddled with a vast underground network of tunnels, caverns, and galleries collectively known as the Underdark.
The Pylon Cataclysm and the Caldera Sea
During the Pylon Cataclysm, large portions of the tunnel network underlying Panacea were inadvertently collapsed, causing a huge change in the makeup of the continent. Several areas subsided below sea level and flooded, and the entire continent became riddled with deep canyons and valleys in the areas where large portions of the Underdark tunnel collapsed. The effect was worst at the center of the continent, where it is believed the Pylons were concentrated most heavily. The entire center of the continent was blasted away into a massive crater which filled with sea water. Due to the extreme depth of the crater, it’s center began experiencing massive volcanic activity. Reports have been made of volcanic islands at the center of the crater, now called the Caldera Sea or the Boiling Sea, but they are currently unsubstantiated. The intense undersea volcanism causes the Caldera Sea to be almost unnavigable due to constant fogs caused by volcanic steam and unpredictable currents and uncharted navigation hazards.
The Canyonlands is the collective name for the massive network of steep sided valleys and canyons between inhabited plateaus. Climate in the canyonlands is generally rainforest or jungle, due to the constant warm fogs rolling in from the Caldera Sea. Generally considered uninhabitable by civilized peoples, the Canyonlands are a dangerous, uncharted wilderness, populated by wild beasts, barbarian tribes, and occasional monsters that wander up from the surviving sections of the Underdark.
The Plateaus are the areas of Panacea that did not collapse or subside during the Pylon Cataclysm. The plateaus generally have high plains or high forest ecosystems, though several plateaus sport major mountain ranges and even a few small deserts. Civilization is almost exclusively limited to the plateaus due to their ecosystems suffering less damage in the Pylon Cataclysm, and the fact that they are far more defensible.