The Echer Coast has been a forgotten shore of the world for many generations. Its rugged, desolate landscape is home to countless animals and beasts, but no known civilizations have existed here in known history. In 8123 MR, amidst the aftermath of the Exilic War, the elven aristocracy of Athalin developed a keen interest in Echer and over the course of twenty years established a number of colonies there to reduce the considerable overpopulation within Athalin itself. The first settlements were Asten, Kathir, and Illyra, and many smaller settlements have since been established. After two dozen years under Athalish rule, a number of Ludimarite riots in Athal City caused the empire to reevaluate its priorities, and providing troops to defend Echer proved to be a low priority. The colonies declared independence from Athalin to protest the departure of the forces defending them and were very surprised when the Empress Dorenesi simply let them break away. The settlers were forced to develop complete self-reliance in very short order as piracy rose and trade dwindled along the trading routes with Athalin. To this day, Athalin encourages settlers to travel to Echer while maintaining low-level trading relationships with their former colonies.
After nearly a century of colonization, Echer is regarded as a very difficult land to inhabit. It has low mineral wealth along with generally poor soil, which makes cultivating most crops unusually difficult. Of all the colonies, only Illyra has ever had fields that were on par with those in Athalin, a trait that allowed it to develop considerable influence in the region. Corn from Illyra and local fish form the staples of most diets in the region. The town of Kathir operates numerous timber mills, taking advantage of a local ancient growth forest of pine trees, while the port of Asten is the central hub for the continent’s mining operations, as the western mountains are slightly more mineral-rich than elsewhere. Most of the cities of the land are coastal and engage in fishing to cope with the mediocre returns of agriculture. To a greater extent than even the Orc's Teeth, Echer operates on a barter system. Gold pieces are far too few and far between to be employed as true currency, and some Echer merchants refuse to deal in coinage at all. Echer is home to the longest overland trading route in the known world between Asten and Illyra. Pirates operating from Southern Athalin and Dallaros in addition to the storms that rage in the West Echer Sea half the year have made maritime trade between the two cities too dangerous to be profitable; therefore, there are massive caravans that bear food and metals back and forth from Asten along a mountainous route known as The Haul.
Around the turn of the century in 8200, the Ludimarites of Mazavi expanded their dominion to include an uninhabited island off the coast of Echer. The settlement of Sadoth has grown rapidly over its first two decades and is now thought to pose a considerable threat to all those who live in Echer.
In 8208 MR, the Town of Illyra annexed most of the outlying farming villages to form the Commonwealth of Illyra. The stated reason for the conquest was a response to the growing threat posed by the Ludimarites. However, the move had the more immediate effect of nearly creating a complete monopoly on grain in the region. Few of the outlying villages put up much of a fight against the overwhelming forces of Illyra, and after over a decade most villagers would fight to remain in the commonwealth. The elimination of competition in the region has led to greater returns for the farmers, and the taxation imposed by the commonwealth is considered by most to be a minor inconvenience when balanced against the protection membership provides. Commonwealth soldiers patrol the western plains to ward against local monsters and brigands.
The climate of Echer is quite hot. Most settlers have remained on the coast of the continent where temperatures are moderate compared to the sweltering conditions inland. Much of the local wildlife is either dangerous or poisonous, making game hunting an impractical means of securing food.
Mysteries and Perils
Echer seems to have once been home to a powerful civilization. There are structures scattered throughout the continent that attest to a now absent group of people. Among the most striking of these ruins are a number of vast subterranean labyrinths, which are rumored to contain treasure and deadly traps in equal measure. Many capable explorers and cartographers venturing deep inland have disappeared, leading to a number of local superstitions about ghosts and curses in the Silent Mountains. Furthermore, ships traveling along the eastern coast are often destroyed. To date, no survivors of these wrecks have ever come forward to explain. In recent years, the Ludimarites of Mazavi have established a colony on the Island of Sadoth in the East Echer Sea and have had some success in plying the dangerous waters by sailing in convoys under guard from mighty mages, dracoliches, and warships. Even so, a disconcerting number of ships are inexplicably demolished each year. These Ludimarite losses are generally cause for celebration for the rest of the colonists who fear the God-Lich and its servants considerably. They know that there is little material wealth to lure the Ludimarites to these shores and fear that the necromancers may be looking to conquer or enslave the colonists to expand the dominion of the God-Lich.