By continental standards, Kharthosan is rather small. It is split into two portions, north and south, divided by a mountain range known as The Deathpeaks. Due to their density, sheer size, and numerous cliff faces, traversing the mountain range by land is nearly impossible. Only one pass winds its way through the range, though it is highly dangerous. Due to several extremely narrow portions, the twisting route it follows, and the dangerous beasts that stalk the area, this pass, known as The Wyrm Road, is only safe for large parties of highly experienced adventurers. Instead, many who wish to visit the north choose to traverse the range via the series of relatively safe abandoned dwarf tunnels that lie beneath the eastern end of the range. The hilly, nigh lifeless northern half of the continent lies fully within the arctic circle, leaving it almost entirely frozen year round. This would normally leave it undesirable for human settlement, however, the various natural cave systems within the region are very mineral rich, and a few large settlements have grown to meet the material demands of the much less mineable southern half of the continent.
By contrast, the rolling coastal plains of the southern half of the continent experience rather mild weather. The high lattitude spares the heat of summer, while the small size, the protection of the Deathpeaks, and the salty ocean air allow for relatively warm winters. The south, as the primary location of settlement in Kharthosan, has many thriving trade centers. Most of these lie along the outer edges of the continent, for one simple reason; The Elderwood.
The Elderwood is a massive forest that dominates the heart of Kharthosan and is ruled by the elves, though they grudgingly allow the other races to harvest the youngest trees along the fringes. Though many elves elsewhere in the world have a distrust or even dislike of the other races, the elves of the Elderwood put this to shame. It is rare for them to allow any other race more than two leagues into their homeland, unless they are accompanied by, or prisoners to, those with elf blood.