Ferelden is a temperate and fertile country, though its winters are unforgiving. Ferelden boasts a wide variety of terrain, and large portions are still untamed, which can prove hard on the unprepared. To the immediate north of the region known as the Coastlands is the Waking Sea, which parts Ferelden from the Free Marches, a collective name given to a series of wealthy city-states that control the central portion of the continent. Denerim, the capital city of Ferelden and home of the King, rests in the east. A large portion of the east to southeast of Ferelden is a feral wilderness, dominated by the hoary Brecilian Forest. The forest is said to be a cursed place, an abode of thieves, murderers, and werewolves. The trees themselves are rumored to move and slay the unwary. Only the strange folk known as the Dalish elves dare to enter Brecilian regularly, leading many to believe that they may have had a hand in whatever cursed the place. Those Fereldan who are willing to brave the forest generally live in the city of Gwaren, a city port on the Amaranthine Ocean. The Amaranthine forms Ferelden’s eastern border. It is a massive body of water, stretching beyond the horizon, and remains uncharted.
The south of Ferelden is mostly hilly grasslands, in many parts covered with wide tracts of untamed forest. The region is unofficially split by the remains of the ancient Imperial Highway which still snakes its way down from the west, all the way to the ruins of Ostagar. The area east of the highway is known as the Southron Hills, to the west lie the Hinterlands. The Southron Hills are rocky highlands that stretch into the southern portions of the Brecilian Forest and edge the Korcari Wilds. The Hinterlands run from the massive inland Lake Calenhad out to the first peaks of the Frostback Mountains. A long stretch of the Hinterlands borders also borders the Korcari Wilds. With the Avvars to the west and the Chasind to the immediate south, the folk of southern Ferelden are justly famed for their stoicism in the face of danger. Whatever lies south beyond the Korcari Wilds, if there is more than just endless plains of tundra, the Chasind do not speak of.
To the west Ferelden is bordered by the Frostback mountain range, home to the tribes of the Avvarian hillsmen. The Frostbacks hold numerous high peaks, many of which are snow covered year round. Strange ice formations form regularly before quickly shattering, including “ice bridges” that run between peaks, which the daring can cross. The yearly runoff from the Frostbacks feeds the cold waters of Lake Calenhad. The Lake is a magnificent clear blue and is said to have mystical properties. That is not surprising, though, as the Circle Tower, home to Ferelden’s Circle of Magi, is situated on an island located in the northern portion of the lake. The tower is a landmark, visible for many miles across the entire countryside. Orzammar, the last kingdom of the dwarves, is carved beneath the northern end of the Frostbacks. The dwarves deal cautiously with all folk, though they are always wary when dealing with the Avvars. Beyond the Frostbacks lies the Empire of Orlais, center of the Chantry and presently considered by scholars to be the most powerful country in all of Thedas. Since the Orlesians occupied portions of Ferelden well within living memory, peace treaty or no, relations between the two countries remain tense.
At the central heart of Ferelden, both geographically and politically, lies the Bannorn. This great valley hosts the majority of farming within Ferelden. While freeholders own their land, political and military control over the Bannorn is split between many different banns, a title taken from the ancient Alamarri word for “chieftain” — hence the region’s name.