In some ways the central cities of Nerath weathered the collapse of the empire very well. The fighting was largely limited to internal conflicts in that region compared to the Nentir Vale in the north which faced numerous incursions from beyond their mountain borders. None of the would-be claimants of the throne wanted to risk alienating the populations, so damage to the cities was relatively limited, although the small settlements were not so lucky. A century after the empire’s collapse, many of the cities are still strong citadels of civilization whose wealth and population dwarf those of the Vale.
The stability of the individual cities, however, was achieved by sacrificing the stability of the overall region. Each city’s nobility put up claimants to the throne of Nerath and turned upon each other. What was once the prosperous heartland of the empire is now a no man’s land between city-states that tolerate each other at the best of times and wage war against their neighbours more often than not.
This has kept the cities out of the Vale for the past century, as none had quite enough reach to take over while holding their rivals at bay. Things may be changing, however, as the great city of Sarthel has recently conquered several of its neighbours, tipping the balance of power that has kept affairs in check for decades.
Old Nerath covers a large area bordered on the north by the Witchlight Fens and Harken Forest and the east and south by the Sea of Guldar. To the west, the great plains eventually become the Arkhosian Badlands, the former seat of the Arkhosian Empire, now home to little more than ruins and the scattered settlements of the dragonborn who still call the region home.
The region goes from plains in the west to rolling hills long the coast lands in the east. The centre is dominated by the gigantic Lake Thandor which holds the former island capital of the empire, Nera. The lake is fed by several rivers, most prominently, the Nentir River, flowing from the Vale.
Numerous woods dot the region and have grown in size since the empire’s fall. While once they were little more than hunting grounds for the nobility of the empire, the neglect of the past century has allowed more dangerous creatures to move in from the wilder regions.