They’re beautiful in the summer, Nirmathas’s plains. Let there be no doubt of that. Everyone thinks ‘forest’ when they hear mention of that little nation, with the Fangorn itself looming large in their minds. Yet the Nesmian Plains stretch on forever, rolling away like the sea. Once the spring rains start, it’s like an ocean of flowers and green. Of course, like any ocean, it’s got its pirates and its sea monsters. Lost three friends to bees the size of cattle, and after the sun set, jackals dragged away my last remaining companion without even stirring me from my sleep. Everything beautiful in this region seems to hide some beastly nature behind or beneath it—and the same might even be said of those who make the plains their home. Coming across even the smallest farm or settlement, you never know whether you’ll be greeted with a warm, open hearth… or find yourself fending off a blade or claw trying to open your throat.
—Geneviere White, The Shores of Encarthan
Stretching for miles across the southern border of Nirmathas, the Nesmian Plains covers near a fifth of the nation’s land, but remains one of the most sparsely inhabited regions since the outbreak of war between Nirmathas and its mother nation, Molthune. A well-traveled trade road leads north through the plains and the Hollow Hills, continuing east through the Bloodsworn Vale, which once connected Cheliax to its Varisian interests. All along that length, small farms, trading posts, and Chelish country estates sprouted, making the land an embarrassment of riches despite its harsh weather and abundant wildlife. This same idyllic landscape, however, renders the Nesmian Plains virtually indefensible, and much of its bounty was crushed in the early years of the civil war between Nirmathas and Molthune. In a more community-minded nation, the Nesmian Plains would be considered the breadbasket region, but the lack of taxation or infrastructure instead makes this area a resource-rich but highly vulnerable corner of Nirmathas, frequently invaded by Molthune and targeted by the southern nation’s infamous monster legions. Nesmian natives simply fall back, often burning their homes and crops when they see enemies approach, and return in spring after the area’s bitterly cold winters drive out ill-supplied foreigners.
Rolling prairie and low hills define most of the landscape, as do steep-walled gullies and canyons carved by the countless swift-flowing creeks tumbling down from the Mindspin Mountains, along with the occasional rock formation or outcropping carved by long-departed glaciers. Cartographers constantly argue over the exact borders of the Nesmian Plains, alternately placing the northern border along either the Marideth River or the southern boundary of the Fangwood Forest, and the southern border terminating either in the foothills around Kraggodan or along the Inkwater River. Whatever its precise boundaries, the Nesmian Plains is a rich land, but one difficult to hold and almost impossible to tame—yet rewarding for those with the skill and bravado to call it home.