Yane and its sister island, Sathini, occupy Arkat Bay, a coldwater bay surrounded on three sides by the continent of Tandelume and crossable to the north for about three months of the year (four, if you're willing to risk being trapped in the ice). Roughly 100 miles across, the larger and more inhabited island, Yane, has a cool, rainy climate that has given rise to thick deciduous-coniferous woodland. Sathini, protected from the ice wind by its larger neighbor, sees a mix of scrubby pine forests, rolling hills, and rocky beaches.
For centuries, the dead ruled Yane from the necrotic empire of Ahn Resh to the east. Humans served as cattle or experimental subjects, herded into lightless gray cities for the convenience of their corpse-monarchs. This nightmare persisted until an invasion from the Holy Kingdom of Keimia, to the west, shattered the complacency of Ahn Resh and drove its undead lords from the island. In the time since the liberation, Keimian garrisons have fallen into corruption, greedy pirate-barons from the south have established near-lawless city-states on the island of Sathini, the elves and dwarves have left their hiding-places, and always, the dead wait with their customary patience for a time when they can return to claim what was once theirs.
For my return to running Dungeons & Dragons, I wanted a manageable area for exploration. Rather than starting at some insane resolution (whole continents or whole planets), I sketched out a rough landmass and picked an interesting location for a starting island. Yane, with its history of conquest and war, is a bite-sized chunk of adventure covered in necropoli and ruins, with several factions that could break into open warfare. Yane's small size (not much bigger than Jamaica) means that eventually a party will outgrow it, but I'm hoping to get at least a half-dozen levels out of the place.
Next Up: The Gods of Yane