These dozen territories are the holy grail of Western merchants, but despite being blessed with natural resources, they are amongst some of the most inhospitable places to mankind. High mountains and scorching plains harass travellers in Central Asia and India with thirst and bandits, while the malarial swamps of southeast Asia belie the riches of these lands, thanks to the exotic goods this land has to offer as well as its location at the crossroads between the famed Spice Islands and the West.
The Indian subcontinent (Sindh, Deccan and Gangetic Plain) play host to two resources which can't be found anywhere else: peacocks and diamonds. Because it guards access to two of the richest indentured colonies which are located off Southern Asia, it is a geostrategic region worth conquering to produce tribute. Even though you may not pay much attention to obtaining a tribute bonus from unifying the region, you can still capture both its Indian and Indochinese elements in order to obtain control of access to Lanka and the Spice Islands. Gaining control of these colonies imediately generates a new peacock and spice resource, and they also count towards obtaining a strategic victory.
Unlike Northern Asia and Franconia, however, these lands don't always have sufficient manpower to flesh out your hosts, but it is well adapted towards the generation of tribute and rare resources if you need it. Spices and peacocks are also available for the taking if Sindh and Cham can be taken. The Zagros mountains in Persia are also known for their deposits of obsidian, which may be good news for archer-heavy factions such as the Saracens.
Flanked by the Caspian Sea, Khwarezmia is nonetheless a vital link in the chain of trade sarays which form the eastern loop of the Silk Road. Rumours abound that this place is also where a strange black wood-like stone which can be burnt for fuel to make better iron tools can also be found in abundance. Khwarezmia's location on the eastern Caspian coast also grants access to Azerbaijan on the other side of the sea.
This arid and mountainous region is notorious for its lawlessness, but the productivity of this sheep-herding land cannot be disputed.
The ports of Sindh are a waypoint between the spice roads to the north into Europe and the Arabian Khelij, and are also connected to the Indian hinterlands.
In recent centuries, the Oghuz Turks managed to capture this part of Persia and impose their rule on the locals in the name of the Sultan of Baghdad. Perhaps one day they may rule all of Islam, but for now they must be content with this small but prosperous part of the world.
Located on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf, Fars is a veritable emporium, hosting ships and traders from east and west alike. Boats can be used here to reach the southern Khelij across the Strait of Hormuz.
These mountains, dominating the land routes into Asia from the Middle East, are known to be the haunt of bandits.
The great river Ganges of India is not only a river sacred to Hindhus — it is also the lifeline for a civilisation that has well stood the test of time and continues to impart its secrets to the far corners of the world.
This land alternates between arid sand dunes and hilly forests, and its ports grant access to the riches of the jungles to the south of this land as well as the faraway Arabian ports on the Khelij.
This tropical land is a favourite port of call for many sailors seeking access to the fabled Spice Islands of the South China Sea, but is frequently riven by strife between its ruling kings. Cham's strategic location also allows access to China from here via the neighbouring territory of Nanyue.
A rich land dominated by hills in the north and an alluvial plain in the centre, Bagan's diversity of environmental resources has brought it great prosperity, as well as a dangerous weapon: war elephants.