A massive, rock-strewn wilderness, covered in magnetite, the Great Plains are the only landmark feature. The dry plains are both vast and hot, and few travelers make their way across them.
The incredible dry hardness of the earth, as well as weak limestone formations make it the perfect place for caves, which stretch for miles underneath the ground. These are the usual homes for Rannarans, and contain what little water the land offers.
The Rannarans are small, pale folk, because of their habits of mining and digging. They rarely venture out in the daylight, preferring sleep or their tunnels during the day, and work during the night. It is for this reason they are well known as "soul-less" or heartless off-shoots of the dwarven family.
Interestingly, there are many groups of Rannarans known as "Trueminds" who spend their entire life without viewing the sun at all. They have no concept of time, and frequently work in unusual patterns because. Sometimes, a Truemind will spend several days mining non-stop, only to collapse and sleep for a day, before resuming work instantly, as if nothing had happened. Trueminds often keep to themselves, forming separate colonies and mines in far-away caves. They have little connection with the rest of Rannara, and are frequently a generation or two behind on any great social advancement.
The general population Rannarans are a quiet people, as there are few things to excite them, nor opportunities to go anywhere. Days can go by without a single person uttering an unnecessary sound, and no one is the worse. Rannaran culture is more noticeable for its lack of it. There are few works of art or sculpture, little writing to speak of, and few stories. Deep in the mines, what can truly be told of greatness? There is no unfirm ground for sinkholes or collapses, no great rivers to create glittering caves, and as of yet, no fabulous metals.
The one exception to their boring life is in song. The Rannarans are capable of powerful chants, which developed as a means of communicating information from one end of the mines to the other and back within minutes. It is almost impossible for one not born into the culture to understand, yet even the most unskilled of their people can weave music to enchant the ears of the foreign. Rannaran singing is beautiful because the people change their pitch up through the octaves to maintain the harmony.
Each section of the mines will sing a different part of the tune, which will change instantly for a new message. Should there be a need for wood, the troubled area will deepen their pitch, emphasizing sawing notes and firm, butressing responses to nearby tunnels' riffs. As the other miners take note of this, they change their tune to imitate, singing a response. This travels to the head of the mine, where the workers of Rannara ration out their little wood, and send it down. The singers can thus occupy themselves for hours at a time, as the monotony of the tune hones their mind for a state of complete focus.
There is some trade between Rannara and Maos to the south, though few of the Maians wishes to stay long in the cramped quarters of the dwarven miners, and few in Rannara can bear the heat and sweat of the southern jungles.
Oddly enough, the people of Rannara worship the sun, despite its distance from their lives. They use it to represent all that is mysterious in the world, the thing that illuminates all others, but yet cannot be known.
In doing so, they pay much tribute to its brutality in their lives, and its fire. Is it possible they are an offshoot or branch of the Lord of Fire worship? The Temple of Fire does not know, though Guilder has discussed the possibility with them via letters.
There are many Trueminds that, having not seen the sun in a half-dozen generations, deny its existence at all, claiming to what they call the Principle of the Razor: the simplest truths are the real ones. Based on this, they deny everything that is not physically presentable to them, including emotions and spirits.
Large deposits of Magnetite litter the ground of Rannara, absorbing and reflecting the heat of the sun in blinding rays of light. It binds powerfully to itself and most metals, and is unusually heavy. The people of Rannara frequently use it as decoration, because of its beautiful reflections.
Magnetite forms the primary basis of most of Rannara's tools, and it is similar in most ways to iron. The only difference is its much more powerful magnetic properties, which allow to be used in many creative applications. For example, when miners find sinkholes, they often throw weighted Magnetite hooks to the bottom or up to the top, to latch on. If metal ore is found, then its magnetic strength will hold the weight of a miner, and allow them to move to the new level.
The heat of Rannara, unrestrained by the rains of Maos to the south, mean that the folk there cannot grow much food. Guilder has sent grain to ameliorate this problem.