Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...
I wrote this, but my computer logged out of my account. So, I'll try again.
First, I'll cover the biomes by country, going north-south.
Vallheim: For this one, think pine forests, rocky soil and a forbidding coastline without much in the way of deepwater ports. If we go with something like the Hudson Bay existing, it should be scooted south a little ways, and should freeze solid enough on the northern parts to make it effectively a cold-water port. Fjords would be nice, but not nessecary. I imagine there's a good-sized polar current that comes by the coast and keeps the climate rather cool.
Soleh: I assume a gradual elevation drop around the border would make it reasonable for the pine forests to give way to open, slightly hilly plains. Maybe some deciduous patches here and there, along rivers and in gullies, but open enough to make Soleh's Cavalla the dominant military force. I imagine there being some wide, slow, lazy rivers passing through here, one making the northern border with the Vallheim, one with Soleh. Would also make river-based trade viable.
Sunshan: I feel like if we started a semidormant volcanic mountain range in the southwestern corner of this country and made it go east-southeast, that would add some interesting topography, and some stuff I'll mention in the next section. This one is really open to interpretation. Maybe enough water to make farming practical without too much irrigation, but having Samurai and Ninjas doesn't mean they need rice paddies. Have your own fun with this one.
Dotze Affariata: Well, if they're all marshy, we'll need water. So, we have the snowpack of the dormant volcanoes to the north to contribute, plus the delta of the Fogbound River to the west. If you decide that the Soleh rivers and the Fogbound Rivers should have the same source, maybe something like the Great Lakes but not, go for it. Also, having mountains along their northern border gives us about four benefits. One, it forces trade to be conducted along treacherous mountain passes or, more safely, take to the sea. These are the Dotze Affariata, remember. Secondly, it gives the Goliath raiders a secure-ish place to strike from. Thirdly, it makes a mass gnome-migration to escape slavery more difficult for the swamp-dwelling midgets. Fourthly, it provides a source of metals and stone for the cities, as well as providing water via the snowpack.
As for the Goliaths... Well, I have decided that their word for "Warrior" is "Urgal". Similar to the Scandanavians, who sent out guys who's job title was "Viking", they are generally known to humans as the name of the group they have contact with. As for their humanity, well, they're seen as a threat, someone that will rape yer cherches and bern yer wummin, and are more likely to be treated to pitchforks and torches than anything else. Human, though? Just enough to be dangerous. Not enough to make treaties with, or to respect their borders, lives or rules of war.
Guess who's good at avatars? Thormag. That's who.
A Campaign Setting more than a year in the making, Patria