I was actually thinking something a little more inland, with more mountains and less sand. Mebbe not /cold/ .. but not tropical, either.
I like the idea of the great houses, and the little towns, though.
*skritch* Can we do airships? Flying sails, not zeppelins or elemental control rings ala Eberron. ;p
Less steampunk and more Master and Commander, with a side order of Meridian. >.>
Mebbe one of those islands has a floating forest, like .. um..
Magic might not work very well there, forcing all harvesting to be done by hand; and the wood is in high demand because that specific tree doesn't grow anywhere else.
... as it turns out, I have a wild assortment of images that might make for very interesting 'set pieces'.