Umbara

The World of Umbara

Umbara is a world full of vast landscapes and untapped resources with an untold number of secrets waiting to be uncovered by the pioneers and explorers that make this world their home. The lands of Umbara are seperated by immense oceans and even those cultures who border upon one another are often seperated by large tracts of unbridled wilderness.

The lands of Umbara are divided into eight distinct continents. The most familiar of these is Talamhor which is home to the people of Daoindar, a once-sprawling empire that covered the northern two-thirds of the continent. The empire rose to power roughly 900 years ago but it grew too quickly and was unable to manage the vast amount of territory it had claimed. The empire fell into civil war after only 350 years of power and the Daoine saw their empire split into dozens of smaller nations and city-states. Roughly a century after the fall of Daoindar a new powerful nation rose in the north as four of the largest nations merged into a powerful republic called Talamsaor while the nations and city-states to the south continued to remain independent.

Though only half the size of the original empire, Talamsaor was still too large to be adequately managed by the council and so it too collapsed though it managed to hold together nearly a century longer than its predecessor. It has been twenty years since the republic fell and the Daoine of northern Talamhor have since settled into six distinct nations each with their own unique culture. The time spent as a republic has united these people even after the dissolution of the republic and so these six nations still share many common cultural traits and still collectively refer to the northern portion of Talamhor as Talamsaor. Just to the south are the various nations and city-states that comprise the Daoine Alliance. Though each has its own laws and customs they will come to one another’s aid when needed. Any disputes between neighbouring states are settled in a grand court known as the Harmonium.

Both the Alliance and the Daoine of former Talamsaor have made strong efforts to live in peace with the other local races, many of which have called Talamhor home long before humanity ever set foot on the continent. The largest of these racial communities are the Halflings and Elves, both of which have made considerable effort to accommodate their human brethren. Both of these peoples can be found throughout Talamhor. The Dwarves of Talamhor are found in the largest numbers among the lands of Talamsaor from its southern borders all the way up into the northern ice flows. Gnomes are not as common as the other races and it seems they are no more native to the land than the humans who arrived several thousand years ago. However, they can still be found wherever there are signs of civilization. The Orcs of Talamhor mostly thrive in the badlands and plateau regions of the continent and so it is usually only the communities near these parched lands that are forced to deal with this savage race.

Talamhor is a large continent, as are they all, and so the Daoine cultures of the north and the midlands are not the only signs of human civilization in this wild land. Far to the south of the Alliance across a blasted waste is a culture rumoured to be steeped in blood. Traders who survive the journey have returned to the Alliance with tales of a land called Oexzapa where powerful priests carry out sacrifices to mysterious gods in grand cities hidden away in the depths of steaming jungles. It is also rumoured that these people have an unheard of knowledge of the stars and the heavens above which has only begun to reach the ears of Daoine scholars, piquing interest within academies and colleges throughout the Alliance and Talamsaor.

To the east of Oexzapa is a large archipelago known as Pilanpil where the natives have a strange and mystical affinity with the dead. Trade between the archipelago and the Alliance has been prevalent since the time of the empire and so there has been a great deal of cultural intermixing between the northern islands and what are now the southern nations of the alliance.

To the south of Talamhor, past the dangerous and storm-wracked waters of the South Aigin Ocean, lies the southern continent of Talundeiread. Almost nothing is known of this place except for stories that circulate among the south-western nations of the alliance which tell of an empire where the people live in cities bult into the sides od mountains and worhsip a god-king that shines like the sun. On the eastern coast of the alliance the people of Pilanpil tell stories of a jungle that never ends.

Across the Agapanus Ocean to the east of Talamhor lies the continent of Cormundum. Considered by many of the Daoine to be the heart of eastern civilization it is the continent that most of the people of Talamhor are most familiar with. A multitude of kingdoms, empires, and tribal nations are spread across this land producing a rich tapestry of exotic cultures willing to trade and share stories with their kin to the west. These stories tell of fantastic beasts and the ruins of empires long gone now hidden under the foundations of the kingdoms that have come to replace them. Tales of chivalry and fickle gods quick to punish any detractors, of roving barbarians who pillage all in their path, and of fantastic machines powered without the help of magic. The continent of Cormundum has its own explorers as well which have traded tales to the Daoine of even more fantastic lands to the south and further east.

To the south of Cormundum is Nafasi, which the Cormundans have nicknamed the lost continent. A land of deep jungles and large deserts it is home to savage monsters and dark secrets. The only major trade comes from the northern kingdom of Shekhabiri, a nation so wealthy that stories of its riches are told as far away as the western coast of Talamhor.

To the south and east of Cormundum is the continent of Dashur home of some of the most ancient and powerful empires in all of Umbara. Though very little is known of this place other than tales of sorcerer-kings and demon-worship there are rumours of war that have begun to spread into Cormundum and the people there fear the day the nations of Dashur decide to march north.

The super-continent of Sao Xin La lies between Cormundum and Talamhor on the other side of the world. In fact, depending on where a Daoine is born and raised, they may find the culture and traders of Saoxin more familiar than those of Cormundum and vice versa. As Sao Xin La is the largest continent it also holds the largest diversity of completely different cultures. Tales from the west of people transforming into dragons and wars fought between hundreds of gods are favourites in Talamhor and thoughhts of exploring this mysterious land to the west have sparked the imaginations of hundreds of intrepid explorers over the last several hundred years.

Of the last two continents not much is known. Only the most knowledgeable scholars in Talamhor are even aware of the existence of these faraway lands. Of these two, one is said to be located west across the vast divide of the Aigin Ocean somewhere to the south of Sao Xin La. Supposedly, it is an untamed land filled with some of the most dangerous beasts in all of Umbara where the barriers separating this world from the planes is unnaturally thin. The other continent is said to be south of Talundeiread past the endless jungles. It is said that if one can actually reach this land they will find a windy and frozen wasteland but if they can press beyond this final hardship the ice eventually gives way to a beautiful and bountious land where time stops and one can live forever.

Umbara

Strange Horizons Ulysses84