Omu

Size: City

Population: 8,000

Ruler: Queen Napaka

Overview

Omu is an ancient Chultan settlement that rose to power in the aftermath of the disappearance of Mezro and at one point claimed much of the central and southern portions of Chult as their territory.

Omu sits on the path of a long fallen star, surrounding a still open volcanic rift caused by that impact. Omu is hidden in a crater in the jungle floor almost a square mile in size and 150 ft deep, with the Great Rift occupying the south eastern corners of that crater. Beneath the city lie the long abandoned ruins of the Mhairshaulk Empire.

Omu is currently going through a period of political and religious strife, yuan-ti infiltrators have caused a reduction in the worship of Ubtao and a rise in the power of the spirit-lords (many of whom are backed by the yuan-ti). Plagues and uprisings are becoming increasingly common and the fabric of Omuan society is beginning to break down.

History

The settlement of Omu was first founded by Chultans in the year 185 DR by a congregations of tribes, most of them outcasts from the fall of Kuluth-Mar. 

In 863 DR the city of Mezro disappeared which saw a weakening in the application of Ubtao’s laws and the territory held by the tabaxi. The Luo Plateau came under increasing attacks by lizardfolk, pteramen, and yuan-ti, and people began to abandon the region in favour of cities like Omu and Mbala.

The influx of refugees into Omu saw a huge increase in population, and a powerful leader arose to unite the disparate tribesmen into a single nation. Under Ch’gakare’s leadership, Omu became a fledgling empire, able to fight against the fire newts and batiri (rather than hide from them), and secure the territory around Omu and the Valley of Lost Honour.

During this time Ch’gakare came to the attention of the Mazewalkers of Ubtao for his use of magic not seen since the war with the Eshowe. Atozoar the thief Bara departed Mezro against the orders of his fellow Barae, he broke into the Elephant Palace and tried to assassinate Ch’gakare, but was chased into the Great Rift atop the king’s stolen elephant; Ghom. 

Almost thirty years later Atozoar reappeared in the Valley of Lost Honour, he rode Ghom through the streets of Omu and into the bedchamber of the elderly King Ch’gakare, trampling him beneath the elephant’s massive feet. Atozoar then beheaded the king’s corpse and took his skull with him deep into the forest. Ch’gakare’s skull was later recovered (having been crafted into a magical chalice), but Atozoar was never found.

The descendants of Ch’gakare expanded Omu’s territory, building a great empire that eclipsed all others in Chult and that included all the lands from around Lake Luo to the Valley of Lost Honour.

In more recent times, the yuan-ti have infiltrated Omu in ever greater numbers and have used plagues to weaken the empire (causing its collapse), and are manipulating the people into abandoning worship of Ubtao and turning them towards yuan-ti sponsored spirit animals. Insurrection is becoming increasingly common against the despotic rulers of Omu, and riots are an almost annual occurrence.

Geography

The Elephant Palace: The royal palace of Omu is a great circular, walled compound filled with arcades, plazas, statues, and gardens surrounding the central tower and linked buildings where the royal family lived (court was always held publicly in the Amphitheatre of Gold.

The Palace was erected during the time of Ch’gakare; the first king of Omu, and features a number of golden statues of his beloved elephant (ambelodon) Ghom, who was stolen and later used to trample Ch’gakare to death.

The Fane of Serpents: This secret undercroft was discovered by Ch’gakare before he rose to become King of Omu, he used much of the magic discovered here to subdue opposition to his rule and carve out a large territory in the jungles of Chult.

The Fane of Serpents is ancient, from the time of Mhairshaulk, and is full of sealed sarcophagi of gold in the likeness of snakemen (those that have been broken unleash terrible curses but also contain still living beings that cannot be aroused by any means). Ancient murals on the wall depict a gathering of snakemen (and human slaves) around a volcano with a door, and then later those same snakemen asleep on the ground (with the slaves running away carrying ten green gems). In the deepest section of the Fane are a series of scrolls that depict an enormous serpent emerging from the body of a large snakeman. That serpent is imprisoned behind a great metal door at the base of a volcano in a later picture. 

The Great Rift: The city of Omu sits in a sunken crater nearly a square mile in size, the entire south eastern quarter of the crater has completely collapsed into a rift almost 500 ft deep with a great bubbling lake of lava covering the floor of this section.

The Great Rift is often used for sacrifices to the many gods of Omu, with great ceremonies held in honour of the spirits.

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