Chult is located at the westernmost end of the Chultan peninsula, in the southern part of the Trackless Sea, off the coast of Calimshan. During the Sundering, Chult was cut off from the mainland, forming an island. Before that, Chult was again forming the westernmost end of the peninsula. Regardless of geographical status, Chult has always been remote and isolated, forming a mountainous jungle of savage beasts, hulking dinosaurs, and disease-ridden swamps. Savage human tribes, goblins, and even stranger monstrous folk haunt the thick jungles. Nevertheless, Chult draws adventurers who search for its legendary riches. The primordial Ubtao is almost exclusively revered in the land, for the divine powers of Faerûn awarded Ubtao the dominion over the land of Chult in exchange for the deity’s vigilance over the threat from under the Peaks of Flame, a chain of volcanoes.
Ubtao (pronounced oob-TAY-oh ) is the patron deity of Chult. He is also known as The Father of the Dinosaurs, Creator of Chult, Founder of Mezro, and The Deceiver. He stays distant from both mortals and other deities, and he seems to be above the daily doings of the world and his followers. This may be partly due to his origin as a primordial, and in fact it’s not fully known if he is a deity in the traditional sense. Only since the Time of Troubles has he begun to show interest in his followers again. The many jungle spirits worshiped in Chult are all aspects of Ubtao. But due to this he only has power in and around the jungles of Chult.
Chult is a varied land, but it is hot and humid nearly everywhere. The rainforest, which covers much of the country, roughly follows thedrainage of large river basins, like the Olungand the Tath. The soil in the rainforest is poor for northern-style farming, since the daily rainfall leaches away most of the nutrients.Travel in the heart of the rainforest is easier than one might expect. The tall trees stretch hundreds of feet overhead, barren of branchesor leaves, save for the huge canopies that spread wide in search of light and rain. A thin carpet of fallen leaves, pale vines, and hearty fungus covers the hard ground. The biggest obstacle to travel are the trees themselves, which sport huge, buttressed boles.
Chult is hot — very hot. The baking sun plus the humidity challenge even the most stalwart adventurer. Explorers should be very careful of what they are wearing and how much potable water they have with them. Adventurers who wear armor and are heavily encumbered will soon discover how uncomfortable the jungle can be during an expedition. In any part of the jungle, an average person must drink at least one gallon of fresh water each day to survive. Someone remaining inactive can cut that requirement to a half-gallon. Because the oppressive humidity affects a person in the shade as much as the sun, no further reductions in water requirements can be gained by hiding in the shade or traveling only at night.
Disease lurks in the air and water of the tropics and is carried by insects. Many expedition send in ruin because of this invisible menace,and many explorers in Faerun bear more lasting scars from Chultan diseases than from any of its beasts. The physical environment profoundly shapes disease. The environment is more than just the natural environment. People modify the land and waterscapes in innumerable ways: by building houses, cutting down trees, building roads, grazing livestock, planting crops for agriculture, and introducing new plants and animals. All of these changes create new disease environments.
The humans of Chult live in tribal communities, consisting of a dozen or so families, which move from one area to the next when the poor soil of the largely-jungle covered peninsula becomes depleted. For hunting and defence they rely on primitive non-metallic weapons like clubs, bows and shortspears. Harder metals like iron and steel are unavailable to them, and the few brought in by outsiders are nowhere near enough to sufficiently arm any number of people.
Most humans native to Chult consider themselves part of the great tribe known as the Tabaxi. This is not to say the scattered clan units recognize any central ruler; they most certainly do not. Yet the culture of the Tabaxi ancestors has remained so strong and dominated so many other less expansive cultures that the entire country finds itself peopled by men and women who share a common language and a somewhat uniform social structure.
The humans known as Tabaxi should not be confused with the cat-men that dwell in jungle settings such as Chult. It has been suggested that the baffling sameness of names arose when a stripling Cormyrean explorer mistook a human warrior wearing a war costume made up of the tails of lions and panthers for one of the cat-men. Upon learning from a guide that the mysterious figure was a Tabaxi, the explorer mistakenly concluded that such was the name for the legendary cat-men.
Magic is generally feared, and each tribal-family generally has only one wielder of arcane magic, performing hunting ceremonies and brewing potions to aid the hunters. Despite this restriction on arcane spellcasters, the number of people with an aptitude for magic is the same as anywhere else in Faerûn. Subsequently, the Chultan attitude towards the arcane causes some arcanists to flee into the jungle to practice their art alone. In the days before the Spellplague many also traveled to study in Mezro. Magic is taught under the guidance of the College of Wizards, located in the Scholars Quarter. In rural Tabaxi villages,those who would learn the ways of the Art petition the village elders to study under the clan’s most experienced mage. Rouge magic users are hunted and culled by Hunters experienced in tracking and killing those using the Art without approval.
Aside from humans, wild dwarves, goblins, aldani, ptera-men, bullywugs, and lizardfolk also inhabit the land. In smaller numbers are exotic creatures as chuuls, hydras, nagas, troglodytes, trolls, and wyverns. But the dominant predators of the land are the dinosaurs, worshipped by many of the natives as aspects of the primordial Ubtao.
With everything that Cult has to offer to explorers and adventurers, it is no wonder that it lures so many to it’s shores. Come, all ye seekers after treasure beyond your ken and adventure greater than any you can dream! Come, all ye mighty warriors, seekers after prey worthy of your peerless skills, and stalk the Children of Ubtao. Walk the streets of the city of Mezro, of the Maze of Life. Meet the barae, the holy warriors of Ubtao, those men and women who will live forever sustained by their wisdom and their faith.