This overview is not quite in a complete state yet, but I think it's close enough to share.
Empire of the Dead
Location: Continent of Brun, on the southern coast.
Area: 177,141 sq. mi. (283,426 sq. km.)
Population: Estimated 5,310,000 (73% human, 13% lupin, 10% elf, 4% other).
Coinage: Gold, silver, and copper coins. Blood vials are also considered a valid form of currency.
Taxes: Blood tax.
Government Type: Independent City States.
Located along the southern coast of Brun, Taymora is an ominous land ruled by vampire queens. In the wake of the Wasting disease, the Taymorans turned to the dark arts of necromancy in order to preserve their culture. Now, despite the lessening effects of the Wasting, the vampire rulers of the land cling on to the power they have. Taymoran city states fight amongst one another as often as they do with their neighbors, as the each of the cities fight for dominance and the chance to build a lasting empire.
The land of Taymora exists in what is essentially a large basin, bordered by the [Cruth] and XXX Mountains. The mountainous highlands are dominated by lakes and rivers, the runoff of which flows down to the midlands and feeds into the various marshes and bogs of the area. Coastal regions are gentle with many shallow bays although eastern Taymora is flanked by the XXX trench. The center of the basin is known as XXX’s Anvil, one of the hottest locales on Brun, and is the lowest point on the continent sitting well below sea level.
Flora and Fauna
Taymoran bogs are replete with mosses of all kinds, and many varieties of berries grow within their borders. Birch, Poison Sumac, and Black Alder also grow in the midlands. The higher altitudes see more pines, while the lower altitudes including the Anvil are dry and more barren. Mule deer, antelope and quail are common, as are bears and wolves. The Taymoran riding boars were domesticated from a species in the western mountains which is still actively hunted, both for sport and food. Flying predators dominate the highlands, although dragons are rare. Giants and tribes of lizardmen (mostly Mogrethian outcasts) roam the northern wilds.
The Taymorans have several well established city states on and near the southern coast of Brun, each of which is led by a wizard queen or occasionally king. During the early years, when the Taymorans first began to establish themselves in this area, they had to contend with a very pervasive form of the Wasting disease. Much of the populace would succumb to the disease and be dreadfully deformed before undergoing a slow and painful death. To combat this some of the nobility embraced the kiss of undeath, becoming nosferatu and vampires. Now, even though the effects of the Wasting are felt far less severely, the Taymoran populace suffers a new plague - that of their undead masters.
Throughout much of their history the city states competed and made war with one another, and that trend continues even now. Some of the more powerful states however, have been able to conquer their neighbors, and if the undead rulers have their way Taymora will soon be unified under the leadership of one of them. Which one will emerge victorious, none can say.
The Taymorans are humans with light skin and dark, curly hair. They are a mostly agrarian people, although several cities along the coast make a living from foreign trade. Vampires form the noble caste and walk openly among the people, although other forms of intelligent undead are less common.
Lupins are also fairly common, even in the eastern territories, having migrated into the area from the west before the Taymorans themselves arrived. Several western towns and villages are primarily lupin, although most of those have adopted much from Taymoran culture.
Elves may also be seen in many of the coastal cities. These traders from across the Sea of Dread are some of the forerunners of Ilsundal’s migration, however many have already integrated into Taymoran society.
The Wasting effected Taymoran culture profoundly early in its history. Taymoran nobility turned to the curse of undeath to preserve themselves from obliteration. Taymoran serfs pay a blood tax to their lords and in exchange the vampiric nobility performs rituals that safeguard the populace from the worst effects of the Wasting. Now that the disease is in decline however, what was once a necessity has become a plague of its own.
Taymoran society is matriarchal and very structured. Females in are not restricted to the social class that they are born into and have the opportunity to move into the higher ranks. Male roles tend to be more static, with male heirs typically being apprenticed into their father’s profession. Nobility is based on familial affiliations. Each noble family line controls one aspect of Taymoran society, be that the military, mercantile trade, agriculture or anything else, and each in turn support the reigning monarch of their city state.
Dwellings are communal, with several related extended families all sharing the same abode. In smaller villages this might mean that the entire population dwells under one roof. Separate buildings usually have separate functions. Cities are typically designed in spirals or concentric rings, and most structures from political offices to the lowliest of farmer’s huts are designed as circles with living areas around the outside and an open courtyard in the middle.
Religion is important to Taymorans, and most are devout worshipers of Nyx. That dark immortal led the Taymoran people through the devastating times of the Wasting which nearly threatened to end Taymoran culture before it even began.
Bulls are sacred animals, having prominent roles in many Taymoran religious rites.
Settlements of Note
Soleclea (pop. XXX): Like Tamoraz, Soleclea has struggled against the oppression of the vampire queens for decades, however unlike its sister city to the south, Soleclea still remains firmly in the grasp of the undead. Adding to the unrest in the city is a developing movement around the patriarchal cult of Sol. Should the populace finally succeed in throwing off their vampiric oppressors, the established matriarchy may have serious opposition to their rule.
Tamoraz (pop. XXX): The citizens of Tamoraz lay claim to being the first Taymoran settlement in the area. Tamoraz is certainly one of the largest and oldest city states along the southern coast of Brun, and has over the last several decades won its freedom from the rule of the vampire queens. Now it serves as a shining beacon to other Taymoran cities, of what they can become once their plague of undeath is shed.
Tycur (pop. XXX): Unlike the westernmost cities of Taymora, Tycur tolerates no opposition to its vampiric queen. Citizens think very little of their own plight and gladly pay the Blood Tax in return for the benefits and protection that the queen provides to them. Near the palace is another imposing structure that shoots up into the sky, the Tower of Night. From the topmost reaches issue forth terrible black clouds that keep the city in a perpetual twilight even during the brightest hours of the day.
Appearance and Dress
Most Taymoran clothing is made from light linens and accentuated by leathers and wools. Silk garments are rarer and may only be seen among the nobility. Those higher up in the social circles of society can often afford to add more expensive dyes to their clothing, with blues and purples being the color of choice among royalty.
Men typically wear only a loincloth, although these may be extensively decorated, but will sometimes don a knee length tunic. Women wear pleated skirts and blouses. Women of power, especially those of royal blood or priestesses of Nyx, will wear garments that bear their breasts as a display of their authority.
Weapons and Armor
Taymoran infantry wear leather cuirasses or plates of bronze armor. Conical helms made of boar tusks, and small circular shields round out the typical military uniform. Spears and short swords are weapons most commonly carried by soldiers. The double bladed axe is a sacred symbol, and a weapon reserved for the clergy or those that serve them directly.
One of the factors that began to unify the city states was the emerging Inti to the west. An aggressive and expansive nation, the Inti invasion is constantly being fought against. Urzud humanoids are rarely encountered, although when they are the outcome is never forgone. Sometimes the Urzud can be dealt with in a civilized manner and sometimes not. Conflicts in the east sporadically break out with Mogreth as both the lizard empire and Taymora vie for dominance over the human settlements between their two nations.
The Shimmering Lands and its inhabitants are avoided by choice, tolerated when necessary, and eradicated when possible. The dwarves carry with them the lingering rot of the Wasting, and many Taymorans still fear its touch. Some of the Taymoran leadership has dealings with certain dwarven households, buying slaves from them and hiring them to create magical items that the Taymora cannot create for themselves.
The sea holds both one of Taymora's greatest adversaries as well as one of its strongest allies. The kopru and their puppets fight a constant battle with the undead of Taymora, who they see as abominations that resist their control. The nosferatu have similar views of the kopru who constantly try to dominate subjects that rightfully belong to Taymora. From Vulcania come the elves on their long migration, and although they have no love for undead things they have always dealt with Taymora up front and honestly. Many elves have settled on islands in the Sea of Dread and are willing partners in the fight against the kopru.
Prefixes: Ari, Aran, Arud, Ban, Dur, It, Jad, Kik, Kit, Kub, Mij, Nash, Pames, Pijas, Pit, Tar, Tit, Wid, Yid, Yik, Yish
Suffixes (male): aba, abira, aja, are, ara, aros, ase, eru, ijos, ira, iros, iku, ina, ipi, ros, ti, tos, uja
Suffixes (female): adnh, ane, aru, ash, esh, ish, jas, sab, uru, ush
Taymorans speak the Taymoran language. Some few have also learned to speak Inti, as well as ancient Blackmoorian.
Clerical professions are common, especially in the higher echelons of Taymoran society, and are often dominated by women. Practitioners of the arcane arts are less prevalent, but nearly just as respected.
Warrior professions also pervade Taymoran society, since many of the city states constantly battle their neighbors or one another. Men tend to gravitate more towards these roles, but warrior women are not unheard of. Stealth and intrigue are prized skills in Taymora, so classes that make use of such abilities are also common.
After 2300 BC
The city states of Taymora exist to one degree or another until their ultimate destruction in BC 1720. Over the resulting centuries the states grow, expanding both their power and their territories. On several occasions two or more form brief alliances, however true imperialism eludes them. With the decline of the Wasting, Taymoras vampiric elite find themselves under increasing pressures and are eventually routed from a majority of the populace.
BC 2000 sees an influx of a new race migrating from the west. Minotaurs fleeing the native lands flock to the Taymoran cities and due to prevailing religious trends are easily integrated into society. Many often end up serving the Taymoran nobility as elite guards and soldiers.
In BC 1750 the first geological catastrophe of that era sinks much of southern Brun beneath the waves. Much of Taymora is destroyed, however a portion survived until BC 1720 when Mt. XXX explodes sending the remnants of the nation to the bottom of the ocean.
Some legacy of these people continues on down through the ages however, as the ancestors of the Traladarans and Millenians. Darker remnants are rumored to plague Traladara and Karameikos thereafter, as well as portions of the Sunlit Sea.