and the Dragon Sea
The world of Iomandra is named after Io, the creator of dragons. The word “Iomandra” is Draconic; it means “Io’s trove” or “world of Io.”
According to legend, Io consorted with primordial beings to create Iomandra as a playground for dragons. Other gods flattered Io with praise for his design even as they were crafting worlds of their own, improving on his work. Io studied with envy the works of his divine peers, took note of the various humanoid races they’d created, and decided that his world needed such creatures to serve and amuse his dragons. Io negotiated with his fellow gods to bring humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves, halflings, and other races to the world—but none of them felt quite right to him. With the help of his children, Io crafted a humanoid race modeled after dragonkind and called them the dragonborn. The dragonborn were given every advantage, and with the help of the dragons they conquered and enslaved Iomandra’s other sentient humanoid races. The humans of Iomandra proved the most difficult to enslave; one kingdom in particular forged infernal pacts with devils in return for great power, thus birthing the tiefling race. However, even such desperate measures could not protect them from the awesome might of the dragonborn and their dragon masters. Their empires stretched across the vast continents of the world.
The covetous dragonborn empires eventually turned on one another. Petty rivalries and territorial disputes led to wars and horrible bloodshed. At the same time, slave revolts threatened to break the dynasties’ hold over the “lesser” races of Iomandra. To maintain order and restore paradise, Io sent his godling children to rule the great continents on his behalf, but they too became corrupt and tried to usurp each other’s power. Three of Io’s children perished in this world-shaking feud. Furious, Io recalled to the heavens his two surviving children—Bahamut and Tiamat—and unleashed a maelstrom that would sink the continents of Iomandra beneath the sea. Not everything was destroyed, however. In defiance of their father, Bahamut and Tiamat intervened and prevented the lands from sinking completely. Their intervention created islands around the globe where the world’s remaining inhabitants could survive and prosper. Moved by his children’s demonstration of unity, Io left the world in their custody. However, Bahamut and Tiamat would never again see eye to eye, and to this day, each seeks to break the other’s influence.
Iomandra of the “modern day” is a watery world peppered with islands of every size and ecosystem. Some of these islands are hundreds of miles across; others are barely large enough to support a single structure. Trade links many of the “civilized” islands, but countless more have yet to be explored. Beneath the waves lie the remnants of ancient, sunken empires and the treasures of the ages.
In this, the modern day, scores of vessels ply the Dragon Sea. They include heavily laden merchant ships, well-armed warships, swift privateer vessels, and fleets of marauding pirates. An intricate net of trade routes link the civilized islands, and ships that stray from these routes do so at their own risk. The only surviving nation of consequence is Arkhosia, ruled by a decadent and corrupt dragonborn dynasty that reveres Bahamut and Tiamat, fears Io’s wrath, and regards true dragons as divine exarchs.
The humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, tieflings, and other “civilized races” that inhabit Iomandra are no longer bound by draconic law. Having long since freed themselves from the bonds of slavery, they have charted their own destinies and spread across the world. These descendants of the ancient slave races bear no animosity to modern-day dragonborn, most of whom regard slavery as abhorrent under the teachings of Bahamut. Ever since Emperor Azunkhan III of the Dragovar openly professed his belief in “other gods,” these civilized races have expanded the pantheon of true gods to include such reverent figures as Erathis (goddess of civilization) and Melora (goddess of the sea).