Malatra was practically covered by dense jungle. Several mountain ranges such as the Himasla Mountains, Akashnu Mountains, and Intan Mountains could be seen poking above the treeline. There were also many villages and relatively large cities sprawling across all Malatra. In south-central Malatra, the giant Malatran Plateau rose thousands of feet above the rest of the region.
Northern Malatra was dominated by countryside and many small villages were scattered over this territory. Most of the houses were made of bamboo, elevated above the ground by stilts and the roofs were made of palm leaves. These roofs were very useful for protection against rain and insects while the stilts kept the floor dry during the rainy season. Usually such constructions were common in the Purang, while the Seng of Laothan had more impressive buildings. For example, a noble's house would be built from strong wood delivered from the rainforest, and many of these homes could reach two stories. Some foundations for defenses in Laothan were made out of stone but the buildings themselves were crafted of wood.
In the Kuong Kingdom, most of the buildings in villages were made of wood or bamboo, and raised above the ground for protection from wild animals and monsters. In the cities, the majority of homes were made of strong wood and the houses of nobles or important public buildings were built out of stone. Usually, the stone was quarried far away from cities and hauled back over many miles. Many stone buildings were often painted and had beautiful murals. The central core of a city was a temple around which were placed less important buildings such as shops and taverns. Temples were usually the most beautiful buildings in the city. Fortresses were often built of stone.
Agriculture and Commerce
In the fields of Malatra, mainly rice, fruit, and vegetables were cultivated. In the lands of Laothan, most cultivated just rice, maintaining their paddies near their villages. In the jungle areas, Kuong rice cultivation was less common, and villages often had to be nomadic to find suitable land with which to grow their crop. Because of unsuitable land in the jungle, the Kuong Kingdom saw fruit cultivation as a much more common practice. The Purang hill tribes however were subsistence farmers, growing fruits and keeping livestock.
The Seng were talented leather-workers and woodcarvers, but little of these goods were traded outside Laothan. Silver was mined near Kwang Tre and this silver jewelry was in high demand throughout Laothan and the Kuong lands. The Kuong were master stonemasons and their temples were magnificent. Malatra was rich in natural resources, as well as precious metals and gems. Tribal hunters made good living catching a variety of exotic animals to sell in cities.
Flora & Fauna
Malatra had various types of flora and fauna. Some of the plants in the region were used as medicinal herbs, such as the marsh mallow plant, allium plant, and the aloe vera plant. Curiously, not only the plants had curative properties, but also the creatures, such as healing bugs.
At a time when there were no people, the goddess Indra mounted her elephant and traveled across the sky. Where the elephant set foot, it created mountains, lakes, and rivers. Thus was created Malatra. The goddess Indra then had a dispute with her brother Yama who claimed the land for himself. Indra could not stop her brother and so she cried, sending the rains and terrible hurricanes that plagued Malatra. At the same time, Yama settled the land with people and animals and looked after their affairs. The people Yama populated the land with were near-demigods who lived on it for centuries, but eventually decreased in power, becoming the ordinary people who later inhabited Malatra. This heavenly origin was more strongly reflected in the Kuong Kingdom, where the priests were considered the closest descendants of the gods.
Thousands of years before the 14th century DR, before the people of Malatra had recorded history, several alien spelljamming ships landed on Toril in the jungles of Malatra. The aliens were a pacifistic faction of the race known as the Nubari, whose utopian planets, which had been shared with other species in other crystal spheres, had all become embroiled in war. These Nubari used their powerful magic to create the Malatran Plateau as a safe haven where they could live in harmony with the native spirit folk and natural predators, determining that it would not be a desirable place for the other native peoples of Toril to live.
They weren't entirely correct. Humanity found its way into Malatra. The expansionist Kuong Kingdom, the tribal Seng of Laothan, and the primitive hill tribes of Purang all made inroads into the nation from the north, though the magical hallucinatory terrain and antipathy spells the Nubari had erected over the plateau, in conjunction with the sheer height of the plateau itself and the dinosaurs that lived around its base, dictated exactly how much contact there would be between the two races on the Nubari's terms.
The Nubari transplanted their utopian culture to their new home and lived in peace and near-solitude for millennia. The goddess Beshaba however, despised utopias and caused a disaster—the nature of which has been lost to time—to befall the Nubari. The Nubari lost the vast majority of their knowledge, culture, and technology in the disaster and soon devolved to primitive barbarism.
During a long lull in the local predator population years afterward, human, korobokuru, and hengeyokai explorers managed to reach the plateau despite its magical defenses. The humans and the Nubari interbred, creating a new subrace of humans, and the korobokuru and hengeyokai thrived too. It is thought that the saru evolved from the gorilla population around this time as well, but no one can be sure as many from the other races did not immediately notice the difference in the primates' level of intelligence. The predator population was eventually restored, effectively isolating the humanoids on the plateau from the wider nation.
Away from the plateau, the peoples of Malatra warred among themselves and with T'u Lung, with the Kuong Kingdom acting most frequently as the aggressor. Since 1307 DR, there was a lasting peace. This wasn't necessarily a good thing for Laothan, however, as without a common foreign foe to fight, their nobles began fighting among themselves instead. However, unknown to them, the Kuong were just using those five decades to build up their military for yet another attempt to expand into Laothan.
At some point in the 14th century DR, Aurora sent field agents to Malatra to set up lines of trade for culinary goods for her emporium and catalogue. Through these lines of trade she was able to sell the land's peppers and garum.
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- Stephen H. Jay, Robert Farnsworth (January 2000). Living Jungle Campaign: Player Information Guide (PDF). Living Jungle (RPGA).
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 105, 106. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 99. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 100. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 105–106. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 106. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Certificates included in Stephen H. Jay (June 2000). Shadows of Sin (PDF). Living Jungle (RPGA).
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