Humbrain Condition in Melior | World Anvil


A maddening condition that causes auditory hallucinations in the form of a loud, low hum - only heard in the dead of night.

Humbrain is a condition that causes many folk to go mad with insomnia due to hearing noises from unidentifiable sources - often in the form of a very low throbbing hum in the middle of the night. There's a clear divide in those who see it as some kind of mental or physical condition, versus those who can hear it and are convinced that the Hum is real.  
"Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not - but when it is, it's unbearable.
I want to scream to drown out the noise."
— Sufferer of humbrain


The cause of humbrain is unknown and still being investigated. So far the only theory is that it's somehow related to the rifts that opened up to other realms during The Rupture, as new cases of this phenomenon have only occured in the last fifty years. Research being done into sleeping in proximity to nearby rifts, but the studies haven't provided any reliable information to draw a conclusioin.   Some folks believe it's the rifts themselves, others say it's the flow of magic seeping into Melior - there are also a few tales of nocturnal beasts, colossal in size, stalking the night as they signal out to their prey.


Those who suffer with humbrain claim to hear a loud, low buzzing or humming sound that isn't coming from any identifiable source. The sound is often described using words like: droning, humming, pulsating, or thrumming, and have been noted as "distractingly loud".   These auditory hallucinations drive folks (of all kinds and ages) insane from the added side effects of anxiety, anger, paranoia, and severe sleep deprivation from the insomnia it can cause.   Many people go missing in the dark trying to seek out the source of the noise, only to fall victim to disasters of the night.


There is currently no known cure for humbrain - plugging or covering your ears won't work well enough, and remedial ear drops have no effect. Some say that sleeping next to a source of constant noise helps to distract from the madness of it like being in a noisy room above an inn, barn, blacksmiths, or workshop, or to sleep next to running water (like a stream or river) or a campfire crackling.   With the introduction to magic into the world when the rifts opened, shady peddlers are making a huge profit selling "magical" cure-all potions that claim to get rid of humbrain after "a maximum dose taken for half a year, or a minimum dose taken over two years". These drug-laced concoctions intoxicate the consumers so much that they have other conditions to worry about.  
Cultural Reception
For more than twenty years, people thought that folks with humbrain were just making it up. Sufferers of the condition formed support groups which were regarded as "conspiracy theorists" by others who can't hear the hum.   Neighbours sometimes band together to form scouting parties to try and find the source of their sleepless nights. Sometimes they return home again to complain about their fruitless hunting, and sometimes they're never seen again.
Chronic, Acquired
Affected Species
"The Hum is real. I'm going to find the source of it and put an end to it for good."
— Sufferer of humbrain
The Rupture
Military Conflict | Jan 15, 2023

The catastrophic and unforeseen event that wrought havoc upon the world, plunging it into complete and utter chaos on an unfathomable scale.

Cover image: by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash


Author's Notes

Do you hear The Hum at night? Sometimes I do... Sometimes I wonder...

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Jan 5, 2022 09:06

Got to love a shady magic potion selling peddler - those are exactly the kinds of fun, scammy things that people would get up to :D   Great fun, like a souped up version of tinnitus with the potential to be the hunting signal of some magical monster, which is a great idea that I might end up being inspired by :D   One thing that isn't clear to me is where is the sound coming from? It says 'no identifiable source', so my question is more: is it an internal (like tinnitus) sound, or an external one? My guess is the second, since people go out to hunt it... But I'm not sure. Lots of fun ideas there, though. :D   Great stuff TJ :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
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