An Introduction to Umqwam

I leaned over the edge. The wind from below blew gently upwards, caressing my face as I beheld the wondrous view. Great nests sat stoically on branches below, mountains, rivers, cities— I could see it all in the distance below me. Oh, if only I could sprout wings and fly to meet them one day.
— A wishful dreamer
You have found yourself among the branches of the great tree, Umqwam, planted long ago by the travelling god Mawqik. Here, within a great nest of stone— of which there are several— you can see great mountains, forests, rivers, and settlements before you. Or perhaps you see a great desert, with mesas stretching as far as you can see. Perhaps a great roof sits above, blocking the light from one of several suns growing in the tree's branches?   Regardless, you are here. Welcome to Umqwam.  

What is this place?

  To put it clearly, Umqwam is a genre blend: fantasy and western, with inspiration drawn from various Native American cultures.   Umqwam itself is a great tree, with giant nests of dirt and stone set in its branches. Each of these nests was created by a different godlike bird, stopping by along their flights among the stars. Most of the sentient races of Umqwam can draw their origins to these great birds, and many worship them as gods. Wielders of magic, referred to as spellslingers, or saawkamut are feared and respected. Even more so are those who can master the gun alongside their spellslinging— focusing their magic and greatly enhancing their spells through them.  
UmqwamGenericSmall3-2.png
  More common than these are those who can sprout ethereal wings, called wupawk which are used for short and long distance travel— some daring few flying as far as other nests. Stronger saawkamut are able to summon yah— manifestations of their inner spirit that act as trusty steeds.   Religion drives much of people's lives, shaping their worldviews, giving them support, sometimes offering them purpose or answers.   But not all is well. Some of these religious organizations abuse their followers, isolating them from the world at large, chaining them to perpetual misery.  

Themes

I want to explore both the good and the bad of religion throughout Umqwam. I do not believe religion is a bad thing— but I certainly do not believe it's a good thing, either. Like many things in our own world, the exact context is important. I'd like to explore different aspects of religion, faith, organization, leadership, tenets, community— and see where I stand on them— if not simply share my own views and play devil's advocate with myself.   I'd also like to explore some of my own philosophies— challenging gender stereotypes, transhumanism, self reflection, self betterment, and whatever else my grey matter may conjure forth.   Of course, I also want to write things for simple fun as well! I've got ideas kicking around in my skull that wouldn't fit in a tight, drama-focused world. That is to say simply— Umqwam has a lighter tone. There'll be magic guns, yeehaws, flying trains, bean sprites, and other mistakes wild ideas!  

Where Do I Start?

  First and foremost, the introduction on the world homepage. Following that, these articles are a good place to start!
I will be updating this section as World Ember progresses and I get the foundational articles done!

Thanks To

Qurilion, for support and feedback.   Amy Winters-Voss for help navigating particularly tricky CSS tricks.   Asher Rose for feedback on the CSS that really got things to shine.   And a handful of other friends and members of the WorldAnvil community, for support, feedback, help in navigating cultural sensitivity, answering questions, and more!

Oom-k-wahm

Origins

The inception of Umqwam was in early 2019, while I was working feverishly on my other world, Qet.   Qet is a very serious setting, and requires a significant amount of research at times, while playing with heavier themes. Simply, I wanted a "break world"— one that was looser, lighter, and allowed me to take a breather from Qet at times.   Something that can allow me to keep in the running for events such as WorldEmber and Summer Camp in case my brain power runs low.   Why western fantasy? I like westerns. I thought it'd be a fun challenge to mix the two genres together! Deserts are some of the most beautiful areas on earth, as well, and I can't not have them.  
 

World ember 2019

I've been bottling up ideas for months, feverishly working on art, CSS, and researching so that I can have this world ready for World Ember this year!   I intend to work on Umqwam alongside Qet throughout December, because it seemed to be the perfect time to start a new world!   Also I may or may not have mistakenly believed that World Ember required a new world, whoops!

My other world

Ytzklapon
Organization | Oct 4, 2019

A theocratic nation set atop the back of the great pale lizard Ytzkla, in pursuit of a horrid goal— seeing all of humanity devoured by the great lizard.


Comments

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 Nov, 2019 02:40

Like is for the theme, as well as the awesome article, follow is for an excellent concept and a world I'm excited to dive into. I'll be exploring here soon!

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
27 Nov, 2019 17:34

Thanks! Hopefully it'll live up to first impressions!

Journeyman Carolpb
Carolina Barbalho
8 May, 2020 00:00

I'm deeply in love with your Worlds.The stories are amazing and as a designer and illustrator myself is so good to see a world so well designed and full of illustrations! I'm just starting to put my ideas out here and I'm looking forward to keep everything so tied up as you did! Thank you for the inspiration <3

Carolina Barbalho
8 May, 2020 02:30

Thank you! I'm glad you like them that much, and I'm glad to be able to spur others on in their own creations! Best of luck!