On the fringes of the once mighty Empire lies the planet Ungaro, orbiting a sullen yellow star. Even during the height of the Empire, Ungaro was little more than a remote economic colony, exploiting the planet’s primitive megafauna and rich asteroid mineral deposits. As the Empire waned, communication become less and less frequent until, some centuries ago, starships stopped coming to Ungaro altogether. For several hundred years now the planet has been on its own, gradually slipping into savagery until only a few civilized city-states remain.
The primary city-state, V’heng, serves as Ungaro’s ‘capitol,’ and is the seat of the governor-general who claims dominion over the entire planet in the name of the great Star Emperor. It is only by stint of the Empire’s mythic status, and their dwindling arsenal of advanced Imperial weaponry, that keeps the last few city-states from being overrun by neo-barbarian and Ungol tribes. The governor-general goes to great lengths to maintain the illusion that he is still in contact with the Empire and that any attempt to overthrow the city-states would be met by dire Imperial retaliation from the heavens, though the ruse becomes more transparent with each passing season.
The decadent city-states are spread along a narrow equatorial band, approximately 200 miles across. This is the best living space on the planet, prime and fertile land. The equatorial zone was once dotted with plantations, ranches and farms, but now only enough land is cultivated to support the last few cities. What outposts remain are heavily fortified and difficult to reach, except via increasingly rare aircraft. Beyond the temperate equatorial zone, to the north and south, are two vast, unexplored jungle zones, home to most of the planet’s lethal megafauna, as well as to the Ungol men and those humans who have reverted to neo-barbarism. Beyond the northern jungle is a vast arctic wasteland and below the southern jungle an endless desert. Any Imperial outposts in these foreboding regions were abandoned long ago, though perhaps not all of their equipment was recovered at the time.
The Ungol men are Ungaro’s native species, a primitive, neanderthalic race. Many have been enslaved as laborers, servants or even auxiliary troops by the city-states, but many more live free in Ungaro’s uncharted northern and southern jungle zones. Ungol raiders frequently attack isolated outposts and caravans, taking captives and plunder. It is rumored they consume their unfortunate prisoners, but this has never been confirmed. The city-states greatest fear is that someday the Ungol tribes will unite and overrun them, wiping out the last vestiges of Imperial civilization (such as it is) on Ungaro.
Note: All the artwork is by Frank Frazetta. The name Ungaro comes from a computer game called Endless Space; who know where they got it from? I recently purchased a few books of Frazetta art on the cheap, and found some of the work to be very inspirational for a science-fantasy/sword-and-planet RPG setting.