Once upon a time, a powerful magical empire ruled the world, mostly the central continent. A few centuries ago, a cataclysm occurred that wiped out all sentient life on the central continent, and stirred up the seas to make passage impossible.
About 10 years ago, the storms lessened during the summer, enough for voyages to cross the Narrow Sea. Since then, towns and villages have sprung up along the coastline, and adventurers are always wanted to explore and conquer the dangerous interior.
Here on the west coast of the Continent, all people are from the Torren Commonwealth, a republic of various minor states that banded together against northern pirates and internal banditry.
Humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and orcs intermingle, with little cultural differences. Dwarves are not inherently miners and smiths, and elves are not necessarily naturists and gardeners.
Interbreeding is common, and tends to result in humans; the other races are fairly rare, except for halflings. Some scholars suggest that the five races all share a common ancestor.
Dwarves and elves each have their own language. Elvish sounds enough like bird-song to confuse the untrained ear. Dwarvish is simple and guttural, and carries well underground. Orcs once had a language, but the Common Tongue superseded it; it is now a dead language, used only by scholars and orcish priests.
In the New Lands, the goblin tongue is highly useful. Not only do goblins speak it, but the new bandits and thieves there tend to use it for secrecy. It is a difficult language to learn.
There are also traces of the script of the Ancients (of whom almost nothing is known). Sources disagree on the pronunciation: they are divided into the Vulgar (similar to the goblin tongue), Archaic (based on old Common), and Sibilant (because some scholars insist that the Ancients were snake people). Learning the script is hard, and each of the three pronunciations must be learned separately.
Major Locations in the New World
In the Bay of Dreams
- Lord’s Harbour: the only natural harbour known to the commonwealth. In summer, the town is booming, with travellers and traders coming and going at all times. In winter, it feels like a ghost town.
Lord Coniril passes heavy taxes on exports.
- Laketown: lies upriver from Lord’s Harbour, in the foothills of the Razors. Known to opportunists as the “Adventuring Gateway to the Unknown”. Many true and false maps of the area are for sale, several pointing out the locations of ancient ruins and supposed treasures.
- Redgate: located on the only known fertile land this side of the Razors. It is a profitable town (at least, for a New World town), but suffers heavily from banditry.
In the Bay of Teeth
- Coruvon: the ruins of an ancient city. Expeditions have set up several camps, both inside and outside the city walls. There is rumoured to be an Alabaster Oracle, who knows the future but does not speak.
- Mudport: a slimy little shanty town, with a few docks for dinghies. It only exists to facilitate trade up the Ruvon River. Plenty of people make it as far as Mudport, and can’t get enough money to go back or carry on.
- Frostwater: upriver from Coruvon, where snow-melt fills the river all year round.
On the headland
- Farmgrove: this is the only town with a road heading out of the headland. It is the trading hub of all settlements on the headland.
- Korl’s Folly: a tiny settlement right on the coast. It has to be abandoned every winter, when the storms get bad. Korl and his family persist in moving back and rebuilding every spring.