1402 AC - Modern Day Altherra
The Forgotten Lands are made up from known and unknown lands that exist on the fictional planet of Therra. The people are spread over great geographical distances, and due to the inherent danger of traversing the wide expanse of Therra, there are many civilizations who are unaware of each other, despite having existed for thousands of years. The general geographical makeup is similar to earths own, featuring temperate micro-climates such as those found in the united states, in addition to more extreme and hostile environments that are not represented commonly on earth.
Much of the natural history of Altherra, and the lands that come before, have been lost to time. Pre-cataclysmic geography was said to span endless forests, deserts, and frozen wastes, and vast unexplored alien terrain.
Altherra is a vast continent which is home to mild climates toward the equator, and more extreme micro-climates toward the east and west. The wilds are dense, overgrown, and ancient; and even prior to the cataclysm, civilizations were built upon each other, and nature has reclaimed its land over and over again, leaving ancient ruins, crypts, ziggurats, aqueducts, and long forgotten, hidden empires.
Therra is home to diverse number of races, though humans are by far the most populous in the known lands. The dwarven halls, and the elven foresthomes are now home to the kingdoms of man. Racial tensions have likewise, shifted to human-centric, placing most other races as second class citizens in regard to government, representation, and overall status.
Dwarves are nomadic people, still excellent craftsmen, though without the anchor of their mountainhomes, they have become numerous, and seek out all walks of life. Dwarves are for all intents and purposes, jews.
Elves typically have lifespans that span well over several hundred years, and while not uncommon in Therra, have seen their numbers dwindle over the past millennium. They rarely conceive, and rarer still is a child brought to term. due to their long lives, they have also been known seek many different paths in life - some are advisors to the wealthy and powerful, while others still seek solace in the forests and glades of their kin.
Therra was once home to all varieties of people. After a cataclysmic event over a millenia ago, known as the sundering, other races such as Gnomes, Tieflings, Dragonborn, and Drow, have become overwhelmingly uncommon. The world is big, and a great deal unexplored (especially for those living with the Forgotten Lands – you), but for most of the fey ancestry, the twilight of their existence is nigh.
For some time, however, the largest continent in the Forgotten Lands known as Altherra, has experience unprecedented peace and prosperity. While Orc raiders have always been an issue, no banner but the kings has been raised in almost 150 years, nearly the entirety of the current kings life, Pythous Blackstone.
Over a thousand years ago, after the seven current houses of man banded together following the sundering, and established the current form of democratic monarchy. Each house is in line for succession of the throne, upon the death or relinquishment of its current possessor. The senate and the guilds serve as checks and balances to the king or queen. The act as the eyes and the ears of the people, enacting change for the greater good, and ensuring the law of the kingdom is fairly served for its men and women.
The cities, towns, and villages of Altherra are interspersed throughout the continent, spanning nearly 3,000 miles across, and almost 2,000 miles vertically. Each recognized town, city, village, hamlet, or other settlement is for the most part operate as a republic.
There are kingdoms, republics, democracies, and aristocracies spread throughout Altherra; each recognized body is able to elect representation, and rule their own territory absolutely, so long as they do not break the laws of the empire.
There are seven major houses that make up the line of succession. These houses were given lands to govern, and while time has chipped away at these territories, each house is represents a great deal of power throughout Altherra. There is but one true king or queen, but each house is treated as royalty, and its specific makeup and practices might differ significantly from one another.
The Gods of the Pantheon have historically played a significant part in the development and continued existence of the people inhabiting Altherra. There was a time that temples and places of worship for deities and demi-gods were packed to capacity, and songs, hymns, and legends of times beyond the scope of memory were common place, and part of every day life.
That time is over. It ended with the cataclysmic event known as the Sundering, during a time of unprecedented war and chaos, when all nations and races were engaged in ruthless, bloody combat. It was said that the gods hurled a giant fiery stone in anger, splitting up the massive continent, and thus ending the age of war.
Since then, the gods have taken a much less prominent aspect in everyday life, to the point of falling into relative obscurity for certain regions. Some places of worship are still maintained by brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and those who keep faith, while others have fallen into disrepair and have become derelict ruins, crypts, and places where only seedy and unscrupulous individuals haunt. The effigies erected for the gods have likewise either been torn down or desecrated over time, and those that still stand serve as a reminder for how the Gods have seemingly turned their backs on the races of Therra.
The continent you live on is named Altherra, and due to a cataclysmic event 1500 years ago, the geography of the world has changed substantially. People say it was because all of the races were warring, and basically sending themselves back into the stone age, and the Gods being a little petty too, threw a volcano at them. All of them.
Fast forward to today. Humans are prolific, while most other races have significantly diminished. Elves are similar to the native americans, having been uprooted, hunted, and disbanded. Dwarves are similar to jews having similarly been persecuted for their beliefs. Early on, they housed the humans in their giant, stone castles and keeps. And then the humans kicked them out, causing a deepset mistrust amongst the dwarves. Halflings and Gnomes either adapted, or died off; humans will dick almost anything, as in real life.
Around the same time as the cataclysm the gods peaced out. They used to walk around and do cool shit, but that stopped a while ago, and most people don't need stupid magic anyways! That shit caused the cataclysm, remember?! Or at least, that's what everyone seems to think anyway. Some of the backwoods folks believe in this stuff, and some of the old folks, and maybe even some people in power, but most people have come to realize they were probably made up. Magic has also become somewhat unreliable, and few magic users exist that are highly adept in the arcane. Most people are McDonald's Wizards; not great, but decent-ish.
If you're a magic user. People might ignore you. Or someone might make a comment about how all you do is play with your wand, or throw a tomato at you. Stupid peasant stuff.
If you're a dwarven magic user, someone might take offense to that, the same way someone might take offense to someone else being homosexual. People might murmur, especially in large cities, or someone might want to pick a fight. I think we've established that humans as a whole are pretty stupid.
The continent is ruled by an empire. 7 houses take turns, and sometimes, they cheat to get more time in the throne - say what?!
The current king has been on the throne for over 150 years, and that shit ain't normal for a human. People are starting to notice, and in far flung corners of the known world, some talk of rebellion, or secession, which will probably end without consequences.
Specifics do not matter so much, as the general idea of the setting is more important, and should remain somewhat flexible.