This is what’s left of the main continent of Z’Driya, where the PCs are from. There used to be more. Originally, it was about the size of Europe and Asia combined, but what’s left is about the size of Russia.
Now, I haven’t developed the history of the main continent very well (mostly because it’s not extremely relevant to the game other than as a “here’s a list of races that live in the same general area as your race” and as a “here’s a list of races/classes that don’t exist here” type thing). But here’s how it roughly breaks down.
A long time ago, the Gods (standard pantheon plus a few additional deities unique to the setting) decided they wanted a break from caring for the world, so they created five elemental beings (Fire, Water, Earth, Lightning, and Wind) to keep the balance of the world in tact in their absence. They housed these beings in a special shrine and then took off for a few thousand years.
During this time, the races of the world grew prosperous and started to expand. They tore down forests in order to make new cities. During their expansion, they stumbled upon the shrine and destroyed it.
The five elementals erupted from the shrine in a rage and razed the land in a twelve-day cataclysm known as The Sky Rend.
On the thirteenth day, the five elemental spirits returned to their senses and realized what they had done. In an act of atonement, they selected a newly-formed island that featured the most diversity in population and sealed it off in the form of a thick ring of storm clouds that was impassible. Since the ring of storm clouds spat out not only lightning and rain, but also fire and boulders, it was thoroughly impossible to enter or leave. The ring of storm clouds became known as The Five Storms by people living on the mainland.
I’ll talk more about the protected island, known as Elara, in a later post since it’s where the actual game takes place.
After the events of The Sky Rend, tensions were high between the races on the mainland. No one knew who had caused The Sky rend, so there was a lot of finger pointing. Several wars broke out, thinning the populations of the survivors even further.
However, there were two unexpected consequences of The Sky Rend that went unnoticed for some time.
The first was that arcane magic was released into the world. Once this was discovered, a temple/school was built near The Five Storms in order to study and teach this strange new skill.
The other phenomenon was that portals to other realms began to open up. Luckily for the people of Z’Driya, most of these newcomers were peaceful. The only invaders came from the Shadowfell, and these races only lived in more isolated areas.
I might as well go into more details on races and classes in another post, too.
Eventually, the Gods realized something was up and intervened. The portals were sealed and the warring populations were placated. However, old grudges still exist, and racism isn’t unheard of.
Recently, The Five Storms have vanished, allowing people to travel to Elara. This land, known for its rare treasures, great mysteries, and fabulous tourist attractions, has become popular with people from the mainland looking for adventure.