The World is ancient, built upon and beneath the ruins of past empires, leaving the landscape dotted with places of adventure and mystery. Legends and artifacts of past empires still survive-as do terrible menaces.

The current age has no all-encompassing empire. The world is shrouded in a dark age, between the collapse of the last great empire and the rise of the next, which might be centuries away. Minor kingdoms prosper, to be sure: baronies, holdings, city-states. But each settlement appears as a point of light in the widespread darkness, a haven, an island of civilization in the wilderness that covers the world.

-Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, page 7

The world is simply known as the World. There are maps of the world of course, but only the smaller regional charts are detailed enough to be useful for travelers. The trade routes that connect the larger cities are well known, and are a vital part of all societies in the world. Local militia from larger cities will often protect a length of road extending from their jurisdiction, making travel on the trade routes moderately safe. Still, danger in the form of banditos lurks everywhere, so adventurers are often employed to guard caravans.

The human empire of Nerath, the last great world power, united many different peoples. Most of the human towns that have survived the empire’s fall are fortified bastions against the encroaching darkness. When elven forests are razed or dwarven mines overrun, the survivors often flee to the nearest human town for protection.

Despite the far reach and power of Nerath, humans in the present day are a scattered and divided people. Dozens of small kingdoms, fiefdoms, and free cities have arisen from Nerath’s ruins, and many of these realms are petty, weak, or isolated. Tensions and misunderstandings among them often precipitate skirmishes, espionage, betrayal, and even open warfare.

-Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, page 47

Humans comprise about half of all settled races. Dwarves and elves occupy one quarter of the population, while dragonborn, eladrin, half-elves, halflings, tieflings, and a few lesser known races occupy the last remaining quarter. Although humans are the most populous race, caravans and adventuring parties are more varied and contain any number of other races.

Magic is everywhere. People believe in and accept the power that magic provides. However, true masters of magic are rare. Many people have access to a little magic, and such minor magic helps those living within the points of light to maintain their communities. But those who have the power to shape spells the way a blacksmith shapes metal are as rare as adventurers and appear as friends or foes to you and your companions.

-Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, page 7

Magic is not unusual. A tavern owner might buy an enchanted mop from a trader that will clean shit automatically, or a figurine of a dog that springs to life when shattered, eating the left testicle of the person closest to it. Unless you’re a level 20 Wizard who shits lightning bolts, no peasant is going to be impressed with your Magic Missile.

The Adventures of the Classy Chaps of Skysmark

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