The Golden Wastes
Orbis is the world of the Prime Material Plane, the realm of mortals. Giants call it Midgard. Orbis exists as a giant sphere, or orb, floating upon the Astral Sea. Sages know that Orbis is spherical, and that mean could potentially sail across the world, although none have done so.
The Titans first fashioned Orbis out of the Astral Sea, summoning the great powers of Air, Earth, Fire and Water from the elemental planes. But in this process, chaos became trapped in creation and some retired to the depths and became the Fomorians.
Despite this, the world flourished during the greening of the world. The terrible fires of Karshar birthed the lands of Grome from the sea of Strassha under the skies of Arikel. Dragons fell upon the earth like fiery comets, leaving devastation and disorder in their wake. It was then that the first men appeared, a mysterious race called the Alhanri of whom little is really known. All sorts of miracles beyond the ability of men now were available to them.
The Alhanri reigned on Orbis during the morning of the world. It was a Golden Age and even now their artifacts can still be found. All was not perfect in paradise however as the Alhanri fought against the power of the Serpent Kings and eventually destroyed them. Then mysteriously, the Alhanri were themselves destroyed when the Long Winter came.
The Long Winter cleansed the world in Ice, grinding the earth under the great glaciers, eradicating corruption, and entombing the great evils until they slumbered under the earth. Yet man survived and built the great civilization of the Ancient Sea Kings which was the first Empire as the ice melted and summer returned to the lands.
The Ancient Sea Kings were the first true men, lacking the miraculous qualities of the Alhanri. They were real flesh and bone. They explored the seas and established cities of men everywhere. They possessed great power and subdued the land as the glaciers retreated. However, they were not alone. Terrible beings under the sea hated the world of men and arose from the depths. These were the Fomorians. Although they fought valiantly, and for many years, the Ancient Sea Kings fell. In the last great war with the Fomorians, the Sea Kings defeated them with great magic, but they could not control it and their kingdom was shattered. Slowly, their descendents rebuilt the world of men, but it was a much different one and humanity would never know such glory again.
In this new world, often called the New Kingdoms, men rebuilt civilization. They were aided in part by a new race of men, the Hieron who dwelled in a garden amongst the clouds and tallest mountains. In them was the same power found in the Ancient Sea Kings, but the Hieron were new to this world. Their skin and hair were similar, but not the same, as terrestrial man. But the Hieron traded and taught the other men, and eventually – in many cases – became their leaders. The process was slow however, and the Hieron would not rise to rulership of the world for quite some time.
The rest of Orbis were the realms of Man – Humans, Kith, Calibani, Meranno, Helots, Yereni and Shudra. They began to build great cities, irrigate the land, and fashion monuments. They were not alone in the world though. The first men fought bravely against the Saurians, the corrupted descendants of the old Serpent Kings. The Saurians hated man just as their forbearers hated the Alhanri. Further trouble awaited man, as the remnant of the other elder races threatened them as well – Giants, Fomorians, dread Wolfen, and the kings of the Ghuls.
At one point, a great disciple of chaos, the Mother of Worms conquered the known world and initiated a time of great evil. But the Unconquered Sun sent a champion to save the world, Cyrin the Great, and after a long struggle he destroyed the power of the Mother of Worms and defeated her forever. When Cyrin retired and became a monk, one of his companions – the Hieron lord Sikander – knew that the realms of men needed to be united lest they be destroyed by their enemies and became the First Emperor.
The Empire has existed ever since, the universal state of mankind keeping order and dispensing justice. Throughout Five Dynasties and many disasters and triumphs, the Empire has continued.
In the setting, the player characters live in the time of the Fifth Dynasty, and the Great Khan rules. It has been less than two hundred years since the fall of the Fourth Dynasty and the Vampire Plague which destroyed it. The Empire is still rebuilding its strength and recovering lands lost during this time of disaster. The city of Velos is the only remaining bastion of mankind in the Golden Wastes connecting the Empire with the men of the Askari Freeholds.