The following synthesizes the last few posts into a narrative history for the world. It isn’t finished, simply a setup for the world.
The world begins in prehistory. When mankind comes to its historical age, they descend onto the continent (tentatively named Sturmudrang, a play on the German literary movement Sturm und Drang), and find the continent large and bountiful, watered by regular storms and possessed of immense agricultural wealth. It was also actively cultivated by the Goblins, who were collectively slaves of the Hobgoblins. Humans entered the lands and engaged in endless wars with the Goblins and Hobgoblins, until they broke the Goblinoid’s powers.
Mankind made three nations that dominated politics on the continent, a constitutional monarchy, a republic, and a nation ruled by popular vote. They each claimed that they were the one truly free nation, while the others were false. There is another dozen nations, including Goblinoid nations, filling in the boundaries of the continent, but it’s the three great nations that lead cultural and political initiatives. They promptly forgot their histories on other continents, and set to ruling, and regular waging of war, on this continent.
Fifty years ago, tensions leading to a terrible war began to entrench the three nations against each other. They each began new colony projects on the coasts of the other three continents, and each began trying to find new relations and support from among the nations of those continents. It set off a new era of exploration, and a new appreciation for research of the physical and magical worlds.
Twenty years ago, the war was begun in earnest. Fierce battles and terrible casualties rocked the three nations, shattering many of their illusions. Throughout the war, propaganda became the primary tone for nations to speak with their citizens. Heroes emerged, distorted by folk tales and media into heroes of their nations, and sometimes heroes of the downtrodden. Corruption and crime began to take deeper and deeper hold on the continent, creating common enemies and themes for these heroes to fight. Heroes’ narratives began to fill out, and suddenly they had miniature cult followings.
Ten years ago was the first year of the Endless Drought. This continent, long accustomed to continual storms (see what I did there, Sturm und Drang?), suddenly never saw a drop of rain. The war continued unabated by this drought through the first year, but before even the first harvest was plowed under, the roving food riots and growing unrest made it clear that the war could not be continued.
The cease fire was only signed 9 years ago; there never was a true peace treaty. Flare up battles are rapidly addressed by diplomats, determined to suppress major war between the Great Nations. Minor battles break out with the lesser nations, violently shoving them back into line. With all of these challenges getting worse, not better, relief for the pressure is sought in new colony efforts on the other continents.
Player characters begin in one of the large and volatile cities on the continent of Sturmudrang, making the larger political picture one of the first things PCs need to get up to speed about. With common starvation, food prices should be marked up to ten times their listed prices (for pretty much every type of food or food like product). PCs can have their training in Player character classes paid for by the state, even beginning in their starter classes. If they refuse this training, they begin as NPC classes and have to find their own training; they will not receive wealth equivalent. It is up to the PCs to find a way to last through the drought, where shortages of food and water can make everyone short and very dangerous. Jobs in the new colonies should pay extremely well, for instance. Finally, the DM should be aware of the PCs actions and possible effects on the continental crisis, as even a little push should have consequences. Fame makes a big impact here.