Get an introduction to the world our characters call home. Please note that all of the information in this post is courtesy of our stunning DM (just cut and pasted here).
Our adventure begins in Gâla..
The Dark Continent
The Dark Continent was discovered by the civilized races a couple hundred years ago. It's name is a bit misleading, and intentionally so. When the first explorers returned with tales of an extremely lush and fertile shore, it was quickly branded The Dark Continent by cartographers (along with similarly themed names for many of its more distinctive features) to dissuade competition from the neighboring kingdoms.
The conspiracy of cartographers backfired though as waves of adventurers and explorers flocked to this seemingly nefarious land and sent word back of their disappointment to find fertile and pastoral lands. The settlers came anyway, but the names remained and were simply accepted
Several colonies were quickly established on the continent's southern shore and have thrived. Major cities line the coast between the Great Northern Ocean to the south and the Bloodmurk Thicket, an enormous forest that spans the entire Settled Coast only a couple dozen miles inland. This so-called Settled Coast stretches laterally from the Shaderot Spires mountain range to the west to the Black Crags in the east.
The Colony of Portara and the Town of Gâla
Portara was established by the human kingdom of Alarron in the name of the beloved child princess, Portia d'Are. It is the western-most colony and is pressed up against the Shaderot Spires. Neither the poorest, nor the richest of the colonies, Portara is a prosperous and contented land that has managed to avoid much of the dissent and turmoil of its neighbors to the East.
The town of Gâla is the northernmost town of any size in Portara, and is located at the largest fork of the Skunkwater River on its way from its headwater (Retch Lake in the Shaderot Spires) down to where it empties into the ocean (near the Portaren Capital City, Adrajen).
Gâla is a large town, and an important mercantile hub for the whole region. Goods flow through Gâla on their way to and from the mountain settlements of the Goblins and Dragonborn as well as goods flowing in from the surrounding farms, and out from the interior of the Bloodmurk. As a large town situated near the edge of the forest, with its endless mysteries, Gâla also serves as a hub for explorers and adventurers where they can gather their supplies before they venture forth -- likely to never be heard from again.
Early on in the colonization of The Dark Continent, explorers discovered the ruins of a vast city near the center of the Settled Coast, straddling the Putrix River. The colony of Vryskar is centered on the river, and the Vrysken capital of Yri (pronounced ee-ree) was founded adjacent to the ruins and has gradually spread over the top of them.
Relics were excavated from the ruins and the fallen civilization was soon dubbed the Eltreni after a powerful people described in one of the first books to be translated.
Research into the Eltreni civilization provided significant advances, and low-grade magic has become pervasive throughout colonial society. Magical items have revolutionized communications and transportation -- message stones, sending scrolls, and carriages drawn by ethereal steeds are all commonplace in the larger cities and wealthier districts -- and new advances are being made every year.
Masterworks on mechanics and metallurgy were also translated, which gave rise to a new classes of artisans (alchemists and tinkers), as well as new devices and techniques, such as clockwork, explosives, and firearms. Those with a mastery of alchemy or tinkering are often viewed with the same degree of reverence as those with a mastery of the arcane.
Now we are ready to dive into the adventure. Check back to see how our story begins.