The Shattered Spectrum: Fragments
Millennia ago, a colossal impact broke the world to pieces. Somehow, life continued. The fragmented shards of arable land are divided between seven major powers and principalities. Populations forging their own path, vying for dominance with one another. The surface is divided between main, roughly continental landmasses. The continents are jagged pieces of a rough hewn puzzle, ill fit together, with interstitial spaces between the land masses allowing descent down the cliffs through the depths to the center of the world.
The core of the world, if one were to pass the hundreds of miles through the interstice between continents, is said to be a massive body of water called the deep ocean. As one traverses the alien terrene downwards towards those uncharted fathoms, the monsters and beasts become more and more fierce. Beneath the depths of the sea, ancient horrors and other mysteries lie in the shattered depths. An otherworldly white light, faintly flowing from the deep ocean, from some unfathomable source beneath the surface, is ever present along the chasms.
The ancient collision tilted the planet on its axis, such that, while some of the nations have roughly a twenty-four hour day night cycle, others experience months of light or darkness. This informs in many ways the cultures and relationships between nations.
The tilt of the shattered world keeps the World Trees in near constant sunlight. The largest tree, mountainous in size, is the main source of water for the face of the continents. As gravity draws water over the edges of each of the continents, down the crags, and towards the deep ocean, the roots of the world trees draw it back. The roots of these grand trees drink from the depths of the deep ocean itself, sustaining an infinite cycle. Those that live in its boughs, these “Keepers of the World Trees”, are fiercely protective of their lands and its dense, life sustaining flora.
The largest contiguous land mass is held by “The Grand Imperium”, a totalitarian regime with gargantuan economic, trade, and technological dominance. Airships, explosive powders, and clockwork devices power the infrastructure of a complex political juggernaut. The cities of the Imperium are sprawling metropoles, filled with citizens of all economic strata and race.
The same continent holds another group, a people pushed to the edge, and in places over the lands end and into the cliff faces that descend to the deep ocean. They claim birthright to the land, and have refused cultural integration by the ever expanding Imperium. They call themselves “The Free People”, and are in a constant war of subterfuge and attrition against the people they consider invaders to their ancestral home.
Fissures run to the ocean of the deep, diving between the jagged rocks that make up the continents. Caverns line the path to the abyss, and the loose coalition of “Crag Dwellers” make their homes in the ore rich depths. They trade with the surface dwellers, but share an uneasy relationship with the Keepers, as the roots of the World Trees are, occasionally, and unfortunately, threatened by the fortune seeking delvers.
As the World Trees bask in near constant sunlight, opposite lies a desolate wastes of shadowed, light deprived peoples. Only the most strong and brutal survive, and they do so at whatever the cost. “The Scoria Tribes” live in the dim world illuminated by the lava flows and crag-light. When the infighting settles down, they raid the other lands where they can.
Power begets power, and long ago the mages of “The Gilded Preeminent” built their monopoly on power. Mages are trained by the Gilded, and they ensure, with lethality, that only they train mages. Their services are utilized by great powers across all nations. Through this exclusive relationship, they control teleportation services, alongside many other magical means. In return, all nations agree to hand over all those that show the signs of magical inclination. All Wizards and Sorcerers either train and serve the Gilded, or they are put to death. There are no exceptions.
Among the tall spires, in the most jagged broken piece of the world, lives an ancient order of Knights. “The Knighthood of Aiephoria” serve as a mercenary military, guarding their own easily defended borders stalwartly. They train for years at home and abroad, serving the various powers of the world as an impartial martial force, following a strict code of honor. They forge deep and lifelong connections with their flying mounts, and keep their knowledge of the raising and training of their magnificent beasts a guarded secret.
All of these peoples worship their own Gods and have their own unique cultures. Some races and classes have unique relationships with the different civilizations.