500 years after the ancient red dragon Karthuun incinerated the halfling homeland, and 300 years after humans conquered the high elven kingdom of Sirithil, the continent of Yvarsea is a world in decline.
The southern reaches of the Empire of Sirithil have fallen into chaos as monstrous races begin to reclaim their old homes, and local lords begin to feud amongst themselves. The nobility and royalty in the northern half of the empire are unwilling or unable to lend aid to their lands, weakened by overeager conquest beyond the Lake of Kord, including a failed invasion of the Dwarven kingdom of Riklundr. Meanwhile, the mysterious Red Queen of Kolhorn has unified the warring tribes of that country and has begun to establish new military camps closer to the border of Northern Sirithil. Old alliances between the wood elves of Veles Grove and the dwarves are strained, and Famor, a small country ruled by an ancient brass dragon, studies ancient artifacts in secret for an unknown purpose.
You are first-level adventurers, fresh off your first job together in Southern Sirithil. You’ve decided to regroup in the town of Londorthell. Once a bustling port city, it now sees less trade than it used to, and the lack of support from Sirithil City in the southern reaches of the empire is felt more and more every day.
Map of Yvarsea
Sirithil was once a high-elven kingdom, whose mastery or arcane magic and the crafting of magic items was once considered the pinnacle of civilization. However, 300 years ago, invading barbarian hordes conquered one village, then several towns, and soon conquered the whole land north of the Lake of Kord, establishing Yongar the Conqueror as the first emperor of Sirithil. While initially the high elves were treated viciously, Yongar’s son Dromar the Wise embraced elven culture, and spurred more research into the arcane after most of it was destroyed in the invasion. He also exiled the remaining barbarians who would not assimilate into a new, lawful society, and married an elven woman so that the rulers of Sirithil would be a product of both elves and humans.
Since Dromar’s rule, however, the empire has expanded beyond the Lake of Kord, and after several failed invasions of Riklundr, Emperor Kirianos has neglected the far reaches of his kingdom, creating power struggles with local lords in Southern Sirithil, and allowing wild races to begin reclaiming their lands. You will be spending most of your time in Southern Sirithil.
Kolhorn is a territory separated by hills to the north and the great desert to the south, and was officially considered to be founded when Kol the Bloody united several barbarian tribes. However, the tribes continued infighting after Kol himself was murdered. It is seen by most outsiders as a savage place, and attempts to spread magical teachings or finer points of other civilized societies have mostly failed. Very recently, however, a new unifier, the Red Queen, has brought the tribes together, and civilization is starting to take hold in Kolhorn.
As far as anyone knows, Riklundr stood when the gods created and destroyed the world, and many believe it will stand long after the other kingdoms have fallen. Once a sprawling underground kingdom, after losing so many soldiers in the effort to slay Karthuun, half of the kingdom was conquered by the Drow, who renamed it Irithlul, though any dwarf will still call the lost land Kar Ortheaid. They are longtime allies with the wood elves of Veles Grove, who joined with them to stop Karthuun, but this alliance was weakened after the elves could not aid them in repelling an ultimately failed invasion attempt from Sirithil.
The drow land of Irithlul reaches from the former home of the dwarves to the Underdark, a pitch-dark world beneath the world where all sorts of unnatural horrors reside. Not much is known about Irithlul, as most drow do not venture to the surface world, and those that do are often outcasts. What is known is that House Urvall leads the dark elves with the blessing of the Spider Queen Lolth.
Far to the west lies the land of Veles Grove, shielded by a magical forest called the Cloakwood. It’s often said that the founders of the country were guided to the center of the wood by Melora, the goddess of nature herself, and that those who attempt to find the home of the elves without a guide may find themselves trapped forever in the Feywild. When Karthuun incinerated the halfling’s home of Galiwyr, the wood elves and dwarves formed a coalition that killed the dragon and forged a longtime allegiance, though this bond was strained after the wood elves could not aid Riklundr against invading Sirithilian forces.
When Karthuun was killed, dragonborn across the continent were viewed with suspicion. In a rare moment of empathy for a dragon, the brass dragon Famor built a grand city in the middle of the southern desert, meant for the shunned dragonborn but intended for any who felt like outcasts and wanted to study the secrets of the world before the gods destroyed it millennia ago. What they’ve found is unclear, but many of its inhabitants consider Famor to be a small piece of paradise for those who do not belong elsewhere.
Humans are the most widespread of all the races, but most hail from either Sirithil or Kolhorn. The ancestors of Sirithilians formed a coalition with orcs and half-orcs from the neighboring mountain range to conquer the high elven kingdom of Sirithil 300 years ago. The humans of northern Sirithil may see themselves as more enlightened and well-read, while those from southern Sirithil are focused on surviving in the wilderness without the crown to help them.
Those who hail from Kolhorn love the thrill of combat, and believe that dying an honorable death is the greatest reward one can receive. Regardless of their heritage, high elves at best hold a grudge against any humans better off than they are, and at worst utterly despise all humans for their ancestors’ conquest of Sirithil.
The high elves hail from Sirithil, and while they exist in all classes of society, they are typically looked down upon by the humans of that kingdom. Though many have migrated outside of Sirithil, they prefer to keep to themselves and are often resentful of how their homeland was conquered.
The wood elves of Veles Grove are more widespread, and more willing to forge friendships and explore the world than their northern cousins. As a result, they can be found almost everywhere, and tend to hold no ill will to any particular race. They are particularly good friends with the dwarves of Riklundr, who helped them slay Karthuun the world-ender.
The drow rarely venture beyond the Underdark. Drow society is built on the evil teachings of the Goddess Lolth, and the drow who leave Irithlul are either outcasts from that society, or plotting some nefarious purpose. Dwarves view all drow with suspicion, and many will be tempted to start a fight with any drow they see.
The dwarves of Riklundr are the most secluded of all the races. They’re a very rare sight outside of their mountain homes, and those who do leave don’t venture far, usually keeping to Southern Sirithil or Veles Grove. They have an intense hatred for the drow, and have a healthy relationship with the wood elves.
After Sirithil was conquered, half-elves began to appear more and more frequently throughout the world. Across most of the world they are treated as friends, but in Sirithil, the human inhabitants view them as lesser beings than themselves, while the high elves see them as a mockery of their once-proud race and kingdom, and as such are often not welcome in most echelons of Sirithilian society, even though the royal family is half-elven.
After their country of Galiwyr was destroyed by the dragon Karthuun, the halflings have spread across the continent as traveling nomads, entertainers, or traders. That being said, both Veles Grove and Famor have a high concentration of halflings who were once refugees. No races truly hate halflings, but most halflings view Dragonborn with suspicion.
Half-orcs were part of the invasion of Sirithil with their human and orcish kin. When the second emperor of Sirithil, Dromar the Wise, purged Sirithil of barbarians, most half-orcs elected to join civilization rather than return to subjugation by the orcs in the Scandar Mountains to the west. As a result, Sirithil is home to many half-orcs, who are looked down upon by high elves, though the feeling is not mutual. Typically, half-elves and half-orcs tend to form communities in Sirithil’s larger cities and towns, brought together by their outsider status.
The Dragonborn were once spread across the world, but after Karthuun burned the land, they were unwelcome throughout the southern half of the continent. After Karthuun’s attack, the brass dragon Famor, in a rare display of empathy for a dragon, founded the country of Famor to the south as a refuge for his kin, outsiders, and all who sought greater knowledge of the world. Most Dragonborn have taken him up on that offer of friendship, and it is a rare sight to see Dragonborn in the world.
Tieflings are refugees from the Shadowfell, a plane that mirrors the material world, but devoid of light, emotion, or soul. They are very rare in the world and only appear in large numbers within major cities, particularly Famor. Their demonic ancestry and appearance means they are typically distrusted outside of these large cities.
For clerics and other religious adventurers, Yvarsea acknowledges the existence of the Gods from the Points of Light/Nentir Vale campaign setting.