Between Sun and Shadow
On a small world in an extremely unusual solar system lies the planet of Dravidia. With a variety of different environmental zones the planet isn’t much different from earth, as it was in the late medieval era. Dravidia however is a world where magic is a powerful force and creatures unlike anything on earth exist in abundance. There are gods who watch over this world and dark forces who seek to control and prey on it. Life is not easy.
The planet itself circles two celestial bodies, one a beautiful white star giving warmth and light to the world, the other is a burnt out star radiating a low density of blue to UV light. As it travels between the two the planet goes through a beautiful warm summer into a long fall and a turbulent time then a short dark winter and another turbulent time back to a long spring and a beautiful warm summer.
The days of the year are not a constant. The calendar is only known to scholars wise men, astronomers and sages. Year to year they make changes and corrections as the seasons dictate. Usually they can forecast a year or two ahead and most learned officials have a good idea what the coming year will be before it arrives. But sometimes corrections need to be made with limited notice. An average year might follow this calendar World Calendar.
The continent of Furintor is isolated by magic and storms. What lies beyond is unknown to all but the most learned scholars. But such information makes no difference to the inhabitants of the continent. Most just call it the land and consider it the whole of the world, and in most ways they are correct. No one in memory has ever seen anything outside it.
Civilization across the land has reached a tech level about the same as earth of the renaissance. Tall ships have large square sails and are nimble and capable in all the waters of the world, except within the mists. Muskets and cannons can be found if one looks closely, but they are incredibly expensive. No army gives muskets to its soldiers, and only large countries can afford cannons on ships. Magic is involved in the making of the explosive powder, and the wizards guild guards it’s monopoly jealously.
Sometimes very modern things creep into the world, often substituting magic for what we might call modern electrical power. This gives some things a steampunk feel. Brass machines powered by steam, constructions of a secretive race long ago lost to knowledge for example, though such things are all but unknown to the general public.
Humans rarely encounter any of the other races, and there are many races. It would be rare for a human to see a dwarf in the city, though it would be the most common non human a person might encounter. Elves are known in tales and stories, but few have ever seen them. The little people of the shire stick mostly in the shire and the wolfen stay far from the civilized lands of men. Tales of a reptilian people come from the jungles and swamps, some even say they are the dragon people of legend.
Dark races also exist. The Grunor are a people equivalent to humans but have ursine features and are slightly stronger. Anguls are larger and uglier, often called half giants they are thought to be the offspring of giants and the smaller races. The andamen are animals that have been given the shape of people. Goblins are said to be a type of dark fairy, and though usually described as small their forms are extremely varied.
Creatures of all types live outside of ether society. From the mighty and rarest of all creatures, the Dragons, to giants, and all the strange magical beasts, unicorns, griffins, rocs, were-beasts, undead, ghosts, trolls and all the rest. Creatures similar to those from earths past can also be found there, along with the normal animals that anyone might see in the wild lands of our world.
The civilized cities and towns of man would be mostly indistinguishable from those of earths medieval period, except for the occasional splash of magic, and the greater diversity in people from other cultures. Magic is feared and shunned by most, and is closely controlled by the gatherings of wizards. The larger the human population, the larger the guilds and the more closely wizards and magic are observed. While some hedge wizards and witches are tolerated in the rural outlands, others may be taken down by mobs with pitchforks and torches, simply due to fear and misunderstanding.
The gods watch over this land but rarely take a direct hand in the world. The dark gods are more likely to break this rule and interfere, but at times those praying to the gods of light may find that their gods find ways to balance the scales.
As the light of the bright sun wanes and moves towards darkness the beings of dark nature become more active, From bandits becoming more brazen on the trade routs to cults of vampires leaving their underground lairs. During the darkest days it is even possible for portals to the nether planes to form, releasing demons and creatures of nightmare, or even spontaneously raising the dead to seek out the living.
This land is and old one. Many civilizations have risen and fallen. Most wiped out beyond memory. It is possible to explore the wild lands and find an ancient elven structure where there is no record of such people having ever lived, or a temple from a people nobody has ever heard of.
The farthest back human civilizations for which there is any record are the Atrians and the Covalans. Whether they flourished at the same time or in different ages no human can say for sure. But it is said each one rose to great heights and suffered great calamities. The last great civilization of man was called the Vallan empire. It stretched clear across the land. Seven great kingdoms forming its borders. There was a time called a golden age when the kings ruled in unison to achieve might goals and raise their kingdoms to great heights, until one turned to a dark path.
Worried about his own mortality he sought to evade it and delved into the dark arts. He became the first Lich King. He ruled and it wasn’t very many generations until all the other kings had come to him to learn the secrets of eternal ruler ship. It wasn’t long after they lost their humanity that they turned on their citizens, the dark apatite of the long ages taking their minds..
But the humans rebelled and fought back. Eventually they were aided by the other races and the living gods and they ended the lich kings thousand year reign. Now such things are a fading memory. Humans forget the things that were before the times of their grandparents generation and after two hundred years there are few who could even tell you that lich kings once ruled the world. But there are still evils, there is still darkness, and it always rises again.
Adventurers are the shield against that darkness. For when the days grow short and evil comes out to play, it is the adventurers who beat them back into their holes. If they survive often they return with great wealth or knowledge. Even though few do return, others are always willing to take up the challenge. Though most would never entertain the idea of facing such dangers, for others the wealth, the fame, the challenge, the chance to do good, keep their families and friends safe, or a hundred other reasons in their hearts are too much a draw on their souls to hide when the darkness comes.