A planet not entirely dissimilar to others those reading this page may know...Theriac is in the throes of extreme climate change caused by an imbalance in the magical forces of the world. The previous age had built an advanced technical civilization powered by the Arcanum, the intrinsic natural magic of the world. The Fey Arcanum, tied to order and creation, was less plentiful but provided a safer, more controlled power source. The Feyral (pronounced Feral) Arcanum, the magic tied to entropy and chaos, was more abundant but was harder to control and disruptive to reality if it escaped confinement.
The dominant civilizations of Theriac were Orcish. They dominated the cultural and political realms, had the largest and most powerful nations, and led the world in magical and technical research. They established global civilizations and contended often for space and resources. The Elves and Dwarves established smaller countries on the borders of the Orcish empies and sought out alliances to take advantage of the Orcish advancements. The small folk, Gnomes and Halflings lived intermixed with the taller races, usually forming enclaves in the cities or countrysides apart from the dominant race. Humans were considered barbarians, and were pushed to the harshest and least hospitible climes.
Despite the intermittent conflicts the cultures thrived, building a technologically advanced civilization based on harnessing magic to power their ever growing needs for food, water, and energy. Progress stalled as the Fey Arcanum, the intrinsic natural magic tied to order and creation, was tapped beyond its ability to sustain the need. The societies began to draw more of the Feyral (pronounced Feral) Arcanum, the magic tied to entropy and chaos, to fill the gap.
Something happened to destroy the balance between the Arcanums. A sudden wave of destruction swept the world as Feyral powered devices failed or lost containment, warping the reality around them in an event which came to be know as the Feyral Surge. The weather grew increasingly extreme and the forces of nature became more powerful: thunderstorms were larger with bigger hailstones, more frequent lightning strikes, and stronger winds. Summers were hotter and dryer, winters colder with unrelenting snowstorms. Hurricanes and tornadoes appeared year round, covering more area and bringing more destructive winds. The stronger societies engaged in a rushed attempt to utilize the Fey Arcanum to stave off the worst of the effects using Protective and Weather Control magics but found the amount of Fey available was greatly diminished and insufficient. In a last desperate attempt those surface dwellers who could fled to the Gloaming. Orcish and Dwarvish societies had always had a strong underground component and these spaces were expanded as quickly as possible to accomodate the need. People without prebuilt boltholes excavated what they could. Most structures were heavily trapped to discourage raiders from the surface.
The truly desparate took refuge in the network of natural caverns which riddled Theriac's lithosphere to unknown depths. Sometimes in doing so they disturbed that which should have been left to lie...
Those left on the surface fell into barbarism. The existing archetecture, built for a more moderate climate, proved to be insufficient. Crops faild, large scale agriculture collapsed, and animal stock died from exposure and privation. The survivors broke into small bands fighting over the scarce resources, cobbling together whatever they could from the decaying remnants of civilization's former glory.
Approximately 500 years after the Feyral Surge a fleet of elvish colony ships fleeing the 1st Unhuman War discovered Theriac's Crystal Sphere and attempted to land. The ships, hastily built and poorly maintained, faired poorly in Theriac's wild atmosphere with more than half suffering structural failure and strewing their their crews and cargo across the land. Of those which reached the surface many crash landed, killing most if not all of the settlers. The handful of successful landings became the seeds of towns and cities. The other survivors either joined or formed barbarian tribes to survive as best they could.
About 100 years ago a planet in a distant sphere was facing extinction from an exploding star. A Paladin turned Wizard sacrificed their life to their god to power a Wish spell so that "every living thing is transported somewhere safer." As a result the planet's entire population was Teleported throughout the Multiverse. Families were scattered, races and cultures mixed. The transplants what they or their pack beasts could carry and joined the previous generations in trying to survive. But the new comers brought resources and skills which, when combined with the resourcefullness of the natives enables brave adventurers to tame the Feyral taint and bring balance back to the world...