Picture your typical medieval fantasy world.
That's not where we are. That was half a millennium ago.
The Jadiwan Continent of that time was the site of a flourishing civilization. Humanity, allied with the long-lived elves, had built up a culture that spanned the continent. The old human nations still remained, retaining their unique character and ethnicities, but more and more, they were growing together. A dozen different tongues had merged into a Common language, trade was extensive and common, and enlightened governments solved international conflicts without (too much) bloodshed.
But almost 500 hundred years ago, at the height of this golden age, something happened... something called "Devastor". To this day, nobody knows exactly what it was, but it toppled kingdoms, shattered and reshaped the lands and seas, and threw all into chaos. Contemporary histories for the month in which it occurred have been altered, with only the word "Devastor" repeated endless times instead of their original text. Even those nonhumans who were alive at the time cannot say, for to a one they find they have no memory of the month of Devastor.
Their nations and societies completely destroyed, the great "golden age" brought utterly to an end, humanity blamed the nonhumans -- particularly the elves, whose single, decentralized homeland suffered almost no damage. Armies of half-mad humans, urged on by demagogues and opportunistic racists, drove the elves back into, and then completely out of, their ancient homeland. For a short time, the elves took refuge with their traditional enemies, the dwarves, and that legendary enmity transformed into a friendship forged and tempered by the crisis. The elves, accompanied by dwarven volunteers, then fled across the blasted wastelands left by Devastor, seeking a place where they could make a stand. This they did on the site of the modern Sylvan Confederation. At that time it was not a plateau, but aiding the elves in their defense were physical manifestations of several gods; one raised the land 300 feet, creating the 120-mile cliff today known as "Imre's Wall".
In the end, the elves drove off the besieging humans, and founded a new homeland. However, their exodus from their original homeland proved to be the fulfillment of another people's ancient prophecies -- the Yadhai, the Dark Elves, emerged from their underground exile to reclaim the land where their ancestors were created by the goddess Lindelona, and the land from which they were driven millennia before. With the help of their patron god Ntono, they defended their claim against their human neighbors, and transformed the primeval sunlit forests into a land of disturbingly beautiful gloom.
In the almost five centuries since these events, humanity has rebuilt itself, starting with city-states which were later subsumed into the new growing nations. These constantly war over the lands that are slowly recovering from the effects of Devastor, claiming vast tracts and sending in settlers to cement those claims. Still, despite these efforts, the center of the continent is still almost uninhabitable; the great grasslands which have recovered are home to tribes of nomadic humans, centaurs and orcs, who have steadfastly repelled the efforts of the nations to annex their lands.
Elvenkind, in order to maintain their defense against periodic human predation, has developed a high technology and an advanced knowledge of magic. Many of their greatest achievements, such as the Wheelstones of Imre's Wall, blend both in an amazing synergy. They trade their technical knowledge with the dwarves, who often improve on the designs and add their own innovations. Some of this technology has leaked out to other lands over the centuries, so that humans and other races now have flintlocks and other early TL5 equipment.
In the mean time, the Dark Elves have established a land of permanent gloom in the old elven homeland, with the help of their patron god, Ntono. Goblin traders roam the nations; one mountain range is claimed by dwarves, another by a nation of dragons. Nomadic humans and centaurs run free on great plains claimed by dozens of nations but controlled by none. Barbarians of many races raid from deserted hill country, and to the southeast, a land of orcs is raising itself to enlightened civilization and is experimenting with Athenian-style democracy.
And spreading out on the west coast of the continent is the Kironar Empire, a nation which has over the past few decades taken over almost a dozen of its neighbors. Its capitol city, Krane, is the center of a new renaissance of human art and science. Its ruler, Emperor Brendan III, is human, but is related by blood to the near-legendary Iaruwitha i reve Iborelyn, the half-elven matriarch who leads the powerful Knights of the Living Bough.
Krane is also the center of the campaign; since its beginning in 1994, the online game has revolved around the adventure and intrigue to be found in this modern, cosmopolitan human metropolis.
Humans still distrust nonhumans; elves and dwarves both are suspicious in return. Dragons are seen in the skies, and mysterious creatures of power walk in the forests. Strange things lurk in the Blasted Lands. Dark elves skulk in the shadows of their cloud-covered nation. And over all, the gods watch, and make their inscrutable plans.