The Shattered Sea
The gods have abandoned the world of Aoroa. So say most, anyway, though twisted vestiges of their cults remain among some human tribes. Aoroa is dotted with islands, but beyond that, it’s all seawater. The Archivists – this world’s historians, poets, and traveling sages – speak of a time when countless millions of goblins, humans, dwarves, elves and others lived on dry land, but that time is a distant memory.
Humans, trying desperately to rebuild the empire from their days of glory, voraciously hoard what little land is left, and jealously guard it from others with strong magics. The Teuthidae, descended from cephalopods, lurk in the deep sea, their motives as byzantine and confusing to the Earthbound as their iron system of caste, though they are known to be the sworn enemies of mermen and sahuagin. Pockets of dwarven society have taken refuge in the brutal cold of the polar icecaps, which they have mined almost to exhaustion. Hobgoblins and kobolds build mighty city-states on the cliffs of distant archipelagos. No one has ever seen a real elf… that they know of. And all the while, slothlike !Kaa raiders borne on amphibious serpent steeds keep watch from the waves, and wait to strike.
While many never leave their islands due to the dangers of travel, those who do traverse six lines of force called Sluices that crisscross the ocean and amplify magic within their bounds. Some few have mastered these sluices; they are called Waykeepers, and while they are vitally important on the ocean, they are notoriously unlucky on land.
Aoroa is wracked with monsoons, hurricanes, rain and lightning, and a massive storm has been raging in the Roughs to the east for as long as anyone can remember.
Welcome to Dark Ages roleplaying. Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Good luck; hope you know how to swim.