Welcome to Greyhawk. The year is 8,621 Common Year Reckoning, life is good here.
(So we’re around 7,700 years after the official Greyhawk date)
There is world-wide peace, disease, poverty and famine are scarce, war is virtually unheard of, generosity and good-will are the order of the day, life is generally simple.
With such a peaceful existence, individual drive and passion has somewhat dwindled. Invention, research and improvement have fallen to the way-side. Knowledge has been lost, secrets forgotten and power has faded.
(As far as the world populous is concerned, high level now means level 5+. Virtually no NPC has gone beyond this in living memory, there has been no need, no drive.)
Farmer is the most common career path, with three-quarters of the population doing it in one shape or form. Whether they’re shepherds, gardeners, brewers, hunters, farrier or spend all day toiling in the fields, nearly everyone works to fulfil a daily need of their community.
Cities still have guards at the gates, but the combat training is minimal and their most common task as to act as guides, welcoming visitors. Merchant wagons might hire a guardian or two, but the worst they generally face are hungry wolves or a lost bear.
Religion has taken a back seat too. The gods don’t issue any direct edicts, in fact they don’t even respond to their followers. Trained-worshippers can still invoke divine power in a gods name, but their main role in society is generally to bless a new born child, to comfort the dying, or to send a prayer asking for a good seasons crop.
( Dieties available for player worship are: Avandra, Corellon, Erathis, Ioun, Kord, Melora, Moradin, Pelor, Raven Queen & Sehanine. The evil gods are still followed in some regions, but without war, crime and cruelty there is little reason to worship these gods.)
Magic use has like-wise diminished in magnitude. Or rather the urge and passion to dabble and experiment has diminished. All the great mages of history are long gone and few folk now have the enthusiasm to learn much more than simple cantrips to aid with daily life and light-shows to entertain in the evenings. There are rumours of a mage in the city of Greyhawk who can summon great balls of fire, but most folk assume this is an exaggeration.
(As mentioned above, level 5 is high level at the moment, so powerful magic is a thing of the past. No reason it cannot come again, in fact, you can bet your crystal ball it will do. Soon.)
It wasn’t always like this, but no-one alive remembers how it use to be, or what changed, or why. Too many generations have been and gone, and the fire-side warning tales of history past have faded and been forgotten.
All is not completely dull though. Those that are old-enough or perceptive-enough can see the signs of change approaching. Like a cloud passing in front of the sun on a summers day, sending a cold shiver down your back; rain coming.
The first and most obvious sign was the arrival of the Dragonborn just over fifty years ago. A storm like none other in memory appeared from nowhere overnight and the next day, there they were.
They claim no knowledge of where they are from or what their arrival means. Their appearance is a surprise and a frightening shock to the calm citizens. Some proclaim them to be heralds of the apocalypse and attack them on sight. Others view them as gods from above. All regard them with some degree of suspicion and wonder.
(Dragonborn are linked with the campaign plot, and they will get an extra introduction paragraph just for them, but they get no advantage over other player races.)
As if their arrival was the catalyst, the people begin to take a more cautious and reserved approach to things. Trust is not as freely given, old pacts between friendly nations are pulled out of archives and scrutinised.
Our tale begins in the quiet town of Tringlee, nestled in the foothills of the Lortmils Mountains. The town is famous for it’s Honey Ale, Sheep’s Wool and Sausages (made to a secret recipe).
The mid-summer festival is approaching and with the warm weather some of the youthful members of town have suggested this year would be a good year to see if they can break the four-day record and have the celebrations spill over onto a fifth day.
A number of merchants have come to down to supply various supplies for the festival and to purchase local produce to sell elsewhere.
(It’s up to you why you are in town, although with the pre-amble above, it would seem thoroughly reasonable for most of you to simply live there. Outsiders could have come in on a merchant wagon or wandered in for another reason as long as it fits with the above.)