Welcome to the world of Tellene!
Over five hundred years ago, the Kalamaran people rose from being a relatively obscure tribe between the Elos Bay and the Ka’Asa Mountains to the rulers of a Vast Empire that dominated the whole known world. As with all great empires, their power waxed and waned over the centuries, and in time, the northern realms known as the Young Kingdoms began to break away. Among the last of these was the Principality of Pekal.
Pekal is a land of semi-arid plains to the east, and dale and forest to the west. One hundred and seven years ago, its people successfully revolted against the Kalamaran Empire under the leadership of Lamnian Endremin and with the aid of King Sendir of the Elven city of Cilorealon in the Kalalali Forest to the north. After Lamnian fell in battle, Kefan took the throne but refused the title of king, declaring that henceforth Pekal would be ruled only by princes.
Today, thanks to a combination of being in the center of the known lands of Tellene, an alliance with the elves, and a tolerant rule by its prince and dukes, Pekal is possibly the most diverse nation in the world, welcoming refugees and outcasts from virtually every other land. This diversity is both a strength, bringing some of the world’s best and boldest to defend the land from its many enemies, and a weakness, making it easy for both footloose mercenaries with no loyalties at all and agents of the Vast Empire and Norga-Krangrel to slip in. Consequently, Pekal is a land of intrigue, and even the meanest peasant carries at least a dagger and a wood-axe for protection.
You have come to the town of Elvinar, seat of the Kalokopeli District (so named for the forest region it borders) from various distant lands seeking your fortunes. Having met, whether on the road or in town, you have each pledged yourselves to this little band of adventurers. The Duchess of Elvinar, desiring to keep her lands protected by stout blades while her husband answers the call to war against the Vast Empire to the southeast, has granted you a charter to operate as a free company in her domain. You are authorized to explore both the wilderness and ruins, to recover treasures found therein (after paying a 20% scutage tax), and to hunt for hobgoblins from Norga-Krangrel which might be scouting too close to the Pekal border for comfort (at a 1 sp per ear bounty).
Players new to the campaign (which would initially be everyone) should create characters from other lands or who have been otherwise kept “out of the know” so that details about the land can be learned in-play rather than by infodump. Magic-users are a possible exception; the world’s largest magical college—boasting over a dozen instructors and up to fifty dedicated students at any one time—lies in Bet Regola, Pekal’s capital, and it is entirely possible that someone who just graduated from the college would be naive about the rest of the world.