The Discovery of Sanctus
In the distant past, almost 1,000 years ago, the world knew a golden age. The peoples of Sanctus covered the world in vast numbers, inhabiting many nations and wielding powers beyond current understanding.
Then an age of darkness fell over the world. War, famine, and disease thinned populations. Great and destructive forces began to tear at the shape of the world, folding the lands over upon themselves. The old mountains fell and new ones rose to replace them. Oceans receded from their original shores and rushed into lands that fell beneath the seas. Great evil creatures walked the land and caused devastation.
The forces of the light and civilization attempted to counter the chaos, but the overwhelming nature of the cataclysm quickly set them into retreat. Many peoples began to walk together, no longer concerned about nation, race, or culture as a reason to divide. This retreat was known as the Exodus. The shared need to cooperate and survive brought them together, and eventually to Sanctus. A small island in the heart of a great sea.
Some say the Gods lifted Sanctus from the sea to shelter their people as a reward for working together in the Exodus. Others say it was nothing more than dumb luck. The truth of why and how is not known. Regardless of why or how, the refugees found each other, and Sanctus. It is accepted that only by working together can the peoples survive.
Hundreds of years have passed since the Exodus to Sanctus. None of the founding survivors remain. Their descendants have thrived on the island, pushing its resources to the limits. In the modern age it is not cataclysm and war that threatens the peoples, but overpopulation.
Sanctus itself is both an island and a city. The island is sizable enough to support the numerous peoples that have thrived here after the cataclysms reshaped the world, but too small to support their growth. As a means of comparison, consider the size of Maine to be similar to the scale of Sanctus.
The city of Sanctus lies upon a high mountain plateau. Though the island itself is in a equatorial region, the city is thousands of feet above sea level and enjoys a temperate climate, including snow on the rarest of years. The climate warms and changes as one travels down the mountains to the sea, transitioning from a high temperate land to a lush and warm jungle that has been tamed by the actions of the peoples over the last few hundred years.
There has never been a census of Sanctus, though a few have tried. The assumption is that there are well over a hundred thousand people in the city, as well as a similar number spread over the island itself. The island knows a few other cities, but the peoples in them number in the few thousands. Most of the focus of the island has been industry to support the larger city and its growth. Now overpopulation threatens the balance of resources.
To address the overpopulation, the Council of Sanctus has encouraged the exploration and possible repopulation of the greater world over the course of the last generation. To date the expeditions have returned minimal results, if anything at all. Some have been lost and suffered unknown fates, but others have returned with knowledge of places that might support the people's eventual return to the greater world.
Of this greater world, very little is known. Your characters are among the first to explore new lands. Lands filled with unknown peoples, possible ruins from that long ago golden age, uncharted shores, and undiscovered wonders. Your characters will help decide if the peoples of Sanctus can expand to settle these lands, or if they will stall and succumb to the challenges of overpopulation and internal strife.
The Mountain Cluster
Farclan - Home of Mountain Dwarf.
High Shire - Home of the Stout Halfling.
Montagne - Home of the Rock Gnome.
The Hills Cluster
Blowner - Home of Hill Dwarf.
Aspella - Home of the Dragonborn.
The Plains Cluster
Abber Lyth - Home of High Elf and Half-elf.
Lowland Belt - Home of the Human and Half-elf.
Citane - Home of the Lightfoot Halfling.
The Forest Cluster
Luzon - Home of Wood Elf and Half-elf.
Luzon Forest-Edge - Home of the Forest Gnome.
The Urban Cluster
City of Sanctus - Home of Drow, Half-elf, Human, Half-orc, and Tiefling.