The Scourged World setting is set on the continent of
The event was called The Night of the Scourge by human groups, sometimes simply shortened to The Scourge. The event was called The Collapse by the Dwarves. Elves called it Ti’ilafir, or The Everburning.
This event was the collision of a large meteor into the planet.
The meteor hit the Southeastern coast of Durnia and it destroyed several kingdoms immediately, including two human ones and the Gnomish kingdom once called Kelbrohr. All three were sunk beneath the waves, in the ocean filled huge caldera that was left behind.
The seismic shock caused three great Dwarven citadels to collapse, destroying the capitols of several Dwarven clans. To the Northwest, The Great Forest, home to the Elves for time immemorial, was set ablaze. This was no ordinary fire as it was unquenchable for several years, flaring here and there in the Northern reaches of The Great Forest. Out of the ashes of that fire, a new group of elves called Fire Elves appeared.
Crops failed, pestilence and disease spread, and a total war broke out between High-Throned Glardek Gnawtongue and his Hobgoblin army, and the humans of The Western Expanse, who narrowly defeated the Hobgoblin horde.
For humans, from out of the ashes of The Scourge and the fervent Millenarianism that immediately followed, a new religion was founded. This new faith rejected the older human faith’s polytheistic and henotheistic ways. Indeed, the New Faith (as it is often called), worshiped a stern, demanding monotheistic god called Yorbis, or “The Scourge“. They felt that the world was being punished for wickedness and sin. The Scourge was a manifestation of their new god.
Now, three hundred years later, the religion holds sway over roughly half of the human population. Other groups such as dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and elves are generally not attracted to this faith. (Although there are rumors that there is a Scourge Cult worshiped in secret by some Fire Elves).
The Scourge’s Kiss
Fifty years ago, a new calamity befell Durnia. A strange, magical disease affected nearly all the different sentient species, albeit differently. For humans and halflings, it caused a hemorrhagic fever where they bled from the eyes and mouth. It was eventually called the Blood Kiss or the Scourge’s Kiss. The disease depopulated huge swaths of human lands. Dwarves were affected by terrible tremors and shaking with many also going blind. They called it the Gray Shakes. Elves suffered by finding themselves affected by a madness where they sought isolation, seclusion, occasional catatonia, and sometimes stopped eating and wasted away. Elves called it The Fading. Gnomes seemed to have been least affected, but this was not the case. Many were filled with a violent rage which may have been one of the factors behind the final success of the Gnomish Uprisings.
The Fate of the Gnomes
The gnomes who survived the Scourge sought refuge from their distant cousins, the Dwarves. The dwarves sought to help the gnomes, but because of the Dwarven legal system resulted in their labeling gnomes as “clanless”. This put them in a legal limbo. Eventually, the dwarves enslaved the gnomes. For the gnomes, it was a bitter insult placed upon an utter tragedy, the loss of their homeland. As time continued, slavery became more vile and abusive. Finally starting 75 years ago, there were a number of slave uprisings. The were unsuccessful but around 50 years ago, they began to seriously threaten dwarven hegemony. The response of some of the more progressive clans, lead by the Ironspears, pushed for the release of the gnomes during the Great Moot. The only way the law could pass was through a compromise demanded by opponents. That compromise was that all gnomes leave the Dwarven holds (citadels).
The campaign setting starts 200 years after the Scourge and 50 after the Scourge’s Kiss. The world, ravaged ecologically, ravaged by war, and ravaged by disease, is a grim one, but not one without hope. Thus enters your heroes.