The world of Draegos is a Points of Light campaign. The world is shrouded in a dark age, between the collapse of the Nerathi Empire and the rise of the next, which might be centuries away. Minor Kingdoms prosper, to be sure: baronies, holdings, city-states. But each settlement appears as a point of light in the widespread darkness, a haven, an island of civilization in the wilderness that covers the world.
There are some core assumption about the world of Draegos.
The World Is a Fantastic Place.
Magic works, servants of the gods wield divine power, fantastic creatures and horrible monsters fill the darkness between each point of light. Forget what you what you think you know about the real world. Draegos blends real-world physics, cultures,, and history with a heavy dose of fantasy. Reality in Draegos can be different from place to place as magic, the gods, and pockets of planar intrusions can set reality on its ear.
The World Is Ancient.
Empires rise and empires crumble, leaving few places that have no been touched by their grandeur. Ruin, time, and natural forces eventually claim all. Ancient civilizations and their knowledge survive in legends, artifacts, and the ruins they left behind, but chaos and darkness inevitably follow and empire's collapse. Each new realm must carve a place out of the world rather than build on the efforts of past civilizations.
The World Is Mysterious.
Wild, uncontrolled regions abound and cover most of Draegos. City-states of various races and smaller settlements dot the darkness, bastions in the wilderness built amid the ruins of the past. Some of these points of light are places where adventurers can expect peaceful interaction, but many and more are dangerous. No one race rules Draegos and vast kingdoms are rare. People know the area they live in well, and they've heard stories of other places from merchants and travelers, but few know what lies beyond the mountains or the depths of the great forests unless they have been there personally.
Monsters Are Everywhere.
Most monsters of Draegos are as natural as bears and horses are on Earth, and monsters inhabit civilized parts of the Draegos and the wilderness alike. Dragons soar through the skies, domesticated behemoths carry trade goods over long distances, creatures from the Feywild or Shadowfell slip through thin veils and worldfalls, orcs and goblinkind seem to fill the wilderness between civilization like mortar between bricks. Travel is dangerous more than a half day's ride from most settlements.
Adventurers Are Exceptional.
Player characters are the pioneers, explorers, trailblazers, thrill seekers, and heroes of Draegos. Although nonplayer characters might have a class and gain power, they do not necessarily advance as adventurers do, and they exist for a different purpose. Even at level one adventurers are more capable of shaping the world than experienced soldiers, temple priests, and cloistered mages. Whether it is fate, destiny, or just an innate ability to rise above the common people, player characters are the driving force in Draegos.
The Civilized Races Band Together.
The great races of the world – humans, dwarves, eladrin, elves, halflings – drew closer together during the time of the Nerathi Empire (which was human-dominated). That's what makes them the civilized races – they are the ones found living together in the towns and cities of civilization. Other races, including dragonborn and tieflings, are in decline, heirs of ancient empires long forgotten. This is not to say ancient grudges – such as those between dwarves and elves – are forgotten, but they mostly have placed aside for the greater good of all. Goblins, orcs, gnolls, kobolds, and similar savage races were never part of the Nerathi Empire. Some of them, such as the militaristic hobgoblins and the mystic yuan-ti, have cities, organized societies, and kingdoms of their own. These are islands of civilization in the wilderness, but they are not points of light.
Magic Is Not Everyday, But it Is Natural.
No one is superstitious about magic, but neither is the use of magic trivial. Practitioners of magic are as rare as fighters. People might see evidence of magic everyday, but is usually minor – a fantastic monster, a visibly answered prayer, a wizard flying by on a griffon. However, true masters of magic are rare. Many people have access to a little magic, and such magic helps those living within the points of light to maintain their communities. But those who have the power to shape spells the way a blacksmith shapes metal are as rare as adventurers.
Rituals are much more common in use, and it is not uncommon to find one or more people capable of enacting rituals in every settlement. Ritualists capable of enacting low level arcane and natural rituals are called hedge-wizards. These hedge-wizards may or may not know a little real magic, as well. Religious or healing rituals are typically the province of clerical orders, shaman, and the like.
Magical items from ancient fallen empires abound, though they are uncommon and not often employed by common folk. The mysteries of creating such items have been all but lost over the ages, though this knowledge is slowly being rediscovered and new, less powerful magical items can often be found in even the roughest and most remote settlements.
Gods and Primordials Shaped the World.
The primordials, elemental creatures of enormous power, shaped the world out of the Elemental Chaos. The gods gave it permanence and warred with the primordials for control of the new creation, in a great conflict known as the Dawn War. The gods eventually triumphed, and primordials now slumber in remote parts of the Elemental Chaos or rage in hidden prisons. Secret and hidden sects and cults to these fallen primordials do exist all over Draegos, hoping to bring power and dominance back to their patrons.
Gods Are Distant.
At the end of the Dawn War, the mighty primal spirits of the world exerted their influence, forbidding gods and primordials alike from directly influencing the world. Now exarchs act in the world on behalf of their gods, and angels appear to undertake missions that promote the agendas of the gods they serve. Gods are extremely powerful, compared to mortals and monsters, but they are not omniscient or omnipotent. They provide access to divine power for their clerics and paladins, and their followers pray to them in hopes that they or their exarchs will hear them and bless them.
The World Is Not Alone.
Draegos exists as the mortal realm, or part of it. Different planes of existence touch upon the world, interact with it. There are many areas of Draegos where the veil is thin between the planes. Beings and monsters often find a way through the thin veil into the world, some by chance, other with intent. Worldfalls, a temporary merging of the Feywild or Shadowfell with Draegos, can occur anywhere both naturally or by outside influence.
The Feywild is is an enchanted reflection of the world, bright and vivid, while the Shadowfell is a dark and twisted echo. Both have their wonders, terrors, and denizens with plots great and small. Both planes are known of by the common folk of Draegos, and are seen as something natural, if mysterious and dangerous.