Sand: A rough and irritating tale
It is the dawn of a new era. Early muskets have become common, though the bow/crossbow is still widely used and is the preferred tool when subtly is necessary. Mechanical movable type printing has been invented, allowing for the literate (at this point, mostly the rich, mages, and upper middle class) to quickly spread news and information.
As new technologies arise, old tensions resurface. To the west, the Mages of Calpheon grow jealous, and while the tenuous alliance holds, open warfare may not be far away.
Very little news arrives from the east, across the desert lands of Valencia. That which does; however, is a little unsettling. A drunken man tells tale of barbarian hordes conquering cities with chained aberrations.
Throughout the kingdom of Medivah (where our adventurers begin), large stretches of land between cities remain relatively safe, though should you stray from the path, you will soon enter tribe controlled territory, beasts, and perhaps ancient ruins shrouded by mystery (and treasure?).
The south is largely untamed land, filled with monsters, mountains, and ice. The land is incapable of supporting large populations. Is it said to hold the entrance to an underground world interconnected around the continent.
To the north is the Flest Archipelago, though there is relatively little resources here, the city of Illya is found here, home to pirates, scoundrel, and others either fleeing or banished from the mainland.