The ocean is vast. Some say endless. A band of water, littered with small specks of stability, it stretches forever to the east and west. Its only bounds, beyond the horizon, are the dark and limitless Forest to the north, and, to the south, a land of madness known only as the End. While the Forest sometimes allows wayward explorers of its verdant labyrinth to escape, none have returned from the End with their minds intact.
Littered across the band of ocean are the islands. These, for the most part, are places of stability, but precious islands are kin to their neighbors. True, some offer a measure of safety and comfort, with calm environments and plenty of foliage and game. There were even islands with ancient but hospitable ruins, hiding artifacts of forgotten kingdoms. Others are not so kind. Some islands may be perpetually growing flows of molten rock. Others are flat, desolate plains of blasting winds and ice. The elements, it is said, have a penchant for claiming islands faster than any civilization.
For a time, as the peoples spread out, the world was lawless. Pirates and clans would raid and conquer as they pleased. But one man decided to stand against the chaos and forge a united world from the chaos of the sea. His name was Alastor, and he founded the Empire. Spreading out from his home, an island of plentiful resources and strong people, he brought many islands together under his banner, a symbol of protection and defiance of chaos.
But the further he spread, the harder it became to expand. Exporting the technologies and magics of his homeland for the defense of his empire was slow, limited by the chaotic energies of the ocean that prevented magically-aided transportation. The only documented way of travelling magically between islands was the same method one would use to move between the planes of existence. Magical flight would malfunction, and teleportation simply would not work between islands. Despite his efforts, Emperor Alastor did not live to see a unified world.
There have been strange stirrings. Ravagers, the self-mutilating, maddened survivors of expeditions to the End, have attacked the outer islands (as they are known to the Empire) with rising frequency. Pirates have struck with advanced and powerful weapons. Assassinations have occurred on the Empire’s home soil. Entire islands have disappeared.
The world needs heroes.