The land of Lysteria on the planet Teros was once the idyllic land that one might expect to find in a book about idyllic fantasy settings. Peasants peas anted, Kings ruled their various kingdoms, marauders and pirates engaged in general jackassery, Wizards engaged in magic use for both great and terrible purposes, and a variety of supernatural and otherworldly forces caused disruption both great and small.
Technology varied from medieval to renaissance across the land with a few advanced cities beginning to enter a pre-industrial era (think steam power augmented by magic).
Approximately 3000 year before our story takes place Lysteria was torn asunder during an event that is now known as the “Big Bad Kerfuffle.”
Unbeknownst to almost all magic users of the past age, the magic forces of Teros were much more volatile and dangerous than expected. The truth of the matter is that all magical powers are driven by a form of energy call Torc Energy or Torc Radiation that stems from a parallel dimension. This energy is incredibly powerful and unstable in its raw form; capable of causing horrible mutation, splitting continents in half and warping the very nature of reality.
The Big Bad Kerfuffle started simply. An apprentice mage named Herman Merman in the coastal city of Bullmar had an itch. The itch was located in the exact center of Herman’s back rendering it unreachable due to Herman’s abnormally short arms and notable lack of flexibility. In his discomfort Herman attempted to summon a minor demon to help scratch his back. Now summoning demons for small tasks was a common practice amongst magic users and this should have been a routine back-scratching incident, but on that fateful day everything went terribly wrong (as they tend to do in idyllic fantasy settings) . No one quite knows exactly what happened but instead of opening your standard portal to one of the 12 hells Herman accidently opened a rift into the Torc dimension.
For exactly 38 minutes and 52 seconds raw Torc Energy wrought chaos on the land. The city of Bullmar and everything in a 40 mile radius from Herman was immediately vaporized, leaving him naked and confused standing in the middle of a smoldering crater. Earthquakes and tornadoes of various types (normal, fire, water, milk, eyeball, etc.) tore across all of Lysteria. Entire populations were immediately and painfully turned into hideous mutants. Cities were leveled while others found themselves transported clear across the continent. Reality was altered in random and terrifying ways, for 6 minutes in the town of Grundle the color blue ceased to exist and all first-born sons spontaneously combusted. New life forms appeared out of nowhere and entire metropolitan areas sprouted from the ground. It is said that anything one could imagine happening occurred somewhere in Lysteria that day.
After the 38:52 had passed the terrible impact of the event started to take shape. Nearly 80% of the region’s population was dead or missing. Countless others were forever mutated, new races appeared among the people of listeria while others seem to have vanished. Horrible creature and nameless abominations roamed the land. Many others died as the after effects of the Kerfuffle continued to wreak havoc upon the land but after a time the survivors did start to rebuild.
Nearly 3000 years after the The Big Bad Kerfuffle and the associate wars and strife that followed Lysteria seems mostly recovered. Great Torc Rifts spanning hundreds of miles mar the land, and magic users are still victim to mutation and unpredictable side-effects. Reality remains a bit fragile, it’s not uncommon for random stuffs to pop into existence, and almost everyone has a story about finding themselves in a strange dimension after digging through the back of the closet to find a lost sock. But by and large the inconveniences of an unstable reality are thought of as an unavoidable aspect of daily life.
The various populations naturally centered on the ruins of the old world with many of the leftover or newly sprouted cities becoming cultural centers yet again.