The Arkwild: The Forest at the Edge of the World
Since the First Age, the Arkwild has been called by many the heart of the world. The epics that have played out here have ended ages and ushered in new ones. It has become known as the Forest at the Edge of the World, but this name is not a reference to its location on any map. This massive woodland exists in a place where the world, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell exist almost as one, and wandering off the beaten path can easily cause a traveler to become lost in a shattered reflection of the world they know.
In ancient times, the Arkwild by another name was the homeland of a single, united race of elves. They discovered an artifact of immense arcane power, and this discovery fractured not the just the people, but the barrier between worlds. In a more recent age, a great human king united the mortals of the Arkwild in defiance of a great evil that threatened the world. Now, a confederacy of kingdoms work to maintain some measure of civilization in a region that is otherwise largely untamed.
Night Falls on an Era
This is the stage on which Arkeir’s next great epic will play out. Travelers from all corners of the Wild report more monster attacks with every passing year. Bandits, smugglers, and orcs plague the southern coast of the region. Sailors plying the seas to the northeast report a mysterious island appearing and vanishing without warning. Children disappear from their beds in the night, never to be seen again. Perhaps most alarming of all, adventurers in the deepest part of the Wild return with stories of a sky that never fully breaks to day, and an eastern horizon that is always on the edge of nightfall.
Arkeir, a World of Myth
Arkeir is a world where myth and legend shape reality, where the power and influence of magic rely on the stories mortal tell. Tales told around the campfire of darkness and monsters bring terror and villainy into the world, while legends of hope and bravery guide new heroes against every new evil.
The Arkwild embodies the tradition of Heroic Fantasy. The riches of past ages and lost civilizations attract adventurers of all types, who explore often for personal gain rather than a greater cause. It is from these ranks that the greatest heroes of the age will stand to oppose the seeds of evil and chaos that take root throughout the region.
Arkeir is Magical: Though true practitioners of magic are relatively rare, the products of magic are not. The combined magical forces of Arkeir are known as the Myth. The Myth is a force and source of unlimited power and change, and it exerts this influence on the world constantly. The Myth, in turn, is shaped and empowered by the stories and legends told by the mortals of Arkeir. Wizards, bards, and sorcerers cast their magic by manipulating this story of the world. Enchantment is also common, with even border villages lit by enchanted orbs of light rather than torches. Items of true power, however – anything that extends past the strength of a common cantrip – remain rare.
Much of Arkeir is Untamed: The nature of the Myth means the world is in a constant state of flux. No civilization lasts forever, and the natural forces of the world work quickly to reclaim those regions where civilization loses its grip. In many places, including the Arkwild, it is dangerous to stray too far from the road even within the borders of strong kingdoms. Sometimes, a traveler will get lucky and simply get lost, or set upon by bandits or an orc scouting party. More often, a monster far more fearsome will ensure the traveler is never see again. Within the Arkwild, getting lost might mean you’ve left the world you know entirely.
Arkeir is Ancient: There are few places in the world where a single kingdom or empire has persisted for more than a few thousand years, but there are even fewer that have never seen such a kingdom or empire rise and fall. The natural world is quick to reclaim these fallen civilizations, but never consumes them completely. One rarely has to travel far into the wilderness to find evidence of some forgotten city or ruin.
Conflict Shapes Arkeir: The first war fought on Arkeir was the Dragon War of the First Age, when Bahamut and Tiamat vied for the fate of the fledgling world. Since then, conflict has been constant. If empires occasionally find reason to stop fighting each other, orcs hordes rarely find reason to stop their slaughter of kingdoms. The Arkwild itself was once the site of a great elven empire which fell to civil war. It is the battles fought by mortals that shape the story of the world.
Gods Oversee Arkeir: The greatest heroes, villains, and personalities of the First Age of Arkeir found themselves made part of the Myth. They are now the gods of Arkeir, and every mortal race has at least one to help guide their people. These gods actively guide those willing to listen, and often more discreetly guide those who do not. However, the nature of godhood means that organized religion, while common, is not often very powerful in most societies.