The World of Ora
Level of Magic
Ora is a world rich with magic. The Creation Stone allowed a multitude of unique types of supernatural to spring into existence, some of which overlap with arcane/divine magic and some which do not. That said, the vast majority of people have no special powers (other than those native to their race, or gained via racial feats).
Players can expect there to be the traditional D&D tropes: wizards in towers, clerics in temples, psions in meditation, etc. On top of that, there are individuals who have been Gifted with unique powers from the Creation Stone. These powers can be as unique as knowing the maps of all the oceans, or Bloodline Gifts that influence an entire family, granting them unique insight or abilities. Some, rare and powerful, Gifts unlock entire new types of power, such as the awesome Exo-Mage.
On top of this, the world’s proximity to the Elemental Plane has given rise to a whole series of elementally-touched races and classes.
At times the cities of the world have known great prosperity and amazing enhancements: messages that automatically traveled from continent to continent for a small fee, and so forth. Vast wars and chaos has changed that, bringing much of the state of the world into what we might consider a typical fantasy setting, with evidence of ancient wonders and high magic lurking here and there.
As the Gods are Distant, their influence is felt only through their Clerics, who are often guided by Prophets. Prophets alone have the ability to somewhat communicate with the Gods, and even then, the results are often murky.
Level of Technology
Ora’s technology level varies widely. Reclusive Gnomes and Dwarves have access to some of what we might consider “modern” marvels, and the Lords of Hell created space ships. Most technology is kept close to a races’ vest, though: Dwarves don’t share their information and Gnomes are well-known to be insane. The Lords of Hell and all of their technology has been suppressed or destroyed. Humans and Elves rely mostly on magic, not technology. The Dulosians rely on art and creativity and, as such, have some advanced technology, but most is backed by supernatural influence. The Force Lords use the Altrichar to fuel mechanical devices that do amazing things, and the Jun use potential and mystic thurgy to empower artifacts that should not work.
Overall, the racial disconnect and reliance on magic has kept the broad technology of Ora at the late middle ages with a few caveats: Most people in civilized cities can read, disease is relatively uncommon, and health care (via common magics) is at an incomparable level. If not for all the wars and evil in the world, Ora might grow to become a truly great place with a fusion of technology and magic.
As stated above, the average commoner could expect to live a long and relatively comfortable life (albeit without magic or wealth) if not for wars. Though they are poor, most commoners expect a solid level of care from local Druids, Clerics, or simply Gifted Healers. Not all care comes without a price, of course, but it is available. In addition, because the world is so old, knowledge of anatomy, biology, and chemistry is at a level several hundred years past the typical middle ages fantasy locale – healers can do much more than set bones, especially with a little magic to aid them.
Distribution of Knowledge
Most knowledge, like wealth, resides in the large cities and among the mercantile and wealthy class. The Bardic College, various Arcane Universities, and traveling scholars facilitate a broad availability of learning, provided commoners have the time and wherewithal to learn. Most communities of note are big enough to have school teachers of some sort within them; as a result, a certain (very basic) knowledge is known to most. This includes the basic laws of the land (don’t steal, don’t kill, etc.), along with how to read and write and some knowledge in the commoner’s area of life (a commoner might get advanced training in farming, for example).
Most people of a given race will know the dominant Gods of the geographic area they are from, along with a few specific laws. Because the Gods are considered Absent, however, God Worship has fallen into extreme disfavor among the mass populace. In cities with a temple or Cleric stationed there, this trend is reversed, but primarily because the Cleric can display real power, and not because the commoner’s genuinely love/admire the God the given individual represents.
It is not uncommon for someone who worships X God to enter a city and find out no one there has heard of the deity in question (hence the requirement for a rank in knowledge: religion for the full list of Gods).
Trade is dangerous but very profitable. Most trade is concentrated among a few very wealthy merchants who guard their wagons well. Travel along long roads almost guarantees some form of assault, either by homeless bandits (from recent wars), rogues, or some sort of monster.
The least dangerous and most profitable form of trade has normally been by Sea, but there are troubles with that, now.
The majority of people in the Alliance are human, though the most populace race on Aeyun is the Shadow Legion, closely followed by the Chosen. No numbers are known of the other continents, though it is known that there may be as few as 100 Force Lords left alive, of which 20 or fewer are of the original stock.
Ora is a world with a history of a series of evils, most of which were banished or suppressed but rarely defeated. Curses, ancient catacombs and lairs, unique and chaos-touched monstrosities, and impossibly tortured animals litter the landscape, in addition to the normal bandits and naughty “civilized” races.