Until recently, the high elves, wood elves and drow lived in peace and harmony, ruling the small continent of Eska until Lolth split the drow elf away in an act of rebellion. This sparked off a terrible war that lasted nearly two centuries and has left its mark on all the races of Eska.
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There was no winner in this war. The land is left scarred and its people scattered. What was so recently thriving cities, towns, and ports are now just huddled masses hoping to survive.
The high elves, once the ruling class on Eska, have retreated into domed mountaintop cities. During the war, their masters of wizardry used strange magics to transform their goblin servants into hobgoblin troopers, and armed them with shocklances.
The drow, driven from the surface, used their spider mounts to drive the dwarves from their halls, and are adapting to life underground.
Now the dwarves roam in clans, the hopefully taking control of former elven fortifications across the land. They are not doing well with life on the surface, though. The lucky ones have developed a twitch, or a stutter. A vast majority of them fall into rages while fighting, which they often do. They fight for loot, for food, and for homes.
Rock gnomes make their way across the land in their giant crawlers, scavenging as they go. They build fantastic things with the metal scraps, wood from ravaged forests and stone from the cities of rubble that dot the land. Warforged, their greatest creation, guard their caravans as they travel. Many more warforged were sold into mercenary companies during the wars.
The swamps and deserts teem with lizardfolk, who have begun to step out and ask "is it now our time?".
Bandits, brigands, and pirates, all former soldiers in the war, know nothing of peace. They take land by force, getting what they want mainly through the use of their cannons. They claim ruins and take over strongholds, setting themselves up as petty kings.
Ley lines cross the land, adding power to spellcasters who can channel their power.