It's a small world
Golden Ages past
The world has just recently fallen off the cusp of what people called the Golden Age when the wilderness between civilisations was at its thinnest due to the expansion of the Western and Southern Empires, and those empires were themselves handsomely wealthy due to roaring trade between them. It was neither an uncommon sight to see majestic Dwarven airships sailing the skies, nor prohibitively expensive to purchase a ticket on the fabled Number 9, the only international express train. Now those are the stuff of legend.
If trade and empire expansion supported the Golden Age, then its fuel was undoubtedly Thorium, the gemstone that came to propel the engines of every airship. It is a rarity now, since the few search for it in the ashes of the war. This is partly because there has been no need for expeditious trade using Thorium engines since the Sky War, but mostly because of its violent reactivity to light.
The division of power
The world of old was as ethnically diverse as its peoples, but come wartime, it was divided into 2 regions: the Dwarven Kingdoms (West); and the Elven- Human Alliance (South and East). These were merely political boundaries; one would not be hard pressed to have found a human fighting for the West or a Dwarf fighting for the East.
The world after the Sky War has become a much darker place. The wartime drain on the major nations weakened their defences against the wilderness and its monstrous inhabitants. The more militarily-minded, organised races acted the quickest to capitalise on this weakness – Hobgoblins, Sahuagin, Troglodytes, etc.
The War of the Skies
The War is so-called because many of its spectacular battles were waged in the air between Eastern casters and Western airships. There were many more bloody encounters on the ground which had the misfortune of not being spectacular enough to have a war named after them.
Our heroes and heroines (feel free to edit here)
E.g., “The Lantern Lady”, A.K.A. “L.L.”, A.K.A. “Elle”, is a mischievous paladin adventurer who is well-known in the tristate area comprising Port Cullis, Corsail, and Brinn, but she has especially close ties with Brinn and its governor Abraxis. Her holy symbol is that of Avandra. She sustained serious injury just prior to meeting the party, having had a beef with some out-of-town adventurers, now-dead after attempting to break out of prison in Brinn. She is wont to travel between towns on her warhorse, hiring local freelancers for dungeon raids. She also enjoys popularity with the common folk due to her entrepreneurial custom of keeping trinkets from her adventures and selling them to those who would normally never have the chance to experience the adventurer’s life.
Before meeting the party, [here I would put her backstory if I were a PC, but since I don’t want to ruin any surprises I’ll leave it here for now]
Timewalkers: a compendium of known theories about stonetouched abilities.
The party has encountered 4 forms of timewalker abilities so far.
- Space Jaunting is a power that enables you to skip a segment of time where you would have been travelling in a certain direction with certain speed, and fast-forwards/rewinds to that future point. For example, if you see a portcullis closing 100ft away, you can space jaunt a few turns into the future to the other side. The party knows that Jeru has this power.
- Time Jaunting is a power that enables you to go either backward to a time/space where you used to be, or forward to a time/space where you would be if you did XYZ, except you remain in your timeline, so if you jaunted forward to a time where you were apprehended by guards, the guards wouldn’t be there when you finished your jaunt. Uthal has this ability.
- Prescience is a power that lets you see snippets of the future. Aremedes A.K.A. Juno (deceased) is known to have had this power, which he used to predict future manifestations of the Pandemonium Stone and future recipients of stouchedtouched abilities, so as to beat the Watchers to the punch and protect future members of the Brotherhood.
- Time Snapping is a power that lets you jump forward/backward in time/space where you will be or were, similar to Time Jaunting. The critical difference between snapping and jaunting is that snapping branches the timeline and puts you in the ALTERNATE timeline in the spatial vicinity (rather than actual space) of your alternate timeline self. Hence it is possible to meet your alternate timeline self when snapping. Another important difference to jaunting is that snaps are temporary. After a certain length of time on the alternate timeline, you “snap” back to your own where you left off. Larami has this power, but is reluctant to use it because of its timeline-branching properties that alert the marut Watchers to his location. He said that he can use it, but he prefers to plan how he uses it carefully so that he knits the two timelines together again with a stable time loop.
The party has not heard of any limits on timewalker abilities apart from the ability of the timwalkers to control the time magic within them. For instance, Juno alluded to the fact that timewalkers have caused time paradoxes, and that time paradoxes are to be avoided.