A quarter century ago, the continent of Gethen was discovered by mariners plying the waters of the Sea of Ash. Within five years, humans began to establish colonies along the east coast of the new land. Fortune seekers, god-drunk fanatics, slaves and slavers all came to seek wealth, fame and fortune in the new land. Dwarven moneylenders and elven grandees followed soon after.
But the land was far from empty. Goblins, kobolds, orcs and other creatures of legend were discovered to be very real, and emerged from their caves and grottoes to greet the new arrivals. Within a decade, the settlers and the natives fought a war, which ended with a treaty guaranteeing the survival of a small band of colonies. But the peace was uncertain, and divisions reflecting Old World rivalries soon appeared between the colonists themselves. Soon, some began to whisper of a dark menace beneath the earth that was was causing the plants and animals in the land to assume monstrous forms. Some said this evil stemmed from ancient elvish war that took place long before the elves had come to the land of Erya - the Old World - and assumed tutelage over fledgling human kingdoms. The elves themselves denied this, dismissed stories about dark elves as a xenophobic myth, and said there was no connection between the new land and their old continent of Aman, which had sunk irrevocably beneath the waves thousands of years ago. But the rumors of elven connivance with the native humanoids would not die down, and soon, orcs, led by the militant Brotherhood of Baghtru, broke the treaty, and rose up to drive the human colonists into the sea.
Using the elements of surprise and cunning tactics no one expected of them, the Brotherhood was able to take all inland towns, make the coastal residents fear for their survival as well. But the colonies have put aside their rivalries, and prepare to counterattack. Even in the face of peril, new settlers keep coming in response to rumors of ancient artifacts being rediscovered, and wondrous creatures whose possession may herald the dawning of a new age of miracles and immortality for humanity.