You’ve grown up around the town of Waypoint, a small farming community and caravan stop along the East Way trading route. Not far to the West is the city of Threshold, gateway to the eastern province. A number of towns have grown up around Threshold as it is the primary point through which trade flows between the Easten and Western ends of the Grand Duchy. To the North and East of Threshold are the towns and villages on the edges of civilization.
Many of the towns in the east have only been settled (or re-settled) in the last hundred years or so. Generations ago, this part of what is now known as the Grand Duchy was conquered by a viscious warlord, known in tales as the “Horned One”. He sought to make much of the world his empire and succeeded in part. His kingdom ruled over the surrounding lands for several centuries. However, in the end, time conquers all and the empire of the Horned One passed, but not before the damage had been done.
Human, dwarf and elven communities had been crushed under his cruel hand and much of the land was over run with the goblinoid races. After the fall of the Horned One, his humanoid armies dissolved into the surrounding lands and most of the old human and elven settlements stood abandoned. For most of a century, the lands were left to grow wild, with only sparse settlements and tribal humanoids eeking out meager existences. Only in the last hundred years or so have larger settlements developed in the Northeastern parts of the Duchy. Tempted by untapped resources, fertile farmland and the propect for trade wealth, humans, halflings, elves and even some dwarves have come to resettle the lands.
Threshold was a boom-town now grown into a full city on the tails of this development. It sits on the Hrusen River on one of the few major crossings. Villages sprouted along the trading ways between Threshold and towns further east. Waypoint is one such town. It started as caravanserai as one of the first (or last) stops out of Threshold along the East Way. A small town grew up serving the needs of the caravans and becoming a trading post outside the city. Eventually farmers and other tradesmen settled and Waypoint has had a fair amount of economic growth in recent years.
But there’s more to life than just serving as a stop along a trade route. That is what has given you and your friends the wanderlust. You’ve grown up hearing tales about many towns to the distant east and west, but have barely traveled more than 10 miles outside of your village. Despite being relatively busy trading village, life in Waypoint has grown boring and constrictive. The last thing you want is to serve drunken mercenaries or dirty caravan guards for the rest of your life, only hearing the tales and never living them. You dream of carving your own fortune out in the larger world, and you have convinced your friend to come along, each of you yearning for meaning beyond the life of a simple merchant.