The world known as Rune used to be highly magical and technological
(almost mystically so) and peaceful. Something happened --- a Pandora's
box sort of thing. Some people left the idyllic land --- now known
as the Land Beyond, and others that stayed died or were transformed.
The steampunk-ish technology of this Age of Reason era was lost. The
magic was debased into being based on exploitation of vices. There
is a small group of spellcasters called Fish (or Dreamers) that retain
the old way of magic, but these albino mutants are despised with some
justification. After two tumultuous eras, the current (Fouth) Age
has 12 kingdoms, dominated by Jafra, and none get along. The Land
Beyond still exists beyond the South Sea, but it is a hellishly dangerous
and strange land that few visit and fewer return from.