You live within the Gash, a 1500-mile east-west scar across the face of the world created when the Amity made the third moon fall during the defeat of the Demon-Godling, ending the 4th Age. Unfortunately that defeat also caused the Malice to cover Thuria. Beings dwelling beneath this dark cloud layer sickened, changed, or dug deep to hide. Without safe food or clean water, powers lost, magics weakened, the world choked, faltered, and died.
For months following Skyfall the whole world was beneath this shadow, bit it soon collapsed until only the Cauldron (the westernmost crater of the Gash) still suffered its effects. The few survivors who had huddled together in the deep places, surviving mostly on magic-created supplies and pure cussedness. Banding together, they reclaimed what they could and started again. And what they could was mainly the deep canyons of the Gash.
Skyfall had effects besides death and the Malice. The fabric of reality, the natural walls between planes, were greatly weakened. Necromantic ills, elemental creatures, the demonic and the dark fae all began to leak into reality, uncontrolled, and the very same Arcanes and Divines who kept the survivors alive with their magics began to indirectly cause their destruction. Good and Evil, wizard and priest, race and gender, all became irreverent, replaced by simply working together to stop breaking the world.
In the 20-odd decades since Skyfall, life continues to reclaim a place on the surface of the world. But over the generations since Skyfall, the ash-covered areas around the Cauldron have slowly but unmistakably grown outwards. It seems the Malice is reclaiming a place as well.
The burial of the Demon-Godling and the accompanying disruptions had several major effects on the world:
(0) When the Gash was created, the earthquakes and fires buried or killed more than half the surface and most of the living population. The emanations from the Malice did more than poison the surface, they also have blackened the souls of those surviving beneath it or the ash clouds. From the various races have sprung dark cousins; stout Lizardman became stunted Kobolds, porcine Hobgoblins mutated into vicious Goblins, primitive Orcs devolved into violent Troglodytes, untrustworthy Flynds becoming angry Gnolls, and most dangerously, dark dwarves called Duegar and cunning elves known as Drow were strengthened and renewed beneath the world.
Practically Speaking: The usual racial prejudices of D&D/Pathfinder don’t exist on Thuria, eliminated just through surviving Skyfall. What beings DO, how beings ACT, is far more important in society. Less Tolkein, more Mos Eisley.
(0) The stories from earlier ages tell of great magics which could arise anywhere and perform miracles. But the changes wrought by Skyfall have apparently changed more than just the land.
The walls between the dimensional realms have been weakened, and the natural links between the Land and its Protectors was broken. The Elf and Dwarf races lost much of their power and longevity. and their purpose under Creation, becoming mortal. Many of the Spirit Fae were changed, weakened or simply destroyed.
Arcane magics must now be focused through the noble metals such as silver, gold and platinum lest the powers be unreachable or unpredictable. Even with this focus, there are places were arcane magic is untrustworthy.
Divine powers similarly may be diminished by location, especially beneath the shadows in the west, and it is known that druids which approach the Malice find their most powerful spells weakened or corrupted, their allies chancy.
Certain actions can cause dimensional rifts to appear, allowing hungry and uncontrollable powers to reach into our world. Your priests can instruct you on the signs of danger. Above all, avoid powerful magics, or too much death!
And travel west with caution!
Practically Speaking: Unless spells around 3rd or multiple deaths are involved, there are limited in-game changes. Basically, a lot of magic in a small area can cause Wild-Magic effects to occur. Similarly, too much death has a chance of causing powerful undead to come hunting for food and fun
(0) In the years under the Malice, the natural world changed greatly.
The simple herbivores died when their food supply disappeared, leaving only the largest and most dangerous of the herds alive. Not so much deer and sheep as buffalo and rhino. After Skyfall, when the inhabitants returned to the surface they brought what would become the new beasts of burden, lizards and flightless birds. Few horses and oxen, instead slizards and lizzan
In the current world, saying “I am a hunter” is more a statement of your caution and patience than the useless promise you can shoot straight!
The required supplies for civilization have shifted with the changes in the Land. Hunting is more important than before, as it’s more difficult to farm. (See non-herbivore notes) Refined metal is harder to produce without easy access to raw materials, which makes simple metal tools more usual (copper, bronze, iron) and tempered items (steel, mithral, adamantium, obsidium) relatively more valuable than before Skyfall. (Worked steel is roughly equal in value to gold, making heavy armors and all-steel weaponry much more dear)
(0) (Halfling/Gnome exodus, later)
Making your character:
(0) The initial character setup for the campaign is point-buy for a Standard campaign.
(0) For RP world reasons, please avoid Barbarian (melted) and Monk (absorbed) classes.
(0) For RP world reasons, please avoid Halfling and Gnome races. (they emigrated)
(0) Please don’t plan on an evil character!