The campaign takes place shortly (approx. 40 years) after a cataclysmic war that destroyed most of the planet. This war was fought between advanced civilizations using mechanical weapons of mass destruction and assisted with war magic (teleporting nuclear bombs to their destinations, etc).
The war was so great that the planet itself was prevented from rotating. Over time, this has reduced the planet to a habitable band around the equator with one side being reduced to molten slag, and the other, eternal night. Savage solar storms ravage deserts and heavy storm-clouds cover somewhat replicates a day-night cycle, although this normality is little comfort for the remaining inhabitants of the destroyed world.
The force of the fighting opened huge gaping wounds in the planet’s surface, impossibly deep chasms that drop into dark, unexplored depths. From these chasms emerged a golden dust. The survivors of the war discovered that this dust be harnessed as an energy source (for weapons, powering airships (which have become the main method of transport), etcetera).
As a limited supply of this dust (dubbed “skyfire”) exists, it has quickly become the new world’s most coveted and fought-over resource. Skyfire can be found floating high in the atmosphere (surround by plasma storms and dangerous, uncontrolled winds) or deep underground in ravines and dungeons.
Discovered along with skyfire were “ioun stones”, crystalline rocks that orbit around a user’s head when “worn”. Ioun stones sometimes contain inherent magic, and grant their holders various powers. A popular trend for ioun stones is to add a constant illusion (think unusuals from TF2). Another unique feature of ioun stones is their ability to store raw magic. Spellcasters with a unique power (known as an “animus”, plural “animi”) can remove the original enchantment from the stone, and “store” a new (usually more specific) enchantment, The level of the stored enchantment varies on the power of the animus. For example, a merchant might have an ioun stone enchanted to “flare whenever I’m being robbed from”). There are rumors about animus magic eventually driving the caster insane, but none have been confirmed (yet).
Skyfire and ioun stones were not the only things to be found in the deep however. Long-forgotten and unexplored dungeons have been revealed, and from them have crawled aberrations and monsters unlike anyone has seen before. These new dangers have forced cities to unite into small clusters (leaving the wilderness remote). These monsters prey on less wary adventurers that stray too far from civilization.
Destroyed cities and relics of the “old world” litter the countryside (and deep into the uninhabitable zones of magma and night), filled with advanced technology and other secrets. These ruins are patrolled by automatic sentries and defences of clockwork and magic, and make perfect homes for monstrous aberrations.
These ruined cities and unexplored dungeons alike call strongly to scavengers, explorers, and mercenaries alike, who risk their lives for fame and treasure. Any self-respecting explorer owns two things – an ioun stone and his own airship. Jobs such as these have seen a huge influx since the end of the war.
Unfortunately, the world is once again being divided by two factions that have seized power – the Revolutionists: advocates for the lost technological marvels, and Deia (pronounced Dire) Exactum, magicians, wizards and oracles who believe science should remain lost forever. Both of their motives are largely shrouded in mystery.