Introduction from Ysgarth 1: Uchelglan, the Blood Tribute:
Ysgarth is an ancient world, and the origins of its cultures and races are lost in time. History as it is known and kept by the Bards begins some time after the Age of Cataclysm, almost 70 years before the present day. What existed in the period before that is a mystery, though it is generally known that two races, the Wraithlords and the Archaeurges ruled, and the races of man served them. The Cataclysm from which the current era is dated is known as the Fall of Faldyg. At that time a mighty being called the Archaeurge Faldyg embraced the powers of evil, and was cast down beneath the earth, rending its very fabric, creating a great, 800 mile long chasm and splitting the major land mass of Ysgarth in two.
After that time the Archaeurges and Wraithlords have faded from view, and perhaps from power, and the chasm of Faldyg, now called "The Great Аbуss", is the realm of a race of extra-planal demons. These demonв seldom venture out of the Abyss, save on the direct errands. They are outcasts of Hell, ruled Ьу Lord Zaedukrom the Eyeless. Others of their mighty leaders аrе Arekitash, the Soul Claw, and Salaatevar, the Iron Bard. They find the upper world unhealthy, and so work subtly and indirectly to subvert man to evil. It is thought that they are kept in check Ьу remnants of the power of the Archaeurges.
Other new arrivals in the world are the gods of men, representatives of a number of pantheons worshipped by the different human races in Ysgarth. They are generally divided into several groups. These are Vanir, Aesir, Kymric, Gaelic, and Miscellaneous. The Miscellaneous group is large, and includes a number of single gods, and some unpopular groups.
All of these gods are represented in the great city of Ptolemeias, where 127 temples adorn the Street of the Gods. Ptolemeias is a great trading center where the nations of Ysgarth trade with their lost brothers across the Abyss by marine routes in the great Southern Sea. Much of this trade is between the Kymric kingdoms and the Empire of Ilchania. Little is known of this empire of the other nations beyond the Abyss, as they are far off and alien cultures.
Ptolemeias has a population in excess of 300,000 souls, and is a political, mercantile, religious, and social center for the warring nations and tribes around it. It is a free city, ruled jointly by the 7 Thearchs, and the GuildLord. These represent the major religious and mercantile forces in the city. Another covert force in the city is the Mage-Pact, an alliance of the most powerful mages whose aim is to restrict the hostile use of magic in the city.
There are five major racial groups, or tribes, in Ysgarth. These are the Vaen, the Saexe, the Gael, the Kymri, and the Magar. Each has its own peculiar institutions and culture. The Vaen are nomad warrior tribes of the North-Eastern steppes. They are notable warriors and horsemen. They are generally fair haired and blue eyed. The Saexe form a large empire to the south west of the continent. They are related to the Vaen, but shorter and more ruddy of continent. The Gael rule in the island kingdoms of the North-West. They are tallish, and fairly dark, though red or blond hair nations swear allegiance to the Ard-Ri, their high-king, who rules in the Kingdom of Gaeldoch. The Kymri are loosely related to the Gael, and inhabit half a dozen kingdoms in central, coastal Ysgarth. They are known for their art and wisdom, and they are rules by a High-King or War-King, who is the hereditary ruler of the Kingdom of Marganwc. The Magar are a short, dark people who live in the mountain lands of the South-East. They are good horsemen, and herd-keepers. The terrain of their land keeps them mostly separate from the other peoples. There is a fair amount of mixed blood, and racial lines are often hazily drawn. Each people has its own heritage, language, and customs.
In addition to the human races in Ysgarth, there are several notable non-human races. These include the Khuzdar, or Dwarves, who live in the mountains of many regions, or in the Dwarvish Kingdom of Khuzdaral, and three races of Elves, the Gwyllion, the Gwragedd, and the Ellyllon, each of which has a preferred habitat. The Gwyllion are primarily mountain dwellers and have several kingdoms in the far North-East. The Gwragedd are seafarers, mostly in the island kingdom of Seregond, and the Ellyllon inhabit the woods of many parts of the world. Dwarves tend to be moderately friendly to man, but the Elves are often hostile, and at best unfriendly. It is rumored that many stranger races dwell beyond the Abyss.
Magic and magical creatures abound in Ysgarth. Dragons, Gryffons, and other mythic beasts are deadly hazards of the land, and much youthful blood is spent in controlling them. There are many types of magic in the land, and the study of the Arts Arcane is the practice of over 30 major guilds. Magic is a key part of industry, trade, and many parts of everyday life in Ysgarth. Some forms of magic are more popular than others, for their marketability, and relative security. These include Pyromancy, Hydromancy, Geomancy, Windmastery, Thaumaturgy, Sorcery, and Devining. Less popular and more dangerous areas are Necromancy, Sorcery, and Wizardry, among others. The study of magic is a life-long task, and can often mean the early death or destruction of the mage, though the rewards can be great, is power and wealth.
On the whole the world is peaceful, though the need for strong fighters is ever present, in mercenary actions, militia, private guards, and small wars between contesting rulers. Employment is good and profitable for skilled Warriors in any of many campaigns and conflicts. Adventure both martial and magical can be had easily, but at what dear price?
Ysgarth is the flagship and default setting used through the various editions of Ysgarth. It often is described as a "low entropy" setting to reinforce its stable and largely traditional components. Information about the setting is scattered across numerous products. Ysgarth lies on the western side of The Great Abyss.
Wyrdworld is a major setting used in several editions of Ysgarth. It sometimes is described as a "medium entropy" setting. Information about Wyrdworld primarily is found in the adventures included in Ysgarth Adventure Series (Jahannam). Wyrdworld lies on the eastern side of The Great Abyss.
Though both areas exist in the same setting, their exact relationship remains largely unknown and Wyrdworld always remained distinctly secondary to Ysgarth.
From the introduction of Jahannam 05: Double Doom:
Wyrdworld is a plane based on the historical Middle-East. It has a different geography and a few changes in the laws of nature. Magic works, and there are a variety of unusual and magical creatures as well as several intelligent, non-human races.
Wyrdworld is divided into several human nations. The greatest of those is the Empire of Ilchania. Also of note are the Kingdom of Achaja, the Khanate of Khusistan, and the Khazak horde. The main religions are Babylonian pantheism, Egyptian Enneadism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and Judaism. There is also some Djinn worship, and a few foreign cults are represented in the larger cities.
The inhabited portion of the world is bordered to the West by the great Abyss, a thousand-mile-long canyon inhabited by demons. This hellish region is ruled by Zaedukrom the Eyelss, Arekitash the Claw, and a dozen other malign beings. To the East is the Maghrib, a vast and treacherous desert. Beyond that is a mountain range inhabited by Malik Katshan and his subject Djinni.
Several non-human races pre-date man in the area. Among these are Trozard: a breed of highly intelligent, giant lizard men; Batrags, giant amphibious frog men; Chitare, intelligent anthropoid insects; and Mnerrar, a race of small intelligent felines. All four races stand erect and tend to keep to themselves. They do not live among humans in great numbers. Together they make up about 9% of the population of a city, working as guards, assassins, or merchants. Trozards are by far the most common in a human community. There are also a few minor or semi-intelligent races which are very rare and keep well away from humanity.