Rise and Fall of the Current Era
• The world has been in the grip of barbarism for twenty centuries or more, since the Golden Age was torn apart in the War of the Pious and the Philosophers. Some feel that the Pious won, but if so it was a Pyrrhic victory, as those who claim to carry on the traditions of either side are many, various, and typically self-deluded.
• The City-State of the World Emperor and the City-State of the Invincible Overlord are said to have been established during the Golden Age. The rulers of both states assert themselves to be duly appointed by the Gods to oversee the current era of creation. Almost no one has ever visited these cities, and many people do not even believe they still exist.
Contemporary History of the Awesome Planet
• Recent history arises from the conflict between adventurers and society. Adventurers are foolish, desperate, or strangely driven people of any alignment; disproportionately many are non-human. Such doomed souls are numerous enough to form a sub-class of society, a kind of grey-market personnel economy.
• Too many adventurers in one place become a barbarian horde, definitely bad for business. Not enough adventurers around when you need them, and your society is ill-equipped to confront outbreaks of chaos.
• Respectable society's point of view is that adventurers lie, steal, and kill; they're always getting drunk and high and making trouble. But even if it's not polite to say so, society also knows that the treasure haul from one good delve can fuel a thriving city with the taxes on treasure recovered from dungeons and the merchants who flock nearby to sell adventuring goods at boomtown prices. Of course, that expedition might also free a trapped demi-god thirsting to crush empires under her heel, and conservative societies often attempt to outlaw the possession, sale, practice, or investigation of many of the things adventurers care about.
• Organizations are local. Lankhmar has a Thieves' Guild while most castles have a brotherhood of arms, and woe betide the interloper who seeks to practice their trade in town without the proper sanction. But there is no universal affiliation that will offer the adventurer safe haven wherever they go.