The Campaign world is one undergoing a slow awakening from a thousand-year dark age.  In the civilized lands the technology, such as it is, is early midieval.  Other lands remain hunter-gatherer.  Many legends worldwide speak of a distant past of great, glittering empires.  Most people regard such tales as faerie-stories or fables whose moral lessons concern either magical temptations (viewed as ultimately destructive) or the perils of overreaching and upsetting the natural order.  However, the few who are deeply educated or well-traveled have seen things that the old empires left behind.  They have read the dessicated, yellowed parchments, seen the silt-filled artificial harbors or walked the cunningly fitted foundation stones of ancient cities and know them to be the works of a great civilization of men.  But of those who know this truth, even fewer suspect the multiple cycles of empire, collapse, and renewal that shaped the world -- nor guess at the era of the Elves at a time before Men.

The practical, campaign consequences of this setting are many.  Foremost, magic ("arcanum") is almost universally regarded as taboo and practitioners are regarded with suspicion at best, hostility more often.  Magical knowledge is not generally available nor promulgated.  Consequently, the populations of Pure and Hybrid character classes are extremely low.  Semi-spell-user classes often have no spell knowledge at all, and the few that do tend to disguise or deny the fact that any magic is being employed.  The standard of living endured by the common man under early-midieval tech and with no magical relief can be guessed at.

Magic, then, is dabbled in by rigorously secretive guilds or by adept loners who take few (if any) apprentices.  Even among these highly isolated, often ostracized bubbles of talent, the real level of spell-list knowledge varies widely.  The brutish nature of the wide world usually snuffs out the nascent spellcaster before he can develop the cooperative relationships with other adepts that would build knowledge and help one another survive.  In such a world, a group of novices that can tap into a fount of old, unspoilt knowledge would have a powerful lever that could move nations.  If they can live long enough to master that knowledge, that is.

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