You haved lived all your life knowing dread. Growing up in the world as it is... A dying place, where memories of the past echo through the consciousness of Refuge like distant dreams, surreal and unfathomable. Yet you cannot stay here, as you have before. With no option but to survive, you must venture forth into this unforgiving and bleak world.
Intent on only making your way alive through the perilous landscape of Refuge, you will come to realize the greater cataclysm that wracks the earth with each passing moment...
In reverence to the past, the survivors of a millenia-long annihilation don the attire of the old times as its' steam relics run pointlessly through the wilderness. Decades may pass before a village finds itself with a child, while its' inhabitants die younger and the old go mad sooner than ever before. The forests decay and rot from the inside, the once docile animals and fey within going feral and murderous. As the last final deathblow to the human race, demons have taken root with the intention of conquering the precious few survivors and infecting them with their own demonic brood.
Setting Backstory; For over ten thousand years since man first put his people's accumulated knowledge to script, Refuge has perservered. Magic, in all its' glory and wonder, had built empires from dust. With the shamans' blessings, villages went without disease for generations and the land was fertile.
In time, the empires of men had their mages utilized for the masses. Land was made fertile, crops resistant to disease and pests kept at bay. Massive sprawling agricultural plains ensured that the world's population was in excess of ten billion. Refuge perservered.
Yet in the mere span of a millenia, the world's population has diminished to less than a tenth of that amount. Gradually, magic ceased to function. Refuge's fertile land reverted to its' inarable state without supernatural intervention. In less than a century after the zenith of civilization, the first great famines swept throughout man's empires. It was as if all the averted disasters of a world without magic was thrust upon humanity in an instant. For every three who survived it, a fourth would starve.
Undeterred, humanity diverted its' efforts from the magic academies and scholarly pursuits towards something now more... reliable. Agricultural techniques and the development of mechanical technology was spurred on by the people of Refuge to ensure this horrible twist of fate never happened again. Yet progress was slow, and the birth rate steadily decreased over the years. Inexplicably, it became difficult to conceive and humanity's longevity was shortened...
Moreover, the ecosystem gradually became warped. Animals began to mutate and grow malevolent throughout the wilderness outside the now desolated cities. The faerie folk, went mad and ensured the forests became deathtraps to any who dared enter their lairs. But what was perhaps most dire and unnoticable, was that the ancient lore and acquired knowledge of ten thousand years of civilization became... relics. In many lands, humans inexplicibly reverted back to their tribal nature when generation after generation chose simply to ignore the progress of their ancestors. Madness had infiltrated the minds of many, and demensia had become almost an inevitability, a fate looming over many who lived in fear of losing their sanity to this unseen plague.
Just when the world seemed to be on the brink of falling apart from the inside, the demons came to Refuge from another plane. Rifts bled through the world and tore into reality, allowing all manner of wretched monstrosity into the world to rape and pillage the cowering remnants of civilization.
The gods are dying... The pillars of all creation, the beings which have maintained existence since time immemorial, the very foundations of reality have been poisoned to their core. ...Yet Refuge perserveres.
Magic and Food: At one point, magic was almost innate in every human. Although most would never master anything beyond the most basic techniques and spells, it was commonplace. Usually, a town shaman or mage would enchant the land with established practices and the farmland surrounding that settlement would prosper unerringly. Rather than develop actual farming techniques, the population relied upon this magic to sustain the land. This technique required continual reinforcement, and despite efforts from the more powerful archmages of the time, it could not be made permanent unless the crops went unharvested. When magic started to fade from Refuge, it began from the bottom up. The mass of town shamans and mages who sustained the population boom suddenly lost their power. While most of the more powerful archmages retained a portion of their abilities, they were simply too few to feed the billions of inhabitants within Refuge. Some powerful mages died from exhaustion trying to make the soil of entire regions one again arable.
The Trains: At the height of technology, an empire invented a railway system spanning its domain. While it was declared for the purposes of supplying even the most distant border towns and settlements during the time of troubles, it was instead created to support the metropolitan urban centers of the empire. Food was shipped en masse towards the wealthier urban dwellers to feed the social elite. For each of the highly advanced engines built into the trains, The empire had commissioned its most powerful remaining archmage Lue to create eternal flames (which efficiently burned fuel hotter than normal at a much slower rate). Perhaps as a testament to her power, the flames still exist to this day and still power the trains when fueled, following the same schedule that had been set within them hundreds of years prior. Some of the trains have been disabled or derailed from the ravages of time, and more than once has the enduring flame within them been foolishly unleashed upon the environment. Yet those that still function exist as a wandering ghost of humanity's past, reminding all who travel aboard them of what once was.
Demonkin: The origins of the demonkin are obscure, but they are known to be a willfull product of demons. Human in appearance, with some demonic features... they are best characterized as creatures created for the sole purposes of breeding. While humans have become incredibly infertile amongst their own communities, the demonkin easily impregnate (and become impregnated by) humans. Except the rules of genetics don't quite apply to the partly supernatural demonkin. The demonic blood will persist for many generations beyond the first interracial ancestors. The demons had manufacted this trait in their product for a reason; to overwhelm the human gene pool with their own demonic brood. But demonkin cannot sustain more than a couple of generations without any human genes... They too, succumb to sterility.
Nature: Refuge was once a world rife with forestry, despite its' agricultural dependency. Vast stretches of wilderness maintained by the rangers and druids inspired majesty and awe in all who ventured there. Yet over time, the wood rotted, the leaves withered, and the animals grew demented and warped. There is barely a creature recognizable from the abberations that make the forests now so dangerous to cross. The once friendly fey folk have grown insane from their connection to nature's plight, madly raging against anything they can inflict misery upon.
Post-Fantasy, remnants of Edwardian fashion and culture
evident in the reverant past-worshipping contemporary culture.
Some settlements are stone age tribalistic societies that have completely forgotten the past, some are the slowly dwindling remnants of once thriving metropolises. While there aren't many humans exploiting fellow humans (The usual relationship is indifference, not neccesarily benevolent or malevolent) the demons and internal plights of humanity gives Refuge an air of dread and hopelessness. Many make no attempt to better the situation. There are few scavengers searching the past for answers because there is no apparant reason for their plight... No lessons to be learned of man's hubris; only this inexplicably horrible end, one that has taken a millenia to play out.
Humanity worships the past yet does nothing to reclaim it, only clinging to the last proud heritage they have until being wiped out. What Refuge needs most now is hope.
...Gauging interest hyah.