Most of you remember a world before the Shattering – a world with vast continents, rolling plains, and great forests. Until that fateful day fifteen years ago when the world heaved and broke asunder. The air was filled with the smell of ozone, heavy with magic, and the sound was excruciating – as if the very mountains were grinding and breaking apart, the sound of thousands of trees falling and the sea roaring and crashing and swelling for days. Finally the noise subsided and the earthquakes settled all that was left was an immense sea and the pockets of land that had survived unscathed.
You have lived since the Shattering on Dawnforge Island. This island used to be part of a great mountain range dominated by the dwarven fort of Hammerfast, the guardian and trading post on the western expanses of the great Dwarven Kingdown – that has now largely vanished beneath the waves. The underground tunnels have been cut off, leaving the dwarves isolated from their kin. Fortunately they were not alone on the island – the largely halfling and human lakeside fishing village of Nenlast also survived – and was soon converted over the coming years into a bustling port on the sea that had rushed in to join with the former Lake Nen.
Suddenly anyone with a rudimentary naval knowledge like many of the local fisherman became extremely valuable for shipbuilding, as most of the formerly landlocked dwarves had little knowledge of boats. Gradually contact was restored with other surviving islands, and it was not just the dwarves who had suffered – the great elven forest decimated and reduced to isolated islets in the north and the human capitol of Harkenwold destroyed to the west. Many ships and lives were lost exploring islands and islets which proved to be unsafe.