The new sandbox campaign starts this weekend. The setting is this: Humanity (and by extension demi-humanity) has fallen on hard times. Their world has been over-run by humanoids (and worse) in the recent past. The "Home-base" of the PCs is a fortified town on what used to be the border between two mutually antagonistic human kingdoms, the great powers of their time. Those kingdoms set aside their differences ultimately to fight the threat of the massive invasion but failed anyway to stave off their destruction. Losing armies of humans and their demihuman allies retreated to this fortified zone some 30 years ago and have relatively little contact with the outside world. I keep picturing a fantasy version of the "Twilight 2000" setting, but it is actually more like "What if aliens invaded the earth at the height of the cold war", only in a fantasy setting.
Anyway, humans and demihumans control only fortified or easily defensible areas, and not all of them. The great kingdoms of the past are fallen. Trade is all but gone. Large swathes of formerly civilized territories are under the control of tribes of various races of humanoids or worse. Humans (and demihumans) in those territories are either gone, enslaved or food. Or a combination of those. D&D post-apocalyptic.
This all fits with my theme of an ancient and ongoing multi-planar war, and I get to tie it into the last campaign on ran in Garnia where the players failed to stop Horsa and his minions. Not their fault really, the campaign ended prematurely, but that kind of seemed the direction it was headed in.
So in my official timeline now Horsa managed to become Aetheling of the Westermarch and his minions unsealed the gates between worlds, so the dwindling and weak humanoids of the world were immediately reinforced by the legions of their brethren. The hordes of darkness also had access to the ancient Dwarven roads which made the kingdoms largely indefensible and the unknown reaches of the underworld once again had access to the surface. Ancient evils vanquished long ago returned, other planar threats emerged leading vast armies of evil humanoids.
Ultimately, this did not go well for Horsa or his minions. Not only was the entirety of the Westermarch over-run, but the entire kingdom of Wodanslund; it's capital Wodansburgh burned to the ground and it's people largely became food for the slavering horde. Wodanish is a language spoken by very few people now refugees all, they have no homeland to return to.
The campaign area is the Garnian-Frodian border region, starting in an outlying town inside Garnia- the region where the Averyraen and the Aver- something I can't recall at the moment and I can't find my map right now, the one that runs up into the old Dwarven kingdom of Khazarak. All of this was the center of the ancient elven empire, and is home to the mysterious Tomari people- a human ethnic group whose origins are lost and speak a language unrelated to any other in the world.
I like languages and cultures. Anthropology is the DM's friend.