- Elyden is a rotten place, ancient and decaying beneath the languid dreams of the Demiurges. Seas, already barren and polluted from millennia of industry, are in retreat. Empires are in decline. Corruption is the rule - governments struggle to maintain order as resources run out across the globe. Strife and rebellion are commonplace. In other places coups have already toppled the governments and nations lie sundered, their lands prizes over which rogue patricians and magnates fight, their previous loyalties discarded. Small towns are either cut off from the heartlands of their once-nations or lie dead, populated by dregs and wretches struggling to survive. Corpses litter a land that is increasingly unravelling, the laws of nature dissolving even as the Demiurges' dreams grow more despairing and bitter. Millions are dead, their bodies a feast to carrion-beasts, their bodies leading the way to the few cities that remain: shallow mockeries of the civilised order that once was, these city-states stand as bastions against the grotesqueries that threaten to drag the world deeper into chaos. The hinterlands between cities are a festering wasteland where the dual forces known as the Firmament and the Penumbra hold sway, altering the landscape in unimaginable ways that rend once-sane minds into madness. degenerates and grotesques haunt these lands, and where a semblance of society exists it does so in morbid tribes and archaic sects that serve as black echoes to the fragments of normalcy that struggle to survive.
- The laws of nature are uravelling. It has been a long slow process of decay that has brought the world to its knees. Elyden was crafted through the toil of the once deific Demiurges, though they have long since fallen from grace. embittered by the lofty rank they once held, many have fallen into despair, the powers that once helped them create continents and oceans now polluting their dreams, warping the natural world. For it is they who are at the root of all that ails the world.
- Elyden is an ancient place, covered in ruins and dozens of strata of mortal life, going back to the first ages, perhaps a billion years past. the place is rife with ruins and the eerie cyclopean monuments built by and in dedication of the Demiurges. That these monolithic structures remain in any form at all after the passing of so many years is testament to the artifice of the Demiurges and their followers. elsewhere, continental shelves, once submerged beneath coastal waters lie exposed, little more than deserts of salt and dessicated corals. Ancient machinery lie fossilised, their secrets impossible to decipher. Once-proud metropolises stand, half broken and abandoned, their people either died (genocide, starvation, ritual sacrifice, war...) or left to join other settlements.
- Despair and grotesqueries. the people of this world have lived this way for generations, and in some areas this has gone on for dozens if not hundreds of years. entire areas once devoted to industry lie abandoned, the earth a scar of open-caste mines and quarries. lakes and inland seas are either dried up or polluted by bright-coloured chemicals. Everywhere the signs of the inevitable end are increasing - stillbirths, deformities, hydrocephaly, cyclocephaly, aepathy... the list goes on. The mortals of Elyden know their world is ending. Customs have changed and adapted to this. Some regions cling to a semblance of normalcy though in this world, they are the strange ones, living in a world of distorted traditions and broken dreams, ignoring the realities of the world. what were once deities are either forgotten or reviled as the cause for this decay. once-immaculate tenets and dogma are recycled, polluted by new apocryphal texts and used as propaganda by warlords and crusaders hoping to gain followers for their own causes. most hope is extinguished and where it remains it is distorted, as sickened as the world is grey. The Demiurges care not for the mortal's struggles and observe the world unthinking as they slowly decay to their own despair.
- the legacy of the ancient demiurges can be felt everywhere - from ancient monuments to the corruption prevalent in the world, it is their actions that shape all. Though now rotten an forgotten by most, they are still central to the fate of the world and some hope against all the evidence that if awakened and elevated to a position of power, their thoughts might yet be turned from grim darkness to rebirth. It is a fleeting hop, though and most who know of them despise them for their langour and ignorance of the mortal race's struggling. most demiurges are recognised as 'dead', their bodies monolithic and fossilised, blighting the mortal realm with their presence. Despite this infamy, many regions now recognise them under corrupted forms, and might worship them under archaic guises, giving substance to entities they might not fully understand - or care for - their plight.
so, themes of Body Horror and Dying Earth, which are two of my favourite tropes and genres.