There are some holes in my world, the one I created for the Dungeons & Dragons game I am DM’ing. I admit it. So shoot me. Or don’t and keep reading.
Finian (a deft halfling thief), Teague (an incautious and potty mouthed singer and poet), and Regdar (a lifelong military man) start out as low level officers on a semi-important island within a distinctly unimportant empire.
Having created a world on my own and having done so in a somewhat haphazard fashion (I had a draft in my head, but not much more than that), it put the players at the awkward disadvantage of not really knowing as much about the world they were in as they really should have. I’ve tried to fix that over time, but that’s also been haphazard.
Below is the intro to the small part of the world where I dropped them:
The Sunward Empire is a series of twenty-seven islands, ruled by gnomish sorcerer, the Sunward Emperor. His wife (by tradition) is the Windward Priestess, a human. Together, they are not just the ruling secular authority, but also the head of the national religion, which worships the sun (Kaji) and the wind (Raag). In matters of secular governance, the Sunward Emperor leads, and the Windward Priestess in matters of religion. However, the Emperor is also a religious figure and the Windward Priestess a figure with real secular authority. They are not, typically, referred to by their names, however, their names (Verkef and Alriat, respectively) are widely known. The Sunward Emperor and Windward Priestess are chosen a college of gnomish arcanists and a college of human clerics, respectively. The gnomish and human cultures dominate the Sunward Empire.
No one island is more than a day from its nearest neighbor and the Empire can crossed by boat (in good weather) is ten days, east to west, and five days, north to south. The islands are in the middle of (usually) calm ocean, between the western continent of Loe and the eastern continent of Goa. The Empire, as a whole, is self sufficient, but regular trade does come from the peoples of the two continents, but little is known about the civilizations of either (technologically, most of the traders seem to come from cultures that resemble the Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations of the late bronze and early iron ages).
The empire is peaceful and mulitcultural. The dominant groups are gnomes and humans, but there are large populations of dwarves and elves and halflings.
Each island is jointly governed in local matters by an appointed governor and council whose makeup is determined by local traditions (some are reasonably democratic, but most are de facto group of the heads of leading families).
The characters are based on the westernmost island, call the Throughward Isle. The island council is made up of a group of leading citizens. When someone dies, the remaining figures pick his replacement (this council has no females and is fairly chauvinistic), almost always from amongst the oldest families or leading merchants. The council has two factions: one is led by an elf named Aelat and the other by a halfling named Anderaz. The governor is a human named Maloud and is also the commander of the imperial garrison, consisting of about forty soldiers. The garrison is larger than most (except for the capital island of Hazakis) in order to be able to send half or more on expeditions to act as marines.
In addition to being a significant trading location, Throughward Isle also has the largest iron mine in the Empire.
The characters are officers in the garrison. They may either be native to the island or have recently been transferred. The commanding officer (Maloud) and most of the garrison are human.