The Telluric Threnody
In a world built and sustained by divine forces, warped and molded by the will of those with arcane power, only magic matters. At least for a time it did.
Power accumulates, often despite the wishes of those that hold it, and it tends to gather where it is best leveraged. The Telluric is an old world, and on this ancient carcass of rock and magma those with magical talent have fought for power and resources. To the clerics and wizards of the Telluric, raw minerals and water are as valuable as the bodies, minds, and souls of the people who inhabit the land.
Struggles erupt, flare, and continually simmer between various wizards, clerics, colleges, academies, temples, cults, and theocracies. Wherever magic congregates, the will of its users eventually bends towards domination. Often these magic users have all the purest of intentions, but a golden velvet yoke is still a yoke, and the mundane suffer as tools in battles they cannot comprehend.
However, deep underground a rare prize was discovered. An ore that would give any who possess it dominion over magic. Harvested and refined by the Dwarves deep in the mountains forever changing the balance of power for all races of the Telluric.
Now those imbued with arcane or divine might were not the only ones able to assert their will! Those with enough resources, cunning, and wealth could obtain a counter to the old and oppressive power structures leading to the development of city states that simply have no wizards or temples to demand their obedience.
Unfortunately this reaping of Arczonite, as the ore came to be called, came at a terrible price. As the dwarves glutted themselves on the wealth that flowed from their endeavors, the very structure of the Prime Material Plane was stressed to a breaking point.
Then if finally happened, The First Tearing was a cataclysm so defining it utterly changed the shape of the Telluric.
The Prime Material was torn in a multitude of places, each tear leading to another plane. Often destruction or chaos would spew froth from these tears leading to the inner planes. Fire consumed forests and settlements, water carved new mountains and drowned plains, earth shattered the landscape and air altered weather regionally.
Not all of these tears lead to the inner planes, some lead to farther, darker places. Places that destroy the laws of physics and sanity in the Telluric. Some tears are so large and lead places so dark entire civilizations were never heard from again.
Now individuals continue their vain quests for power, wealth, and resources while a few enlightened souls seek to find the answers to the Telluric rifts and maybe even a cure for the Telluric.
Despite their best efforts however, the damage done to the Telluric is too great, and the world is dying. This will be its threnody.
This is a high fantasy campaign for Dungeon World, inspired from a smattering of sources with a heavy yet whimsical tone reminiscent of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth.