Long ago, the Outsiders came to Mendia, the manifested realm of the World Tree, bringing their slaves, the Dwarves with them. The Outsiders were similar to Humans in form, but tall and terrible to behold, with hair like fire and eyes like blood. They subjugated the Humans and Elves using horrific weapons, drove the Goblins into hiding in deep caves far to the east, and built a massive fortress city, Hismir, around the great crater that marked the site of their arrival. The Humans and Elves lost their freedom, but gained a measure of peace and order. The Outsiders were indifferent masters so long as their needs were met, and the Goblins, ever a threat to peace, dared not approach the walls of Hismir.

Centuries passed, and the Humans and Elves made secret alliances with the enslaved Dwarves, who came from a grim world of hard stone and molten metal called Thorwalde. The Dwarves told tales of a great war between the Outsiders, Alkai in their tongue, and the Glaudrim, the fire worms, the great drakes who flew between worlds, bringing fire and terror with them.

The allied slaves planned a revolt, hiding stolen weapons and carving secret tunnels beneath Hismir. But before the enslaved races could set their plans in motion, the Glaudrim came. They were few in number, but they brought with them warlike allies: ferocious Trolls, hordes of lizard-faced Kobolds, and withered Walking Corpses from the tomb world, the Deadlands.

The Outsiders met this threat with horrible weapons that seared the sky and magic that stained the oceans black. The Glaudrim responded in kind. The final battle of the long war took place at the base of the World Tree. When the battle was over, none was left to claim the victory. The spells and fires and lighting blasts unleashed that day seared the Tree's roots and doomed an entire world to a slow death. The few Outsiders and Glaudrim left fled, leaving their slaves and followers to fend for themselves.

It has been 432 years since that final battle. The World Tree's roots wither and its leaves fall, and the world grows dim and cold. The survivors of the great war search for salvation: a means to save the World Tree or a way to escape the death of Mendia. The best hope for either lies within the blasted ruins of Hismir, the dead city of the Outsiders.

The campaign begins with the party setting out for Eastgate, a town of Humans, Elves, and Dwarves, which lies a few days east of the ruins of Hismir. Eastgate is beholden to no other realm, and rumor says it is a dangerous place. It's not even clear who runs the place.

Getting to Eastgate is the party's first challenge. The desolate Scorch lies between Ironhold, the westernmost border town of Duke Kevis Sharn, and Eastgate. Under ideal conditions the crossing takes 10 days, and conditions are never ideal.