The continent is an ancient place. A damp place. Raining at least every other day. Wild lands abound. Full of temperate forest with heavy under growth. Opening to fields near villages and towns. Save for the plains in the northwest. It is all forest or mountain. In the northwest in the plains at the foot of the Cragnor Mountains lie the orc clans. To the east lie the ivory cities of the elves. These are the power players in the continent. The elves are masters of magics. This is one of the reasons that the lands the empire occupies are sunnier and warmer. Thanks to their control of the weather. Their town and cities are centered around elven nobles keeps and castles. Built of smooth white marble. The elves as a whole are arrogant, and contemptuous. They are divided in to houses. With one being the house of the emperor ruling the others. Feeling superior to the other races. Other races are not persecuted. (well save for two) But they can never advance to a position of power with in the Empire. The two that are prejudiced against are the orcs who they are at war with. And the Animal people which are slaves. The animal people who were created by powerful magics many centuries ago. They established a breeding stock. To which they have established a breeding program for slaves. Not unlike what other cultures have done with dogs. They use these animal people as servants, laborers, and even some times soldiers. The elves as stated before are at war with the orcs. They look down at them with contempt. As a non-magic using race.
The elves have more than a few dark secrets. Such as their magic automatons. Which are based on trapping the soul (and sometimes the body) of a sentient in the body to the machine. The other big secret the Drow. They were not always the dark skinned nocturnal tribe. They were made that way by a curse placed on their house. Cast out of the elven lands. With little magic ability and suddenly a savage disposition. They live in a dark primeval forest. In this place night falls early. A haunting place it is avoid by those with any sense. Across the land their are escaped animal men slaves that have started a few of their own villages. At least one of them has sided with the orcs.
Now the orcs lacking the ability to use magic have found what they believe to be the equalizer. Technology. They warriors wield sturdily built powerful black power muskets. these muskets end in long, wicked bayonet blades. So after firing they can be used in close quarter battle as a spear. As well as their brutal sword for which they are known. They engage in a war with the elves. Not only to gain a better land. But in what they perceive (and rightly so) as aggression from the elven empire. To this end they recruit mercenaries such as ogres to help in their battles. Another help they have found. Is a few gnomes that work for them in mercenary fashion. They help to build fantastic technology beyond normal orcish craftsmanship. Such as Automatons, clock work armor, and war wagons.
Gnomes are masters of technology. Fine smiths and craftsman. Being the most technologically advanced race on the continent. They live in few walled villages in the west. They are one of the few races to have any contact with the dwarves in the Himnal mountains. Which they trade with for raw materials. They are a magicless race like the orcs.
The dwarves on the other hand their is very little known about. They are a very xenophobic race. Keeping to them selves. They are reputed to be masters of runic and stone magic. They are rumored to have great cities under the mountains. But if any ones been to them. They are not talking about it. Now just below all this is the kingdoms of man. A multitude of feudal states. Of varying rule. Its rumored that the human race is actually a cross breed of elves and orcs. Something that seems to bother the elves to no end. Thought they bear the human kingdoms no ill will. And in fact have recruited some of them for the war. As has the orcs. Magic talent is know among humans but it is rare.
Now to the south of all this in the swamps the lizard folk hordes roam. A nomadic people they are a violent people and to be avoid if it can be helped.
They woods and forest through out the continent are full of dangers. One of which being the vascar halflings. Small hairy carnivorous, and cannibalistic humanoids with sharp teeth. they hunt in packs with an erie intelligence. Above that of the common predator. These and other hidden evils lurk deep within the dark forests. When traveling caution is advised.