Gate of Heaven
This is a world in shambles.
Scattered, ramshackle villages and towns struggle to survive amidst a unnaturally tainted landscape. Beyond living memory, the height of a location has been intrinsically tied to it’s purity. The depths of the world’s lowlands, swamps and valleys are host to unimaginable horrors: hostile landscapes, implacable diseases and murderous beasts. In contrast, the mountain heights and rare plateau are the few bastions of civilized life, colonized by seculsive folks generally fearful and suspicious of those dwelling on a less prosperous elevation.
Those who eke out an existence in between the two extremes of corruption tend to do so without any real knowledge of the outside world. Reliable communication between anything more distant than neighbouring villages is rare, and smaller settlements have been known to go generations without outside contact. These Midlands are a divided place where ruthless bandits, harsh law and superstitious hatred are all too common.