POINTS OF ORDER
Things to know about the world, like what matters and what doesn't, where technology is at, and why oil is what everybody wants in their stocking.
WAR IS A THING OF THE PAST
The concept of war has changed significantly over the past number of decades. While wars were traditionally fought with boots on the ground, as time went on, people saw the loss of life as such an immense waste. Wars were then later fought using machines, at least by those who could afford to produce them. This led to the development of Warforged, and instead, they would fight wars in place of humanoid combatants. When This was deemed cruel, when warforged sentience was discovered to go far beyond what was initially anticipated. Since then, traditional armies are more akin to national police forces that deal with internal conflict.
This doesn't mean the national conflict has gone away. Instead, these nations engage in proxy skirmishes, where any and all fighting is carried out by mercenary companies. They are bound contracts that usually come from "blanks", falsified companies that don't really exist, as to ensure that nobody can trace back who hired them.
THE NEW DEITY, OIL
A matter of Commerce, Religion and the War Machine.
Since the discovery of Oil, it's become the single most important commodity in Vangaard. Oil is the driven force behind a huge number of economical endeavours, which is to be expected. Many sell it for use as fuel, a material for production, and many refined forms for use in more simplistic areas.
Not only this, however, as it has been labelled the blood of a new god, it also has massive religious significance to some. Some feel that it should be revered, and others think that it should not be used in production at all, due to its use being sacrilegious. Some would die to ensure that oil remains in the earth where it belongs, and working on an oil facility is one of the most dangerous jobs on the continent.
On top of all that, oil is the one of the leading reasons for conflict, not only for its value, but also how integral it is to the running of machines used in warfare.
A LAND OF INTRIGUE
Even the lowliest people have schemes of their own.
Now that "war is gone", the nations of Vangaard now try to build a new age of peace and prosperity, at least on the surface. Other threats linger, however, and the world needs heroes to take up the cause. Nations compete on many levels—over economic dominance, political influence, territory, magical power, and more. Each looking to maintain or improve its status by any means short of all-out war.
Wealthy houses, churches both pure and corrupt, crime lords, monster gangs, psionic spies, arcane universities, secret societies, sinister masterminds, dragons, and a multitude of organizations and factions join the struggle for position and power in the race to be Vangaard's leading faction.
A CONTINENT OF ADVENTURE
The world is up for grabs, partner.
From the jungles of The Packlands, to the hills and valleys of the Kingdom of Tearmann, from the skyscrapers of Mercen to the desolate snowscape of The Whitewaste, Vangaard is a world of adventure. Adventures can draw heroes from one exotic location to another across the continent of Vangaard.
The quest to track down a dangerous bounty might take the party from a hidden mountain shrine in Himinskross, to a ruined castle in Baslovia, and finally to a dungeon deep below an ancient city in Kabal'ara. Through the use of magical transportation, airships, trains, and sea bound juggernauts, adventurers can reach a wide range of environments over the course of a mission, and thus deal with a diverse assortment of monsters and other challenges.
THE MAGICAL WORLD HAS PASSED
Unless you've got the coin for it.
Magic items are still very much around, however, since the discovery of oil, the manufacture of items that serve similar functions were able to be produced on a much larger scale. Magical objects require extremely long hours from one person to create a single functioning item. Mass production allows for cheaper items, less working hours, and wider availability at a lower cost.
The drawback here, is that the vast majority of these items require a lot more upkeep, and some require adequate fuel to be used regularly. Magical items often recharge themselves, and don't require regular maintenance. As such, artisanal magic items are extremely valuable, and much harder to come by than their mundane, mass-produced counterparts.
For example, adventurers might be much more likely to encounter mercenaries armed with Chainswords, that are heavy on fuel use, and need to be topped up lest they become useless, than they are to encounter a knight armed with an enchanted lance.
Subject matter and situations that you are more than likely to encounter in the sprawling cities and vast frontiers of Vangaard
It's not always that simple.
Vangaard draws inspiration from noir and hard-boiled fiction. It’s a world where stories don’t always end well, and where there isn’t a perfect solution for every problem. In developing characters or stories in Vangaard not every conflict involves a fight between light and darkness. The vast majority of people are driven by simple motives: greed, fear, pride, or ambition. One person just wants to get some gold in their pocket. Another wants to impress a paramour. A leader guiding their nation into war is motivated both by fear of their neighbours and the sincere belief that Vangaard would be better off under their rule.
There are Primordial forces that strive to change or destroy Vangaard, but more often, adventurers encounter misguided patriots, religious extremists, spies who will do anything to protect their nations, and petty criminals trying to build empires. Vangaard holds a place for selfless heroes and truly vile villains, as well as everyone in between.
SHADES OF GREY
Not always good, not always bad.
In Vangaard, it’s not always easy to separate the heroes from the villains. Good people can do terrible things, while cruel or heartless people might serve the greater good. An inquisitor might torture innocents in a quest to root out a cult; if she’s stopped, the cult will survive and flourish. A group of orcs periodically raids a human settlement because the settlers built their village on land sacred to the orcs and are disrupting wards that hold evil at bay. The adventurers find a powerful magic weapon in a tomb, but the artefact is the sword of an ancient hobgoblin general, whose descendants want it back. The ways to resolve these problems aren’t always simple.
Certain situations demand straightforward decisions. If cultists are about to detonate a necrotic resonator that will kill half of Schrittwolke, they need to be stopped. But in a good Vangaard story, the simplest solution may not be the best one.
Good old fashioned ultra-nationalism.
Vangaard is heavily influenced by the concept of nationalism. People no longer feel the need to have cultures or ideologies separated by race, and society has arrived at a point where you tend to feel far more impassioned by the place you are from and the town you represent, rather than your racial heritage. This has become so much so that fights over borders are more common than fights over the shape of one's ears.
This has ultimately led to people truly believing that the land that they stand on is worth dying for, and many are willing to do so if it means that they can prove that their countrymen are tougher, and more patriotic than yours.
Rob from the rich, to keep for yourself.
Wealth gaps are massive in Vangaard. The poor hate the rich, and the rich hate the poor. People can vary from only owning the shirt on their back, versus owning entire towns and a personal army.
It's important to note that even under this dichotomy, the rules of Shades of Grey still apply. Some of the rich are still kind-hearted, and some of the poor are ruthless individuals with a penchant for violence. Occasionally, you'll even find these working in tandem.
Even with this in mind, there's always going to be a capitalist venture looking to bleed the little guy for all he's worth, and on the other end, those who feel oppressed will be more than happy to try and tear it all down.
There's no place like home.
Vangaard is filled with people looking to find a new life somewhere. People who want to leave their homes in search of better comforts, travelling caravans who can't find anywhere to settle that bandits haven't already moved into, and those who have been forced to evacuate as a result of mercenary skirmishes.
Refugees wander in the frontiers, looking to set down roots somewhere safer than the place they left. It's a tough treasure to find, but it is possible. Some people spend their time assisting these people achieve their dreams of a better life, while others make careers preying on them, either through violence or predatory business transactions.
Adventures may seek to protect refugees out of the good of their own heart, some may choose to charge for protective services, or, they may simply choose to rob them for what little they have.