The realm of Shalomar is a large island continent that has no known neighbors. It’s run as a republic, a confederation of city-states: (1) Sheene, the capital city and economic center of Shalomar;(2) Glum, a mountainous Dwarven homeland; (3) Dufur, a predominantly human city out in the plains; (4) the Dalelands (capital: Archendale), a human and Elven region that is a mixture of lowland forests and hilly country; (5) The Dingle (capital: Calabria), Halfling homeland, delta country and coastal marshes; (6) Galina, Eladrin homeland – deep forest and rocky coast.
These are the six main regions and the only ones that have political representation. Two other notable regions are: the Glitter Cliffs, a gnomish homeland on a peninsula that had been long isolated from the mainland until very recently; and Dragonspine Island, the homeland of the dragonborn.
Shalomar is governed from Sheene by a council of ten individuals called the Hands of Order (individually, the Digits). The Hands are elected by representatives of each citystate region, called Electors. Digits serve ten year terms, so there is an Election every year which is preceded by a month-long political convention/festival in Sheene.
In the past few years, a new crisis has been building: the Iron Shortage. The effects of this crisis have reverberated throughout Shalomar, and things seem to be reaching a breaking point.
The party started in Westerbridge. The PCs spent the last six months there at a school of sorts run by a teacher named Rodrick Conland. Rodrick is a retired adventurer (a warlord, by class) who runs what is basically a “finishing school” for adventurers, known as the Heroes’ Academy. The PCs came here with their natural talents and some basic training; Rodrick taught them tactics and advanced techniques, made them into young heroes. Guest lecturers of various classes stop by his school frequently to teach students, so each PC had the benefit of learning from high-level characters of their own classes.