The war between the Oracles and the Exarchs is over.
No one knows how it happened or why, but the gates between the different worlds has been rent asunder and the Watchtowers, the physical embodiment of otherworldly magic, have formed in the Material Realm. And the supernatural realms attached to their Watchtowers came too, merging with ours and twisting it in chaotic ways. They bleed into each other now, and this has infused the magic in strange ways, leaving not just Mages, but all supernatural creatures affected. Now spirits, demons, ghosts, hedge beasts, and fey freely walked the earth, while the flames of Azoth grow bright inside the Created’s chest, and the dead rise from the grave.
“Polluted” this way and driven mad by the Event, full of rage and fury the Exarchs, the high "gods" of magic, declared open war on the Material realm and would have Sundered it again if not for the Oracles' intervention alongside mystical heroes of every stripe and power. As the only willworkers as old and powerful as the Exarchs themselves, they saved the world from the brunt of the Exarch’s magic, but it still shattered the mortal world like an atom bomb. It was the mystical equivalent of nuclear war, ending the world as everyone knew it.
All that happened 200 years ago.
Other than a smattering of “mortal only” towns heavily guarded by Hunters, humans who have taken a stand against the magical forces, and paranoid militias, the only great cities left are those that formed around the Watchtowers where supernaturals and mortals live among each other, trying to protect themselves against the armies of the Exarchs and the ravages of the other realms.
Changelings, people who were stolen by the True Fey and clawed their way back, and Acanthus, Mages who can draw upon Arcadia to warp Fate and Time, have formed the city of Camelot around Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn in the nation of Avalon and work to protect the world from the Gentry, hobgoblins, and the ravages of the hedge.
Mastigos, Mages who draw upon the chaos of Pandemonium to warp Space and Mind, and the Indebted, those who have sold their soul to literal devils in exchange for power, have an uneasy alliance and have formed the City of Diss around the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet in the Burning Sands and work to keep the worst of hell at bay.
Geist, half-dead gatekeepers who are bonded with ghosts, and the Moros, Mages who wield the power of the underworld to warp Mater and Death, created the Necropolis around the Watchtower of the Lead Coin in the Dark Archipelago and try to protect the world the darkness of the lower realms, quite the restless dead, and keep the never-born from dragging mortals to their doom.
The Risen, mummies from an age before recorded time that protects sacred relics, are not the most populous group, but they stand fast for the Watchtower of the Golden Key in Shangrila, which reminds them of the Ancient Empire. Though they can rarely come inside the city of Elysium, the Obrimos, Mages empowered by the majesty of the Aether to smote their foes with Prime and Forces magic, and Hunters who support them respect their commitment to helping reign in some of the more dangerous elements from that realm.
The Great Lodge was built with the tacit alliance between the Uratha, werewolves cursed to atone for an ancient sin, and Thryrus, Mage groomed and grown to alter Life and Spirit, around the Watchtower of the Singing Stone in Vendian. Together they hope to heal the world’s out of balance spirits from the Primal Wild which run amok in the Material realm.
Together the Oracles are trying to protect the world from the Exarch’s plots, repel the forces of the Abyss that creep into our world, and create a new society. But after the Second Sundering, they have become greatly weakened and retreated into their Watchtowers never to be seen again. Now tensions between the five cities over dwindling resources have been building for decades and threaten to boil over, with the Seers of the Throne fanning the flames. Worst yet, rumours tell of abyssal ziggurats with armies of broken mages and mortals trying to finally put an end of the world. And the Sixth Tower is emerging, and who knows what will come with it…
In the city of the Hub, tucked away in the middle of all of this, peace is maintained between the factions. Centred in between the five Watchtowers and created where lay lines between all five of the Realms meet, it’s goal is to maintain peace by helping maintains trade routes between them and other outlying cities, and a sort of central government has popped up to help handle disputes between all the factions.
While it may seem like all is lost, in this new and volatile world, anything is possible. Those with ambition, creativity, and a bit of luck can forge a new destiny for themselves in ways they never could before.
Eschewing the traditional modern setting of World of Darkness games, World’s End is something closer to the classic Dark Sun setting viewed through the Mad Max and Fist of the North Star, with a little Firefly sprinkled on top: you gather a crew of the craziest adventure-hungry people you can find, hop onto a souped up rig, and travel across scarred lands teaming with magically mutated monsters, opportunistic raiders, xenophobia survivors, sinister servants of Throne, and the plain stir-crazy in frenzied, white-knuckle vehicle combat against wasteland pirates and massive creatures.
For fans of the traditional WOD feel, there is plenty for you as well! Just because the world has “come out of the casket” (to use a term from True Blood) and knows that not only do supernatural creatures exist but some had a hand in destroying the world, does not make it any safer. In fact, in some places it is a death sentence to be “other” so even the most massive werewolf needs to tread lightly unless they want a silver bullet in the back of their head and a careful eye out for the forces of the Exarch hiding under every rock, waiting to strike when least expected..
So why risk it all on such crazed missions? Some do it because it pays quite well and can generate enough wealth for their families to live in relative comfort and safety in a world devoid of either. Others do so for the glory and prestige it brings, being the hero who swoops in last minute and saves the day. The best, however, do it because this is their chance to remake the world into something new and better then they left it.
The Lie is over.
The old world is dead.
Long live the new one.