Once often called the Green River Cities, the continent of Istan is now a desolate wasteland strewn with memories of past glory.
Istan was always a land of feuding tribes, and later feuding cities. Facing oncoming conquest from the ancient Lizardfolk Empire, the Kingdoms of Istan put aside their differences and sued for a peaceful conquest as voluntary vassals of the Empire.
The Empire instituted an elected high king, the boqor, to lessen arguments and petty squabbling of long held grudges, though of course the elections were much of the same. So long as the incumbent boqor could provide a long time of peace, the Lizardfolk had little need to intervene.
When the Lizardfolk Empire fell, so too did the veneer of peaceful life in Istan. The various Kingdoms each proclaimed their right to rule, their own boqor, and a long civil war decimated the continent.
Eventually, tired of war, a hero of the people arose. He was a witchblood but also had some understanding also of the arcane arts. He would become the last witchblood to ever learn advanced arcanery.
He formed an army that managed to conquer each of the kingdoms in turn, eventually uniting the continent under one rule once more. At the ceremony that would proclaim him the new boqor something else occurred. The hero ascended to godhood, becoming the Storm, so named for the fallout of the event.
The conquest of the Kingdoms had been part of a large blood ritual, each death carried out by his warriors a part of a huge blood sacrifice. The power of the ritual was enough to raise up the Storm, and to bring low Istan.
Whilst some survived on the edges of Istan, the wasteland of the continental interior made travel difficult for a long time afterwards. Only in recent years have explorers crossed the great desert, claiming to find some new stirrings of life in the wasteland.
Many refugees of Istan fled across the seas, some founding the City of Festivals and some the Old Crown. Many more made their homes at sea, and no doubt washed ashore all across the world.