-Approximately 250 years ago, the “rift” appeared in the ocean north of the chain of islands that dot the southern sea. The cause and the source were never really determined (mostly due to it’s source being so far out into the ocean, and the speed in which it formed). It’s formation was relatively innocuous. However it is the effect it’s creation/arrival had on the world that is what makes it so worthy of note.
-The rift is 1/4 mile wide, and runs in a long swooping arch to separate the islands from the northern seas and continents. It is made of sharp jagged rock, coral like barbs of heavy metals, and jagged crystal like salt deposits. The landmass is nearly impossible to travel over by foot, and portaging is nearly impossible.
-Monsters began appearing more frequently and in more dangerous types than had been seen commonly before all over the world. This meant that many outlying areas were quickly overwhelmed, and many of the larger cities saw an influx of refugees trying to escape from the carnage.
-Magical spells seemed to grow stronger overnight. New species of magical creatures (benign or friendly) also appeared over time. Scholars are still unsure as to exactly why this happened since the rift itself was a relatively benign physical landmark and nothing else. The rate of magic growth stabilized over 50 years, and it has now plateaued to the state that all PCs would be familiar with in their everyday lives.
-“Adventuring” became a perfectly valid career option. Many of the best and brightest soldiers and warriors of the time quickly established names for themselves in the chaos that broke out. They began making impressive and inflated wages, and some were even given land titles and positions of power as thanks when they retired. After the first “wave” retired, many of their offspring and descendants still hold those positions of power in the community, and it is not unusual for someone in a mayoral (or higher) job to share the name of the adventurer that landmarks in the town are also named for.
-Travel from the islands up to the continents further north almost completely stopped. Shipping goods or perishables was cost prohibitive and travel to the other continents is still to this day only done by the extremely wealthy. Also see: Traversing the Rift and Traversing the Islands