Brave New World
Imagine a fantasy world set around the same time as earth discovered the new world. All the races in the “old world” are fairly civilized and control their respective countries, with war pretty much a constant threat. This doesn’t mean that races are segregated (though it happens), just that the ruling family and majority are one race. People are rich and poor, with hardly any middle ground except for the newly formed privateers who are being sent to the new world to stake claims. Anyone can join up with a country and sail, with the promise of land and title many have already done so. Colonies have been established all along the coast and on several islands, but few have managed to erect strong defenses against raids from other privateers or the strange new creatures and people they found there. Those who came to the new world were greeted by the natives, dragonkin of all colors and sizes (Dragonborn/Lizardfolk are Aztec like, Tieflings are Native americanish, and even kobolds). While usually friendly, their customs sometimes seemed brutal and their golden temples made even the kindest soul greedy (think Tenotchtitlan). Basically, the settlers at one point attacked the dragonkine and a huge ass dragon came out of a ziggurat and wiped out the aggressors and 3 settlements near them… needless to say relationships have been strained. To add to the bru-ha-ha, the dragonkin worship all kinds of scaley beasts that roam the jungles, swamps and forests. Some call them dragons, others are called demons and devils. You have no idea, but you’re damned sure none of that exists in the old country. In fact, back home most beasts have been tamed or hunted to extinction. The biggest threat back home is the damn necromancers and their undead (and you can bet they’re chomping at the bit to unleash their minions on the new world). You will start in the colonies, as a privateer group who washes up on shore after a devastating storm sank your boat. There may be survivors other than yourselves, but you damn sure need to find a settlement quickly. You guys can agree upon a country to give your fealty to, but it will only matter if you want it to.
I’m working on the names of countries, but I think I will use an earth map:
Europe (anglo): Eladrin ruled, but almost every race can be found here.
Eurpoe (latin): Elf ruled, very wooded area, so you find woodland types here like Wilden and Shifters, and humans and halflings.
UK (Avalon): Humans (these humans are racists, and have cleared the island of all fey and goblinoid/orcs), Dwarves (scot) and halflings (irish) have been moved to the islands
Africa: mostly tribal (and yes, mostly dark skinned), ruled by a parliament of humans, goliath, duergar and drow (there is no “underdark”)
Middle East: Orc ruled, no racism here (except dwarves) but they are the only one’s who believe in one god, Gruumsh. Everyone else is a heretic ;) They breed half-orcs purposefully, as well as ogres (half orc-half hill giant).
Egypt: *I mention it because it’s a focal point of tension. The Sun Dwarves rule Egypt and are descendants of the slaves who built all the pyramids, etc for the ancient Eladrin who ruled almost the entire known world. Now the dwarves are highly militaristic, and defend their land from all who would cross them. Their borders are not closed, but security is tight. And those ancient Eladrin still exist in diminished form wandering Africa (Shadar-Kai), they were different from the fair skinned cousins from Avalon.
Soviet Republik:* Humans rule this harsh land, but dwarves, goliath and giants are everywhere. It is too big to really keep track.
Norselands: Giants… that’s pretty much it.
Asia: the goblinoid dynasty has ruled asia for centuries.
Japan: gnomes… fucking gnomes and their tinkering. Some reports claim that these gnomes have crafted metallic golems that they can pilot from within, and they combine to form even bigger golems.
Pretty much any PC race is viable, we’ll come up with a homeland if needed. Dragonborn must be native, and you realize that people will think you’re a pet or a menace. Tieflings are not demonic, they are a form of dragon-kin and follow the same restrictions as Dragonborn. Gith types are astral, and rarely ever come to the prime since they can’t return, but the call of new lands beckons even them. Genasi are summoned by powerful mages, they are kin to Djinn. Some have tasks, and others choose to stay for fun. They are almost always seen as some kind of omen. Changelings are everywhere, but who knows where, most countries have standing orders to shoot to kill.