Adventures in the World
The world is very old. An endless parade of civilizations have risen and fallen, and history less starts in some primitive past than simply trails off at the limits of scholarship.
At this particular historical moment, no empires span the globe, only regional powers and smaller nations. City-states, in fact, have become quite common over the last two hundred years, being particularly useful in facilitating trade.
Technologies of all sorts have been explored, perfected, abandoned, and rediscovered again over the millenia. The inventors of such things as “gene splicing”, “sentient computers”, or “the force field” are as lost to the ages as the clever sorts who devised “blades”, “fire” and “the spear”.
Yet, technology is not evenly distributed or applied, due to the vagaries of production and peculiar economics. Many farmers work fields with their own and animal labor, while renting air-barges to transport their wares. The Northlanders wear furs and hunt megawalri and feral bears with spears, but those furs are backed by adaptive thermal cloth, and those spears have self-sharpening monomolecular-edged heads.
Alien worlds have been explored, contacted, colonized, traded with, and even ignored at different times. Some sizable fraction of the biosphere evolved on other planets, but only some scholars really fuss over such fine distinctions. Combine this with eons of genetic manipulation, and many living peculiarities wander, stalk, and simply grow in this world.
Of the intelligent creatures that walk the world, humans dominate by sheer force of numbers. Most cities are human, and aside from specifically non-human settlements, even mixed-species cities are at least half human by population. Other species include various uplifted creatures and beings whose ancestors immigrated here long ago.
Umpteen thousands of years ago, the Wound was opened at a low quantum level, weakening the boundaries of the universe in the region of this planet. Wild picotech adapted to tap into the energies made available by this cosmic damage; occasional sentients infected by such picotech find themselves developing dangerous, but often useful psychic powers.