Since the years of Creation, the World has changed and evolved. The four divine races have built vibrant civilizations, maintaining their bloodlines. Occasional intermarriage has resulted in mixed-race individuals known as humans. Humans usually live within other communities and have not generally sought to create separate societies. Many of the dragon-born races have created significant civilizations, most notably the lizardfolk and gnolls. Many more live in barbarism. The dragons scheme and plot to gain the power denied to them by the Gods. The strange race of the shifters thrives in nomadic existence on the edges of civilization. Their creation is disavowed by both the gods and the dragons, and their origin remains obscure.
Also of mysterious origin is the series of magical Portals spread across the planet. When properly controlled, they allow instantaneous transport to any other Portal. Cities sprang up around almost all of the Portals long ago, creating a vast year-round trade network spanning the planet. With no need for long roads or the defense of such roads, many large nations withdrew their spheres of influence until they were only city-states linked to resources and trade via their Portal. Armies are obsolete with no large borders to defend, and most cities maintain a small force of champions highly skilled in arms and magic to guard the portal and fight off raiders.
Magic, driven by the interaction of the elements, is ubiquitous. All of the divine races have magical abilities, and most humans even have some magic remnants in their blood. All the divine civilizations have built their societies on the foundation of magic: streets are lit by arcane flame, disease is eradicated by the touch of clerics, and vast cities feed themselves with crops augmented by magic.
Each of the Four Gods has a large, widespread Church devoted to them. Worship of each God is usually concentrated in the race of their creation, but a significant number of devotees dedicate themselves to other Gods as tribute to the agreement of the Four that none would ever try to dominate the World. Most of the Churches are hierarchical and well organized. Powerful magics such as curing disease and raising the dead are used widely – at a price. In addition to a modest sum of gold, those wishing to receive such boons are marked as having a service debt to the Church. Churches typically collect such debts through further donations of riches or labor – the great temples were built with the debts of generations.
One group has devoted themselves to the worship of all four elements – the Druids. They bring together all powers without full devotion to any one deity, and their interests are often less than divine. Most importantly they use their awesome control over the weather to maintain the magically augmented food supplies that sustain civilizations across the World. Their goals are often enigmatic, but they are not above using their leverage for political and economic influence.