On the northern coast of the Bone Sea, far east from the Dragonthorn mountains, there is a massive land of hills and woods, stretching north until it reaches places locked in ice and stone. This cluster of vales, forests, and twisting rivers is a hotly contested place, with the Creator cities and roads cut from the faeling trees on all sides, and huge pits in the earth leading deep into the Underworld. It is called the Riverlands, and it is your home. For better or for worse.
There are three major points of interest in the Riverlands, and they are its walls.
To the north, there is a huge rent in the ground, tunneling so deep into the earth that, from the top, it appears to open directly into the void itself. This is called the Rift, and it is the largest of the gateways to the Underworld in the north. On its southern edge there is a Creator fortress called Adamant, which stands between the Riverlands and hell. It still remains. Barely.
To the west, there is the Dragonthorn mountains. They are tall, nearly impassible, and they prevent all reliable transport to the Thousand Coasts. Stretching out from the Dragonthorn foothills is an ancient and impenetrable woodlands called the Grim, and sewn throughout it are portals to the Faewyld. There was once a mighty stronghold called Purgation that held the Grim at bay, but it has been lost for centuries. All that is known of it is a bent road sign in the western port city of Tenhaus, directing travelers down a road that leads nowhere.
To the east is another mountain range, called the Sea of Talons by the locals. From the Talons come nothing; no Creator, no demon, no Fae. The Talons are ruled by silence and death, and it is one of the few truly neutral territories in all the Realms. It is said that if peace should ever come to the Realms, they will sign it atop the tallest of the Talons. Perhaps it is so; after all, none can reach the peaks of the Talons, and none can make peace.
The Creator occupation in the Riverlands is tenuous at best. The Grim has advanced unopposed for many years, and it has swallowed entire minor kingdoms whole, castles and all. The Fae have dominance in this land, but it is not to last: the Empire of the Falling Sun has begun a conquest of unification in the Riverlands, and it is bringing the full might of the Creators to bear.
Due to its long decline, the kingdoms of the Riverlands had become divided, some as small as the city in which they dwelled. The roads connecting the firmly controlled port cities with the rest of the Riverlands deteriorated from lack of use, further isolating the disparate kingdoms.
When the Empire came to the Emerald Shores, they found much of the local population to be infected with Faeling impurities. Heresies abounded, with some wretched kingdoms even going to far as to worship Dragons or lesser Fae beasts in an attempt to placate them.
The purges slowed the march of true civilization, and it became clear that a great crusade would be needed to purify this land. The Grim Crusade was called, and in six short years, the armies marched into the forests of the Riverlands, armed with fire and steel.
The Crusade ended in a stalemate. The Empire was beaten back, and border forts were established to maintain the holdings which had been bought with so much blood. For now, distractions in Torn continue to sap the Empire’s strength, and the Nemoans refuse to become involved.
The River Guilds were founded as a cheap way to maintain order and expand the borders of civilization in the Riverlands. They continue to grow.