Thanks to Night Templar’s long-range mental probing, the players have some basic ideas about Azorath’s current state – even if they are missing a LOT of the details.
The modern history of Azorath starts about three thousand years ago, when Azor ascended to a higher plane (at least according to legend). He left behind a legacy of new invocations – mighty, but mostly relatively practical, spells allowing the Azuri to control the elemental aspects of the world and to call upon a wide variety of useful powers. With those powers in hand, the High Council of Azor – once Azor’s delegates and advisers – took over what “government” there was in their own right.
While the worship of Azor continued as usual (and still continues today, although there are a few philosophical faiths mixed in), other things began to change. Casual agriculture became more systematic, and the population grew – although, for some reason, the number of the Azuri did not, remaining fixed at some 100,000. It wasn’t long before the extraction of metals from ores (long known thanks to the occasional Azuri blasting rocks for target practice), the widespread use of carts and wheelbarrows, and the cultivation of earthly fruit trees, became firmly established. Plows were introduced, and the population increased yet again – although, once again, the number of the Azuri did not. As their percentage in the population decreased, the Azuri became more distant overlords rather than neighbors and more or less “feudal” domains developed, with networks of family alliances forming greater “nations”. Today the Azuri mostly provide large-scale services, major medical magic, and fight the occasional war. Fortunately for the human population, the Azuri find all but the most talented and highly-trained humans a liability in a fight – and so mostly settle “wars” with personal duels and occasional inter-family vendettas.
With the introduction of the crossbow, the Council began applying the brakes. First to weapons development, and then to other social changes. Too MUCH change would be a challenge to the divine order of the world. Too much more expansion would outrun the ability of the limited number of Azuri to supervise as well – and that would never do either. Who would maintain the stability of the world if that was allowed to happen?
Today Azorath is populated by some four hundred million humans, occupying roughly half of the best lands around the equator. They use late medieval to early renaissance technology – albeit with a lack of guns (the Azuri have not permitted them to develop, although they have no problems with fireworks) and an abundance of the minor magic that makes life so much more comfortable. The world is full of farmers, herders, weavers, potters, glassblowers, magicians, traveling players, and the thousand other trades of a prosperous (if somewhat primitive) society. Major roads are created by Azuri magic, are made of stone, and are driven though major obstacles. Minor roads are mostly of trampled earth. Thanks to the frequency of earthquakes, most of the population lives in rather lightly-built homes – often little more than frameworks with walls and roofs of trained vines providing a welcome relief from the heat while long-term spells keep out pests and inclement weather.
Taxes are relatively high, but when hasn’t that been true?
The Azuri are fairly straightforward; they are supposed to be descended from Azor; when they have children one to three in each generation will develop a combination of psionic talents and the ability to use several specific invocations that ONLY work for the Azuri. Their usual psychic talents include telepathy, teleportation, energy projection, enhanced durability, and some level of longevity and rapid healing. Other powers are rarer but possible; occasional children will develop weird sets of thematic powers. Their Invocations include several sets of elemental powers (these are in common use) and a selection of rarer spells. A VERY few can develop really exotic magical powers, but there are only a few hundred with that potential in any generation.
Still, having been raised as a divine ruling elite for millennia, more than a few of them are spoiled, entitled, and arrogant. Unfortunately , they’re still the only real organizing principle that the people of Azorath have ever known and do provide some rather important services.