Nomm has been called by its philosophers “a stewpot world.”
Aeons ago, in a dim past known only through legend and folk tale, magic ruled Nomm. Great wizards advised kings and emperors, and magically powered devices transported people across the land, built great edifices to honor gods and men, communicated across long distances — and made war.
Ultimately, magic proved to be a destabilizing influence on the world. With awesome forces yoked but the reins held by an imperfect master, magic, which could have built a paradise, created devastation. With such power at hand, the odds were too great that one man succumbing to temptation might enslave others, that one slip of the tongue might create a holocaust, and that unforeseen side effects and unintended consequences would become the norm rather than the exception. The wizards thought they could create a utopia, but instead left Nomm a smoking ruin.
Civilization rebuilt itself, of course; life always finds a way. With the great countries and confederations in shambles, the various races and nations and tribes and clans of Nomm mixed and mingled as people moved about seeking opportunities to survive and, eventually, thrive. The great empires of history were replaced with petty principalities and self-important states, and the great rulers by chiefs and lords, some noble, some no more than brigands. Some non-civilized groups prospered: gnolls and goblinoids, orcs and bugbears, other monstrous humanoids and some actual monsters actually built societies in the chaos that followed the fall.
Where this stewpot called Nomm still finds itself today is at a rolling boil: there are no great empires to connect people politically or commercially, and resources and knowledge are more often hoarded than shared. Local conditions can vary greatly: two towns only a few miles apart can have two different standards of living and operate at different levels of technology. A few souls rise up occasionally to champion the greater good, but local clashes, area-wide conflicts, and regional wars – between civilized and non-civilized groups alike – are the order of the day.
Still and all, there is hope for the future. The best of all the races agree that if Old Nomm can be mined for resources, its mistakes avoided and its lessons learned, that the best days of Nomm may be ahead. All it will take is a few adventurers willing to risk the hazards of the past for the glory of the future.