Empire of the southern plains, founded on the belief that civlization and order are the supreme good in the world, and want to bring that order to the rest of the world.
Empire of the northern mountains, an alliance of many kingdoms and tribes that are founded on strength and skill in battle, and want only to fight, to gain entry to Valhalla.
The dwarves of the mountains have not been seen for hundreds of years, and most thought stories of them were mere myth and legend, along with fairies and elves and orcs. Now though, for whatever reason, they have begun to send emissaries to negotiate an alliance with the two nations of man.
Little is known of the white ravens, but rumor says that years ago, not just one, but both of the nations of man each sent an army to force them to lead their side to victory against the other, and each of them were so soundly defeated that they haven't tried again yet. Of course, these same rumors also speak of warriors clad in light with spears of flame that can turn invisible and can't be killed, so you should probably take them with a grain of salt.
Dark forces stir, and even the dead seem to have heard it's call. Fear and dread spread through the land as entire cities become deserted, at least during the day…
Even the most sane person can be driven mad by the dark whispers of the night, and many have joined cults dedicated to serving shadowy forces.
Foul creatures have always inhabited the deep places of the world, but now there are rumors of these monsters prowling the surface, attacking the unwary and un-prepared.