Terra Fantastica is built with the intended use of the Krendal system. Changes would need to be made to fit other systems.
Twenty years ago, Earth was rocked by a meteorite hitting the Atlantic Ocean. The huge rock created tidal waves and earthquakes around the globe, starting a catastrophic chain reaction world-wide that devastated the planet’s surface and oceans, and everyone on it.
That was the last time traditional science was able to explain what was happening globally.
Within a few weeks, the oceans began to boil off. Huge sections of earth were suddenly raised miles above land on impossible pillars: one of fire, another of earth, a cyclone of water and a tornado of air, and two others can can only be described a solid light and shadow. Settle down like clouds was a hazy, purple mist, hovering just below the clouds in some places and descending down like a morning fog in others. Anywhere it touched was frozen; like a stasis pod in space, anything moving within it would follow its original trajectory, but had no movement of its own. Although weather retained, the seasons disappeared, the planet suddenly uniformly to a strange, mild spring, destroying ice caps and desserts alike. Disease ran rampant as air and water supplies were removed from their natural filters of high altitudes and mountainous areas.
For all its wonder, humanity was left reeling. Billions died, and still more were trapped in the strange fog, either victims of its original intent or caught while trying to investigate.
And then, a year later, it was gone. The pillars disappeared, and the fog suddenly returned to water. The weather abruptly turned normal; the frozen and unfrozen waters suddenly returned to their original state, far better than they ever were; people who were frozen in the mists suddenly returned to their normal state, as if no time had passed; the weather and the seasons returned to their rightful orders, as if nothing had happened.
Until the land came crashing down once more.
The swaths of land raised on the pillars found themselves miles above sea level without support. Once again, the earth was racked by the impact, this time of miles of land coming into contact with it. What survived the impact was decimated by debris and storms; the land was ruined, crops around the world failed, and everything still living found itself struggling to survive. What was once a population of billions suddenly found themselves reduced only one hundred million over the course of the next six months.
Then came the storms. Studies have presented that there was a magnetic upheaval, but little else was revealed. Weather was driven to extremes across the planet. Some areas were hit much harder than others; eastern Asia suffered the largest loss in population, while the majority of Africa is no longer viable for population, either claimed by the ever expanding desert or wracked with almost unending storms. Entire cities in Russia were claimed by ice too thick to be pierced by any machinery that could survive the extremes, and North America has been practically split by a large swath of tornadoes running in a line from Virginia through Texas and down into northwestern Mexico.
And then, as if the world was being prepared for it… they arrived.
Little is known about what caused the phenomenon, but humanity did well to redirect its advancements towards survival. Humanity started building “sky farms” in the outskirts of the larger cities, large multi-story buildings capable of maintaining multiple floors for growing crops and maintaining animals, in order to ensure sufficient food could be maintained for the now condensed population. Almost everyone that remained fled to few, large metropolis areas that survived the previous catastrophes, attempting to maintain off of old storages of non-perishable foods. Most that did not flee were unable to maintain contact with the the rest of humanity.
Over the last ten years, the larger cities became bastions of civilization among the chaos caused by the three catastrophes. As people into metropolis areas, the established areas and territories of the various supernatural were forced through sudden and radical change. Multiple factions found themselves on the brink of battle, only to realize the risk of suddenly dealing with fights and wars after hundreds of years of silence to the mundane of the world, who also were suddenly everywhere around them.
note: more info here on additional settlements
It took some time for the dust to settle. Territories were negotiated, with many of the various supernaturals retreating to a more literal underground. Eventually, in each territory, a hodéezyéél hooghan (peace house) was created, a space where the different supernaturals could meet without fear of fighting. These were often fairly large complexes of some sort, often apartments with various business and meeting halls attached, although it could range from a single house in the suburbs to a sprawling conference center. Management of the property was always shared, a single member of every supernatural group that had a significant number of individuals or impact on the city chosen to live their by their peers.
In the end, many of the supernatural communities had very different reactions to these sudden changes; sorcerers and wizards started becoming more open, shooting for acceptance in hopes to get more information on what might have caused the magnetic changes. The Sidhe started bringing more mortals in as guardians and spies, trying to figure out humanity’s reaction to the extremes in order to gauge their own responses. Vampires hunkered down in their homes, preparing for what they assumed would be an outbreak of blame and violence; the darker aligned instead used the chaos to further their own source of blood and sacrifice. And the Zooanthropes used the opportunity to slay their progenitor; to their surprise, although the Curse stopped transmitting through their bite, they all remained shapechangers.
In the end, coming to a true peace between the various factions proved impossible; still, war was averted, and territories were established until there was something that could be done to reclaim what they were now calling the Wild Lands. Twenty years went by far too quickly, and most of humanity adapted quickly, getting back into complacency and drudgery. Although the mundane world is starting to come to terms with the idea that there may be more out there, and magic is becoming more than just the illusions seen on TV, most of the people still live on in ignorance.
Those few aware of what little truth they can find, however, continue searching for answers.