Underneath an Orange Sky
Currently there are 16 super-cites that cover nearly half of the habitable land. Each of these cities are connected by a intricate system of portals that allow for mass transportation of both people and goods. As a communication and transportation advanced to the point of being universally available and instantaneously executable the need for civilized people to venture into the open lands between cites became non-existent. In addition to the numerous mountain ranges and deserts that never boasted human habitation there are huge areas of land that may never see a member of the civilized races for several decades. On all official maps the areas outside the cities are collectively labeled as wasteland, incapable of sustaining life.
The Dragon War
While the progress towards such a such intense isolation was begun with the Conflux over a thousands years prior to the present day it was only 400 years ago that this became a necessity. At that time Novus was experiencing an unprecedented level of economic expansion. The opening of several new trade routes between planes combined with several inventions that allowed a more complete merger between magic and technology combined to place Novus at the top of the heap of local prime planes. This naturally made them a target and it wasn’t long before the dragons, with Giant allies, launched a massive attack on the plain. The ancient Dragons and the tireless giants proved to be as tenacious as they were destructive. After only a few months of fighting millions of native Novans were dead. Within two years over a hundred towns and small cities had been reduced to ruin. The survivors all pulled back to the capitals to make a final stand.
Fortunately for Novus the Dragons had been delayed long enough for a multi-national group of researchers to develop a new technology that would allow her defenders to resist the invaders indefinitely. Over the 16 largest cities were placed giant arcane shields that even the Dragons could not penetrate. The Dragons, having lifespans that can be measured in millennia, were not easily swayed and continued to lay siege to the remaining cities for four centuries. During that time there were near constant assaults on the shields and expeditions outside the protected areas were never heard from. Eventually the Novans stopped sending out scouts and started working on ways to expand the shields and deaden the sound of bombardment. Eventually the bombardment did stop and no one inside the shields has seen a Dragon in over a century. There was no peace agreement reached and it is unclear if the Dragons consider the war over. Most of the citizens of Novus were unwilling to leave the cities even then and to date there has not been a single official mission sent to reclaim the lands that were lost or even to survey the damage done by the war.
It is unclear which continent was populated first or indeed which, if any, of the sapient races that now live on Novus evolved there. The two oldest settlements found appear to date back 500 thousand years. One site was found on the western continent and is believed to have been populated by humans while the second is thought to be a gnomish settlement on the smaller central continent. Unfortunate most of this data is in dispute because so many records were lost during the early years of the Dragon War and there have not been any further expeditions since then. The devastation of the Dragon War is not the only complication to cataloging the ancient history of Novus. Like virtually every area of study, both academic and practical, history is profoundly effected by the seminal event known as the Conflux.
The exact cause of the Conflux has never been fully understood even to those who survived it. The only thing that researchers can agree on is that just over a thousand years prior to the present day the walls that separated the triple planes of Pasaku, Terra, and Schattenwelt were shattered and the three planes merged into one. The merging of the planes was violent. Mountains exploded and whole valleys were inundated with the water of extra-planer oceans. Some cities like Arlthelia survived mostly whole while others were sundered, emerging in pieces. The most Conservative estimates place the death toll at around 2.5 billion sapients.
It appears that during the Conflux the plane of Terra held dominance. After the dust settled the majority of the world was Terran with pieces of Pasaku and Schattenwelt mixed in. There was initial conflict among the races of the three planes as each tried to establish a new home. The most extreme example of this contention is in the cities of Kolrec and Tanor. Here the two races endured nearly three decades of fighting before finally agreeing on a peaceful way to share the land they had been thrust into. There were other similar conflicts throughout the world as traditional lands were destroyed and trade routs disrupted.
The world was saved from the plunge into total war mainly by the efforts of a halfling cleric by the name of Aaron Brighthair. He and a group of devoted followers worked for years to get the leaders of the major cites and factions to agree to discuss the new order in a Grand Council. In 79 AC the first Great Council meet with representatives from each of the 22 sapient races on the plane at the time. There first order of business was renaming the plane to reflect the altered state. The name chosen came from the ancient gnomish language called Latin. The plane was officially names Novus Mundus, literally meaning ‘a new world.’