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A wide, rolling green landscape is dotted with hamlets and one large town. Humans are the predominant race in these. Near town is the forest, where the elves live. Then there are the mountains, containing dwarves. The elves and the dwarves don’t like each other. The elves kind of like the humans, but don’t understand them, thinking them too brutal and warlike for their tastes. The dwarves kind of like the humans, but don’t understand them, thinking them not brutal and warlike enough for their tastes. No one likes the cave-dwelling orcs, who have the worst hygiene, tell the worst jokes, have the worst smell, but somehow have the best parties.

The king lives in a bemoated castle near the town. He has a beautiful princess and a wise, somewhat dotty court magician. All the knights in his kingdom want to slay the evil dragon, or put an end to the plans of the evil wizard, or slay the leader of the evil orcs, so that they may be offered the princess’ hand in marriage. Of course, the only person who can do these things is currently a resident of the town, and is probably a lowly thief, or student mage, or low-ranking cleric, or a minor fighter or soldier or brawler. Once he (it’s always a he) starts adventuring with his friends, they foil the dragon/wizard/orcs and break the chains of their limited prospects for social advancement in an essentially feudal society faster than you can say Horatio Alger.

In this land there is always:

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