The Days of Knights
All the King’s Men!
In a kingdom with little need to venture from their continent a king rules with the slimmest of grasps over his vassals. The vassals wage war among themselves employing, enticing, or blackmailing each other to their respective sides of each feud. As their neighbors are plundered some of these landowners take advantage of the weakness and feed on the peasantry. While the peasants try to take little notice, the constant levies are tearing their strongest boys away from fields and putting them to the pike. A few of the mountain nobles who control passes have taken to heavy taxes which all pay for fear of the highlanders and other dangers of the mountains.
Some few nobles have brought this warmongering to the attention of the king, but while he rules justly in his own holding he has no real interest in controlling the kingdom in a similar fashion. His advice is always to build thicker walls.
The unease is felt throughout the kingdom, and it will take a strong hand to right the wrongs that have been done, or an equally strong hand to bring the king to his knees and force the vassals to bow to a new ruler.
Troubles of the natural kind exist aplenty in the shapes of dire beasts, dyrads, faeries, trolls, ogres, giants, and dragons just to name a few. These natural dangers are sometimes tamed for battle, although only the most wroth or desperate man unleashes such things on his fellows.
Some few of the cities that still exist as such and not as fortresses employ large groups of mercenaries to keep themselves safe.
While the most common race, and the ruling one, are dwarves, there is a mixture of just about every skin under the sun. Elves, dwarves, orcs, halflings, humans, exotics, and every half-breed finds a home somewhere.
Craftsmen can often find work at repairing or building the massive walls and fortifications all to common in the realm. Elsewise there is continuous river and sea trade which allows a man to find his fare elsewhere in the world should he wish.