The history of the world of Beneterra comes to us through the lens of empire. Ionia conquered much of the continent and rewrote history to disavow and belittle any major civilization that came before it. Some still remember a time before the imperial armies took over, with lives of pastoral simplicity, robber barons, and heroes of the people. Others still repeat fables from the distant past, ancient tales of flying castles, interplanar tourism, and instant transportation to anywhere in the world.
The city of Ionia lies on the northern coast of the Middle Sea, recognized by many as the center of the world. Ionian legions have followed the coast west and south, bringing imperial civilization to the unorganized people there. The north and east have proven more resilient. The elves and gnomes of the Alfinwald forest border Ionian lands to the north, with the broad expanse of the Okulari Steppes stretching out north and west of that. Hills and mountains border the steppes to the east, providing homes for the dwarven Clanholds of the Molten Throne in underground cities, and for the rock gnomes and halflings of the hilly Dales (High and Low). East of that, the hills flatten out until they disappear under the sea. The Dunhill Confederacy with its eternally squabbling houses occupies the bulk of this fertile land, with rough and tumble Barbary tucked in north of that with its corsairs and raiders.
(Yes, I need to map this out, even crudely. It's on my list.)
Ionia has lost much of its edge since the fall of the Emperor about 180 years ago. The reinstatement of the Senate kept the government going, but without the singular vision of an emperor to inspire the entire country, life in the Republic feels like an endless march to maintain the status quo. Much former glory and territory have left the Republic of Ionia through the endless squabbles between partisan camps in the Senate.
Fellport lies fairly close to the capital of Ionia, marking the easternmost city of the empire on the shore of the Great Ocean. Fellport has always been a city of trade, initially fostered by the family who first settled there five centuries ago. Locals tended to give the site a wide berth, muttering about curses and bad dreams visiting anyone who settled in the area. But the imperial ideal of expansion thumbed its nose at rural wisdom, and the city grew from a single villa in the heart of the city, to the best harbor in the world.
As Fellport grew, it became synonymous with workers, laborers, and merchants, the so-called "lower classes" of people and the unwanted non-human population, a living parody of imperial purity and wealth. That attitude led Fellport to declare independence shortly after the Emperor's fall, installing a 5-person Council to guide the city's development, trade, and diplomacy. The former "unwanted" came together to build something wonderful and get rich while they were at it. Today Fellport stands as a jewel of diversity, welcoming all to her 16 tiered streets to make their own fortunes, but some of the growing pains of a successful city-state are starting to come to a head. Things must change from a simple council to a more diverse structure able to handle issues autonomously, but without the bureaucracy that bogs down the neighboring Republic of Ionia.
Fellport clings to the side of a steep and ancient crater, the base of which provides the deepest known harbor in the world. Her 16 levels boast a variety of shops and living conditions, from the endless cargo transfers at Dockside, through the bustling population of would-be magic-users on College Row, to the stately manors highly visible but not accessible at Topside. The greater the distance from the harbor, the greater the general wealth and sophistication, though exceptions abound. Ramps link all the levels, and a central Lift provides easy, shaded access to any level for a small fee, allowing caravans from the trade roads to unload directly on the docks.
Beneterra exists squarely in the realm of High Fantasy, with teleportation available to the (rich) masses and franchises established for the cunning to profit from magical inventions. Past empires await discovery, and cosmic secrets lurk somewhere behind the wonder of modern magical technology.