This is a world once ruled by mighty empires that have risen and fallen over the millennia. The last great empire, the Dulmar Empire, fell centuries ago and left its mark upon the world. The common tongue is a vulgar form of Dulmarish.
Farthorpe is in the Kingdom of Drahn, ruled by Dermot Decklan, Dermot the 2nd, King of Drahn. Drahn was pieced together from the western provinces of the Dulmar Empire. The current court has settled into a malaise one often associates with kings, nobles, and aristocrats grown fat on the relative safety in the central and eastern portions of Drahn. It is the loyal and faithful knights and border lords, and geography, that keep these regions safe.
The Broken Lands is the region where many great empires rose, fell, and clashed. Many wars involving vast and powerful magics have transformed the landscape west of the mountains. Farthorpe and surrounding villages and farms lie where the last arable land can be found before the inhospitability of The Broken Lands take over.
Following the earthquake mentioned in the House Rules PDF, a local lord rode in and helped take care of things. He had hoped to extend his holdings, but court intrigues far to the East required the ennoblement of a new lord, Baron Jeffrey of Farthorpe, Knight of the Realm. (Lord Sir Jeffrey) He is the youngest son of the current Count of Brighthaven, a coastal shipping town.
The earthquake happened on the 9th of Endfest, and was felt far to the East. As the local villagers were picking up the pieces, the undead and foul creatures appeared from The Broken Lands to the West. The local lord and his forces arrived a week after the quake, soon followed by adventuring types. Some adventurers helped, others made their way to the west and returned with tales of more foul creatures and fabulous wealth.
Lord Jeffrey was appointed nearly 2 weeks after the quake, and did not arrive until nearly 6 weeks after the quake. His men and advisers arrived in time to pick off the stragglers of the creatures in and around Farthorpe.
By two months after the earthquake merchants, adventurers, and other seekers of riches headed West to Farthorpe.
It is in this environment with a gold-rush feel that the characters arrive with a merchant caravan bringing supplies to Farthorpe.