The Hunger Games
The world is ancient, and civilization holds tenuously atop the ruins of past empires. Legends survive—as do terrible menaces—from times when powerful monsters and uncontrolled magic brought destruction to the mortal races. During the darkness that followed, a kindle of hope arose from the ashes as the Capitol fostered a new, strict magic that spread the surrounding districts and birthed the nation of Panem. But the use of magic required everlasting vigilance broken in the Dark Days when the 13 districts joined forces in rebellion against the government that had granted them security. Without proper control—the battle against the Capitol was lost, and District 13 paid the ultimate price, now lost to shadow. Since the Dark Days, the Hunger Games serve as a reminder of the foolishness of the districts and the importance of discipline.
Or so the story goes.
There are indeed threats on the borders of each district. The ruins of previous empires are still infested with monsters, demons, and undead. But after years of general control over district borders, the tyranny of the Capitol, which squeezes life and goods from each district for its benefit, is far more difficult to bear.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games are the epitome of this tyranny. From age 16 to 19, each district citizen has his or her name added to a drawing, that each year, until age 19, will qualify them to represent their district in the Hunger Games—a brutal blood sport held for the entertainment of the Capitol. Each district sends two tributes to the Hunger Games each year.
District supplies are strictly rationed and many of its citizens live in poverty. To survive, families often take on tessiraes—annual rations of food granted eligible Hunger Games entrants for each additional submission to the drawing. This means the poorest are often the most likely to represent their district in the games.
The player characters are from the poorest of five regions in Panem. Each region contains three districts with towns and cities of varying size and form of export. The exception to this rule is the Capitol itself. Though smaller than the other regions by far, the Capitol is home to the nation’s riches, armies, academies, and central government.
The Capitol has a monarch King that descends from the lineage of heroes that secured the Capitol after the Fall of Empires long ago, but is largely regarded as a figurehead. The King represents is but one representing interest in the Quorum of Lords—the real political power of Panem—which includes representation for multiple baronies within the Capitol and only one representative for each region within Panem.
Magic is strictly observed and controlled by the Capitol. The academies of magic are quite militaristic, and are extremely sensitive about its use by citizens not beholden to the Capitol’s interests after the Dark Days, when the districts rebelled against the Capitol. Using magic without permission is met with severe punishment—usually death—and district citizens are almost never given the authority to wield magic unless they have ties to the Capitol via district military or farm components for use in magic rituals.
All the gods are worshipped in various capacity but any large churches are state-sponsored, and usually offer preferential treatment to the upper class. This typically viewed as a necessary evil and the only means to support local communities, since small shrines and places of worship are pressured to disband by local officials. It’s not uncommon for a local community to erect hidden shrines or meet in secret until such organizations are found out.
Divine prayer is viewed similarly to arcane magic with the exception of healing, though only the rarest of citizens are able to evoke such power. Other prayers are forbidden unless used under the purview of a state-sponsored church or—like the arcane arts—are used in the service of district military.