There is in this world an island, upon which there lie three mountains. Between these mountains are cities, in which people live. There are forests, too, and a few dozen farms for every castle. There are bears and eagles, snakes and ravens, deer and mice. There are well-travelled paths between the cities, and more treacherous ones, too - ancient paths which have been abandoned for the feasts of nightmares and myths.
The island is a circle. Its circumference is formed by many beaches, but mostly cliffs, leading up to the three perfectly equidistant peaks. Two of the peaks are pointed, nearly identical, but the third has crumbled, as if a giant has snapped it off. These mountains are enormous, and despite the expanse which separates them, all three mountains can be seen from any point on the island. They serve as landmarks, points of reference, and symbols for a dozen concepts, fears, and goals.
In the cities live humans. To us, they would be but strange medieval villagers, but to them, they were a society. Merchants travelled from market to market, hiking up prices with each subsequent deal. Assassins and mercenaries supplied their services to lords and ladies, or others with equal clout. Shamans sold their strange brews and invoked their odd curses, garnering equal parts ridicule and fear for their efforts. Farmers tolled in fields, and craftsmen made weapons and tools. It was to them a normal life, for they knew of nothing beyond their island, and few things beyond their island knew of them.
There was, in the centre of this island, a chasm of darkness. It was malevolent by nature, but in the collective memory of the populace it had never been an active danger. The darkness swirled like storm clouds at the bottom of the pit, forever threatening... something. Those who had climbed down into the pit, coming within inches of touching the darkness, had faltered at the last moment, the strange, preternatural fear instilled in them overcoming their senses and sending them into a controlled but hurried retreat.
This pit, like many lesser regions of unease, was a symptom of the ominous presence across the island and beneath the three peaks. Something was askew, and the people, had they normal people to compare themselves too, would have recognized that they were as affected as their land. Some were oddly manic, others strangely skilled. Some had heard prophecies, but they had no recollection of where or when these prophecies had planted themselves in their minds. Others dreamt of darkness, swirling beneath the seas, with thick-haired beasts gathering in armies of death. One man could control fire, and was forever haunted by a beast which ate fire - a beast which few had seen, but fewer wanted to. This was a land of strange things, but these strange things were rare enough that they became myths and legends. Reality only dawned every few years, when life was usurped by the latest odd occurrence.
Beyond all this, there was time. And it is to a point near the end of the peaceful time that we travel now. Be wary, though, for even time seems to be askew.
If you made it through that, you can make it through this roleplay - trust me.
This is very prominently an open-ended roleplay. The setting has been created, but there is room for new elements to be added by everyone who joins. This means that those who join must have an interest in creating plots, free of the overarching story. This is as simple as ensuring that characters have personal motivations which drive them towards independent goals, and which keep the roleplay interesting for everyone.
This ability to accommodate independent plots is both an open-world roleplay's greatest asset and its greatest risk. To overcome the risk factor, members will be encouraged to communicate out of character, finding ways for their plots to intertwine.
As for mechanics you should be aware of:
There will be occasional dice rolls performed by yours truly, the GM, to decide if a random encounter will occur. Be prepared for these to add new obstacles to plots, and to provide springboards for exciting moments and twists.
More minor, administrative things in progress
Members will be allowed to have as many characters as they choose, but my personal recommendation is to stick to a small number (like one) to avoid dilution. If you are sure you'll have the time and energy for more, by all means, go ahead.
And finally, applications:
I'll see you around. And I'll clean up this post, too.