THE TEN THOUSAND ISLE SETTING
The world is one of vast sea and thousands of islands, a vast archipelago surrounds by a unchatter (and unexplored) water. There are no large continents within the archielago the largest maybe the size of the British Island or Irland and thses are fairly rare (no more then half a dozen total). The average is closer to the size of Cuba or smaller. Many are mountainous.
This archipelago is centered on the world's equator but the chain stretches into both a frozen northern and southern poles. The environment around the equator is hot and wet with many islands covered in thick jungle forests. Those beyond are split mostly between wooden forests and a few barren rocky islands with the occational fertile grassy islands where various plants are grown or herd animals raised.
The game will be using a lot of Greyhawk organization, gods, city-states and secret cabals but with a bit more of an Earthsea feel then standard medieval Europe. Race and sex (or sexuality) are just not things people worry about or comment on normally. Are there racists peoples? Yes. Especially the Fran of the Scarlet Brotherhood (evil pale skinned humans who not only feel superior to non-Humans but other non-Fran Humans), but they are a minority. There are species like the Gnolls and Sahuagin/Sea Devils that are cannibal (meaning they eat other sentient life in this setting) and Mind Flayers (that consume the brains of other sentients) that are considered 'Savages' and 'Evil' by most folk. However you can find many of the other so-called Monsterous sentient species living upon the other species. Most are fairly rare though and tend to still to their own when possible. They are no real true Evil species except maybe Devils and Demons.
Technology is that of very early Industrial with musket weapons and blackpowder only having been discovered and widely distributed in the last hundred years. Sailing ships are fairly advanced and common by all the Known Islands. Explosives & Firearms (Blackpowder) weapons from the DMG pg. 267. The only rule is the these firearms have the Exra-Loading (2) feature instead of Loading feature, which requires 2 full Actions to reload. Cannons have an even long Extra Loading times. There is also additional gear found in both Prirate Adventures and Naval Combat that can come in handly but will introduce as the game goes on (especially when you gain your own ship).
THE SAVAGE TIDE/GHOST OVERVIEW
The first savage tide has already touched the mortal world. Unleashed from the cruel heart of a shadowpearl. The tide swept over an ancient civilizations transforming the citizens of a proud city into feral cannibalistic fiends. The hateful architects of the savage tide watched, taking pride in the ruin they had wrought. Now, after a thousand years, the savage tide is about to return. Yet this time, the doom will not be limited to one hapless city. This time, all of civilization waits unknowing on the shore. blissfully ignorant of what the tide is about to bring in.
The port city of Saltmarsh is on the western part of the archipelago on a good sized island (about 300 miles long and 150 miles at its widest). The city has traded its fish and its farming produces to many other communities for centuries but recently a number of dwarfs have immigrated and set up a mine on the inner mountain range. The city council has also signed the Treaty of Trade about three years ago. These new developments have not gone over well with everyone in the city and a minor factor among the Council would prefer to return to their old ways and remain completely indendent of this treatry or these dwarfs.
The Treaty of Trade was intially started some 598 years ago in the Free City-Port of Greyhawk. Gathering many local indendent ports together they formed the Merchant League with this treaty. In order to promote trade within the League and combat pirates, every legal merchant ship is required to have a legal Super as the cargo master. This Super bares a unquie and semi-magical tattoo with a hidden number within it. All legal cargo carried by a merchant ship of the legal then stamps their cargo with this number and carries legal document manifest, bearing where the cargo is from etc.
When Saltmarsh joined the League they agreed to this rules on shipping. The traditionalist are not happy as they enjoyed a lot of 'smuggler' trade between various League members of the Hold of the Sea Prine's.
The Hold of the City Prince's is a group of islands to the southeast of Saltmarsh that is made up of pirates, slavers, smugglers and all around unruley raiders who have been a plauge to the League for hundreds of years. Saltmarsh itself has been a victim of their attacks in the past also which is why most on the council favored joining the League -- for protections and and end to the lawlessness.
Map of the port city of Saltmarsh