568: The Embrian ExperienceThe Sea Barons discovered the Embrians in 570. Humanoid civilization in the Embrian Sea occurred as an accident. It spawned from the few thousand primitives kept as pets by the intelligent creatures (dragons, giants, insipid wyverns, etc) of the region. The "pets" often escaped, but the beasts didn't care. With the many powerful predators of the area, the masters assumed the escaped pets would die soon. However, by the year 300 the population had grown to over 200,000.
The first warlords were the lucky few who escaped and somehow survived the wilds. They teamed up against a brutal wilderness and late in the third century they teamed up against their former masters. In the year 545 the population had grown to about 250,000. Then all the things that makes a world worth living in happened: agriculture was discovered, an adventuring economy was founded, and the roots of the Embrian gods were planted.
Most importantly the middle class merchants and craftsmen became important enough to the hardened Embrian adventurer that they were not randomly killed if something did not go quite right. A few central cities became havens of the common man, while the rest of the world was a place for adventurers.