Damodar is a vampire.Yes, I know he wasn't bitten, as far as we know. But he says that he was "cursed" before his death by Profion. What if that "curse" was actually Profion's idea of an insurance policy? Profion used a ritual of vampirism on his most trusted follower in order to keep his services even if he died in battle, but because Profion was eaten by a dragon, he was never around to become undead himself, to explain their fate to Damodar. Now Damodar is unwillingly stuck inside his own corpse, feeding on the life-blood of the drow that live in the caverns beneath his master's old dungeon.
Current day Ismer is the result of the equal rights movement.The Empress of Ismer from Dungeons & Dragons, who proclaimed that commoners and mages should be free and equal, has rendered Ismer doomed. The Mages protected Ismer from attack and provided many magical benefits. Making the non-magical folk equal in station made the magical elite less willing to improve the empire for their own sake. Many left and others simply retreated into academia, abandoning politics for a comfortable life in a library. The once-great Empire, with only normal soldiers to protect it and little magic to sustain it, slowly crumbled away into a small number of towns and castles.
Ormaline's island is populated.As Ormaline, the Elven Mage, leaves her home on an island in a lake to join the party, we see it disappear from sight. Maybe she made it invisible simply to discourage home invasion while she is not there. But maybe the reason that the island is hidden from prying eyes is because it is populated by a whole bunch of people who do not wish to be disturbed. Elves? Magic-Users? Elf Magic-Users? Or maybe just some of Ormaline's friends and family.