A land is reigned by a circle of powerful men who control every aspect of the citizen's life. This cabal changes members often. In reality, the spectres of a small necromantic covent possess and control the people in power. Since they simply possess the bodies, they can leave when old age overcomes their shells and possess a new up-and-coming noble.
The extra-planar citadel of Ansern is named after its mage-founder. Ansern discovered the means to traverse the planar gulfs and created the citadel as a haven for his disciples in the art of planar-exploration. The disciples of Ansern continue his work and explore the countless worlds opened up to them by the work of the mage. They are cataloguing everything they discover in preparation for the greatest volume ever written: the Mondopedia, a book detailing many of the worlds. But the countlessness of the planes means that their book will never be finished.