On the 7th October of 2052, russian scientists pioneered viro-transplantology, a high end military grade science based on planting specially designed viruses to human bodies to genetically enhance them.
As evidence that the technology worked, Generalissimus Vladimir Putin celebrated his 100th birthday, healthier and more vital than ever. Exactly 120 days later, USA-NAD MICROAPPLE STATES issued an ultimatum to Mr Putin's RUSBIELSAN, demanding that the knowledge of this bio-viral technology be shared with the rest of the world.

Just 10 days later, USA-NAD launched a 'pre-emptive' bio-viral strike known as The "Two-Freeways" Viral Procedure, a multi-level attack on a mass scale.

The enemy's death toll numbered almost 98% of their population. The brutality of a single viral attack triggered the near-instant annihilation of more than 2 billion people within 24 hours. The invention of gunpowder, and the revolution in the efficiency of war and killing that it brought, were nothing compared to this.
It was the ideal weapon, killing humans but leaving infrastructure intact.

Paradigm historians call this event 'the 14-day war', or simply 'the Third'. One after another, countries started to disperse different versions of their own bio-weapons.
Within 3 days, the world population dropped below 250 million. Biological mutations, diseases and viral infections waged war amongst themselves. Viral mutations started spreading very quickly.
Through military bio-servers, infections even spread by artificial neural AI servers. After a week, humanity nearly vanished, with less than 5 million remaining.

Then something happened that, in its own twisted way, saved humanity.

In the year 2096 on the 13th day of the 14-day war, London, the last safe haven for humanity, falls...
But no intelligent life survived to write down that part of history.
Sentient life ceased to exist for more than four thousand years. In this time (or 'cycle' as it is now known) evolution became extremely more violent. Because of the effects of bio-science and viral changes brought to the world's biology, from plants to animals, the next instance of sentient life evolved within less than 70 generations. Some small parts of old civilizations survived, and this provided these young forms of life a great base for a new beginning.
The first signs of viral self-awareness were likely the reason for them to start breeding hosts, a new 'humanity' artificially grown like fungus for the specific purpose of serving as bodies for new viral-sentient intelligence.

These "humans", named after their honorable predecessors, gained the ability to connect as symbiotes or parasites to eachother, and to different virii as well.
Names like Elves, Orcs and Uruks were only a symbolic way to refer to these new subspecies of 'humans' using antique terminology.
In time some of these 'mushroomed' hosts even evolved, becoming self-aware themselves, for now all of Earth's biology was equipped with mutated strains of genes with wider propensity for variety. After all, the ability to change and adapt is a virus's most powerful weapon.

New, huge, decadent empires known as Paradigms rose and fell into crisis, chaos and despair. Despite thousands of years of technological advancement, by the year 6077 the world is ravaged by mutation, plague and viral storms. Death is common. Creatures do not live long.
But they are always adapting, ever changing.

Because the only constant in the Paradigm Worlds... change.