Although a larger world exists that is mentioned throughout the series and visited in several of the books, most of the action in the Chronicles takes place in the Land, as it is the main target of Lord Foul's despite. It is home to many different races and has a long history stretching back thousands of years, although much of it is entangled with resisting the destructive machinations of Lord Foul as he tries to break through the Arch of Time (which surrounds the world) so that he may escape and do battle with his enemy, the Creator.
Outside of the Land:
"... into the infinity before Time was made came the Creator like a worker into his workshop. And since it is the nature of creating to desire perfection, the Creator devoted all himself to the task.
First he built the Arch of Time, so that his creation would have a place in which to be - and for the keystone of that arch he forged the wild magic, so that time would be able to resist chaos and endure.
Then within the arch he formed the Earth. For ages he labored, formed and unformed, trialed and tested and rejected and trialed and tested again, so that when he was done his creation would have no cause to reproach him.
And when the Earth was fair to his eye, he gave birth to the inhabitants of the Earth, beings to act out in their lives his reach for perfection - and he did not neglect to give them the means to strive for perfection themselves. When he was done, he was proud as only those who create can be.
Alas, he did not understand Despite, or had forgotten it. He understood his task thinking that perfect labor was all that he required to create perfection. But when he was done, and his pride had tasted its first satisfaction, he looked closely at the Earth, thinking to gratify himself with the sight - and he was dismayed.
For, Behold ! Buried deep in the Earth through no will or forming of his were banes of destruction, powers virile enough to rip his masterwork into dust.
Then he understood, or remembered. Perhaps he found Despite itself beside him, misguiding his hand. Or perhaps he saw the harm in himself. It does not matter. He became outraged with grief and torn pride.
In his fury, he wrestled with Despite, either within him or without, and in his fury he cast the Despiser down, out of the infinity of the cosmos onto the Earth.
Alas ! Thus the Despiser was imprisoned within Time. And thus the Creator's creation became the Despiser's world, to torment as he chose.
For the very Law of Time, the principle of power which made the arch possible, worked to preserve Lord Foul, as we now call him ... that Law requires that no act may be undone...
Therefore Lord Foul has afflicted the Earth, and the Creator cannot stop him - for it was the Creator's act which placed Despite here.
In sorrow and humility, the Creator saw what he had done. So that the plight of the Earth would not be utterly without hope, he sought to help his creation in indirect ways. He guided the Lord-Fatherer to the fashioning of the Staff of Law - a weapon against Despite.
But the very Law of the Earth's creation permits nothing more. If the Creator were to silence Lord Foul, that act would destroy Time - and then the Despiser would be free in infinity again, free to make whatever befoulments he desired."
In the 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, the Giant Pitchwife tells a second, different legend of the Earth's creation to Linden Avery:
"It is said among the Elohim, whose knowledge is wondrous, and difficult of contradiction, that in the ancient and eternal youth of the cosmos, long ere the Earth came to occupy its place, the stars were as thick as sand throughout all the heavens...the cosmos was an ocean of stars from shore to shore...
They were the living peoples of the heavens, as unlike to us as gods. Grand and warm in their bright loveliness, they danced to music of their own making and were content.
But far away across the heavens lived a being of another kind. The Worm. For ages it slumbered in peace - but when it awakened, as it awakens at the dawn of each new eon, it was afflicted with a ravenous hunger.
Every creation contains destruction, as life contains death, and the Worm was destruction. Driven by its immense lust, it began to devour the stars...it roamed the heavens, consuming whole seas of brightness, cutting great swaths of loneliness across the firmament.
Writhing through the ages, avid and insatiable, it fed on all that lay within its reach, until the heavens became sparsely peopled as a desert.
Yet the devoured stars were beings as unlike to us as gods, and no Worm or doom could consume their power without cost.
Having fed hugely, the Worm became listless and gravid. Though it could not sleep, for the eon's end of its slumber had not come, it felt a whelming desire for rest. Therefore it curled its tail about itself and sank into quiescence.
And while the Worm rested, the power of the stars wrought within in. From its skin grew excrescences of stone and soil, water and air, and these growths multiplied upon themselves and multiplied until the very Earth beneath our feet took form.
Still the power of the stars wrought, but now it gave shape to the surface of the Earth, forging the seas and the land. And then was brought forth life upon the Earth. Thus were born all the peoples of the Earth, the beasts of the land, the creatures of the deep - all the forests and greenswards from pole to pole. And thus from destruction came forth creation, as death gives rise to life... But it must pass.
The Worm does not slumber. It merely rests. And the time must come when it is roused, or rouses itself. Then it will slough off this skin of rock and water to pursue its hunger across the cosmos until the eon's end and slumber.
For that reason, it is named the Worm of the World's End."
The Tale of the One Forest:
"The oldest legends of the Land's history concern the One Forest, a vast, sentient expanse of trees that once covered most of the Land.
When Men first came to the Land they were heedless of the One Forest and ignorant of the Earthpower, and for the first time the trees of the One Forest felt human fires and human blades.
After a time Ravers came to the Land, semi-corporeal beings of malevolence and evil. Taking the forms of three brothers, the Ravers found purpose in the destruction of the One Forest, and influenced the people of the Land to hasten the butchery of the trees.
Eventually the dying One Forest's sentinence began to wane. The very Land split itself in grief, and the Earth itself heard the cry.
And then an Elohim appeared in the Land, a strange, powerful being, seeking to defend the One Forest and impart knowledge which the trees might use to aid them.
The One Forest used that knowledge to bind the Elohim in stone to form a powerful forbidding, a wall of power, which prevented further decimation at the hands of Ravers and men.
The One Forest used the power of the Elohim to create Forestals, guardians charged to protect the last forests."
The Legend of Berek Halfhand (as told to Mithil Stonedown by Atiaran Trell-mate):
"It came to pass that there was a great war in the eldest days. Before the Old Lords were born, before the Giants came across the Sunbirth Sea – a time before the Oath of Peace, before the Desecration and High Lord Kevin’s last battle.
In this time, the Land was one great nation, and over it ruled a King and Queen. They were rich with love and honor, and for many years they ruled in unison and peace.
But after a time a shadow came over the heart of the King. He tasted the power of life and death over those who served him, and learned to desire it. Soon mastery became a lust with him. His nights were spent in dark quests for more power, and by day he exercised that power, becoming hungrier and more cruel as the lust overcame him.
But the Queen looked on her husband and was dismayed. She had no desire to share in his dark desires which now ruled him. And no appeal or power of hers could break the grip of cruelty that degraded the King. And at last, when she saw that the good of the Land would die if her husband were not halted, she broke with him, opposed his might with hers.
Then there was war in the Land. Many who hated murder and loved life joined the Queen’s side. The chiefest of these was Berek – the strongest and wisest of the Queen’s champions. But the fear of the King was upon the Land, and whole cities rose up to fight for him, killing to protect their own slavery.
For a time it seemed that the Queen’s forces would prevail, for her heroes were mighty of hand, none mightier than Berek, who was said to be a match for any King.
But as the battle raged, a shadow, a grey cloud from the east, fell over the hosts. The Queen’s defenders were stricken at heart, and their strength left them. But her enemies found a power of madness in the shadow. They forgot their humanity – and they chopped and trampled and clawed and maimed and defiled until their grey onslaught overwhelmed the heroes, and Berek’s comrades broke one by one into despair and death. And so the battle went until Berek was the last of the Queen’s defenders left to oppose the shadow’s hordes.
But he fought on, heedless of his fate and the number of his foes. At last the King himself, filled with the fear and madness of the shadow, challenged Berek, and they fought.
Berek stroked mightily, but the shadow turned his blade. The contest was balanced until one blow of the King’s ax cleft Berek’s hand. Then Berek’s sword fell to the ground, and he looked and saw the shadow, and all his brave comrades dead. He cried a great cry of despair, and fled the battleground. Thus he ran, hunted by death. For three days he ran, never stopping, and for three days the King’s host came upon him, murderous for blood. At the last of his strength and his despair, he came to Mount Thunder.
Climbing the slope, he threw himself down atop a great boulder and wept, saying, “Alas for the Earth. We are overthrown, and have no friends to redeem us. Beauty shall pass utterly from the Land.”
But the rock on which he lay replied, “There is a Friend for a heart with the wisdom to see it.”
Berek cried, “The stones are not my friends. See, my enemies ride the Land, and no tremor tears the Earth from under their foul feet.”
“They are alive as much as you, and need the ground to stand upon,” said the rock. “Yet there is a Friend for you in the Earth, if you will pledge your soul to its healing.”
Then Berek stood upon the rock, and beheld his enemies close upon him. He took the pledge, sealing it with the blood of his riven hand. The Earth replied with thunder; and from the heights of the mountain came great stone Fire-Lions, devouring everything in their path. The King and all his host were laid waste, and Berek alone stood above the rampage on his boulder.
When the rampage had passed, Berek promised respect and communion and service for the Earth from himself and all the generations which followed him upon the Land. Wielding the first Earthpower, he made the Staff of Law from the wood of the One Tree, and with it began the healing of the Land. In time Berek Halfhand became the Lord-Fatherer, the first of the Old Lords. Those who followed his path flourished in the Land for two thousand years."
Thomas Covenant is first summoned to the Land 1000 years after High Lord Kevin and Lord Foul's nuclear holocaust-like Ritual of Desecration had desolated the Land and destroyed much of its heritage.
Thomas Covenant arrives in a Land repopulated and largely replenished. Covenant himself is greeted by the people of the Land as the reincarnation of Lord-Fatherer Berek Halfhand, a hero of great historical significance. His white gold wedding ring is recognised as a talisman of great power.
The New Lords of this age are limited in their abilities to defend or succour the Land, retaining only remnants of the wisdom and power that their predecessors had possessed. According to Lord Mhoram, the New Lords have not yet even mastered all of the Lore contained in the First Ward, and High-Lord Kevin devised Seven of these Wards in order to ensure that the knowledge of Earthpower and its uses would be both available and yet protected from misuse, for only by mastering all of the Lore in each Ward would the nature and location of the next Ward become clear.
However Thomas Covenant's arrival also heralds the return of Lord Foul the Despiser, and the Land and its people once again find their future under threat as Foul attempts to break the Arch of Time to escape his imprisonment upon the Earth, thus ending all life.
The Lords of Revelstone have been supplanted by the Clave, a group that professes to oppose the Sunbane through a mystic flame known as the Banefire--a power fueled by blood attained through human sacrifice. The Clave and their agents assert that the Sunbane is a punishment upon the people of the land for past failures to resist a-Jeroth of the Seven Hells (the new guise of Lord Foul the Despiser), and demand "volunteers" from each community on a regular basis to feed the Banefire. They claim to work in the best interest of the Land, using the Banefire to prevent the Sunbane's influence from growing; however, all is not as it seems.
The Earthpower is unknown to the common denizens of the Land, and the legends of those who wielded it have been warped to make them seem corrupt and misguided; Berek Halfhand is now reviled rather than revered. The only powers accessible to the people are attained through blood sacrifice--either that of a victim or the wielder's own blood--which is used to harness the ill power of the Sunbane itself. With no other way to mitigate the effects of the Sunbane, the people have little choice but to give victims over to both the agents of the Clave and for the village's purposes.
Cords are apprentices to Manethralls, young Ramen who study and train under the direct guidance of a Manethrall. Cords advance to the level of Manethrall after passing a challenge called "Maneing." The Winhomes class is composed of elderly Ramen or children, Ramen who do not fight or hunt but rather tend to the living requirements of the Ramen community. Young Winhomes may advance to become Cords after passing a challenge known as "Cording." The sole weapon used by Ramen is a garrote, and is used with great skill in defense of the Ranyhyn. Manethralls carry garrotes in their long hair, while Cords tie their garrotes around their waist.
The region known as the Hills of Andelain is one of the most Earthpowerful places is the Land. Its innate Earthpower was so great that it remained untouched by the Sunbane.
Stone and soil can be Earthpowerful. Orcrest is a stone which can be made to emit light, uncover deception, and even manipulate the weather, though in this last use the orcrest will be wholly consumed. Graveling is a form of stone which can be made to generate light and heat. Hurtloam is a golden-flecked mud which heals injury and cures disease with astonishing rapidity.
There are many Earthpowerful planots in the Land, as well. Aliantha, is a shrub, the fruit of which is extremely nourishing; amanibhalam is a kind of grass which has, for horses, a healing virtue similar to that of hurtloam, but which can cause great harm to humans. Gildenlode is an Elarthpowerful wood which has great use in the construction of ships: a ship with a gildenlode keel moves as its pilot wills it to, without need of oars or sails or current. Kevin Landwaster, the last of the Old Lords, collected all the lore of Earthpower into Seven Wards in order to preserve it against the destruction wrought by the Ritual of Desecration. Some of the Wards were written scrolls. The Sixth Ward was a mysterious being who would show the path to the seventh, while the Seventh Ward itself was the Power of Command: the one-time ability to issue any' command and have it caried out.
Wild magic is also capable of immense physical destruction. The thaumurtage Kaersyn said that wild magic would allow him to create perfect theurgies which would endure within the imperfect world. Linden Avery used wild magic to create a new Staff of Law by merging the Elohim Findail and the Demondim-spawn Vain.