In a world without magic of its own, there is a planet (1g, sea level atmospheric partial pressure of oxygen 160 millimeters of mercury, orbital period an awkward rounding error away from 365 days...) populated with something pretty close to the lineup of animals that show up on Earths and similar worlds. Including humans.
The humans have bronze and mostly don't have steel. The majority of them live in small states, often monarchies, usually with human rights records slightly better than that of nineteenth century Belgium. There are a couple of republics, and a number of people who aren't organized into states at all.
A couple of the states seem, by the troop movements, to be either on the brink of war or in the early stages of one. They both have writing - they share a language, in fact - and the one to the east has a statue in the capital with an engraved caption explaining how it commemorates the unification of Sesat. Both countries have large numbers of people with apparently deliberately inflicted scars; to the east, facial tattoos and scars from whips; to the west, they seem to go in for deliberately cutting tendons.