A well designed RPG can really bring the player into the story, atmosphere and lore of the game, much more than can a 4X game. Why? The PC have more interactions with their environment. NPCs can expand on the lore and act in accordance with the lore in a more visible manor.
The distrust that exists between Tarth and Capitar can be easily reflected in the game with Tarthian NPCs talking disparaging of Carrodusians PCs, and Carrodusians less helpful to a group of Tarthian PC adventurers.
Likewise casual conversations, news and rumors can highlight the lore of Tarth and its Queen; Queen believes her farther was murdered? By whom, some think that it was assasins from Carrodosia. Likewise Tarthians are more likely to be armed with a longbow. In my view, it will depend on the Quests, encounter areas and the party options available for PCs.
Perhaps, the starting PC party can be one of 2 kingdoms; Tarth or Capitar - the two Kingdoms with a known bad feelings between the two; as the people of Tarth revolted against their rulers in Capitar. This would make it easier to script NPC responses that bring the lore to the forefront.
Perhaps PC choices would include:
Kingdom: Tarth or Capitar
Class: Warrior, Mage (Necomancer), Assassin, Thief, Cleric (Healer), etc. ( I know that Elemental does not have a cleric profession; however, this class would open a lot of tactical and rpg options in the game's design)
with options to customize the character based on weapon skills/skills/feats. Gain a level as a Warrior and choose a skill in a new weapon or increase your skill with an existing weapon or another skills (Sword Master, Dodger, Faster Reaction, etc.) or class. Gain a level as a mage and select 2 news spells or a new magic feat (i.e. Speed Bonus, +10% damage, new magic school, etc) or another skill or class. Like D&D/Might & Magic
A Tarthian party meeting NPCS from Capitar would tend to get an unfavorable response, likewise PCs from Capitar interacting with Tarth NPCs would get an unfavorable response (as Tarth rebelled from Capitar). The Tarth PCs could improve the Capitar response towards them by completing a quest for Lord Carrodous of Capitar.
Sample Kingdom Background Dependent Quest - Same Map, Same PCs, Different Adventure
- Tarth PCs - Hired to reclaim a small outpost of Tarth from Capitar Troops in a disputed Frontier Area (Keep is defended by Capitar NPCs or Wraith NPCs, depending upon prior PC actions)
- Capitar PCs - Sent to defend a small outpost of Capitar in the disputed frontier area (Keep is attacked by Tarth NPCs or Wraith NPCs, depending upon prior PC actions)
The above quest illustrates how game play could change based on the PCs selected Kingdom background. The PCs may be the defender or the attacker. Both results would utilize the same encounter area map.