The world of Dragonlance has a long history, shaped primarily by the Dragon Wars (numbers 1-3). The world has just come out of the grips of a terrible war, called the War of the Lance. In this war, Takhisis the Queen of Darkness, unleashed her dragon armies (one for each color of dragon: red, blue, green, white, and black) on the lands.
The world was ripe for conquest—for many centuries since the Cataclysm, the Gods had remained distant from the world, and there was no priests or priestly magic to heal the lands. Nor were there many wizards, since most people distrusted the use of magic.
But with the oncoming war, and the return of the Gods to to the continent of Ansalon, shit got real, and real dangerous. The Red Dragon Army smashed the Elven kingdom of Qualinesti, while the Green Dragon Army smashed the other Elven kingdom of Silvanesti. The Blue Dragon Army went strait for Solomania, the traditional guardian of the free people of the world.
After much fucking around, and a ton of battle, the Dragon Armies were pushed back, and Takhisis was exiled to the Abyss. But the Solomanian province of Solanthus, where your party has met up, was hard hit by the war. All the farmers were roasted by goblins, and the ranchers survived by moving their herds west. They are only now returning.