The Lands of Barsaive Edit
Most of the large, untamed land that we call Barsaive has remained unexplored since the days before the Scourge.
Formerly a province of the Theran Empire, Barsaive became independent before the Scourge and is surrounded by natural and political barriers on all sides.
- Directly North is the Blood Wood. A twisted place that is fiercely protected by its rarely seen guardians.
- North East beyond the city of Parlainth is sparsely inhabited by villages and tribes with no greater political unity due to the lack of things worth having in that area.
- Directly East is the Aras sea, beyond which lay several independent nation-states.
- The South East is blocked by the Dragon Moutains (Beyond which lays the Theran Empire). To the East is the enclosed Aras Sea across which lay several kingdoms.
- Directly South is the Death Sea, a lake of molten lava hundreds of miles across.
- The South-West is Theran Territory anchored around the city of Vivaine.
- The West is bordered by the Poisoned Wastes a land hit so badly by the scourge that now nothing but horrors dwells there for long.
- The North-West is watched over by the City-State of Iopos that dislikes travellers in its lands, beyond the city there is little but scattered groups villages and tribes. (The region had few natural resources and so most people fled and built Kaers elsewhere before the Scourge hit)
The Majority of Barsaive is covered in hilly uplands, plateaus, and low mountains, interupted by more serious mountain ranges liek the Throal Mountains and the Twilight Peaks.
Nothing grew in Barsaive in the years immediately following the Scourge, which had the effect of causing dramatic and frequent shifts in temperature and rainfall. Once the people began to emerge from their kaers, however, they used magic to regenerate the world’s greenery at a phenomenal rate. Within a decade of the end of the Scourge,
Barsaive enjoys a year-round, temperate climate with moderate rainfall. Rainfall in most of southern Barsaive is heavier than the 40 to 60 inches common in the rest of the province, but the area surrounding Death’s Sea suffers continual drought. Most of the year’s rainfall occurs during the first six months.
Your Home area Edit
Three Kaers - Edit
Located in the Caucavic Mountains (North East area of the above Map) Three days walk North and East of the City of Marrek where the rivers from the mountain meet the river that skirts the mountains edge.
A large recently built multi-racial town. Constructed by co-operation between the population of three nearby Kaers that have a shared history of racial integration, none of whom have the resources to undertake such a project alone. The settlement was the site of two other attempts to settle that were thwarted by horrors, raiders and natural disasters. However its modern incarnation is about a decade old, with tall stout walls.
The settlement was built near the foothills of one of the Caucavic Mountains, on a raised piece of rock overlooking a lake which is fed by the Caucavic River from the West and the Azure River from the North.
Three Kaers is surrounded on three sides by cliffs, with a high wall made primarily of stone to the North.
The town has well over 50 houses within the wall and another 20 just outside which makes it a small town by modern Barsaive standards. There are many specialist businesses, but . It boasts a large inn, a dozen specialist businesses (Like a mill, bakers, butchers, weavers, herbalists and more. A large smithy which serves as a communal workshop for the blacksmith, tinsmith, armourer and cooper) several smaller drinking houses, a communal green, a boat house on the shore of the lake, and places to store both food and livestock in the event of an attack.
A road to the North leads to other communities along the river and a ferry can take people across the lake where they can walk to Marrek or catch a riverboat to go further downstream to the larger trade towns of the T'skrang and from there travel almost anywhere.
This is the home of the main characters.
The Hidden Valley - Edit
One of the most unusual Kaer designs. The Gilded Horn Carta was a T’Skrang trade-house that invested heavily in Kaer construction. However at the height of the Oricalcum wars their riverboats were caught in the midst of a battle and were sunk, costing the Carta almost every silver penny they had. Without wealth to build a Kaer they would be forced to beg for space in mighty Throal and face the scorn of proud Dwarves daily, something that their pride could not stomach. However as the days grew shorter and the Horrors more prevalent, the idea of begging at Throals door grew in popularity. Fortunately before that happened a T’Skrang illusionist of immense skill bargained with the remains of the Carta. The illusionist twisted space around a mountain valley on the Azure River so that you could follow the river through the valley and never find the lake that lay at the valley's heart or the settlement that surrounded it. Likewise for those inside, going from one end of the valley to the other would lead you back the way you came, the river flowing in an endless loop. The light came from a magical artificial light the size of a ship suspended in the air above the valley lake. They lived a life of relative luxury compared to the conditions of the underground Kaers. The only way in or out was a dance taught only to the council of elders that ruled the Kaer. The Illusionist however did make the original inhabitants of the Kaer swear a blood oath to perform certain occult observations, make a chronicle of their time in the valley and to preserve the art of their culture. All of these things were to be kept safe and delivered to a specific place and time after leaving the Kaer. Unfortunately their relative comfort meant that they were one of the last major Kaers to open to the world, meaning that they had little room to grow.
The Hidden valley lays upstream of the Azure River to the East of Three Kaers.
The Star-forge Kaer - Edit
Before the Scourge, there was a Troll-Moot in the Caucavic Mountains descended from slaves who had escaped the Theran’s grasp and fled North. In the Oricalcum wars they relished the chance for revenge and stole from the Therans everything they valued including the books that taught the art of Kaer construction. Their leader was an elementalist, who bargained with Spirits of Earth and Stone for aid in constructing a Kaer. They gave the elementals every ounce of Oricalcum they could steal from the Therans and used the magical elements alone to strengthen and support their new home. However in their last days on the surface, their greatest wooden airship carrying the tribes greatest heroes and their leader on a final raid against the Therans. Whilst they were locked in combat against a Theran Kila (A Theran design of flying castle powered by the death of slaves and prisoner) both sides were struck by a Horror known as Maelstrom that appeared as a vast miles-wide storm of teeth and razor sharp glass that swept in with supernatural swiftness. They boarded the Kila successfully, but their own vessel was shredded by the Horror and it crippled the Kila as well forcing a crash-landing. The Trolls liberates a large tribe of Windlings that were being taken back to Theran lands as slaves. The Windlings had their own Kaer, but in gratitude decided to risk their lives to escort their Troll liberators back home, as they were accomplished scouts who knew all manner of secret paths. After nearly a month of trekking through horror-tainted lands and many heroic battles, they had lost many people from both groups, but arrived back at the waiting Kaer, that had never given up hope of their return. The Troll leader invited the Windlings to join them and they took up residence in the grand Airship hangar that now lay empty. Initially there was friction, but over time the groups bonded over the adventure and the Kaer was a successful one. They were famously one of the first Kaers to open their doors to Captain Vaare Longfang, the great explorer Captain of Throal and accepted her invitation to rejoin the surface world.
The Kaer lies directly North of Three Kaers about half-way up the mountain.
Lower Tamen - Edit
The City of Tamen was a small but prosperous one, built on the backs of its skilled iron-miners and blacksmiths. When news of the Scourge came, They gained a copy of the much revered books of Passage and Protection from Thera and spread copies to their neighbours. During the Oricalcum wars they were often overlooked by the worst of the raiders as their city produced no magical elements, only high quality iron, tin, copper and some silver. However unknown to most people, this was because True Earth was being mined, but it never left the mine itself. They hoarded it in secret and dug their mines deep into the Earth, using the excavated space to build a second city. Even before the scourge came in force, there were people living underground for generations. According to the Books of Protection and Passage they built the Kaer large enough to hold the taller races as well as themselves. However whilst they had large quantities of True Earth, they lacked Oricalcum and the other True elements that were needed to be fully self-sufficient. They bartered access to the Kaer with an Ork Scorcher tribe known as the Nine Thunders. They acted as agents of the Dwarves in exchange for a place within their Kaer. They bargained and raided to get the needed supplies and smuggled them into the hidden Kaer. When the time came, they abandoned their city, sealed the doors shut and collapsed the mine entrances to hide all trace of their existence. The Dwarves and Orks never really got along with decades of misunderstanding and feuding marking the first century beneath the Earth. Orks chafed under Dwarven rules whilst the Dwarves felt cheated at having to share their generations of hard labour with bands of thieves. Their conflict came to a head in a bloody civil-war nearly 80 years after they sealed the Kaer. However the war caused a major fire that destroyed almost all the crops and both sides sued for peace. There were a couple of Quaestors of Chorrolis (an Ork and Dwarf) at the time who managed to broker the peace agreement. They negotiated a skillful settlement that used the concept of Hostages an old tradition amongst both people. From then on, Ork children were taught and raised primarily by Dwarves and visa versa. Since then the Ork and Dwarf population grew together in prosperity and endured until they sent out scouts toward the end of the Scourge.
The Kaer lies South West of Three Kaers over the river.
Notable settlements you have visited Edit
A river-side settlement, originally based upon huts by the waters edge that stood above the water on wooden poles, the city gradually expanded inland and the entire settlement is on stone pillars. The ground level is dedicated primarily to temporary tent-like open air stalls. One of its great wonders is a memorial garden to the heroes of the Theran War. The mural depicts over 60 statues posed in combat with the centerpiece being a battle between King Varulus III and a mighty Theran Blood Mage (formed into a fountain filled with red-dyed water to represent the blood coming from the wounds of slaughtered slaves.)
An unremarkable farming villiage just off the Oid Theran Road, a simple few dozen houses surrounded by a wooden pallisade wall.
(Far North East of the map) A city that tried to hide in a distant pocket of the Astral plane, vanished for centuries and only recently returned, bereft of life, but filled with treasure, traps, horrors, the undead, and a Dragon that has taken up residence (Did I mention the Treasure?).There is a smaller settlement called Haven which serves as a base camp for explorers who don't mind risking their lives.
The settlement in the South East of the ruined city of Parlainth occupies only a tiny fraction of the whole city, but contains its entire living population. A boom-town that sprang up from the magical treasures that poured out of Parlainth. It is a destination for young idealistic fools that try to make their fortune from exploring the ruined city.
Haven has three main inns:
- The Last Brick - The cheapest of the three, an easy source of cheap labour from people who have lost their nerve in the city, it serves watered wine and starchy foods though it sometimes lets performers eat for free if they put on a song or two. It is named for its construction, being built out of the Parlainth city wall and it used up every bit of stone in that section on its construction down to the last brick.
- The Screaming Fountain - A bar named after a fountain in the middle of Parlainth that never stops screaming. Once it was the hub of commerce in the town where the merchants would come to deal away from the ruffian explorers that went to Loak's legacy. However the T'skrang Bazaar that set up shop not far outside, took almost all of its original merchantile trade and left it in a sorry state and now its fine painted fresco walls are showing signs of peeling. Although it still gets by with trade from those merchants who are sick of T'skrang cuisine (Mostly wines and spiced fish dishes) and want a beer and a pie instead.
- Loak's Legacy (The most up-market of the three, it has a large bar area and several shared sleeping rooms and at the bar is a petrified Troll named Loak, the original owner of the bar. A retired delver into the city, he set-up the bar, but was lured back in after many years and did not return alive.
Other notable locations include:
- Agraman's Import/Export - A opulant but understated establishment where valuable magical relics rest in fine glass cases available for perusal by those with sufficiently full pouches. Agraman also deals as a money-changer and was able to give a good price on Theran gold.
- The open air bazaar - Owned by House Syrtis, a recent addition to the town that mixes an open-air auction-house, a coffee-house atmosphere (although without coffee which has not yet been discovered, they instead serve spiced wines and herbal brews.)
- Brenula's Arms - The most prominent weaponsmith, armour-maker and blacksmith in the town. She has a large open forge-shop with a few seats for guests who want to discuss business. The second floor is shared with the Wizard Heirmon who has his private apartments up there.
- Dag's All-goods - A cluttered general store with a livery stable attached to it. In here a curmugeonly old dwarf sells basically everything from dried food, ointments, shovels and bolts of cloth to light crystals and crossbows.
- The walls and gates - Haven was made by disassembling the vast Parlainth city walls for building materials. Almost every structure in the town is built from the same stone. The original walls stand nearly 10 meters high, but the more modern walls are a more modest 4 meters. The gates are guarded at all times by fire-cannons pointing inward to Parlainth and a killing field has been cleared for almost 30 meters inside Parlainth its self.
The Midland Trading Post Edit
A collection of timber buildings behind a sturdy looking palisade. The Trading post is a small settlement that caters to the needs of the few hundred settler families that live within a day or twos ride of the place as well as caravans and traders moving through the region. It is almost perfectly positioned between Parlainth and the Blood Wood.
The settlement has only a few houses as it is mostly a place for visitors with farmers and traders visiting for only a day or two, but has a few notable structures.
- The Disillusioned Elf - A tavern - run by Amethyst “Leg-breaker” Sky or more usually, one of her cousins
- The Halfway inn - A boarding house run by Flitz a windling
- Gurts Goods - A trade shop run by Gurt himself, largely selling the uncommon little luxuries of a frontier store (Lots of soap, tools, pots and pans, cured leather and fabrics as well as weapons, armour and the odd magical trinket)
- The Midland Stables - A dwarf named Orias Forge runs the Livery/Smithy although in this case Flitz was covering for him.
- Alongside this is a distillery attached to the tavern (to make decent quality spirits) and nearly 2 dozen smaller homes and sheds used to store things like grain.
The Strawberry Fields Edit
A few days ride North West of the Midland Trading Post. It is a vast area several days ride in all directions. It was once used for Theran experimentation, safely on the outskirts of the Empire.
With the scourge fast approaching, Thera needed a way to feed its vast population. So they experimented with infusing the ground with magic and blood. The experiment was the worst kind of success. Small plants grew to great size producing vast berries, particularly strawberries for which the place is named. However the magic in the Earth caused a vast up swell in magic, that allowed powerful Horrors to break through decades before they could do so elsewhere.
The Therans believed they could contain this and sent an army to destroy the Horrors, but with the magic of the land, there was an open gateway and every Horror dispatched was able to come back moments later. The Theran army was over-run and wiped out.
After the Scourge ended, people associated the Strawberry Fields with Horrors and ill-omens and it is generally avoided. The Berries themselves are bitter and unpleasant to taste, but don't appear to be poisonous.
The Blood Wood Edit
Once a beautiful area and the heartland of Elven culture known as the Wyrmwood, this forest marks the Northernmost portion of Barsaive. It is a strick monarchy led by the immortal Queen Alachia.
They declined aid from Thera before the scourge. They were proud, xenophobic and suspicious of the growing Theran influence.
So instead of building a Kaer to keep their people safe, they wove enchantments into the woodland instead. When the Horrors came in force, the forest did not stop them, it only slowed their progress forcing the surviving elves back to the interior. Facing annihilation, they noticed that people who were already in agony were left alone by the Horrors. So they concocted the Ritual of Thorns, which caused every elf in the bloodwood to develop thick wooden thorns that grew through their flesh and out of their skin. Modern Blood Elves, having grown up with this pain every living moment of their lives are able to function normally, but at the time it was horrific and the Horrors lost interest.
The Ritual of Thorns affected the plant and wildlife as well in strange ways and its twisting effects have caused it to be renamed the Blood Wood. Vast and inhospitable to people who are not raised there, but sometimes beautiful and diverse with bio-luminescent flowers, magical wildlife and a tree canopy so thick that ground level is like twilight.
Other notable areas: Edit
The Theran Empire (Thera) Edit
(Not on this map) The Elf/Human dominated Empire that once ruled all of Barsaive and still controls vast territories to the South. Much hated for their use of Death Magic (The sacrifice of living people to power great magic such as their stone airships)
The Kingdom of Throal Edit
(North East Quarter of the map) The Dwarven Kingdom that rallied forces to them to repel the Theran Empire nearly 20 years ago. Begrudgingly respected, as the King, Varulus III seems intent on forcing unity on everybody else, but does so with shared culture, trade agreements, advocating civil-rights, law, diplomacy, mutual self-interest and other underhanded methods.
The Blood Wood Edit
(North of the Map) A vast forest twisted by Blood Magic filled with isolationist elves, monsters and treachery. The elves of the Blood Wood do not permit outsiders and do not venture out themselves, which suits most people.
The Serpent River Edit
A series of connected river systems, flowing through Barsaive's chaotic terrain. Each stretch is patrolled by one of five great T'Skrang Trade Houses.
The Caucavic River Edit
A tributary to the Serpent River that stretches from near Parlainth and the Caucavic mountains down to where it joins the Serpent river at Tansiarla. Three Kaers sits on this stretch of river and it is ruled by...House Syrtis
This T'skrang dynasty (also called House of the Dragon Moon) dominates trade in the North Eastern rivers of Barsaive from the Caucavic Rivers and a stretch of the upper serpent towards the settlement of Eidolon, all the way down to Lake Ban.
Barsaive including the Caucavic River on which the Three Kaers settlement rests. Full members of the house flaunt their wealth status with large aquamarines and emeralds set into silver rings, with the silver dragon insignia painstakingly carved into the gem before the silver is added on top of the gem its self. Their servants and employees wear the silver and blue dragon design wither woven into their fabric with rather more mundane dyes. They base themselves out of the Cliff city of Syrtis a short distance away from the more cosmopolitan city of Tansiarla. They are bounded by House V'strimon to the South and House Ishkarat upstream that take trade from the mysterious city state of Iopos.
The Coil River Edit
Running from just outside Throal to lake Ban, this is one of the wealthiest trade routes in Barsaive and ships Dwarven-made goods out to the Serpent river from which they are moved either up or down the Serpent River or down towards Urupa where they are shipped off to distant lands. Likewise large tributes of food and raw materials make their way back up to Throal. This stretch of the river is dominated by House V'strimon.
Their symbol is a sheaf of green reeds on a blue field. Their vassals wear the symbol on their clothes or in amulets, whilst scions of the house wear actual reeds from Lake Ban infused with Elemental Wood that are kept perpetually alive and healthy to signify their status but also their connection to nature and the land as their leader is a keen questor of Jaspree, passion of Nature.
There are other T'Skrang houses further downstream (The new and agile House T'Kambras and House K'tenshin long-term Theran sympathisers, both ply the Tylon River and benefit from the True Fire production of the Death Sea), but Ishkarat, V'strimon and Syrtis are the major players in the local area.