Explorers of Barsaive
To hide from the Horrors, the Therans proposed the construction of great underground fortresses. Dubbed kaers, these dwellings would protect their occupants against the Horrors on the theory that strong enough walls will keep out even the most physically powerful Horror. The natural, solid, earthen walls of the kaer would also provide protection against Horrors that travel through astral space or by means as yet unguessed.
To shore up the kaers’ defenses, Theran magicians created wards and runes that would “call” to a Horror through magic. Once the Horror examined the rune, its mind would become caught in the magical web and mathematical maze of the rune’s construction. Because the Horror comes from a place deep in the mystical netherworlds, a Horror must always devote some degree of its concentration to keeping itself in the world of Earthdawn. A rune entrapping its mind would break the Horror’s concentration and force the thing to either retreat or lose its grasp in this world and be flung back to the pit from whence it came.
Thera usesd this knowledge to create an empire, gaining slaves or client states out of those who desired the knowledge of the Runes of Warding for kaers. Some rejected Thera and attempted to create alternatives to survive the Scourge.
Now kaers lie scatteed across Barsaive. In the aftermath of the Scourge, most kaers have opened, and their populations live in nearby towns and villages. The residents use the underground retreat as a shelter when needed or for storage. Adventurers should recognize that the citizens of small towns and villages may fear them simply because they are strangers. The scars of the Scourage are too fresh for people to easily accept the unknown.
Some kaers remain closed, their residents either dead or unaware that the Scourge has ended. These abandoned and dead kaers hold countless treasures and loot. Naturally, tales of these riches draw every adventurer ever to set foot outside his own community. In addition to fantastic wealth, these abandoned strongholds are also riddled with danger. Many serve as lairs for the creatures and Horrors that still lurk within, and offer other threats and challenges as well. Chief among these challenges are traps and secret doors, whether mundane or magical.