Explorers of Barsaive
After centuries of hiding beneath the earth, people have ventured out into the sunlight to reclaim the world. Trolls, dwarves, elves, orcs, and humans live side by side with exotic races: the lizard-like t’skrang; the small, winged windlings; and the earthen obsidimen. Creatures both magical and mundane dwell once more in the forests and jungles. Arcane energies offer power to those willing to learn the ways of magic.
The world of Earthdawn is one of legend. Its people and places are larger than life, the stuff of song and saga. Heroes fight the monsters of this and other worlds; their bold exploits light a beacon of hope for the future, as word of their deeds spreads across the troubled, fearful land. Earthdawn is a world of high adventure, high magic, and terrible danger. Those dangers lurk not only within long-forgotten kaers, but also within the minds of people forever corrupted by the Horrors. To rebuild its heart and soul as well as its outward aspect after the devastation after the Scourge, the world needs heroes. The players of Earthdawn, by creating their characters and playing the game, provide those heroes.
In contrast to other roleplaying games, characters in Earthdawn do not simply survive each adventure and become a little smarter or a little richer. Earthdawn adds another dimension to roleplaying; its characters become heroic figures, accomplishing deeds so impressive that generation after generation will honor their memory in song and story. The world of Earthdawn brims over with legends, heart-stirring tales of famous adventurers told by the fireside to while away the night. Earthdawn player characters can become the figures in those legends. As they build their characters’ legends through play, they create the fireside tales that their descendants will tell about them. Gaining this heroic stature through daring deeds is as important a part of playing Earthdawn as any lesser gain in riches or experience.
The world after the Scourge is truly new, in ways the sages and scholars did not conceive. The world’s magical aura did not diminish as all their learning told them it should, but remains strong.
The realms of Throal and Thera struggle to survive. In the south of Barsaive the crystal raiders build airships for future raids on the lowlands. Ork scorchers roam the land mounted on their fierce chargers, finding danger and adventure where they can. The elves of Blood Wood have survived the Horrors in their own way, a dark way that has riven the community of elves. Windlings thrive in the places where nature borders civilization. T’skrang live among the great Serpent River, trading, pirating, and engaging in occasional raids. Obsidimen roam Barsaive, durable, earthbound beings in demand anywhere that war or danger threaten.
And danger lies just off the trade roads, along with the lure of the treasure amassed and hidden away by now-forgotten people. The Horrors have receded, but they still hold fast in the darker parts of the world. Some wait within conquered citadels, curled upon the sprawling wealth of the vanquished. Others roam the world, their magic weakened but still powerful enough to wreak havok in their paths.
In this fifteen hundred sixth year since the founding of Throal, the world looks vastly different from the one the founders saw when they looked south across the plain. Only the brave dare explore this world. Only the heroes can carve the future from the ruins of the past.