Though geographically there are variations in the mountain ranges, locations and rivers so that it does not match up exactly, there are enough similarities. The similarities in the Earthdawn books include: the locations of coastlines approximately equivalent to those of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, clearly visible on the southern end of the maps; rivers which are roughly analogous to the Volga and Dnieper; the Dragon Mountains in the southeast which are analogous to the Caucasus; and, lastly, a sea which can just be made out in the southeast whose coastline and location is approximate to the Caspian Sea.
Divergence from GeographyEdit
In the Earthdawn setting the two seas to the south are not water, but seas of molten lava named Death's Sea (akin to the Black sea) and the Scarlet Sea (the Sea of Azov.) A combination of magic and myth is used to both explain this impossible situation and why the lava has not cooled off. At least one normal river empties into the scarlet sea.
Additionally due to the large number of Jungles across central Barsaive that are said to be populated with a number of typically tropical creatures such as jaguars and tigers it is inferred that Barsaive enjoys a much warmer climate than the real region of the Ukraine does, though this is simply left as being a basic fact in the books without any real attempt to explain it as it is simply enfolded into the general suspension of disbelief that any fantasy setting requires to function.
Cities and nationsEdit
As typical with a fantasy/medieval setting the land of Barsaive lacks a unified government or control, thus being divided into numerous city states with limited if any control over land more than a short distance from the towns themselves, as well as an endless supply of villages and minor towns in the wilderness that depend wholly on the whim of any gamesmaster running a game in the Earthdawn setting,
Unusually for a setting with multiple fantasy races, in Barsaive the books state that Dwarves are in fact the most common race, whose language is used as a 'common trade tongue', which is an exception as most fantasy settings maintain the dominance of Humans as the main race and setter of the main cultural and linguistic norms.
The major powers and locations include:
- Throal Kingdom/Throal (dwarves, monarchy) - a Dwarven kingdom supposedly built underground into a hollowed out mountain in the northwestern portion of Barsaive, also referred to in the material as Bartertown (which is explained as being the more common name for the large town outside the mountain Throal is in)
- Iopos (city state, magocracy)
- Blood Wood (Elves, monarchy)
- Kratas (city of thieves, kleptocracy) - Known as the city of Thieves and located centrally in Barsaive and is relatively lawless as its name implies and is some what counter intuitively hard to reach due to the large wild jungles and dangerous lands that dominate central Barsaive
- Urupa (city-state, important port)
- Jerris (city-state)
- Travar (city-state) - a city state located in the south east of Barsaive famed for its leadership which consists of democratically elected magistrates.
- Trollish clans of mountains (sky raiders)
- T'skrang clans (aropagoi) of the Serpent River (traders)
- Vivane (city-state, under occupation by Thera) - the bastion of the Theran empire remaining in the province that acts as the ever present threat of a vast yet distant empire with hostile intentions.
- Haven - a town dedicated to exploring the ruins of Parlainth
- Parlainth was the administrative center of the Theran Empire in the north-east corner of Barsaive before the Scourge. It was a marvellous great city built of white shining stone that shone far in the distance.
- When they heard of the coming Scourge, the rulers of Parlainth decided that the protections offered by Thera weren't enough. Rather than build a kaer or citadel - the more common forms of protection against the Horrors - the Theran magicians cast a powerful spell that moved the entire city to a pocket dimension. To ensure that the Horrors didn't find their way to Parlainth, the Therans attempted to remove all memories of the city from Barsaive. The spell was successful, and removed not only all recollection of the city but also every record of it. As far as the people of Barsaive knew, the city had never existed. Unfortunately, it was not enough. The Horrors found the city and broke its defences, but became themselves trapped within the city for the durration of the Scourge, growing increasingly frustrated and mad.
- When J'role, the honorable thief, found the city again after the scourge it had grey walls almost fully destroyed and what was left was in ruins. The lure of treasure brought others to the ruins, but the ruins, packed with both Horrors and the deadly playthings the Horrors created to stave of boredom during the Scourge, are a lethal and often-time terrifying place. One group of adventurers eventually decided that more money could be made from creating a safe haven for adventurers then from venturing inside. They cleared out a small corner of the city and founded the town of Haven, so far the only safe place within the ruins. Despite the dangers, Parlainth remains a tempting destination for adventurers. It is full of treasure, some of it hidden for hundreds of years, and some of it brought by other, less fortunate adventurers.
- Great Dragons
- various Secret Societies