Karol here with a taste of international affairs in the world of Earthdawn!
In the years leading up to the 4th Edition timespace, a lot of changes have happened in Barsaive. These are detailed in the Player’s Guide and Gamemaster’s Guide, as well as in Travar: The Merchant City.
The Earthdawn team has also explored more current events in the various elven kingdoms as part of Elven Nations. As Andi mentioned in a previous post, the forthcoming book on Iopos will detail new developments there since previous editions.
But many nations are spread across the Fourth World, including the provinces that make up the Theran Empire, and there’s been speculation as to what’s happening in these lands. One of the most peculiar is Creana.
Creana has always been a unique nation (and self-styled Empire). Its sometimes fickle Passions take an active, everyday role in the lives of its people. Its ruler, the embodiment of one of these Passions, lies dead for half the year, during which time the dead rest uneasy throughout Creana. Atypical of the other Theran provinces, Creanans insist their relationship is a respectful alliance, and Thera maintains a minimal military presence compared to its deployments elsewhere. Creana itself has expansionist ambitions, conquering client city-states of their neighbors. And in stark contrast to the freedom-fighting Barsaive we know, Creana’s strict caste system is built on the backs of a large slave class.
Yet beneath a veneer of stability and harmony, Creana is brimming with tensions, any one of them about to boil over. The Pharon withdraws more and more from rule of his nation, while the disputes between the reformist heir Zhem-ka-tep III and his traditionalist brother Lhem-ka-mhur threaten to escalate into a military conflict. The slaves at the bottom of the Pyramid of Namegivers agitate for their rights, while the nomarchs ruling the various city-states of Creana engage in their own political schemes and power grabs.
Seeing the dissent growing throughout Creana, the natives of the conquered cities of Okonopolis, Issyr, Nuboz and Chalmides are beginning to petition for their own freedom. The Theran legions, quick to put down dissent elsewhere within the Empire, have taken no decisive action, leading many to speculate on the nature of the alliance. Perhaps most distressingly, the spirits of the land itself have been upset, though scholars cannot agree upon why, and the lands between the city-states have become more dangerous than ever.
And far below, in the depths of the Earth, dragons are said to slumber uneasily. Creana’s people speak often of this legend, and its postscript: that if the dragons were ever to awaken, a calamity rivaling even the Scourge would fall upon the world. With cracks growing in the seemingly solid foundations of Creana itself, some wonder if maybe that time is nigh.
This is just a taste of what’s in store for an upcoming Creana product, one of several area-specific setting books the team has in development to help build out the Fourth World and provide even more opportunities for running Earthdawn adventures. Stay tuned for more!