Barva is a country of mountains with isolated, independent communities. The long war with Teischer has depleted most of their resources, most crucially their men of arms-bearing age. Every able male age fifteen and above is conscripted to one of the many armies. These armies are each led by a general, but they are very, very bad at working together. Whether they consider themselves to be regional or national, each army believes itself to be the best, and its general considers him- or herself to be in charge of the war. Currently, Barva endures the existence of five generals with five armies. Each general has very different ideas of how the war ought to be conducted (and how the population and soldiers should be treated).

On the rare times when they do try to fight together, conflicting orders and a broken chain of command lead to confusion and more death. That they manage to win even half the time is a testament to each individual soldier’s skill and tenacity, as each grows up learning some kind of weapon, even those from the poorest and most rural villages. Each Barvan citizen believes in independence and self-determination, both for themselves and for their country. This means that some soldiers consider serving in an army to be worth their lives, while others, who see it as a losing proposition, feel no guilt in deserting and going back to their communities when it seems right to them. Some of the commanders are infuriated by this and do everything to capture deserters and punish them, while others are more lassez faire about it. Even those, though, feel obligated to execute a deserter if they find one—they just don’t chase them down.

The capital of Barva has been sacked and burned. It’s now a ruin, still burning in places where the magical fires can never be extinguished. Only a few ragged, weary refugees live there, picking through the rubble to survive. Many of them live beneath the city in a vast labyrinth of sewer systems, as that is now the most safe place that exists in the Smoking City. The nobility has retreated to a remote mountain fastness where they live in relative luxury, safe from war and famine, fed by a loyal contingent of followers in a single fertile valley. This fortress is called the Eagle’s Nest, and it is very difficult to get to, hidden in a cleft between mountains. The capital is now called the Smoking City, and its true name is all but forgotten, except by a few surviving nobility.

Before the war, Barvan society was loose and post-feudal, the people isolated and pretty much self-sufficient. Though they professed fealty to a distant monarch, they never paid taxes or were in any way patriotic—the people are fiercely proud and independent, and prefer to remain so. Many joined the Dwarven Legionnaires, then would come home and join regional troops who would march in shiny armor and slay monsters, enjoy the swooning of the local women for a few years, then go home to marry and raise a family. They like to ski and have a certain long horn that resounds from the mountains, as well as a peculiar brand of singing.

Barva likes the Golden Eagle. They refuse to acknowledge that she’s been crippled, just as they refuse to acknowledge that they themselves are crippled. Barva is very much stuck in the past. They also like the Goat, a mountain god particular to the region, and the Bear.


Wrath & Gunfire: The Barvan Campaign LauraFischer