The Barrens
Barrens.png
A Horde settlement in the Barrens.

Type

Plains, Desert

Capital(s)

None

Major Settlements

Desolation Hold
Honor's Stand
Ratchet

Minor settlements

The Crossroads
Fort Triumph
Bael Modan
Camp Taurajo
Hunter's Hill

Races

Tauren
Human
Dwarf
Orc
Troll
Quilboar

Government

None

Resources

Lumber, Agriculture

Affiliations

New Horde
Grand Alliance

Faith and Beliefs

Orcish Spirituality
Shamanism
The Holy Light

Organizations

New Horde, Grand Alliance

The Barrens of Kalimdor is a general term for a major region in Central Kalimdor, stretching from the Eastern Coast to the Central Mountains. In common parlance, only the region properly known as the Barrens and Durotar is viewed as part of the Barrens of Kalimdor. The larger perspective of what comprises the 'barrens proper' is the aforementioned areas together with areas of southern Ashenvale, the Western Stonetalon Mountains, Highland areas of Dustwallow Marsh and the Thousand Needles, referred to collectively as the 'Greater Barrens', and rarely, Desolace. This article predominately deals with the latter. WIP Article.

Geography and Geology

Climate

The greater Barrens contains a number of disparate climates, with the most striking contrasts between the inhospitable deserts of Durotar and the fertile jungles of the central Barrens. The main unifying feature of the region is the high temperatures throughout summer and much of winter, with temperatures in the hottest areas reaching upwards of forty-five degrees in direct sunlight. The region encompasses arid savannahs, sun-baked deserts, drought-stricken and wind-battered landscapes, rugged mountains, small pockets of fertile jungle, and significant wetlands.

Hydrography

A largely dry expanse of land, the few reliable watersources in the Great Barrens form a crucial part of the landscape, defining territorial claims and inhabitable areas. The majority of these sources come from minor and often even marginal springs or from the Tauren's innovative windmill-pumps, save for the lakes and rivers in the unusually lush Stonetalon Mountains. Water, in some areas of the Barrens, can be so infrequently available naturally that it must be imported at great cost from more verdant climes, especially for agricultural purposes.

Southfury Basin

One of the most significant features in the Northern Barrens is the presence of the Southfury River, one of the major rivers of Kalimdor. Running south from Azshara, the river is the traditional delineating point between Durotar and the remainder of the Barrens as well as a major water source in the region for agriculture, and formerly, drinking water. The area along the river is heavily farmed for the more water-intensive crops, with increasing terracing taking place to take the most advantage of the basin's natural water collection. Much of the rainfall that reaches the cliffs and hills of Durotar and the Northern Barrens runs almost directly into the river, leading to major swells during storms and the potential for severe flooding, as seen after the Great Cataclysm. Increasingly, efforts are being made to not only limit flooding, but to capture and store flood waters for later agricultural use. Unfortunately, the Southfury is increasingly unusable as industrial run-off from Goblin settlements in Azshara (particularly heavy metals from their mining operations) has rendered the water unsafe for consumption.

The area where the river reaches the sea is home to a small saltmarsh ecosystem with brackish water, low reeds, and minimal trees. This, the Southfury Delta, is a popular fishing ground for troll and orc parties, fishermen from Ratchet, and hobbyists, but is largely unpopulated and inhospitable to settlement.

Bloodfury River

Desert Oases

Dotting the Barrens, particularly the Central Barrens, are lush green spots in an otherwise unforgiving land of low scrub and bare earth. These lush spots surround small natural springs, believed to originate in the same tunnel systems that make up the Wailing Caverns today - which imbues the waters with unusual characteristics. Sacred to the Tauren and the Centaur for their lifegiving nature and plentiful herds of prey animals, these oases are often an integral part of any caravan's route passing through the region as one of the only reliable sources of water in the desert.

Blackwolf River

Flowing from Cragpool Lake, blablabla.


Major Lakes

Mirkfallon

Cragpool

Water Table and Aquifers

Mountain Ranges and Major Peaks

Dreadmist Mountain

A part of the mountains dominating the Northern Barrens, Dreadmist is one of the higher peaks in the region at nearly four thousand feet above sea level. Infested by cultists, this mountain forms a significant part of the natural watershed of the Barrens, making it crucial for the handful of streams and creeks that flow when rain happens to fall. It has also formed part of a natural barrier against the Horde's Westward Expansion.


Durotar

Geology

A land composed largely of red clays and wind-gouged sandstones, Durotar is a particularly inhospitable region of the Barrens. With large expanses of almost entirely barren sand and clay, the cliffs, mountains and canyons offer the only relief from the sun's relentless, baking heat. Every major settlement in the region save for Sen'jin Village is located in the shadow of a mountain or in the ravine and canyon complexes, particularly the capital, Orgrimmar.

Ecology

  • Scorpids, wild boar, hares, spiny lizards, snakes (adders and water snakes), large beetles and dung beetles, raptors, coastal crabs and makrura, giant clams, ocean birds (gulls?), thunder lizards, hawks, crocolisks in the Southfury and Bladefist Bay, toads, scorpions. Black-bodied red-banded scorpids.
  • Paddle cacti, saguaro cacti, spiny bushes, oasis palms and ferns, barrel cacti, thorned baobab, razorthorns, stiff reeds in the watershed, small yellow flowering shrubs, thorned barrel palm, psuedo-acacia. Orgrimmar palms.

Habitation

Orc farms along with the towns. Traditional row-farms using mattocks, hoes and three-pronged pitchforks.[1]

Echo Isles

This small island chain off the coast of Durotar is considered, for brevity's sake, to be a part of the Greater Barrens region despite differing in several key respects, being that it is divorced from the mainland, receives more than adequate rain, and is ecologically distinct from many of the plants in the Greater Barrens. Despite this, it remains economically, culturally, and even geologically tied to the mainland. Seperated only by a small sea, rarely more than twenty feet in depth, at one point the Echo Isles was accessible by land with relative ease, leading to the spread of certain plants and animals across the gulf.

Geography and Climate

The Echo Isles are semitropical in nature with only two distinct seasons: winter and summer, both of which may be typified by high temperatures and humidity, and are distinguished largely by the length of day and by the heavy storms that usually break on the archipelago during summer. Temperatures range from ten degrees in the dead of winter, up to thirty-five degrees in midsummer. Rainfall averages some sixty inches yearly, often falling in short but intense showers and major storms.

The bulk of the islands are low-lying sand and coral aggregations rather than volcanically formed sites, with few reaching heights greater than three feet above the high tide level. Only the central island is of any significant size, with most of the other dozens of islands measuring only a handful of acres in size. The exact boundaries of the islands are known to shift heavily following major storms throughout the northern reaches of the archipelago, though the developing mangroves of the southern isles acts to anchor and preserve much of their sands and soils.

Ecology

  • Makrura, crabs, wild raptors, bats, wildmane cats (introduced?), dung beetles, spiny lizards
  • Palms, ferns, giant squat trees, low-lying ground ferns, semi-aquatic palms,

Northern Barrens

Geology

Great areas of wind-eroded stone similar to the Thousand Needles[2] or Orgrimmar itself. Oil, perhaps from the great forest it once was.

Ecology

  • Cheetahs, prairie dogs, frogs, adders, emerald boas along the rivers and oases, giraffe, raptors, Zhevra, plainstriders, vultures, hawks, wolves?, makrura, sea birds, sharks, slaughter fish, kodo, snapjaw tortoises, hyenas, lions, boars, gazelle, gophers, lushwater hydras. 4-horned (or single horn that branches at the base) red-striped antelope[3]
  • Non-thorned baobabs, palms, large bushes, coastal cycad, oasis ferns and orchids, oasis palms, oasis aloe, fissure plants, dry hills pine, prairie grasses, oasis mushrooms, earthroot, purple flowering ferns, psuedo-acaci. Spindly bushes with red berries.
  • Wailing caverns subsystem


Central Barrens

Focus here on the Overgrowth and the scar, maybe rolling in the Wailing Caverns and stagnant oasis. Magic water! Still volcanically active, or settled by now? Essentially, the area straddling the scar that is jungle or transitional.

  • Adders, crocolisks, delicious Deviates, plainstriders, raptors, frogs, gazelle, hyenas on fringe, emerald boas,
  • Swamp-things in the Overgrowth, giant jungle trees, giant green to purple flowers, jungle grasses with yellow flowerings, tree vines, stiff grasses, vibrant purple-blue flowers, lashvines, razorthorn brambles, small yellow and red five-lobed flowers w/ branching stems, no oasis palms or cycads, large trees not dissimilar to baobabs on the fringe of the jungle area, large bushes

Southern Barrens

The Southern Barrens consists of large Alliance settlements, including Fort Triumph and Honor's Stand. The region is also home to large populations of Quilboar, Centaur and Tauren, though since the destruction of Camp Taurajo, the Tauren population in the Southern Barrens has significantly decreased, most living in either a Thousand Needles or Mulgore.

The Alliance holds several large outposts in the Barrens, both the Horde and Alliance continuing their desperate struggle for land.

Military history bit, etc. Fields of Blood, fortresses, blahblah. Southern watering holes.

  • Hyena, prairie dogs, striders, adders, thunder lizards, kodo, vultures, coastal hawks, plains birds, saber-toothed lions, brief silithid period, thunderserpents, wild boar, rats (invasive species?)
  • Savannah grasses, psuedo-acacias, baobab, razorthorn bramble, raptor grasses, coastal palms and cycads,


The Razorfen has its own entry down in settlements! For now, though, its ecology is included here.

  • Boars! Adders, prairie dogs, giant bats, hyenas
  • Razorthorn brambles, creeping ground cover vines, redleaf and blueleaf tubers


Dustwallow Highlands

While largely divorced by the mountain chains, the Dustwallow Highlands are, in a number of areas, situated in the greater Barrens region. These areas feature significant botanical and zoological overlap, though the increased humidity prevents the spread of many Barrens species.

  • Hawks? Great white birds, too big for gulls.
  • Spruce, stronger on the border regions. Tall grasses. Old man's beard where favourable. Deciduous tree of some form.


Thousand Needles

Formerly the region up to the salt flats. Now markedly more complex, but broadly excluding most of the southern edge except the lower edge. Good delineator is the sand line. Geologically, the product of water erosion first, then wind since and maybe flash floods. Sandstone, etc.

  • Rats, scorpids, imported iguanas. Sea birds (gulls especially) and adaptive hawks. Cloud serpents (venomous subspecies too), roaches. Terrapins, pufferfish ('gasgills'), giant sea snails. Stranded and probably now dying out tortoises. wyverns, scorpids. Scavenging 'remora', tropical fishes. Formerly hyenas and buzzards.
  • Formerly stiff, resilient bushes on the canyon floor. Cliff trees and remnant bushes. Incendia agave, possibly extinct.


History

Pre-Sundering

The regions now making up the Barrens were originally part of the great forest blanketing much of Western Kalimdor[4], limited at its southern extent by the river system that fed into a salt-water in-land sea - now the Shimmering Flats (and once again a saline sea since the Great Cataclysm.) This region was home primarily to the Kaldorei people, with isolated pockets of Centaur and Tauren bands in the southern-most areas. As part of this grand forest the region was largely uninhabited with the exception of a handful of permanent sites, the most prominent of which were in the Stonetalon Range, Dustwallow Highlands (at the time part of a broader low-land belt and even at the time swampy, but not brackish) and the Central Barrens.

The exact history of Bael Modan is uncertain, but it is known that the Titan facility at the site was established well before the Sundering and was home to a number of Earthern, a number of whom joined in the War of the Ancients. The region figures prominently in a handful of the myths of the Tauren, especially in folklore concerning 'rockmen', interactions with the Night Elves, and encounters with Ancients and with Cenarius.

Tauren Control

Centaur Control

Recent Years

The Age of Chaos has seen great disruption in the Greater Barrens region. With the Centaur increasingly dominant over large swathes of territory and increasingly aggressive to the Tauren, the displacement of the Tribes became a constant struggle until the arrival of allies from across the sea. While trans-oceanic contact was not unheard of, it had previously been in isolated and small exploratory missions and shipwrecked sailors, with minimal impact on the geopolitical landscape. The New Horde's arrival shattered the status quo and led to a swift and violent retaliation against the multi-Clan Centaur horde pursuing the Tauren people, while other native peoples made their first contact with both humans and orcs - largely to their detriment. The story of recent years in the Greater Barrens is a story of brutal colonialism, the attempted extermination and displacement of the native peoples of the landscape by both Horde and Alliance, and periods of extreme and savage warfare.

Initial Contact and the Third War

End of the Shu'Halo Exile

Shortly after the Third War's conclusion, the Tauren returned to their ancestral homeland en masse for the first time in generations. Previous endeavours had been sent to bury honoured dead and pay heed to the spirits, but the Centaur presence through the Southern Barrens and Mulgore proved overpowering until the aid of the New Horde. With them, they took their great Kodo herds, fundamentally altering the landscape of the greater Barrens. Where the great herds had once roamed, pushing areas of under-bearing savannah grass to the breaking point, there now gathered only smaller animals. The tent-villages of the Tauren disappeared in large number, leaving only a handful of outposts throughout the Barrens and the Stonetalon Mountains. The restoration of the exilic Tauren to their homeland saw great conflict in the Southern Barrens between Galak Centaur and New Horde forces, helping to set the stage for later retaliatory raiding.

Colonization of Durotar

  • WC3 campaign, blahblah, displacement of native peoples (kobolds, etc) blablah. Construction of Orgrimmar, blahblah.

Theramore-Orgrimmar Dispute, and the Fall of Daelin Proudmoore

Colonization of the Barrens

Quilboar Genocide

Great Cataclysm of 623KY

Rise and Fall of the Centaur Horde

Shortly following the Great Cataclysm, the Centaur of the Kolkar, Magram, Gelkis, Galak and Mauradine Clans were united by a charismatic leader known only as Aratas. Under this 'High Khan's' leadership, the number of raids into the Barrens drastically increased and the Centaur embarked, under cover of these raids, on a systemic eugenic cleansing of the weak and feeble. With lofty goal of conquering all Kalimdor, beginning with Mulgore, the Centaur Horde proved a seriously destabilizing influence on the politics of the Greater Barrens in this early stage. With the nations reeling from the Cataclysm's disturbances, the drastic rise in attacks led to greater economic disruption and a heightened need for a strengthened army and martial spirit among the Horde.

While the lofty ambitions of the Centaur Horde disintegrated following the assassination of its leader, the united tribes continued to raid freely into the Greater Barrens and a number of the slaves stolen by them have yet to be recovered. Between the rising Horde-Alliance conflict in the South Barrens and the depredations of the Centaur, many of the settlers of the Barrens fled north to Orgrimmar, further cementing the crisis in the minds of Horde leadership. With water shortages, insufficient food and fuel, and a rapidly growing refugee population, Garrosh's already hard-line views became increasingly radicalized.

Alliance-Horde War

Native Peoples

Tauren

Quilboar

The Quilboar are one of the most significant native peoples of the region, though in recent years they have suffered terrible losses and the theft of their traditional lands at the hands of Horde imperialism and Southwards Expansion.

Centaur (Disputed)

The status of the Centaur as native to the greater region is hotly debated. As extremely long-term residents of the plains, especially of the fertile areas of the Barrens, argument may be made for the legitimacy of the Centaur's claim to the land. Tauren disagree, with everything to the West of the Central Range considered to be the native land of the Centaur and nothing of the East.

Krenka

Kolkar

Galak

Talbak

Inhabitants of Stonetalon.

Kobolds

Harpies

Harpies - whether the original Children of Aviana or their cursed compatriots - have a large area of their traditional territory within the Greater Barrens. Stonetalon is the ancestral home to great Harpy tribes, as are areas of the Barrens proper, Durotar, and Ashenvale.

Dustwind Tribe

Inhabitants of Drygulch and the other canyons and ravines of Durotar.

Witchwing Tribe

Inhabitants of the Dry Hills and the progenitor of the Bloodfeather tribe.

Bloodfury Tribe

One of the oldest and proudest tribes, now largely destroyed and displaced from their ancestral lands of Stonetalon.

Bloodscreech Tribe

Inhabitants of the Thousand Needles.


Raptors

Raptors are hell of intelligent, forming societies with tools, dwellings, body ornamentation, and even food storage.


Major Settlements

Orgrimmar

#See Orgrimmar for more information.

The largest settlement in the Greater Barrens and the capital of the Orcs (and by default, the Horde), Orgrimmar sits in a relatively hospitable area of Durotar. Resting in the shadow of a spur of mountains and carved into naturally occurring canyons, the city enjoys some relief from the sweltering heat for longer periods than the bulk of the Barrens. Foodstuffs and raw materials from across the Barrens stream into the city to feed a growing population of tens of thousands, and the future of Orgrimmar is increasingly uncertain. With contaminated local water sources, poor soils for farming, and limited living space in the twisting canyons, the city may be unable to sustain its incredible growth of the last decade and a half.

Lying beneath the city is the twisting warren known as Ragefire Chasm, a volatile system of volcanic caves running throughout the mountains. Formerly inhabited by troggs and cultists, the chasms were recently turned into a labyrinthine series of reinforced tunnels by the deposed tyrant, Garrosh Hellscream. They may offer a new future for the city - beneath the sun-baked soil, areas of the caves are markedly cooler than the surface temperatures and space is near unlimited.

Razor Hill

The Crossroads

Ratchet

Theramore

#See Theramore for more information.


Freewind Post

Razorfen

Rarely recognized as a genuine settlement, the great Razorfen is the cultural motherland and political capital of the Quilboar tribes. A vast stretch of razorthorns that covers a significant area of the southern Barrens, Razorfen is home to a teeming population of displaced Quilboar and all the trappings of civilized society. Homes, crude agriculture (largely mushroom-based, exploiting the guano of the abundant bats), shrines and temples all fill the cool shadows provided by the protective thorns. The Razorfen is also home to an incredibly vast burial grounds for fallen Quilboar - a site that became incredibly important in the prolonged war against the Lich.

Pushed to the breaking point by Horde aggression and increasingly forced off their native lands, the Razormane quilboar accepted the offer of the Lich King to aid them in exchange for access to their ancestral burial grounds. Thousands of Quilboar were reanimated to serve as troops of the Scourge, prompting further military interventions in the homeland of the Quilboar peoples.

Sen'jin and the Echo Isles

Fort Triumph

Fort Triumph is a large Alliance Stronghold in the Southern Barrens. The fort acts as both an offensive position for the Horde strongholds across the Field of Blood, which defends the gates of Mulgore.

Fort Triumph also serves as the permanent home for the 266th Regiment, the Blades of Wrynn.

Rationales, Notes and Disclaimers

Much of this article will be fanon when completed. Special notes of value from a lore perspective will be placed here, e.g. the sandstone nature of much of the Barrens. Other editors should feel free to add content they see fit, though in the event of conflict we'll split pages. This is not an administrative direction so much as one from the page creator.

  • The Greater Barrens is a broader geographical entity based on a few references to Durotar, Stonetalon, etc as belonging to the Barrens, but also based on underlying similarities in temperature, general ecology, and political identity. Desolace is not included as it lies on the wrong side of the dividing range.
  • Talbak is an invented name for the Stonetalon centaur from WC3.
  • The Echo Isles are never given a full number, and so consist either of the half dozen or so seen in-game, or an undetermined number. Rather than take the minimalist approach, and recognizing that WoW is generally not to scale with rare exceptions, I generally choose to go for a larger view. In this case, a larger archipelago of predominantly small islands seemed suitable. Besides, the trolls could use a bit of a boost with how often we kill them. May as well give them a nice big island chain.
  • There's no nicer term for what's been done to the Quilboar. They've been forced off their ancestral lands and sacred sites, slaughtered by the thousands, and forced into increasingly marginal territories.
  • While I usually try not to lean heavily on the manga and comics for visual cues, from time to time they're of use. Interestingly, Bloodsworn actually paints Orgrimmar as more 'civilized', with paved roads, more conventional buildings, and sewers.
  • Bloodsworn's centaur horde, though it's never stated to have been a factor, actually does help explain the Horde's rapid shift towards outright belligerence and the outbreak of the Fourth War. Combine a massive economic downturn with major refugee problems and the destruction of many farms and the Horde's claims of starvation and sheer desperation suddenly become far more plausible.
  • While there are no myths from the Tauren relating to the Earthen, it's a fun and viable idea.
  1. Bloodsworn 13
  2. Bloodsworn 9
  3. Bloodsworn 9
  4. Lands of Mystery 28
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