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Barrik's Castle

by Chris Seabrook

I think the subject of the location of Barrik's Castle should be addressed. I think there are two possibilities for the location of Barrik's Castle, or Barriktown.
1) The Valley of the Eternal Sun is a near duplicate of Thunder Rift during the time of Duke Barrik, and Barrik's Castle was in a place that is now very close to Melinir. If there are any ruins left, they would be there somewhere.
I used GIMP to overlay the two valleys, and found there are some surprising geographical parallels between the two valleys, if you skew the Valley of the Eternal Sun to fit over Thunder Rift:

A) Many of the mountain formations are the same, especially in the south end.
B) There are some similar wooded areas in the central area.
C) There is a wooded finger in the north east of both maps.
D) The “burning bridge”, or the “lava bridge” is in a similar place to the Farolas Hills. I still think the hollow world bridge must be a unique phenomenon. The dwarves would have noticed if Harthhome had been buried under lava recently.
I like the idea of the two valleys being the same, but I don't think the dimensions of the Rift could change, the rivers could change course, and the ecology change so much in such a short amount of time. My main thesis in the work above was that all the political upheaval must have happened within a relatively short time frame, or the feudal system would have been able to preserve itself. Of course, the Sword vs. Wand conflict could be used to explain just about anything.
2) The wizard Barrick built his keep atop the ruins of his ancestor's keep.
This is easy to explain to the players, and makes in-world sense. Wizard Barrik wants what great-granddaddy Duke Barrik had, so he starts his mini-world conquest by building on-top of his grandfather's keep.
There doesn't seem to any history of Hollow World civilizations getting territory that geographically conformed to there original location. I think it makes more sense to say that living peoples, and cultural artifacts are transported to the Hollow World, but most of the landscape is not. The only violation of this is Alphatia, which got a floating island sub-continent that was very similar to its original land mass.
As for the power vacuum: Yes, I do think that Melinir's political and economic influence has spread over the entire Rift.