From the publisher's website:
Before science, before history, an era of magic existed in our world’s dim past. Magic flowed freely, touching every aspect of the lives of men and women of the Namegiver races. It was an age of heroes, an age of fantastical deeds and mythical stories. It was the Age of Legend.
As the level of magic rose, so did the danger, luring Horrors from the depths of astral space—nightmare creatures devouring all life in their path. For four centuries, entire nations hid underground as the Horrors devastated their lands, a dark time that became known as the Scourge. A century ago, the people of Barsaive emerged from their sealed kaers and citadels. Trolls, dwarfs, elves, orks, and humans live side by side with exotic races: the lizardlike t'skrang, the small, winged windlings, and the earthen obsidimen. Fantastical creatures dwell once more in the forests and jungles. Arcane energies offer power to those willing to learn the ways of magic.
Now, bold heroes from across Barsaive band together to fight for life and freedom against the remaining Horrors and the oppressive Theran Empire, which seeks to bend the rebellious province again to its yoke. Through noble deeds and sacrifice, the heroes of the world forge Barsaive's future, arming themselves for their daunting task with powerful magical spells and treasures.
EARTHDAWN is a fantasy roleplaying game set in a world of high adventure, high magic, and terrible danger. The Earthdawn Gamemaster's Guide provides revised game mechanics, extensive setting material, guidelines for creating campaigns in Barsaive, information on creatures, dragons, Horrors, spirits, magical treasures, and much more!