Last known hold of the dwarves in Ashlar, shadow-cloaked Don Galir lies hard against Lake Thraren dark, cold waters in a massive cavern buried directly beneath the human village of Wellswood. Dozens of wells, illuminating the lake’s dark, unknowable deep waters with faint shafts of light and link the lake below with the village above. Strange fungi and mushrooms grow around the lake’s shore and stranger fish dwell in its lightless watery depths. Humans and dwarves fish the lake and harvest these unique plants in an increasingly uneasy peace. Now the jealous attentions of the greedy lord of the village above fall on Don Galir and taxes slowly increase. The reclusive, secretive dwarves of the Erdikr clan work hard to fortify their hold and to attract more of their brethren to Don Galir while some secretly plot to regain their fallen dragon-infested holds lying far to the south.
Most dwarven holds are vast and ordered halls filled with solemn and stoic craftsfolk. But that’s not Feigrvidr. Some say it’s not a dwarf hold at all, but rather a lawless mining camp ruled by dwarf thugs and ruthless agents of the ruling thane.
Founded less than three years ago by Svingal Halfbeard, the ore coming from a vale carved out of the headlands of the Titan Peaks is of the greatest purity and the works coming forth from Feigrvidr’s forges are both subtle and ingenious, rivalling those of any traditional dwarven stronghold. The great wealth coming from the foot of the Titan Peaks was only the beginning, now with the discovery of ancient and abandoned giant halls deeper among the mountains’ spires adventurers are flocking to the camp, increasing its wealth and its danger.
Their beliefs considered heretical by the Church of the God of the Sun and their presence viewed as a threat to the cruel ruler of their homeland, the Church of the Redemptive Flame fled and founded a new home in remote Hopespyre. The cult now wants nothing more than to live a sin-free life in their new refuge but events conspire against them. The evil elemental lord of fire has set his sights on the cult and schemes to subvert its good intentions. Aging church leader Dagor Thursh edges closer to death with each day, and a struggle is growing for the right to succeed him, its flames fanned by followers of the elemental lord who have infiltrated the village.
The thriving village of Edgewood stands in the very shadow of the Shadetimer Forest. For a century, it has prospered. Wars, droughts and pestilence striking other nearby settlements never seem to affect the village, and yet tragedy mars life in Edgewood. For every year, terror stalks the village and its inhabitants die seemingly random, but horrible and gruesome, deaths. Thus, despite its prosperity, Edgewood remains a small place, and few travellers remain there for long.
For much of its life, the village of Arcmoor was a sleepy place, far removed from the doings of heroes, kings and warlords. All that changed, however, when an orcish horde was destroyed near the village by the hero Therald Arcmoor. Therald died at the moment of his greatest triumph, and his death—strangely—heralded great change in the village. A shrine raised in his honour has grown increasingly popular of late and Arcmoor is slowly being transformed from a sleepy backwater into a popular destination for pilgrims, visiting warriors and the like.
Ringing day and night, the many bells of Carillon echo through the village, a nearly constant tolling that serves as both protection from, and reminder of, the danger lurking beyond the village’s borders. Deep in the otherwise idyllic Elysian Valley that is otherwise an endless bounty for the so-called village of bells, something sinister—the Hush—lurks and plots harm to the hunters who inhabit and visit Carillon. Fortunately, the noise of the bells—from the village’s central bell tower, hanging on every home’s doors, even sewn onto clothes or worn as jewellery—keeps the Hush away; thus the villagers trade peace for safety.
Poxmire’s disease-ravaged residents choose lingering death over execution. The secluded island village is the destination for those who have incurable, contagious ailments, and those who cannot (or refuse to) pay for curative magic. As is the nature of such places of exile, Poxmire serves as a convenient place to also send fallen political rivals and the like. A sizeable donation to the appropriate temple is enough for a declaration that a foe’s malady cannot be treated.
Laid low by a witch’s curse, life in the once-prosperous village of Aubade is lived in reverse. At dawn, the streets empty, residents remaining hidden inside during the daylight hours and avoiding the sun’s caress. At night, lamps lining the village’s cobblestone streets blaze to life, and the residents emerge to tend their fields and work their nets on the lake as best they can.