Victory Elm, the glorious tree giving its name to the surrounding village, is dying, and its affliction has spread to the villagers. The once welcoming village takes its name from the sole tree to withstand an invading giantish army. The Victory Elm served as a rallying point for the beleaguered humans fighting the giants who broke the enemies amid heavy fighting around the tree. After the battle, many of the survivors remained at Victory Elm and founded the village of the same name in memory of their victory and fallen companions.
The once quiet and quaint halfling community of Underdell rests along the Old Road near the Salt Mire. Steeped in tradition and idleness, the Underdellians found themselves unprepared to deal with the horrors of the plague outbreak in nearby Ashford. Terror gripped Underdell, tearing apart the strong bonds of family and friendship. Fear and paranoia took root in the halflings’ hearts as they tried to escape sickness and death. As Underdell falls apart, a vile halfling bandit has used the chaos to take control of Underdell, enforcing a strict martial law. As neighbour turns on neighbour, a group of bandits terrorize merchant caravans traveling through Ashlar, raiding with impunity and aided by a rich noble. The Underdellians, their smiles and laughter turned to tears and hopelessness, live in fear of another plague outbreak and the harsh punishment of the bandits who insist they are protecting and enriching the village.
Memory walks the streets of Gulls’ Roost, a constant presence in a village that was all but forgotten before it was born. Envisioned as a summer retreat from crowded city life for the kingdom’s elites, Gulls’ Roost looks the part, a glittering jewel nestled in unspeakable beauty. But dismayed by tales of dangers during the village’s costly construction, the nobles never came, and Gulls’ Roost instead became a permanent home to the labourers who built it.
The village of Laewas is inhabited entirely by ghosts. How did the inhabitants of Laewas die? You can ask them, but even they aren’t sure. From a distance, the village looks completely normal if a little ramshackle and decayed. Farmers, carpenters and housewives roam the streets, carrying baskets of apples or shepherding packs of dirty children. They laugh, gossip and greet outsiders under the heat of the sun. It’s almost easy to forget everybody here is dead. But as the days roll by, the ghosts lose their memories. They are stuck in an endless loop, doomed to constantly relive their final hours. These shades are totally unaware of their current plight. They are convinced they are still living, breathing creatures in a perfectly normal farming village.
A troupe of masked actors and comics crew the floating village-theatre of Masquerade. The village—really three rickety barges that visits both riverfront and coastal villages, hides a secret many guests would find unpalatable—most of the performers suffer from leprosy. The infected—generally those with very early stages of the illness—hide behind their masks, costumes and gaiety. Forced to keep moving to keep their terrible secret hidden the folk of Masquerade are on a perpetual pilgrimage to visit holy sites in hopes of a magical cure for their horrendous affliction. The worst afflicted are kept below, treated with kindness and cares as the village floats onwards seeking salvation. However, the true ruler of Masquerade is an even more unpalatable guest—a vampire—but no ordinary queen of the night, no simple bloodsucker is the so-called Silent Queen for an ancient vow binds her more tightly than the stoutest chain….
On what was once the lonely crossroads of two rarely used roads sits the village of Lady Cross, a tight community of stone houses surrounded by a high stone wall. Now a popular rest stop for travellers and merchants alike, Lady Cross is known for the heady spirits distilled in the village and sold at the local inn, The Lady’s Rest. Unknown to most, it is a different type of spirit the villagers fear—a sinister secret wreathed in foul treachery and hysteria that speaks to the darkness and greedy lurking in men’s souls.
The village of Oakhurst squats deep in the gnarled boughs of the Tangled Woods. The Lonely Coast’s smallest and most isolated village, only the most daring or the most desperate call it home, surrounded as it is on all sides by monstrous denizens and half-goblin tribes. Its dilapidated buildings sink into the squalor of the streets, presenting a loathsome and unwelcoming appearance. Oakhurst’s villagers are no better. Mostly trappers and hunters, the grim folk of Oakhurst distrust outsiders and keep to strange ways and customs. Visitors are strongly discouraged from overstaying their welcome.
Yet, Oakhurst’s darkest secret lies in a cave situated in a nearby cliff. On full moons, the villagers lock their doors and shutter their windows, pretending they do not hear the incessant flapping of wings in the sky overhead. Oakhurst’s oldest family, the Wearnes, long ago made a pact with a fell god, gaining the power of lycanthropy. Years of inbreeding to keep the line pure have driven the family of werebats to the brink of madness. High in the cave, the Wearnes participate in vile rites to their dark god, offering worship to one of its hideous servants. As the family slips further into insanity and their devotions more heinous, Oakhurst has become more dangerous for the unwary than it ever has before.
The quaint village of Hosford rests along the Cliffway of the Lonely Coast. The industrious folk of Hosford diligently work the area’s largest mine, digging deep into the cliffs for ores and gems. However, decades ago, a large section of the mine suddenly collapsed into the sea, taking a chunk of the cliffs with it along with a handful of small homes. Out of this tragedy was born opportunity as the collapse created a sheltered cove and natural harbour for small fishing boats. Thus, in addition to their mine, the citizens of Hosford ply the coastline, narrowly avoiding the sharp rocks just below the water that would doom a larger ship.
Yet, terror now grips Hosford. Folk have recently gone missing, including the former village reeve. A sea drake secretly stalks the coastline, fed on fresh human sacrifices by a senile old druid who believes the creature to be some sort of god. The fortress of Caer Syllan has dispatched a new reeve, an ambitious, inquisitive young man to look into the disappearances but so far all he has uncovered are old grudges as neighbour accuses neighbour of these recent crimes.