Monday, August 31, 2015

The Village of Croftsfford

The Village of Croftsfford sits on the east bank of the Tisov River. The town founders built on two low mounds above the floodplain, reinforcing their settlement with a pair of levees north and east of the settlement. Buildings not on the mounds tend to be built up on four to eight foot tall stilts. The village straddles the West Trade Road, and provides a brisk ferry service at a narrow spot in the river above a small rapid.

Travelers will spot the multi-colored roofs of the village's residences and shops at some distance. How a wilderness town came to be so gaily painted is open to some speculation, but the truth is that an over-weighted peddler's wagon toppled off the ferry several years back. The unfortunate peddler perished in the river, and the residents scavenged what they could, including many tins of pigment, which were mixed with tallow and re-purposed as paint.

The north levee and adjacent floodplain is lined with a rough palisade, with a watchtower overlooking the river.  The defenses are primarily a deterrent to raids from troglodyte tribes upstream. The troglodyte raids are an attempt to dislodge the humans from the mounds, which are actually ancestral troglodyte burial tumuli raised above the surrounding floodplain.
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Citizens of note:

The mayor, Kels Lerworvin (Ftr3, HP21, AC5/14, atk 1d8+1 (battle axe), 102gp, small silver-threaded carpet in main room, 600gp) lives at the south side of the north mound, across from the temple. Although he was assigned the position by the Duchy responsible for the road and ford, his allegiance is more to his neighbors. He leads the town with an appropriately laissez-faire attitude, although there is grumbling that he is not taking sufficient action against the troglodyte raids, which are becoming more aggressive. Guard Dog (Big Red, HP11, AC7/12, atk 2d4 (bite)).

The town's priest, Father Danby (Cl4, HP11, AC4/15 atk 1d6+2 (Mace +1), detect evil, purify food and drink, hold person, 615sp, 17gp, jeweled leather belt of office, 100gp) administers to the spiritual needs of the community, and welcomes travelers, including providing limited charitable support.  He is a priest of the Circle of Eight and settled here to stay out of view of the more puritanical sects of the cities. Since arriving at Croftsfford, he's had disturbing dreams of reptile-headed gods calling to him. He and his four acolytes minister from the temple building at the north side of the north mound.  Acolytes (Cl1, HP4-6, AC7/12, atk 1d4 club or 1d4+1 (lt mace)).

The ferry is operated by the twins Erol and Otis Filben. The stout twins may be differentiated by noting that Erol is left-handed (HP6, AC9/10, atk 1d4+1 (club)), and Otis (HP6, AC8/11, atk 1d6+1 (spear)) is six inches shorter and has black hair. They live in a stone-walled warehouse adjacent to the ferry dock (216cp, 67sp, 94gp).

The butcher, Jethis Tinser (HP7, AC8/11, atk 1d4 (dagger), coinage worth 72gp, onyx necklace, 70 gp), lives at the southwest side of town behind the west levee.  He moved to town a few years ago, fleeing from a family feud. He is fearful that his brother may someday find him, so keeps a generally low profile, and will flee westward if he gets word that his family may know his whereabouts.

The town's leatherworker, Pieter Banqua (HP7, AC7/12, atk 1d6 (spear), coinage worth 29gp, amethyst, 50gp), has his tidy shop next door to Jethis. He has filled the space between his house and the levee with gardens and is very devout, attending temple twice daily.

The tailor, Tabitha Asekly, please don't call her Tailor Tabitha (Thf4, HP14, AC6/13, atk 1d6+1 (short sword +1, bleeder [additional 1 pt bleeding damage/round until save is made]), coinage worth 280gp, gems worth 15, 25x2, 50, and 75 gp) has her shop on the south mound. The position of the shop gives her good vantage to track commercial traffic and patrols on the West Road, as she spies for a duchy to the south which hopes to destabilize trade in the area to their advantage.

The town's baker, Callum Dor (HP4, AC9/10, atk 1d4 (dagger), coinage worth 44gp, ivory idol to a moon goddess, 105gp), has his bakery at the south end of the south mound.  He is secretly a werewolf, after an unfortunate attack while on the road two years ago. He takes monthly grain-buying excursions,to cover up his predations and divert suspicion from Croftsfford. Unfortunately, a lycan-tracker named Erden Ardusk has noted a pattern, and may arrive in town within the next month with some uncomfortable questions...

Wowar, a half-orc carpenter (HP6, AC7/12, atk 1d6+1 (spear), 16gp) lives at the southeast edge of town. He has been grudgingly accepted into the community for his necessary skills, but is generally avoided otherwise. He collects pieces of rare hardwoods and carves them into animal figurines, occasionally selling a few to travelers.

The inn, The Copper Chalice, rests on eight-foot tall piles on the east edge of town. The space under the inn acts as a stable for mounts. Guests enter through a gazebo and staircase at the southwest corner of the inn. The proprietor is a halfling named Martel (Thf 3, HP10, AC 6/13, atk (1d4+1) sling, 1d4 (dagger), coinage worth 900gp, garnets: 60gp, 100gp buried under stable).

Lodging consists of several wooden cots in a single room, along with hammocks strung in the common room for stragglers. Victuals include: Salted boar, stewed sausage and onion, vegetable stew, and rye bread and sharp cheese.  Beverages include local cider and watery ale imported from the west, although Marter periodically intercepts better product coming down the road from the east, the drovers a few coins richer for a 'lost' keg or two.

Hirelings casting about at the inn include:

1d4 (Dagger)
1d6 (Longbow)
Fighter (Level 1)
1d6 (Shortsword)
1d8 (Battle Axe)
1d8 (Longsword), 1d4 (Dagger)

The east entrance to town is guarded by a small blockhouse with 8 guards and a sergeant. During daylight, there will be two on station in the blockhouse and two watching the simple pole-gate barrier at the road.  A pair keeps watch at night. The guards are under command of the Duchy, which maintains and patrols the West Road. The guards collect a 'road tax' based on the value of goods carried, and are tasked with preventing smuggling. There is some animosity between the guards and townsfolk, who would rather be left alone. Consequently, the guards keep to themselves, only rarely visiting the inn, and then only two to three at a time. Sergeant Quasul Ream (Ftr3, HP22, AC 4/15, atk 1d8 (longsword), paybox with 200GP in various coins) commands the troops. He is disgruntled at this backwater assignment, as well as the generally uncooperative Mayor. Understandably, morale among his troops is generally low. If Ream is not on duty, the guards are susceptible to bribery to allow untaxed or contraband materials along the roadway. Guards: Ftr1, HP 4-6, AC 6/13, atk 1d6+1 (hvy crossbow) or 1d10 (two-handed sword).


The troglodyte tribe (Ghost Serpent Clan) lives in a burrow-hold carved into the soft sandstone cliffs along the river approximately 5 miles north of the village. The clan consists of 50 individuals and is led by Stinkteeth (5HD shaman (may use druid and illusionist spells), AC3/16, atk 1d8+1 ('Blessed' club, +1 vs lawful), necklace of uncut gems worth 100gp). She has three subordinates: 3HD warriors, Atk 1d6+1 (javelin), 1d8+1 (trident). Up to 35 adult combatants are available, but no more than 20 will be used in raids, the remainder left to guard the hold.  Stinkteeth has attempted to gather support from other troglodyte tribes in the valley, but her efforts have been rebuffed because her clan is blamed for allowing the desecration of the burial grounds a generation ago when the road and ferry were built.

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