Blood and Magic
Nestled in the foothills of the Greyhawk Mountains, Hillsfar is isolated from the rest of Avalon by rugged hills and dense forests. It is a rolling country broken by rocky valleys. The land provides good grazing and fertile soil, and the majority of the people live on isolated farmsteads raising crops and livestock to feed their families then selling the surplus at the open market in the village.
Hillsfar dates back well over three centuries. It was originally founded as a supply depot for Nerath’s mining operations. As a result, the ruins of abandoned farmsteads and despoiled mines of Nerathian prospecting dot the countryside.
The central village is a collection of low stone and wooden buildings with sloping, pitched roofs, adorned with gables and stone chimneys, around an open village square. Some of the structures date back to the original settlement of the area, while some newer buildings are built on older foundations. Many folks only enter the village proper once a tenday to attend religious services at the church.
Since the area was originally settled, Hillsfar has been routinely plagued by wild beasts and monstrous humanoids, and the citizens maintain a stout band of volunteer militia to help out in times of crisis.
Recently, the town has become the focus of expansion deeper into the unsettled surrounding lands. This has caused some concern among the elf tribes living in the region. Some of the elves call for the elimination of these “invaders” into their territory. To deal with the matter, the crown has dispatched able negotiators to hammer out an agreement with the elves for mutual defense of Hillsfar and expansion into the area. The elves are wary, but they seem willing to negotiate an alliance with the people of Hillsfar.
Locations of Interest
Dating from the days of Nerath, this structure of mortared river-stone was the seed from which Hillsfar grew. Standing on a western rise overlooking the village, the keep is currently the home to the area’s ruler Lord Monte Breakwater and his family.
The keep consists of a walled courtyard, a two-story reinforced building with an attached three-story tower, and an underground cellar. The top of the tower has traditional battlements, but it also holds an observatory of sorts.
The main gates are open five out of ten days during daylight hours, at which time anyone is free to enter the courtyard. Gaining entry at other times requires an appointment or an escort.
This elegent wood and stone building stands out among the simple homes and shops with its beautiful stained glass windows and skillfully engraved walls. The facade shows righteous paladins defeating the powers of darkness.
This church was built more than a half century ago by the deeply religious Lord Salvitore Breakwater. The church and its surrounding plaza has served as Hillsfar’s spiritual and cultural center ever since.
Ioun Grey is the current caretaker and patriarch of the church. He is considered stern and pious even by the high standards of the Church of the Platinum Flame, and preaches to his flock that the kind of evil they must fear the most is not that of infernal horrors but that of the indifference of good men.
If the PCs can get past his constant preaching and criticizing, Ioun gladly aids them with healing and divination rituals up to level 6. He’ll give the PCs a 20% discount for his services as long as they haven’t gained a reputation for having arcane characters in their party.
This brightly lit store looks like a warehouse inside. The place appears to carry every good necessary to those living on the frontier,
A person can purchase tools, clothing, rope, torches, lumber, and whatever other provisions one may need at this store. In Erstenwold’s Provisions, PCs can find items from the Player’s Handbook of 30 gp value or less.
The proprietess, Mirya Erstenwold, runs this general store with her ten year old duaghter in tow. She’s a hard working, pleasant woman who has lived her whole life in Hillsfar, Originally, the store was run by Mirya and her husband, but a year ago, her husband died battling a white dragon, and Mirya has run the store alone ever since. She is visibly exhausted, but refuses to hire help. The store is only closed on religious days.
If a PC requests an unusual item, Mirya may be able to obtain the item at a 20% premium over the normal price, but only after a tenday or two.
A decorated wooden fence surrounds this large building. A drawing of an anvil above the door proclaims the place to be the “Anvil Inn.” Although simple in design, the place is full of rural charm.
The walls of this cozy inn are mortared river stone. Being the only inn for miles, anyone passing through Hillsfar invariably stays here. It costs 8 sp a night to stay at the Anvil Inn, a price that includes both a hearty dinner and breakfast.
Geoff Pendragon and his wife Sarina run the inn. Their daughter Mina heads a staff of four barmaids (poor village girls who work for food and lodging), and their son Horus tends the stables. The cooking is done by a dwarf named Barnish Gold. His dishes are simple but quite palatable.
The village’s black sheep Lucian Cruzgar spends a fair amount of time here as well, trying to drown his painful memories in cheap wine and gossip. He’s overly fond of bragging about his battle skills, and most of the other regulars tend to avoid his table out of fear that he may one day snap.
One corner of the taproom has been converted into a stage. A beautiful woman named Gwendolyn often sings and dances here for the entertainment of the patrons, usually to the percussion of the genasi janitor Drummer, who lives in the basement below.
Most of the adult population of Hilsfar village spend their free time in the Anvil Inn’s taproom, and in their less than sober state they are open, frank and talkative. Streetwise checks to gather local information get a +2 bonus when done in the Anvil Inn.
A large steel plate saying “The All Father made Iron but Man made Steel” hangs above the entrance of this massive smithy.
Pelor Silvernail is a large and powerful man who lives above this simple workshop with his wife, two sons, and four daughters. Pelor is obsessed with stories about knights, and keeps his appearance sharp and clean in an attempt to look like one himself.
A quiet racist, he believes that just as there are superior and inferior types of metal, there are superior and inferior races. He is known to be unfriendly to dwarves, elves and eladrin, and tends to charge 20% to 40% more for his services when dealing with them. He will not deal at all with half-elves, muls and genasi.
Despite his intolerance, Pelor is a very talented blacksmith and his inexpensive but high quality products are known not only in Hillsfar, but throughout western Avalon. He knows the Forge Armor, Forge Weapon, and Fortify Beast martial practices.
This one story building is painted in a pleasant, creamy yellow. An impressive assortment of cakes, breads, cookies and other delicacies fill the front counter inside. All around the bakery, the air is filled with marvelous sweet and pleasant smells. A large painting of a loaf of bread hangs above the entrance.
Everything in this bakery seems to be constantly covered in a thin layer of flour, including an angry looking man in a stained white apron who stands behind the counter doing his poor best to look friendly. This man is Kroft Brax, one of Hillsfar’s best bakers and angriest residents. Kroft especially hates Barnish Gold, the cook at the Anvil Inn, seeing in him a dangerous rival in the baking arena.
The locals don’t treat Kroft’s threats seriously since everyone knows the baker’s a coward at heart. He beats his wife and daughter for the smallest mistakes, but the moment anyone stands up to him he backs down, simpers, and begs for mercy.
This manor’s walls are stone, its entryway flanked by great columns, and its windows once boasted actual glass. The years have not been kind, however, for much of that glass is broken. The walls are cracked and overrun with ivy. Inside, the dust lies far thicker than even decades of emptiness can account for. Cobwebs hang from the corners, the carpets are thick with mildew, and the furniture is decaying into a soggy mass. The fields around the manor are overgrown and choked with brambles and weeds.
A wailing issues from the grounds on dark, foggy nights, and most people of Hillsfar keep their distance from the place.