Darkmoon Vale

Darkmoon Vale

Overview

Darkmoon Vale is a resource-rich, geologically active wilderness at the edge of civilization. Its borders rest more than a seven-day’s ride from any major city. The few merchants who take advantage of the dangerous journey do not hasten Imperial desire to increase patrols along the road. If not for the dwindling supply of dark-wood and the few silver mines in the nearby mountains, the Empire would have little reason to show interest in the area at all.

The Vale is one of the most populated areas in the Western Hinterlands, boasting two towns – Ban Olfden and Falcon’s Hollow – several logging camps, and a few scattered mining villages.

People

Farmers

Freedom from the dictates of court and congregation has led several families to abandon the safer lands of the Mid March and eke out a rough existence farming the lower reaches of the Vale. Most can only support themselves, but a few manage to produce more than they need. These farmers are the lifeblood of the vale; without them Olfden and Falcon’s Hollow would starve. The majority of these homesteads lie north of the River Foam or along Eberwick’s Rise. Those that lie more than a day from Olfden are fortified against predators, and are usually distrustful of strangers – especially civilised ones.

Trades & Crafters

The logging industry employs most of the tradesmen and craftsmen in Darkmoon Vale. Of skilled workers, lumberjacks make up the largest group, although carpenters, blacksmiths, wain and wheel wrights, and the occasional mason are all present. Olfden contains a small community of traders who are independent, although their offerings are meagre, of late, and several have moved to more hospitable regions of the Empire.

Soldiers

The minor nobles that make up Darkmoon Vale’s logging consortium all maintain small forces of skitarii and there is usually more than one mercenary band plying their trade out of Olfden. Along with a ragged Imperial garrison, also based in Olfden, this means there is usually two hundred or more men and women under arms at any given time. Unlike the labourers, miners, and lumberjacks that make up the bulk of the Vale’s population, guards and mercenaries are treated quite well.

Wealthy

There are a few wealthy or influential citizens in the Vale. The most notable is Thuldrin ban-Kreed, a minor noble that leads the lumber consortium. A handful of nobles from other lesser houses, mostly second or third scions, comprise the rest. Olfden is home to a few who, in other parts of the Empire, would qualify as equites due to their wealth or status.

Elves

There is no Enclave in Darkmoon Vale, but both Ban Olfden and Falcon’s Hollow host small communities of Afflicted elves. Generally unfit for hard labour such as logging or farming, these miserable creatures are used as house servants or body slaves, where they are not simply ignored and left to fend for themselves. They are treated abysmally in Falcon’s Hollow, and only a little better in Olfden.

Dwarves

The Vale has a long history with dwarves, having been a bustling trade destination before the Sundering. The ruins of their cities and fortresses can be found dotted all over the landsacpe. Currently, however, the dwarves are reluctant to resettle the area. Groups of dwarves, glad to be out of Refuge, have made their way to Darkmoon Vale, but they have a small presence. There are hints of a dark past involving the Duer and the Vale, but none of the current inhabitants will speak of it.

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Life in Darkmoon Vale

Outside of Olfden, life in and around Darkmoon Vale is difficult, dirty, and often violently cut short. Only the law of the wild holds sway in most areas of the region. The weak scarcely have a chance here. To live in such a rough and tumble place, the people themselves must remain strong.

Paranoia grips many who live in Darkmoon Vale outside of Olfden, and for good reason. Valers (those who grow up in Darkmoon Vale) distrust newcomers and strangers, at least until those new to the area stay through at least one full moon. Anyone who expresses sympathy or fascination with the area’s wolves draws additional suspicion, and those who dare to point out the positive lupine influences in the vale are lucky to avoid lynch squads.

Valers are a distrustful, taciturn lot and tend to keep to themselves. They fear what they know (werewolves and the region’s geologic dangers) and what they don’t know (strangers and what lurks within the nearby hills and mountains). Unknown bogeymen constantly haunt their dreams and they frequently offer rewards or incentives for sell swords to come to their vale, investigate some rumored horror, and then leave.

It may come to pass that the Vale is pacified and civilisation becomes the norm, but it has resisted such for millennia and is likely to continue to do so for many years to come.

Darkmoon Vale

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