The village of Ravenscroft lies south of Thorgan's Pass, in the remote Goblin Downs [map]. The village is known for little besides it being the staging point for expeditions into the Ruins of Dwergard and the dwarven mines of the area. Apart from the village, there is but one other settlement in this part of the downs, the farm of Drina's Bastle.
Ravenscroft lies behind a moat and a wooden palisade, and is protected by the motte-and-bailey of the timber and stone keep of Ravencourt. The palisade is enforced with five wooden towers and two gatehouses, and a rampart runs the length of the wall. The moat floods and dries out at the whims of nature, and is bridged by a timber drawbridge to the south. The drawbridge is raised at sundown, and not lowered again until the sun rises next morning. The fortification is constantly being maintained by the villagers, old or weakened logs are replaced and any vegetation attempting to gain a foothold in the moat is diligently cut.
The population is currently 149, mostly humans, but also two halfling families, one family of dwarves, and a surly old elf. The villagers draw most of their livelihood from the nine farms within the walls, as well as from hunting in the surrounding hills. The livestock is lead out to graze every morning during the warmer seasons, and back to the safety of the walls each evening. The dwarven smithy, run by the Eisenscholds, is also an important source of revenue, the quality of their goods being renowned in the Downs. The villagers are a hardy lot, and every able bodied adult keeps weapons, and train with them weekly. None are willing to let their homes be overrun as long as there's a drop of life left in them.
Locations of interest
The Temple of Our Lady of the Soil
Southern Dominion Overland Outfitters
Characters of note
Lady Orwain Corvax (Female Human Fighter 5)
The Corvax family can trace it's roots back to the settlement of the island, and there's been a Corvax in Ravencourt nearly as long. Her husband died in a raid a few winters ago, but Sir Hrogar, her oldest surviving son, is turning into a fine warrior. The younger son, Damian, is showing some leanings towards the more bookish pursuits of magic, but he is yet too young to be sent to the college on Magehold. Lady Orwain is as tough as the hills, and as forgiving, it is said. She grew up as the only child of her widowed mother, and from the time she could walk she spent most of her time brawling with the village boys, training with sword, shield and lance, and riding ill tempered horses across the downs. Now in her forties, she's fought on the walls in dozens of goblin attacks, and led more than a few punitive raids into the hills. She is uncompromising in her devotion to safeguard the land of her ancestors and those who live on it.
The Ravencourt housekarls consist of Sir Hrogar and seven sworn men, all equipped with axes, daggers, spears, shields and chain mail. There are also dozens of shortbows and several crossbows in the armoury.
Sorel Rindalion (Male Elven Ranger 9)
There are several stories about Old One-eye, but he himself rarely speaks about his past, nor does he speak much about anything at all. It is widely accepted that he came across the ocean as a young lad, and that he's been in the service of the Corvax family about as long as they've sat in Ravencourt. Again, he himself is as mum on this topic as on any other. What no one can dispute, however, is that he is an expert huntsman, and that his marksmanship with the longbow is uncanny. One thing Sorel is not, is an adventurer, nor does he have much time for those who are.
Thorgard Eisenschiold (Male Dwarven Expert 7)
Thorgard and his family claim descendance from the Järnafiorin dwarves, and no one disputes that claim. Regardless of any such ties to the ruins, neither the old smith, or his children, seem particularly interested in abandoning their workshop in favour of the dangers of Dwergard. They all know, or are willing to invent if enticed, several stories of both the fall of Dwergard, and of later expeditions into the mines and ruins.
The smithy supplies the village with weapons, armour, and tools, and also produces a moderate surplus that is sold to adventurers and merchants.
Lucky Lindon (Human Fighter 3)
One legged Lindon first came to Ravenscroft almost two decades ago. Back then he had both his legs, as well as a million plans for how to spend the enormous riches he and his companions would soon be carting out of the hills. A couple of weeks later, he crawled back into the village, and he hasn't left it since. Today he works as village idiot, as well as being a source of rumours about the villagers, the Downs, and the island at large. If lubrication is applied, he will willingly parse out pearls of his accumulated wisdom. Where he picks up all this information is a mystery, but the villagers have come to respect the old nutter - after all, sometimes he's right.
- There are still dwarves mining the hills, but they have turned twisted and evil.
- An undead dwarven lord rules over all the evil creatures in the Goblin Downs.
- There is no treasure, only murderous humanoids and other fell creatures of the dark.
- The dwarves found a massive diamond in the mountains, and it was it's terrible power that caused the island to become isolated.
- The ruins are now inhabited by a tribe of goblins that worships some elder, dark thing beneath the hills.
- Undead dwarves stalk the ruins, and they will fall upon any of the living who tread upon their soil.
- An inhuman witch resides in the tunnels beneath the ruins.
- There be ogres in them thar hills.
- The ruins have been picked clean long ago, but the last of the dwarves fled to a remote mine with the clan's treasure.
- It wasn't the goblins that destroyed the keep, but a dragon!
- There's a terrible monster stalking the hills. Even the other monsters are afraid of it.
- The dwarves dug too deep, and the mines lead to a network of caves so deep it connects all the islands of the Dominion.
[Picture source: 1 - Sang Han; 2 - Chindian; 3 - Rafal Hrynkiewicz; 4 - Adriaen Pietersz. Van De Venne]