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The Earldom of Linth Players Primer

The Earldom is one of the oldest counties in the Kingdom, being one of the
first to be incorporated into Keoland.

A narrow majority of Linth is open grassland. The mighty Sheldomar River on
Linths eastern border with the Duchy of Ulek, and Lake Athetki (and the river that
flows fromit) would seemto make Linth a ripe place for harvest and the fertile soil
that sustains farmers. Yet theland has becomeever morebarren and arid as theyears
have gone on, as the whole of Linth itself succumbs to some all-pervasiveblight. The
earth is dry and cracked; even the heaviest rainstorms seemnever to sate the parched
soil. High winds often cause the topsoil devoid of vegetation to hold it in place
to blow into enormous dust storms. These storms cloud the skies for miles around,
choking anyone unfortunate enough to be caught within and leaving structures
dusted with dirt.

Most natural animals have fled, leaving the region curiously devoid of wildlife (and
adding to the problems of feeding the population). Some stayed, however, and no
small number has been warped into aberrant shapes. These strange beasts roamthe
land, and few journey into the wilderness at night.

The Economics of the Kingdom

The Kings Road is the economic lifeline of Linth. This well-patrolled road stretches
southward fromNiole Dra, travelling past the Silent Tower into Brede, Laketowne,
Jerda Crossing and Hammersford. It then passes through Grebe on its way through
Blerfield and (eventually) Cryllor. Much traffic passes through Linth as a result of
the Kings Road, and by royal decree the Earl keeps a large contingent of Knights of
the Watch patrolling the roads at all times.

As a result of the unknown blight of the land, Linth has switched frombecoming a
producer to a consumer of foodstuffs. With the sickening of the Earldoms herds,
dairy products especially the fine cheeses for which Linth was noted have
become more scarce and of lower quality.

Linth has gone frombeing a breadbasket to a forge. Rich veins of iron have recently
been discovered in the hills around Dreduin and Sporo's Point. As a result, these
areas have become centers of production for iron and steel items especially swords,
armor and tools. Rough royal estimates have shown that one out of every six swords
in thehands of theKeoish army was forged in Linth. Still, thearmies of Keoland can
only absorb so many weapons and suits of mail, and so adventurers often find the
combination of quality and price of the armor and weaponry forged in Linth to be
irresistible. Linths trade has especially boomed with the recent troubles of Geoff
and, to a lesser extent, the Gran March with the giant-led armies.

Linth once boasted a booming logging trade, focused on the sizable forest between
Segor and Dead Lake, until the establishment of the druid enclave known as
Esberedeth. The druids began clashing with the loggers over the destruction of the
forests. King Kimbertos settled the issue (over the Earls heated objections) shortly
after his ascension to the throne. As a former ranger, he took the side of the druids,
and now the amount taken fromthe wood cannot be more than it can naturally
renew. With the effect of the blight on the forest, this amount has grown to
effectively nil, despite the best efforts of the druids to care for the woods.

The Counties of the Earldom:

Linth was originally enormous, many times its current size. Today, the Earldomis
about 14,500 square miles in size (roughly the size of Rhode Island). Linth
originally consisted of ten counties, but thedestruction of Steffenmoor reduced that
number to nine. Of these, the Earl directly administers six of them, leaving the rest
to his Viceroys. Lord Eridnach of
House Narthistle oversees the Barony
of Uttersinth, and Viscount Eochaidh
O Seachnsaigh tends to the Baronies of
Riverside and Grebe. Both vassals are
rumored to have fallen out of the Earls
favor.

The counties are roughly centered on
certain settlements of political,
geographic or other such importance.
The counties and their population
centers are shown below.

Even Linths cartographers have never
settled on precise boundaries of each
county. Since these vary based on the whimof the Earl, a precise reckoning is not
needed. The territories of the Viscounts are too far away fromeach other to ever
pose any such questions. Of course, they would defer to the Earl in any disputes
arising fromborders of their own counties and those administered by the Earl.

The People of the Earldom:

As noted in the history, Flan blood among the humans of Linth is rather rare, as
they were driven out early in Linths history. The most common racial type among
the humans is Oerdian, usually with smaller amounts of Suel or Flan in their lineage.
The only pure Suel blood within the Earldomis in House Linth itself, or in the
occasional traveler.

Half-elves and half-orcs, as in many other places in Keoland, are viewed with
suspicion. Dwarves are respected, and are found mainly in Dreduin, the only city in
Linth where humans are the minority (though just barely). Elves are rare, with many
having left since the taint of supernatural malevolence entered the land. Wealthy
families consider it especially prestigious to speak Olve or (best of all) to havean elf
as a tutor for the family. Gnomes are not uncommon, and Sporos Point is a haven
for them. As they often do, halflings liveamong thehumans in their cities, forming a
The Nine Counties of Linth

County Name Center

Uttersinth Brede
Aradmore Dredstadt
Risingrock Dreduin
Grebe Grebe
Riverside Hammersford
Athetki Laketowne
Sheldomar Segor
Highland Sporos Point
Southflow Watershead

TheCounty of Steffenmoor was centered in the
city of the same namebeforeit was destroyed.
Sinceits destruction, it is nominally in Sheldomar
County, but it is defacto wild country.
sizable minority in each one. This makes the small race the most plentiful of the
non-human races in Linth.

History of the Earldom and House Linth:

The region that would become the Duchy (and later Earldom) of Linth was a
collection of disparate Flan tribes that had been brought under control by the Suel
house known as Linth. Confident in their place as rulers by preordination, and filled
with a sense of superiority for their magic and technology, the Linth and their
favored Suel allies expelled the previous Suel overlords and inherited whatever Flan
were still around. These Flan were told by the Linth to leave their homes, as these
new Suel had no use for them, either as allies, servants or slaves. The Flan left this
broad swath of land, their ancestral homelands that included present-day County of
Nimlee and Barony of Riverwatch. They fled across the Sheldomar River into
neighboring Ulek.

Around 356 CY, a new group of humans entered the Sheldomar Valley. These
were a large, organized tribe of Oerdians who called themselves the Keogh (Earth-
Blessed).

The Keogh were settling through the Heartlands, and a large contingent set down on
the western bank of the Sheldomar River, on the location of what is present-day
Segor, the current capital of the Earldom.

His contemporaries knew Prince Alane as the Reaver for his vicious treatment of
the Firstcomer Suel. Alane saw the coming of the Keogh as nothing short of an act
of war against his own House Linth and the entrenched governing Suel houses that
owed himfealty. Prince Alane invited the Keoghs leaders to his manor house under
the pretense of opening diplomatic relations with his new neighbors. Desirous of
good relations the Keogh accepted. The head of the leader of the emissaries was
struck atop Alanes lance as the Lord of Linth took a large contingent of mounted
troops and infantry to strike down what he thought was a now-leaderless collection
of Oerdians in a rugged riverside camp.

Priests of Joramy and fire-wielding battle-mages among theKeogh had received a
vision fromtheir goddess of Prince Alanes treachery. By the time Prince Alane and
his soldiers had arrived, the clerics of the goddess of wrath had stoked the Keogh
into a bloody frenzy. The crazed Oerdians struck fromall sides and savaged the
army of the Suel traitor. The battle ended when Prince Alane and his troops, as they
attempted a fighting withdrawal, wereswallowed up in a stormof firecalled forth by
the enraged clerics and Oerdian battle-mages.

Unlike most of his soldiers, Prince Alane survived, but his burns were disfiguring
and horrific, and the pain of his wounds drove himutterly mad. Making his way
back to Linth Manor, he would never again be seen without his charcoal-colored
armor and full helm. He would forever hide his grotesque burns fromthe sight of
others.

News of theReavers treachery against theKeogh brought many other Oerdians to
the Segor camp. Fromthere, the two armies marched northwest and southwest. As
long as they did not fight, any mixed humans were allowed to go unmolested; the
Keogh killed any Suel they encountered. The net effect of this, at least as far as the
dominant Houses Neheli and Rhola were concerned, was that the Keogh were
replacing the Linth as the buffer and blunt instruments that they were using to
subdue the valley and expel the Firstcomer Suel.

By 342 CY, the whole situation threatened to branch out into areas of pre-Keoland
and destroy the stability the Suel warlords had worked so hard to create. The Great
Council of Niole Dra was called, desperate to get the Keogh to attend. When they
did, they knew a strong statement against House Linths aggression must bemadeif
there was to be any peace with the Oerdians.

The Council of Niole Dras edicts humiliated House Linth. Lord Alane was
reduced in stature froma Prince to that of an Earl. The County of Nimlee and the
Barony of Riverwatch were severed fromtheEarls lands and guaranteed an Oerdian
governor in perpetuity. (This arrangement remains to this day Countess Rheyd of
the County of Nimlee, for example, is Oerdian.) In the final nod of the other
collective Suel houses towards peace in the Sheldomar Valley, they christened their
new kingdomKeogh-land later, simply referred to as Keoland.

Earl Alane now found he was censured and shunned by his Suel fellows, the lands
under his rule reduced by two-thirds and his own lands swollen with Keoghish
Oerdians who hated him. The Earl died twenty years later, consumed with hate for
both the Oerdian parasites that now infested his land as well as a hatred for the
Suel houses of theNeheli and Rhola for humiliating his Houseto win favor with the
Keogh. Unfortunately for the Keogh, he did not die without an heir. The Linth
family line continued with new descendants. But its history of treachery, deceit and
destruction remained unchanged.

For a long while, House Linth turned upon itself, as Earl Alanes treachery had cast
such a light of attention on the House that its subsequent leaders understood the
prudence of maintaining a low profile. A Linth dutifully attended the Council in
Niole Dra, voted with the will of the majority, and generally kept his or her head
down. Earl Alanes awful injuries kept himfromreturning to the field as a warrior,
so he began to dabble in magic and sorcery. He was naught but a cursory student of
the magical arts before his death, but he passed his interest along to his children.
This interest in sorcery was passed down a few generations, and by the time it had
reached Alanes great-granddaughter Sera it had blossomed into full bloom.

The matriarch of House Linth from-250 CY until her death, Countess Sera reign
was noted for a virulent pox that erupted within the city of Segor. It devastated the
city and condemned thousands of Oerdians to terrible, wasting deaths. The King
placed the entire city under quarantine, allowing only the protected paladins in
service to Keoland to enter the city and minister to the sick. But the diseases awful
power was such that even those shielded fromthe diseases effects could still be
carriers, and soon the sickness had spread within all of the Earldomand even into
adjacent provinces, including Niole Dra.

Countess Sera announced at an anxious meeting of the Council that she had devised
a way to break the power of the spell. Her discovery of a cure went a long way
towards lifting much of the stigma against House Linth that had been in placesince
the Council of Niole Dra. The Oerdians within Segor were so weakened that the
Countess offers of monetary aid; soldiers to protect against looters and future
magical warding against such another occurrence were met with grateful, open arms.
In exchange, the Countess asked the Oerdians to accept the Linth as their rulers.
This was made law by the Act of Segor, signed in 235 CY.

Seras reign would be a short one. She seemed to suffer some sort of mental
breakdown for unknown reasons, and the Countess accepted an invitation by the
Baron of Dilwych to travel there, rest and recover. But on thesixth anniversary of the
signing of the Act of Segor, the Countess hung herself fromthe balcony of the
Dilwych ancestral estate. Her new Oerdian subjects buried her with the reverence
and display of grief fit for a Queen.

A black dragon of considerable size razed the city of Steffenmoor in 202 CY. The
city boasted a large network of dams along the Sheldomar, and the beast did so
much damage that the ten square miles of land around the city became a field of
muck. Thedragon somehow formed a swamp fromthis flooded land, and theplace
became a haven for evil creatures, including a cult of demon worshipping lizard men
(a splinter group froma larger cult located in the Rushmoors). The dragon was
killed by a company of experienced adventurers sixty years later, but the ruins have
never been resettled.

Wishing to move their operations out of an urban center and creating a post to
protect the western shores of the Sheldomar River, the mysterious Knights of the
Watch received permission in 354 CY of establishing a garrison-fort Goarada, only
a few miles fromSegor.

At the time Goarada was founded, the ruling Earl was Rierdan Linth. Often looking
pale and unsteady, barely able to lift the ceremonial rapier that hung fromhis belt,
the Earl made up for his physical deficiencies with a keen mind and personal
magnetism. In the generations following the Act of Segor, House Linth began to put
pressure on the Oerdian majority over which they lorded. By the time of Earl
Rierdan, most peasant Oerdians had been taxed into submission, barely able to eke
out a subsistence living. The middle class fared somewhat better, but they could
hardly be considered comfortable.

The charity and goodwill of the Knights was well known to the people of Keoland,
who viewed the knights with such fanciful names with a degree of awe and curiosity.
There was little protest to their presence within the Earldom. The leaders of the
Knights decided to open up a dialogue with the noble family who lorded over their
lands.

In the Linth camp, Earl Rierdan sought the beneficence of the Knight to solidify his
control over the Oerdians. It had been the fear of every Earl of Linth that the
Oerdians would someday rise up against their Suel lords. Rierdan realized that the
Knights not officially beholden to the Lion Throne could be valuable allies if
the worst should come. Rierdan began actively courting the favor of the commander
of Goarada Most Vengeful Ettin Nikos Barasta.

Ultimately Nikos and the Earl came to an agreement whereby the Knights of the
Watch stationed in Goarada would act on the Earls behalf in a variety of roles. The
Knights would serve to police the region, to collect the Earls taxes, and protect the
Housein times of war. In exchange, theKnights would receivefavored status and use
of Goarada for the duration of the Linth legacy.

Needless to say, as the Knights of the Watch went about collecting the Earls
oppressive taxes, the populaces opinion of the Knights began to rapidly degenerate.
Many were seen as little more than tools of the Suel nobles who ruled them. It did
not help matters that most of the Knights stationed at Goarada were (at the Earls
request) predominantly Suel.

In 442 CY, the firstborn of the reining Earl of Linth was announced to be a
daughter named Magdaline. In 457 CY, when the Earl of Linth was announced to
beon his deathbed. A commander in theKnights of theWatch known as Nils Perris
tended his resignation to his second-in-command and rode towards the Linths
ancestral home. He was considered a friend of House Linth and was welcomed as
always. When he entered he was greeted by Lady Magdaline, who assumed he was
there to inquire about her fathers failing health. Saying nothing, he drew his sword
and beheaded the teenage girl with a single stroke. As her head tumbled wide-eyed to
the floor, staining the rich carpets in crimson, the former Knight fell upon his own
sword. The Earl died later that afternoon, leaving his youngest son the new Earl.

Disastrously for the Oerdians of the Earldom, Watcher Perris was one of the few
Knights remaining of Goarada who was of Oerdian ancestry. The new young Earl, a
boy of only thirteen, reacted to this with a demonstration of ham-handed force not
yet seen in Linth. The Earl stoked the fires of panic among the other Suel nobles,
painting the assassination of Lady Magdaline as an abortive coup detat against the
House of Linth by its Oerdian subjects. The other Suel houses responded in turn,
coming down harshly on the Oerdians in their counties and taking the chance to rid
themselves as troublemakers.

Even the Knights were not immune to participating against the violent backlash
against the Oerdians. They felt humiliated that one of their own was involved in
such a treasonous act. The younger (and predominantly Suel) Knights scattered
about the Earldom, looking for Oerdian dissidents. Clashes between the Knights
and peasants soon followed, further souring relations between the two groups.

In Linth, the Oerdians remember this time of chaos as The Nights of Long
Lances. This seven day period commemorates when the Knights of the Watch
(whose acts become more reviled with each subsequent generations telling of the
stories) punished the Oerdians for an assassination committed by one of their
number. It is at this time that tempers flare, Oerdians cry for independence, and the
flames of revolt burn in the hearts of the Keogh.

In 540 CY, the Countess of Linth gave birth to fraternal twins, born a few minutes
apart. Thefirstborn was named Garr, and theother Lucius. As had becomestandard
practicesincetheNights of Long Lances, thechildren of theEarl never ventured out
of the Linth manor, remaining under heavy guard. Indeed, the children werenot seen
by even other members of the Suel nobility the paranoia of the Linth family had
grown worse with each passing generation.

In 550 CY, the grieving Earl announced the murder of his eldest son by Oerdian
assassins one of whomhad managed to penetrate the Houses defenses and kill
the boy. This prompted another wave of police action against the non-Suel and
accelerated the calls for revolt among the populace. Lucius Linth would ultimately
inherit the title of Earl of Linth, which he holds today.

In 576 CY, Earl Lucius wife gave birth to her first child, Lady Hannah. She was the
first female firstborn child of House Linth since Lady Magdalenes murder. Sadly,
the Countess would give birth to two other sons before dying, but both died in her
sleep.

The Settlements of Linth

Brede

Brede(pop. 950) is theseat of Uttersinth Barony. It is thefirst settlement within the
Earldomreached by travelers who comeby way of NioleDra. Thetown is small and
gloomy, doing little to salve the nerves of travelers already shaken by having to pass
within sight of the Silent Tower. Travelers notice immediately the acres of farmland
left to lie fallow and overgrown. The once-fertile soil of Brede has gone barren, and
many of the townspeople have emigrated as a result. Brede is about half the size it
was but a decade ago, and those who have remained behind are taciturn and
distrustful of strangers.

Brede is the center of the anti-Suel rebellion, and most of the leaders of the rebels
who wish to overthrow theEarl can befound here. Furthermore, thefirst impression
of many visitors to theEarldomcomes fromBrede, thefirst stop for travelers leaving
Niole Dra along the Kings Road. Lastly, the ominous presence of the Silent Tower
is felt by all. Because of all of this, and given the proximity of Fortress Goarada, the
town is flush with Knights of the Watch watching for trouble.

The largest business in Brede is Pomwaths, a large store specializing in armor, metal
shields and blades of all sorts. The proprietor, Pomwath Essedin, purchases large
quantities of these items fromnearby Dreduin, where he receives excellent prices by
buying fromthe source and in large quantities. Adventurers willing to ride a few
dozen miles out of Niole Dra find that they can save a great deal of coin on their
needs. Pomwath has been so successful at this endeavor that he has put many
merchants within Niole Dra who hawk like items out of business.

Lord Lugh Narthistle maintains a large estate here, the manse and lands of which
forms the eastern edge of the town. The Viceroy and commander of the Knights is
an even-handed ruler, but his Suel blood and attachment to the hated Knights of the
Watch makes it impossible for the townsfolk at large to accept him. His wife and
(now absent) daughter are better liked, but his son is considered a wastrel. Lady
Astran Narthistle is all too aware of the perception of the populace. She is kind and
generous to the people of Brede, but the hatred of generations of persecuted non-
Suel makes impossible the winning of their hearts in the name of her husband.

Within Brede can be found a run-down, quiet tavern of surprisingly good quality
called the Widows Rest. Bredes only inn, Hawkway, has grown large on the traffic
between Segor and its monopoly as the only place of rest between the capital of the
Earldomand Niole Dra. As was mentioned earlier, Bredes farmland has been left to
lie fallow, and the sickly grasses have made raising livestock problematic. However,
Brede does have several large groves of hardy apple trees that have been able to grow
in the soil that becomes ever more corrupt. The fruit are red-green, somewhat small,
and not especially sweet unless cooked. It is food, however, and the populace tends
the trees with great care lest they lose their last source of homegrown nourishment.

Dredstadt

The seat of the Barony of Aradmore, Dredstadt (pop. 7500) is one of the oldest
cities in Linth, and it is among the most important. It is looked to as the place of
culture and learning within theEarldom, for it is thehomeof theLinth family itself.

Perched atop a lonely hill, the Linths ancestral manse lies just south of the city. The
manseis surrounded by cruelly pointed fenceof black wrought iron. Thereis littlein
the way of security most realize that the powerful lords of House Linth are the
best defense for the place. The manse seems to lord over Dredstadt.

The Earls lands around Dredstadt are the worst ravaged by the mysterious blight.
Food is imported mostly river fish caught at Hammersford and Watershead and
meals and rations are upwards of five times as expensive as anywhere else in Linth.

Thecity itself is a grim, morose, gothic place. Ancient stonebuildings sport looming
carvings of dragons and gargoyles, while residents often scowl at newcomers and
avert their eyes. The whole city seems awash in despair.

Most adventurers choose to stay at the Iron Stone Inn. Aside frombeing the first
Inn seen by a traveler entering the city fromthe northern gate, the Inns food prices
are very fair and the Inn itself comfortable. This place received its name froma
mysterious block of stone used as the Inns cornerstone. Rumored to have been
scavenged froman old wizards tower, the stone is highly magnetic, giving passing
armored warriors a gentle tug that (the proprietor jokes) gives thema hint as to
where to bed for the night. The Innkeeper is an always-smiling halfling named
Bedloe Archingsole. His good nature is in jarring contrast to the mood of most of
the citizens of Dredstadt. A cleric of Yondalla, he makes liberal use of his goddess
blessings to create food and water, allowing himto undercut his competitors prices.

Dredstadt boasts a number of cultural sites of interest. Most of these receive
generous patronage fromthe Earl. The Dredstadt Museumprovides examples of
historic relics, both magic and mundane, collected fromthe Earldoms history since
the times of the Firstcomer Suel. A newly completed wing of this stately building
now houses collections of artwork, the finest collection available for public viewing
in all of the Kingdom.

Another notable place of culture is the Library of Linth. More than just a collection
of books, the library is a repository for knowledge fromacross the Flaeness. The
Library has the greatest collection of Royal Society journals outside of Niole Dra,
and has established affiliated guilds of scribes and bookbinders whose services are
quite popular. The library also finances itself by offering its resident scholars as
tutors for the nobility. A Library tutor for ones child is considered a mark of great
distinction within the Earls lands.

The people of Dredstadt are the most loyal to the Earl, but not by choice. The
simple proximity of the Earl himself discourages rebellious deeds or even thoughts
among the commoners. Dark whispers speak of sinister accidents that befell those
who spoke out against the Earl within the city he calls home. The residents of this
city are also the most aware of the peculiarities of the Linth family.

Dreduin

A town of dwarf and human miners, Dreduin (pop. 3500) is themost successful
example of the Earls attempts to retool Linths economy froman agricultural to a
manufacturing base. It is the seat of the aptly named Risingrock Barony. Situated
near the northwestern border of the Earls lands, the local economy is dominated by
mining, smelting and smithing.

Just over half of the population of this town is human, with nearly 45% of the
remainder being dwarves. Even the most ignorant traveler to Dreduin notices
immediately that virtually every sign, notice or bill in the town is written in both
Common and Dwarven although each understands the others tongue, of course.

Dreduin is a magnet for adventurers for several reasons. First, while arms and armor
arecheaply found in Linth for reasons explained earlier, nowhere are they more
inexpensive than in Dreduin. Furthermore, the smiths of Dreduin are known to
accept commission work, and the quality of their products is often suitable for
subsequent enchantment. As a result, magical artificers of all kinds often travel to
Dreduin to purchase raw materials for their crafts.

More ominously, Dreduin attracts heroes because of monsters that are sometimes
found as the miners dig into the expanse of hills surrounding the town. At theEarls
request, the King has stationed a small but well-trained group of dwarves members
of the Stone School of the Imperial Military Academy in the town to provide
security. While their presence is welcome, many adventurers have taken it upon
themselves to enter thetwisting shafts and mines and carry thebattleto thecreatures
therein sometimes with disastrous results.

The Axe and Hammer is the most raucous tavern in all of Linth. Considering the
population of hard-working dwarves and humans, this should comeas no surprise.
The taverns proprietor is a one-eyed, surly dwarf named Guri Skullsplitter, and heis
constantly running about theplace, getting into or breaking up brawls of all kinds. A
nearby furniture maker does no other business except to repair and replace what
nightly revels at the tavern destroy.

By contrast, the Lowforge Fires Inn is tranquil and sedate, catering to the wealthy
clientele that travel to Dreduin on business typically adventurers and magical
artificers. While the Inns prices are exorbitant, patrons are pampered and every
(legal) desireattended. Theowner of theInn is Serena Bredselest, a matronly human
woman with fivedaughters who fears their dowry may bankrupt her when they reach
the age of marriage.

Guntjers Trinan runs the enormous Trinan Forge and Smithy that dominates the
northern edge of town. Fromdawn until dusk, the sounds of hammers can be heard
fromwithin this sprawling building. Soot and glowing embers are tossed skyward
through great forge chimneys. Trinan is a consummate businessman and cleric of
Zilchuss. He organized all of the Dreduin smiths into a collective business that
monopolizes the creation and sale of anything metal in the town. Efficicency keeps
his prices to a minimumwhile still turning a handsome profit for all of the involved
smiths. He is so successful that the devout of Zilchuss have flocked to hear his
sermons every Godsday on the church dogma known only as Economy of Scale.

Grebe

Despite its small size (pop. 870), Grebe is the seat of the Barony that bears its name.
Politically, its greatest (and sole) importance is as the home of House Grebe.

Grebe has weathered the effects of the blight better than most, being near the border
of the Earldom, and its small population has left it one of the few communities in
the Earldomstill able to be self-sustaining.

Due to its strategic position on the border of the March of Blerfield, the Earl has
seen fit to establish an outpost of the Knights of the Watch here, much to the
chagrin of the populace. The presence of so many Knights in such a relatively small
place lends Grebe a very military feel.

Moreso than the rest of the Watchers in the Earldom, the Knights here are
consummate chevaliers, thanks to easy access to fine Keobred warmounts just over
the border in Blerfield.

As can be expected, much of Grebes economy has come to rely on the presence of
the Knights. The town smiths labor to provide the horseshoes, repair the armor, and
replace the broken swords of the watchers. Grebes tanners do a brisk business in
equine tack and harness, and farmers trade hay and oats for horse manure for their
crops.

The sole Inn within Grebe is the Last Horseshoe, run by a young man named Nurat
Tuttle. Until recently, Nurat was a member of the Army of Retribution, but he was
nearly slain at the Battle of Bluebonnet Meadow when an orc cut off his armwith a
single swing of a great axe. He managed to slay the orc before passing out and
survived thanks to clerical attention. The orc whomhe had slain carried a large
diamond, and Nurat used it to have the Inn built. Grebe has long felt the need to
havean Inn on thelast leg of theKings Road beforeBlerfield, and Nurats endeavor
is a welcome one.

Hammersford

The seat of the Riverside Barony, Hammersford (pop. 2100) has fared better than
many of the towns stricken by the blight, thanks to the presence of the Athetki
River. Fish are in abundance in this river, and many of the Earldoms settlements
have come to rely on river fish that are quickly prepared and sent by the wagonload
to Jerdas Crossing, Sporos Point and Dredstadt. Hammersford stinks of smoked
fish as a result.

The settlement gets its name froma large hammer-shaped rock that oncebridged the
banks of the Athetki River. A largewooden bridgewas built on it, using therocks as
a foundation for the construction. The bridge was a popular crossing point for
traffic leaving Dredstadt and heading for the Kings Road. But a century ago, during
a violent thunderstorm, the rock shifted fromthe raging current and broke away
fromthe shore, taking the bridge with it. Since that time, Hammersford has seen its
economy and importance dwindle. Jerdas Crossing to the north became the new
favored point to cross the Athetki. The Viscount, Eochaidh O Seachnsaigh, has
petitioned for the rebuilding of the bridge, but he is out of favor with the Earl and it
looks as if no royal help in rebuilding is forthcoming.

The Viscount is fearful that the heavy net-fishing going on by the people of
Hammersford will lead to a depletion in fish stocks in the river, and he has recently
issued an edict that drastically curtails the amount that can be harvested. The
residents, who fear that without fish, the town will wither on the vine, have met this
with rage. Therebels in theEarldomhavetaken noteof thedissent in Hammersford
and even now work to gather support for their cause within the town.

Jerdas Crossing

Jerdas Crossing (pop. 3050) was named for a Knight of theWatch who drowned
when his warhorse spooked and sprang into the river, taking himwith it. On dark
nights, it is said that the spectral knight can be seen riding atop the rivers surface.

This settlement was once the northernmost of three places where river traffic could
traverse the Athetki courtesy of a stout stonebridge, theOldstone, just east of town.
Jerdas Crossing already had a great deal of traffic along the Kings Road, which ran
beside the settlement.

With the destruction of the middle crossing at Hammersford, Jerdas Crossing has
seen its traffic almost double. The mayor of the town, Erathu Menster, is pushing
for the construction of a duplicate bridge beside the older one, and dedicating each
to traffic in a single direction. However, the plan would be paid for by the
introduction of bridge tolls. This has met with sharp resistance fromLaketowne,
Brede and (most importantly) Segor. They worry that even a modest bridge toll will
have an adverse effect on the number of travelers using the road and therefore
entering those settlements.

Like Hammersford to the south, Jerdas Crossing relies on fishing to supplement
their food stocks. But unlike their southern neighbor, the town does not sit close to
the river and so the fishing is less convenient. They buy a sizable amount of smoked
fish fromHammersford to supplement the yield of their crops, which thins each
season. The many merchants passing through this place do good business selling
foodstuffs that arent easily perishable.

Jerdas Crossing has a large market for metal items of all kinds. Raw oreand finished
items alike are sent south fromDreduin to this place, where passing travelers along
the Kings Road take advantage of the excellent prices.

Jerdas Crossing

Jerdas Crossing (pop. 3050) was named for a Knight of the Watch who drowned
when his warhorse spooked and sprang into the river, taking himwith it. On dark
nights, it is said that the spectral knight can be seen riding atop the surface of the
river.

This settlement was once the northernmost of three places where river traffic could
traverse the Athetki courtesy of a stout stone bridge, the Oldstone, just east of town.
Jerdas Crossing already had a great deal of traffic along the Kings Road, which ran
beside the settlement.

With the destruction of the middle crossing at Hammersford, Jerdas Crossing has
seen its traffic almost double. The mayor of the town, Erathu Menster, is pushing
for the construction of a duplicate bridge beside the older one, and dedicating each
to traffic in a single direction. However, the plan would be paid for by the
introduction of bridge tolls. This has met with sharp resistance fromLaketowne,
Brede and (most importantly) Segor. They worry that even a modest bridge toll will
have an adverse effect on the number of travelers using the road and therefore
entering those settlements.

Like Hammersford to the south, Jerdas Crossing relies on fishing to supplement
their food stocks. But unlike their southern neighbor, the town does not sit close to
the river and so the fishing is less convenient. They buy a sizable amount of smoked
fish fromHammersford to supplement the yield of their crops, which thins each
season. The many merchants passing through this place do good business selling
foodstuffs that arent easily perishable.

Jerdas Crossing has a largemarket for metal items of all kinds. Raw oreand finished
items alike are sent south fromDreduin to this place, where passing travelers along
the Kings Road take advantage of the excellent prices.

Laketowne

Nestled on the shore of Lake Athetki, Laketowne (pop. 9,200) is the economic
center of the Earldomand the seat of the Athetki Barony. The enormous lake that
gives the city its name is abundantly stocked with freshwater hammer-trout (so
named for the tart flavor of its flesh, akin to a hammer on thepalate) and other
varieties of edible fish. This has aided the city in avoiding the worst effects of the
blight.

Over the past two years, it has also led Laketowne to double its population with
refugee farmers fleeing the countryside. The habor area has becomea sprawling,
dirty shanty best avoided by visitors. Crime in these areas is rampant, although it
seems to avoid thewealthy Suel manors that stand overlooking thetown on a nearby
hill. (The Suel nobles of old built their homes on high, as much for psychological
effect as to escape the ever-present stink of fish fromthe city). The dramatic
population rise has led to the lake being dangerously over-fished.

A bustling trade route, Laketowne sits on the intersection of the Kings Road and
the highway that leads to the Earldoms capital city of Segor. Raw ore and finished
metal products alike travel by barge fromDreduin. There is a strong mercantile
presence in the city, with a large and orderly market district selling steel items,
jewelry and glassware. A number of inns cater to the many visitors to the city. The
nicest such place is the Inn of the Flustered Flumph. It is hideously expensive, but it
is known to be of such quality to host any noble or king. The proprietor is an
elderly human named Corterys Sinthkelly.

Recently, the docks have become rife with rumors of robberies and thefts. What
makes this unusual is that the crimes seemto be committed by animated skeletons at
the behest of some dark power. No one ventures out of his or her homes at night;
the docks are too unsafe. Efforts by the Darkwatch to investigate the incidents have
been frustrated in equal parts by unfriendly Knights of the Watch and suspicious
townsfolk. After all, these are not Neheli lands.

Segor

Straddling the banks of the mighty Sheldomar River, this ancient city (pop 20,000)
is the capital of the Earldomand the seat of power in the Sheldomar Barony. It was
the site of the first Keogh settlement in the land on the rivers western banks.
Despite the strong influence of the Suel nobles in this, the seat of power in the
Earldom, the Keogh have not been quite as marginalized here as they have been in
other places in the Earldom.

Segor is laid out in districts, akin to the spokes on a wheel. The center of the city is
the Iron Court, where the Linth family has held court over the Keogh since the latter
agreed to do so with the Act of Segor in 235 CY. Thecitys districts areconnected
by broad, tree-lined avenues being on the very edge of the lands, the blight has not
quite torn the life out of the soil as it has in other places of the Earldom. The Earls
palace sits in the center of this wheel, and it is a marvel of architecture created long
ago with rumored aid frommagic and earth elementals.

Bureaucracy and government are the meat and drink of this city and a solid middle
class of scribes and government officials tend to the laboriously old seat of power.
But the slow and steady progress of the blight, the collapse of various rural
settlements and the inability of peasants to pay even the smallest tax has nearly
ground the wheels of the Earls government to a halt. Sallow-faced bureaucrats have
focused their attentions solely on the issue of taxation, fearing that they will be out
of a job if the Earls coffers go empty.

Much as they have in the March of Bissel, the Knights of the Watch have been
drafted into tax collection duties something they seemto do with great zeal. This
has made the Knights even more hated than they already are (something more than a
few people thought was not possible).

Standing on the shore of the Sheldomar is a tall obelisk of polished black stone.
This is the Eye of Segor at thirty stories, it is by far the tallest structure in the
Kingdomof Keoland. It was constructed shortly after the Act of Segor was signed,
and was designed to allow Keoish troops (and later, Knights of the Watch) to
monitor river traffic as well as look for troop movements within the Duchy of Ulek.
The Knights only man the structure with an honor guard these days, and visitors to
Segor are allowed to scale the stairs and marvel at what is said to be the most
breathtaking view of the Sheldomar Valley that can be found within it.

Sporos Point

The seat of Highland Barony, Sporos Point (pop. 2,020) is hometo a largenumber
of gnomes. They have long labored the hills of their home, producing all manner of
items and wares. They have found that they are unable to compete with the furnaces
of Dreduin, and the settlement suffered a great deal of economic hardship. Recently,
under the leadership of Lord Mayor Phineas T. Wigglybottom (known
affectionately as Uncle Wiggly), the town has reinvented itself as a haven of fine
gemcutters and jewelry smiths. Their finecrafts havefound a hungry audiencein the
more affluent settlements in Linth Dredstadt, Laketowne and Segor as well as in
Niole Dra.

Like any city populated by a large number of gnomes, there are always a few bizarre
things in evidence. A good example of this is the Pie-Flying Contest. This is an
annual event that was once nothing more than a pie-eating contest until a decade
ago. It was then that a half-orc warrior named Mastiff came wandering into town.
The half-orc, eager to eat his hosts under the table, began digging into the pies. But
despite the half-orcs best efforts, he lost to a gnome named Curro Nimblequick.

In thespirit of good sportsmanship, Curro offered to shakehis opponents hand and
offered hima consolation prize which unfortunately happened to be a three-foot
chain of link sausages. Mastiff thought the gnome was making a jab at his rather
porcine-looking snout, and threw a fit. He grabbed the little gnome, planted him
face-first into the largest pie he could find, and frisbee-threw Curro twelve feet
before storming off in a huff. Seeing this, the gnomes decided that Mastiffs version
of the game was infinitely more interesting. Since then, the gnomes have donned
goggles and scarves and sat in the pies (cherry is the most comfortable, its said,
though apple stays warmer for longer). The pies (and their aviators) are then
launched out of a large arbalest-like device. In gratitude, Mastiff the half-orc is
always named the Grand Marshall of Flying Pie, though he has never returned to the
gnome town that owes himso much.

Another odd activity is the annual Running of the Flumphs. These small disk-
shaped creatures sport eyestalks and float about by means of foul-smelling gas
emitted fromtheir undersides. Several of theseflumphs areharnessed on long tethers
by thegnomeracemarshalls, and the revelers dash ahead in an attempt to outrun the
flumphs. Those that fail will find themselves being overrun (over-floated?) by the
creatures, who deliver a blast of pungent gas on the victimas they pass over them.
The gnomes find this riotous, although they admit thestink takes days of washing to
get out.

Steffenmoor (Ruins)

Oncea proud city of several thousands, a black dragon of considerablesizerazed the
city in 202 CY. The city boasted a large network of dams along the Sheldomar, and
the beast did so much damage that the ten square miles of land around the city
becamea field of muck. Thedragon somehow formed a swamp fromthis flooded
land, and the place became a haven for evil creatures, including a cult of demon
worshipping lizard men (a splinter group of a larger cult located in theRushmoors).
The dragon was killed by a company of adventurers sixty years later, but the ruins
were never resettled.

Watershead

This city (pop. 5,050) is the head of Southflow Barony and is the southernmost
settlement of theEarldom. As can beimagined, this city relies heavily on river traffic
that takes Dreduish metal, Laketowne fish, and imports fromother areas of the
Kingdomsouthward into the Barony of Sayre. The barges are then poled upstream,
returning fromSayre with much-needed foodstuffs (especially smoked poultry and
dried beef).

Watershead, like many of the settlements on the fringes of the Earldoms borders,
has been spared the worst effects of the blight, but food is still hard to comeby. The
river this far south has been fished out and the muddy soil around the city floods
too frequently to sustain most agriculture. However, Watershead has found salvation
in a new crop, recently introduced, known as the cranberry. These berries are fairly
hardy, and are grown in bogs that do well in the marshy lands around the town.
Watershead has come to rely on these berries which are tart rather than sweet as
a food staple. The people are skilled in inventing new uses for the berry. A visitor
could order froma Watershead tavern a glass of cranberry wine, hammer-trout
stuffed with cranberry and leeks (these tastes together are not for the faint of heart),
and a slice of cranberry pie.

Shortly after the city was founded, a barge sailor kicked up a small silver bowl with
one of his skiff-poles. The sailor took the bowl, but less than two days later, the
water level of the river began to decline. In a week, the riverbed was dry, with
hammer-trout flailing in the mud. A cleric who had heard of the sailors find asked
to see the bowl, which he determined was actually a powerful itemof magic. It
combined the properties of a decanter of endless water and a bowl of commanding
water elementals, as well as being a hole into the elemental plane of water. The
superstitious sailor tossed the bowl back into the Athetki, and shortly afterwards the
waters rose once more. By custom, each family of Watershead will discard a bowl
into the river in commemoration of the event.