Return to The World Surrounding Tornen’s Crossing
The Hearthlands is a primarily pastoral realm of towns and villages commonly known for its vibrant communities and commerce, bountiful harvests, and peaceful times. The people here, commonly referred to as Hearthfolk, tend to be generous and while there are those that are less fortunate than others, true squalor is rare. Because of this lack of desperation, bandits tend to be uncommon, and when they do rise up to start robbing from folk, it’s more likely due to their being restless, dark-hearted criminals in the first place, rather than being desperate folk at the end of their ropes. The military presence in the Hearthlands comprises of the town watches and local militias who protect against occasional predators (both beastly and humanoid), the investigative police force for the realm called the Marshals who hunt and dispense justice to criminals, the paid guard guilds of Vebuelle and Scetea, and the various warrior folk on the borderlands who face the occasional threats from the mountains and other fringe areas. Standing armies of soldiers are not a thing in the Hearthlands.
The art of Magic is rarely openly studied or widely practiced in the Hearthlands, as the spark of magic is quite rare among the civilized humanoid races. While taught that magic is not inherently evil, some commonfolk can be nervous about, or fear, powers that they will never have access to and don’t understand. Herbalism, alchemy, medicine, woodslore, and other sciences and mundane studies are far more common than mysterious magicks, though it is known that some altruistic magic-users have won people over with beneficent use of their art.
Despite the dangers and fears previously mentioned, diabolical tyrants and evil archwizards are mere fireside fables to the people of the Hearthlands, with such villainous monsters having not threatened the realm in living memory, and the folk here are just fine with that.
People of other realms sometimes call the Hearthfolk naïve, and warn them of dangers and threats that the rest of the world has to face, but the people of the Hearthlands have traditionally paid them little heed unless they themselves were planning on traveling to those other places. Unfortunately, that naiveté seems to have become a problem in recent weeks, as inexplicably, rumors of dangers and reports of localized threats have started cropping up more often than usual.
The people of the Hearthlands are not known for their legendary, world-saving heroes, but when a threat arises that strikes fear into the hearts of men, exceptional folk from any background, from fishermen, to farmgirls, to scholars, to wealthy scions without direction, can be inspired to rise up and take on the mantle of hero.
Locations within the Hearthlands
Buraun’s Well – A quarry town on a northern spur of the Dawnrise Mountains, known for its ore, stone, and gem exports.
Canderel’s Mire – A village on the edge of a marsh known for its cranberry bogs and mud farming.
Castlewen – A monastery on a mountaintop, in the northern reaches of the Dawnrise Mountains, known for its exports of aromatic alcohols and inks.
Gnovicton – A colorful, bustling town tucked away in the wooded foothills of the the southeast, inhabited primarily by gnomes, Gnovicton is known for its clockworks, and its metal, alchemical, and wood industries.
Quissiah Highlands – An area of beautiful rolling hills on the eastern marches that is populated by matriarchal highlander clans of shepherds and goatherds.
Revette – A coastal town to the south, Revette is a vibrant fishing community, and is a source of much of the best seafood in the Hearthlands.
Riverbridge – A village uninspiringly named after the bridge it presides over. It is the first stop along the southern road from Tornen’s Crossing to Waulkit’s Cross.
Scetea – This crowded, urban coastal city is known more for its chaotically-arranged buildings that loom over narrow streets, and barker-filled service industry, than for the surrounding farms and fishing. The many Scetean inns, taverns, festhalls, and other businesses are in constant competition for attention and recognition.
Taleste – Counting its sprawling farms, this unwalled crossroads city is the largest settlement in the Hearthlands, rivaled only by the port city of Vebuelle. Taleste is surrounded by rich farmland for as far as the eye can see, and for a long day’s hike beyond. It is legendary for the immensity of its exports as well as for hosting the largest festivals, tournaments, and shindigs.
Tornen’s Crossing – Even though it is a crossroads town, Tornen’s Crossing is a bit off the beaten path, and has therefore not grown to the size of other crossroads towns like Waulkit’s Cross or Taleste. Travelers mostly pass through, on their way to other places. One reason why visiting commonfolk rarely choose to stay long is that Tornen’s Crossing is known for rumors and legends of dangers and threats that have stalked its environs.
Vale Haven – A small hamlet of orchard farmers who trade their fruits and woodworking with Tornen’s Crossing to the north, but don’t really talk about themselves much, or welcome outsiders for that matter.
Vebuelle – This city on the sea is known as a hub of maritime trade and travel, as well as being a home for many temples and places of knowledge.
Wadel-Fraye – A pair of towns that sit across each other along an important ford on the wide Shimmer River. Known for their fishing, orchards, rivalry, and their ability to safely navigate travelers across the river itself, the locals are always debating on what is best for their shared waterway.
Waulkit’s Cross – This large crossroads town is known more for its ranching of cattle and horses, than its crops and orchards. The smells here are horrid, but both the beef and the proud mounts from this town are second to none within the Hearthlands.