Thursday, November 5, 2015

Odelyn's Forge - a Hamlet in Nentir Vale

The other day, I detailed a method for adding depth to villages and towns in a campaign. After running down the road with an the idea I used as the example, I ended up with more detail than what was strictly necessary for the article. After a bit more nerd-building world building, I ended up with the newest hamlet in Nentir Vale.

Odelyn's Forge

Location: Northwest of Harkenwold near the Dawnforge Mountains in the Nentir Vale
Population: 600. Human 60%, Dwarf 25%, Halfling 10%, Elf 5%
Government: Feudal. A 10 member Village Council includes representatives elected by each of the village's major trade guilds including two seats for Dwarves from the Dawnforge Mining Cooperative. Ties in the Council are broken by the Baroness' chancellor. The Council manages the day to day activities of the village but is answerable to the Baroness who may overturn any ruling, policy, or procedure put into place by the Council.
Trade goods: Pig iron (raw), iron finished goods (cook pots, plow blades, horse shoes, etc), charcoal, lumber, wool, goat cheese
Resources: Iron mine, forest, grazing lands
Primary Trades: Miners, Founders, Smiths, Iron Merchants, Colliers, Teamsters, Lumbermen, Shepherds
Religion: Erathis is the patron deity in Odelyn's Forge. A modest church of Erathis sit at the center of town. The western transept is dedicated to the worship of Moradin and worship days for both gods alternate on the calendar. Other gods may be venerated in town, but do not have any official chapel or shrine.
Place of interest: Chapel of Erathis, Roche Noire Tavern, Iron Foundry, Mine, Logging Camp

Notable NPCs

Florio Herrera - (Hu/M/Clr3) Pastor who manages the church of Erathis.  Florio is somewhat young for his station and has ambitions to establish a grand cathedral to Erathis.
Benno Sternhand - (Dw/M/Clr5) Curate of Moradin who shares responsibilities for the church with Florio. Benno is on friendly terms with Florio but desires his own separate chapel to Moradin.
Madame Simone Neuville - (Hu/F/Arist 5) Village chancellor for Baroness Dunhill. Manages the taxation and finances of Odelyn's Forge. Non-voting member (except with a tie) on the Village Council and representative of the Baroness in all Council matters.
Guy Dufour - (Hu/M/Ftr1) Hostler and chef at Roche Noire Tavern and Hostel.
Collette Dufour - (Hu/F/Rog1) Alewife and co-owner of Roche Noire.


Odelyn Dunhill was the daughter of a minor noble, Lord Erwig Dunhill. Although Lord Dunhill was a fairly wealthy man, he had many sons and daughters. Odelyn, being one of his later children, was due to gain only a modest inheritance. While out one day exploring her father's lands (as she often did), Odelyn discovered large rocks she recognized as hematite exposed in an area of rocky terrain in Sparrow's Hollow.

When the matter of her inheritance arose at her coming of age, Odelyn pressed her father to give her the relatively "useless" plots of land around Sparrow's Hollow for the purposes of hunting and grazing sheep and goats. The rocky terrain was not much use in farming, but had some value in lumber and grazing lands. Lord Erwig recognized her ambitions even if he did not at once discern the true value of her request or the depth of her subterfuge.

Soon after the land charter was made official, Odelyn sent her most trusted aide to the nearby Dwarves in the Dawnforge Mountains. Her envoy proposed an arrangement where the Dwarves would split the net profit from the mining and refining of ores on her lands in exchange for their engineering and labor efforts. With the pact officially drawn, she decided to reveal the full extent of her plans to her father, Lord Dunhill. Even if he were displeased with her schemes, he would be hard pressed to break a pact with the Dwarves and risk a political incident.

Despite her fears, the stern face of her father broke into peals of laughter. After which he exclaimed he wished all of his children were as ambitious and shrewd. With not only his approval but also his blessings, Odelyn began the mining endeavor and plans to construct a forge for the refining of ores. Within the first few years, the hamlet of Odelyn's Forge grew around the mining industry. Woodsmen felled trees and prepared the charcoal for the forges. Huntsmen brought in game to feed the laborers. Smelters worked the forges to refine the ore brought in by the Dwarves. Tradesmen found buyers for the pig iron and other valuable metals while teamsters arranged the shipments. Of the settlers moving into Sparrow's Hollow, Humans make up the majority of the population, but the Dwarves constitute a significant percentage of the population.

The relatively small backwater of Lord Dunhill's land established Lady Dunhlill's (later Baroness Dunhill) earliest holdings.  With her growing wealth, she acquired more of the surrounding lands from her less industrious siblings as they whittled away their own fortunes on drink and debauchery. The town charter specifies that the custody of Odelyn's Forge and its environs are to be passed to the daughters of the Baroness' blood line. Odelyn's Forge still remains a small hamlet despite its economic success, but the population is growing as its prosperity gains more notoriety in the Barony. While the Baroness no longer lives in the town, it is one of her favorite country retreats with her consort, Sir Justin Lac du Bois.

Adventure Hooks

  • One of the Dunhill siblings covets Odelyn's Forge. While outright homicide may be out of the question, perhaps other schemes are afoot to revoke the land charter from Odelyn.
  • The production of charcoal is having a major impact on the local woodlands. This is creating hostilities with the local fey residents.
  • Elements of the Mining Cooperative are not pleased with the profit sharing plan. Rabblerousers are causing minor accidents or other shenanigans to slow production. Perhaps this leads to unintended bloodshed or outright violence between striking workers and "scabs".
  • A competing mine or foundry has plans to usurp the iron market from Odelyn's Forge. "Mighty nice furnace you have there. It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it...."

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