Waldfels


Population: ~200 citizens (refugees from Xian) and some dozens of goblinoid fighters.
Leader: Atmeh "Tidemarked" Voorten (semi-resident, Divine Oracle 11)
Important Locals: Scarface, elder orc of the Yellow Moon clan (Fighter 3); Shu Fen, former village wise-woman and now refugee leader (Invoker 2)
Military Forces: As many as half the villagers are capable of fighting in self-defense. In practice, they'll never do so unless they find themselves unable to flee the village.

Appearance

Waldfels has no wall to speak of, a ditch around the village with a low earth berm on the inner side providing all the defense the village has. The buildings within are wooden and shabbily-built, and the streets become a morass in the rainy season. The forest has been cut back over the years, but there are few farms or fields surrounding the place, much unlike an ordinary village. The centre of the village has been turned into a kind of armed camp, dedicated to sending out sorties against the Tidespawn and protecting the refugee farmers who call the shabby place home.

History

Waldfels was a comparatively recently-rebuilt village. The original town was erected in 7 AL as a charcoal-burner's hamlet to ship coke north to Guantao's mine. That purpose was abruptly terminated in 8 AL when resurgent goblinoids drove the Xianese army back east. The wretched colonists were slaughtered over a period of several weeks, their elaborate ritual tortures conducted by the brutal goblin witch-priestess Hakka. Even today, common lore holds the forest around Waldfels to be filled with the hungry ghosts of the first settlers.

The village was never formally rebuilt, yet over the years it became a popular hideout for bandit groups seeking a discreet place to hide from justice. Heavily-armed merchants from Altburg soon set up shop there, and it became a place where the plunder taken in raids farther south could be fenced and the profits drank up in bad beer and worse wine. A constant turnover of bandit "mayors" followed, until nowdays no one even tries to claim paramount authority over the settlement. A hulking Skandr chieftain named Big Thorfir was the nearest thing to a headman the village has, but that's simply because he has twice as many bullies in his band than the next biggest chief.

The locals noticed when the Xianese came back in 27 AL, but they hadn't let it bother them. Their raids were south, towards Tien Lung and the drug plantations surrounding it. A steady stream of southern complaints reached the Magistrate in Altburg, but her interest in accommodating them was strikingly limited. If she wiped out Waldfels, Guantao will get no coke for its smelters- and Altburg will lose one of its major taxable goods. The Magistrate is not a generous woman by nature, and is particularly unwilling to pick her own pocket to ease the suffering of someone else's district. At most she impaled a few bandits now and then, usually choosing those reckless or stupid enough to raid army convoys west to Lao's Teeth.

Few of the locals still remain in the village, after the Tidespawn went through. Some of the survivors who managed to hide out in the surrounding forest have trickled back in, only to find that the new, rather more communal order is not to their liking. Still, given the options, most of these have chosen to remain and reestablish some kind of living.

People

Waldfelsers are chiefly refugees from Xian, the original populace having been almost entirely slaughtered by the invasion of Tidespawn and bugbears that occurred after the fall of Altburg. They are a cagey lot, well aware that they live on the knife's edge and that their protectors are scarsely better than the enemies that wait for them within the woods beyond the cleared, newly planted fields. Despite the efforts of the Drowned Star worshippers, the goblinoids and humanoids remain in fairly strict separation, and their contact is marked by frequent arguments, thefts and assaults. S

So far, somehow, the place hasn't decided into genocidal warfare. But the settlement is young, and anything could happen.

Daily Life

The goblinoids of Waldfels are either out raiding the Tidespawn or local bands of other ne'er do wells, or drinking and fighting for status in the village. The greenies have a small but growing stock of cattle, and each poorly-fed animal is daubed with paint denoting its owner, a person whose identity can change often with success in raiding or other contests. The town has little in the way of recreation, given the desperation of its circumstances; religious services are popular, and double as sites for trading the meagre luxuries and crafts to which the village has access. A few moonshine stills in newly reclaimed houses serve as watering holes. The charcoal-burners mostly live outside the village, hauling their baskets of black coke to be shipped north. Most are so wretchedly poor that the bandits don't bother to rob them. A small inn or two provides for visitors, but guests are advised to sleep with one eye open and a naked sword in their fist.

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