As you crest around a large chunk of Sawteeth Mountains, built into an obscure valley is the town of Grundistad. It is a simple stone and wood town, more of a frontier setting than a major metropolis. However, just because it is in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean that it isn't an instrumental part of the lands history. Divided into quarters and a hub between Snowflake Palace and the Northern realms, Grundistad is a place for all refugees and people that are looking to get a new start in their life.
Roughly 2,500 (a large town)
Mostly bartering with other smaller towns in larger spanning areas, but commerce with some Palatinate cities if really needed.
Default religion is The Cult of Blizzard, though others are tolerated (except for the Dragons of Light cultists, which are killed on sight.)
Monarchy - Ruler is Jarl, others are lords or ladies but have no real power other than by name.
Fairly light, other than the usual warfare between guilds and taverns
Though it is in a sparse area, there is quite a diverse population here in Grundistad. A majority of it is Human, but there are elves, half-elves, halflings, goblins and dragons. All of the buildings are used by humans and humanoids that love to live there or do not mind using it instead of the natural environment around them. There is a nice and healthy elf population that resides inside of Frostfang Forest, working with human rangers to help keep the critters of the wild away from this town. Hordes of goblins live near Grundakar Mount, constantly harvesting and digging, making sure that their lives are as great as their companions above ground. The greatness of this place though is that it is a hub for the remainder of the Kingdom of Winter, which means that there are a healthy dose of white dragons. These are not typical white dragons, more of the evolved and harmonious with those that are around them, though they have a far superior opinion of themselves as the weaker one's masters.
The Old Quarter
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This is where it all started a long time ago, almost 500 years ago. After the fall of The Kingdom of Winter, the white dragons were left without a king. The herald Brandishkar took those that were aggressive and willing to live in a far colder climate north to rebuild their kingdom. All that remained were those dragons that were too injured or not even hatched, as well as the Cult of Blizzard, the main driving force behind the Kingdom. Meanwhile, a human that evolved into a White Dragon took some of his own clan north after the great civil war of the Palatinate (the neighboring nation that tried to make the Sawteeth their own until rivalries stopped it) and found an old and dilapidated fort. As Grundakar struggled to make this fort a new home, those Cultists and weaker dragons that were left behind came to him to make a pact. In exchange for a place of residence, they would submit to him and his rule. Grundakar never really wanted to make anyone be submissive, he was not interested in becoming king. However, he was thrust into the role as you will see later on...
The building that is still the hub of all governmental activities, this hall is named after its founder, Grundakar Riscavolan. It is a large building that accommodates the Riscavolan family and the retinues of the government, which include the head of the constabulary, the general of the military forces and the "Body Parts of Riscavolan", a select group of people that are the eyes ears, hands and mouth of Riscavolan when he is far too busy to keep an eye out on his own subjects.
There is activity here everyday, from the minor disputes of neighbors to the great conflicts between business and warring with the giants. However, even in all of the chaos, it is a place of pride and joy for all that live here. Many take care of the surrounding areas on their own time, knowing that without the leadership of Grundakar, they might not have made their own life.
The former barracks were converted into an epicenter that helped keep the fledgling town alive for almost 200 years. It was a hub of trading and fighting, due to The White Arrow. The White Arrow is still the most beloved tavern run by a very old Delnara M' Avibor and her ever changing lackeys. She had always been the thorn in the side of Grundakar, but not out of hatred. her guild was allowed to exist because of Grundakar's grace, so she felt it was best to push him as far as she could to get what she wanted. Every once in a while you might catch her pining for the old days while tending to the days activities, but if you bring it up to her, she might just murder you on the spot. Business has died down a bit now that everything has somewhat moved to the newer quarter, but the area still sees activity from visitors, regal or otherwise.
Amphitheater and Holy Center
In a show of good faith, Grundakar let the cultists build an amphitheater to help them worship their goddess, Blizzard. This is where all of the dragons resided and even were hatched, where the strict rule of Blizzard was enforced. The Matron had pushed Grundakar as much as she could without breaking their treaty, knowing that even though she had dragons, he was still more powerful than she could imagine. Of course, it didn't help that he was an evolved dragon himself, a marking of a true leader. With The Matron's passing and the town's expansion, the cultists took their worship to Grundakar Mount and practice it deep within the bowels of the mountain itself. The amphitheater is more of a cultural center that sees traveling bards, artists and the like. Every year, they gather to celebrate the birth of the town and the birth of their "King", Grundakar.
They are stables, what do you want...?
The Mount of Salvation
There is an opening in the side of the mountain where many armed men come and go, dropping off dried rations and other items in case of war. Only authorized people are allowed to enter this area unless there is a crisis, though it is highly rumored that there is a mausoleum to Grundakar and his entire family deep inside of the mountain as well as something very dark and sinister that is key to keeping the town surviving.
[img width=400 height=400]http://www.vignirsson.com/Grundistad3newquarter.jpg[/img]
This is where the hub of all existence happens at Grundistad. Crafted more than 150 years ago to accommodate those people that wondered into the town more and more, houses were made from stone and wood from the surrounding areas. A majority of people live here, mostly inside of the multi-family apartments.
The long "L" building was founded first in this quarter and is used in a dual purpose to house the military and those who commit crimes against the town. The military doubles as the constables at times, though there is a dedicated force that keeps the law. Often members of higher class or royalty will check in here first to acquire bodyguards to escort them around, though most will bring their own as well.
The Queen and The Owl
Named after the great "queen" of Grundistad, Lady Lisbera and her familiar Hoot, this inn and tavern is the hotbed for activity and adventure. Most people will stay here the night before trekking out to get their fortunes from the old Snowflake Palace ruins south or even finding old magical artifacts to the west. Run by a silver tongue rogue/fighter by the name of Antallai Greathart, this tavern is the pride and joy of Grundistad itself.
[img width=400 height=400]http://www.vignirsson.com/Grundistad3farmquarter.jpg[/img]
The first thing that Grundakar knew he had to do in order to make the town survive and thrive was to dedicate an area of land to be farmed. Thus, two chunks of land were given to two families to till and work, thus keeping Grundistad alive, even today. Though some of the foodstuffs are imported, it does not take away anything from the farming community here. With the growth of the town, Grundakar took the time to dedicate more land to farming before it was taken. The new farmers were families split from the original farmers from generations before.
The "Upper" Quarter
[img width=400 height=400]http://www.vignirsson.com/Grundistad3upperquarter.jpg[/img]
The name for this was not derived from location but status. This area houses some of the more well to do people and those dedicated to keeping the grounds clean. It is cast in the shadow of Grundakar's monument (please see the monument section for more information), a constant reminder to those who do well off of Grudistad's assets still are watched by hi highness.
The Tiger's Flagon
As old associates of the Riscavolan family, the Vos Longmanes moved their family here to set up shop to cater to some of the better to do people. Based near the "Hollowed Tree of Allanora", this little tavern has small accommodations but has great character. If you are fortunate enough to come here, you might taste some of the finest ales in the world. Anastasia Vos Longmane is the one in charge and she continues the family trait of being a weretiger, thus the name and the decorations inside.
The keeper's homes
Dotted along the river, there live people who maintain the monument, the tree and the grounds surrounding it. Their job is to keep the place beautiful and in tip top shape. They are often called upon to do masonry, carpentry or other labor works, but without them the town would not be safe. Grundakar knew this and gave them one of the best choices of land and his heartfelt pledge to keep them safe in exchange for their work.
White Arrow Manor (the enclosed grounds)
This is where Delnara, the owner of The White Arrow and her family live. They have a humble little place but it is filled with ill gotten goods and the like. Her children and grandchildren help out in town with various duties but take after their lady, stealing from people.
Elias Ceincoriann lives here and has helped save this town more often than anyone here. He was given the first choice of land and took this place. Not many people know what Elias does but he still lives 350 years after his arrival to Grundistad and is still quite the charmer.
Frostfang Forest and the town border
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This area has always been a spot of weakness for the safety of the town, to the point that many attacks were almost devastating. Soon, Grundakar and his faithful thought of a way to not only accommodate the burgeoning elf population, but help protect the town. So, along with the rangers of Grundistad, the elves patrol the areas and live off the land as best as they can. Though they do live in harmony, the elves here have problems with elves that are not living in the wild, to the point that elves are not allowed in the forest without a ranger if they live in the town. For people who live here, it is the norm but for those visitors, it comes as a startling surprise.
Patrols tend to head out to the river and to the edge of the forest where the towers are, but the only activity past that belongs to the rangers themselves. They are highly valued for their skills and have a special connection with the Riscavolan household.
Here is where the large portion of goblins lives, mining for little trinkets or farming the areas greatest export, Pinghy (a small fungus that acts and lives like a pig). They are descendants of King Glick, a former cohort of Grundakar and welcomed advisor. Though their population is not the largest, they have the greatest potential to expand for being underground. Their leader is Lord Ralk and he enjoys his own private entrance into Grundishal and special audiences with the government.
The Dragons on the Mount
Now that the dragons are being led by the new Matron, they have moved to this new home with the intents of holding to their end of the treaty, if not trying to live on their own as well. They worship their goddess here in an amphitheater carved out of the mountain itself as well as having a hatchery inside the mountain that can be watched over easily. It is not to say that the dragons are isolationists for many of the hatchlings and young ones play throughout the town. The older ones know that they serve their lords and willingly do so as they are the offspring of Grundakar and a higher form of spirituality than they are.
Grundakar's Monument is a large statue at the center of a large square section of buildings. Each direction has an entrance, but the northern most entrance is something to behold. As you pass through the northern entrance, you bear witness to all of Grundakar's deeds over his years, from the time that he saved his sister from dying in what is called "The Cull" to where he watched the Palatinate march in and kill his sister years later during their civil war. You are also privy to his pain and joy, losing his nephew to the King of Winter, winning him back only to lose him again to his rival. Through it all, you get to see why Grundakar was so special to this area.
As you pass through the magical area, you get to take a look at many things that stretched over the five hundred years of his life, from books of his life written by bards to hot topics of each day and age. There is a section dedicated to artwork created for the memory of Grundakar; paintings and busts of his head, vases created with Grundakar's emblem (A curled dragon on top of the moon in quarter phase), jewelry made with his favorite colors and other trinkets and baubles. They are guarded closely by The Keepers and are warded from theft, though that does not stop people from trying.
Once you are finished with the tour, you are allowed to walk out and witness the statue created for his highness. Grundakar stands in the center, his hand outstretched in a warm gesture of greeting as it stands in front of a large white dragon. Across from the Grundakar statue is another man, simply known as The King of Winter. Surrounding them, carved into the walls are men dressed in heavy armor and wielding weapons of all types (including guns).
[img width=400 height=600]http://www.vignirsson.com/grundakar.jpg[/img]Image is as close as I can get, grayed out version of Fire Emblem character Cyus, image property of Nintendo
The monument symbolizes a changing of the guard to most people of the area, though Grundakar had intended it for a different reason. He wanted the monument to be something where people would not forget about what had happened to all of those that suffered because of The King's decision making. He did not want to forget his family and friends that lost their lives to The King's whims and the Cult's passions. It was the Kingdom of Winter that was wiped out by The Palatinate and fractured it into pieces, not The King or Grundakar.
Instead, his sons and daughter decided, with the consent of the remaining Cultists, to change it into a tribute to his greatness and his stubborn attitude to never give up the idea of Grundistad, even if it took his entire life to get where he wanted it. Everyone who lives here visits the monument at least once a year to remember what Grundakar did for them and many dignitaries, curious sages and bards travel from all over to take a look at this tribute to a man who never wanted to be king, but was thrust into it.
Cult of Blizzard vs. The Government
Needless to say, this treaty and relationship was built on a block of melting ice. The Cult knows that the Riscavolan family has been touched by Blizzard, though their actions at times go against all the teachings that they have known. Many of the dragons have felt quite conflicted to the point of having a crisis of faith because the one that their god chose was not like any of them. The Matron has always had a chance to voice her opinion in court to try and sway the "King" but it seemed that no matter what she (or any other Matron, for that matter) could do anything except remember there was a treaty. Grundakar kept his end of the bargain though, letting them live in peace and free of the fear of persecution from those that might think them evil or strange for their ways.
However, with each new Matron, there is always an out lash of anger and hatred for the treaty. This has not changed since Grundakar died and if the town stays around for many generations, it still will not change. It is a love affair built on being complete opposites while being essentially the same.
The White Arrow vs. The Law
Out of the three little groups of bandits and rogues, The White Arrow group is quite brutal and deadly, to the point that they were on the verge of being executed on more than one occasion. Though Grundakar had a vow to make sure that Delnara would survive no matter what, she did whatever she could to press the issue as far as she could.
That cannot be said about the new government, however. Delnara is getting old and wants to get out of the business soon. She feels that there is no fun in doing the job anymore if Grundakar cannot react. Her children, however, have no problem in trying to get one up on the law and will stop at nothing to get that edge.
The White Arrow vs. The Queen and The Owl vs. Tiger's Flagon
This nasty little gang war started up towards the end of Grundakar's life. The Queen and The Owl had been around for one hundred years and The White Arrow for three hundred, but the Vos Longmanes have been associated with Grundakar for five hundred. So, when giving the Vos Longmanes a place to put up shop as a thank you for great and long service, the others would not stand by quietly.
It first started with a sacking of the Tiger's Flagon, which only upset a still teenage Anastasia. She retaliated with her own attempts on The White Arrow, only to find out that it was someone from The Queen and The Owl that broke into her establishment. This, of course, only angered Delnara more and she escalated her attempts against The Queen and The Owl. It has all gone downhill ever since.
The Elves vs. Grundistad
It usually isn't a conflict unless the elves pride gets in the way, which seems to be happening more often than not recently. The elves understand that they are a part of the town, but they will not let anyone desecrate the forest they have worked so long to protect. Most of the humans and other races are willing to accommodate, but it seems that the elves want more.
Goblins vs. The Above
You would expect this, but it is only worse because they receive special treatment from the government when it comes to territorial rights and the like. Many times the goblins have stumbled into underground hatcheries that were well kept secrets or even interrupted more than one "business transaction". Most of the regular people know the value and worth of these goblins, but it seems someone has been stirring up a bit more xenophobia recently.
Grundistad vs. The "Other" White Dragons
As Grundistad thrives, so does the other faction of White Dragons that were lorded by Brandishkar, the chief rival of Grundakar. While Grundakar and Brandishkar have passed on, the remaining factions still struggle to determine who has the right to be called "The Kingdom of Winter". The conflicts are not as bad as they used to be, but they are still brutal and can even be quite bloody if something escalates it.
- Someone has abducted a dragon hatchling and is hiding out somewhere in Frostfang forest. Though authorities have done what they can in this matter, the situation is made worse by the elves that live there as they quietly obstruct the investigation.
- Delnara steps down as the head of The White Arrow, starting a small but destructive gang war involving Delnara's children, Antallai Greathart and the Vos Longmanes. The PC's are dragged into it when they are mistaken for agents of a rival and are mugged. The Jarl is not willing to do anything about the war and the constables are busy with other things, so the PC's are given power to do what they can to stop the war and smooth things out while trying to get their things back.
- A noble arrives from another city, a strange artifact in tow. She claims to be related to the Riscavolans and wishes to deliver this to the appropriate place and feel safe in the process. The constables deputize the PC's with this duty in mind and are assured a painful death if something were to happen to the lady.
- Hordes of pinghy manage to escape their pens and roam free in the streets of Grundistad. The PC's are forced into pinghy duty, which leads to hilarious results.