Each season, Grunhulm holds a feast day with the nobility providing the food and drink. During this time, the Tribal houses elect a council, which in turn elects a mayor. Those who are candidates do much to try and win votes with the best food and drink. However the mayor only oversees local matters and laws. Since the annexation of the various forest tribes by King Goraz, rights of taxation and foreign policy rest with the throne. The former, he award to local lordships for a fee (tax farming), and the latter, his messengers keep the elders appraised of.
Even a small village such as Grunhulm is not immune to King Goraz's tax collectors. When Lady Mirza was awarded the contract to collect these taxes, her first action was to lay claim to and completely rebuild the local keep. While a fine piece of architecture in it's own right, it stands out as being obviously separate from the village proper. It is from here that Sheriff Tracklehahn oversees the taxation of the local area for her ladyship.
Home of Aryun
Aryun descends from a long line of Grunhulm nobility. Before the coming of Lady Miruza, she lived in the local keep. having regularly been re-elected by the house councils on feast day. She is very open about her distaste of King Goraz and does not hesitate to tell travelers of the "unjust situation."
For now, Aryun bides her time. Lady Miruza keeps her under a close watch but dares not move against her outright for fear of starting a peasant rebellion.
Tol Gundir House of Hospitality
Where ever the Gnomes of Tol Gundir laid down their roots after the loss of their city, the first thing they set up was an open house of hospitality. Hospitality was always important to the Gnomes and it seemed that after their bereavement, it become a tenet of their faith.
Two of these houses are those of families of Gnomes. The middle is an open, and free, house of hospitality. Anyone can find food, shelter, assistance there. Outside, three small fields grow the majority of their crops, and they trade for more unusual goods. You can always have a hot meal at the Tol Gundir House of Hospitality, no matter what your circumstances are.
The Teat Towers
The twin towers are made of only wood. Yet, they are armed to the teeth with loaded crossbows, rocks, and 2 medium ballista hidden in each of the roofs, dubbed the "Griffin's Teat" They can shoot bolts the size of small saplings every 3rd turn. (3D12+9)
Armor Class: 16
Hit Points: 40
Damage immunities: poison, psychic
Cost: 1000 gp
Like the crossbow, except bigger and mounted on a stand.
Before it can be fired, it must be loaded and aimed. It takes one action to load the weapon, one action to aim it, and one action to fire it.
Bolt. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 100/300 ft, one target. Hit: 26 (3d12+9) piercing damage.
They are manned by 2 local guardsmen Father and Son, Timgee. The father Royce, is an aging silver haired veteran of many, many wars that he loves to tell to anyone and everyone who travels along the road between the 2 small forts. You'll soon find an excuse to leave after his 3rd war story.
The other monolith is manned by his rather large, yet barely of age son, Roger. He blows his alarm horn every time he sees anyone along the path friend or foe. The rest of the village hates him for the noise but are grateful. Last winter he scared off a roaming kobold raiding party. They shot a beautifully feathered arrow into his tower and it remains there as a symbol of his vigilance.
The pair are ripe with information about these parts. Royce will even part with some royal secrets with a tasty bakery bribe and Roger knows all the local traveler's tales from his daily interrogations, "Papers Please!" You better have your documents ready.
Bertrund always pay's their taxes on time and tries to stay out of the local politics. They spend many of their days ranging the local countryside, harvesting strange herbs and rare fruits. When Bertrund is around, this is where they sell their wares. Many say Bertrund perhaps samples a little too much of those herbs...
The Alliance Tree
The Alliance Tree was planted to cement Grunhulm’s alliance with the Monks of Scarmen Pass. Each Spring the monks from the Pyramid of Zidum join the people of Grunhulm for lunch and Springtide festivities on the Equinox. Throughout the year the monks come to Grunhulm for market days to supplement their provisions and to sell the beer they brew.
Watling’s Gathering, is a self-styled mini-caravanas setup to serve traders who stop in Grunhulm at the spring of Avasakirk’s Road (leading out of town from site #8 and through the towers at site #4).
As you approach, you hear mules from the corral in the side yard. You can see there are areas of ground worn down and hard packed with some wagon wheel ruts that circle around to the back of the building. Depending on the season some wagons may be in the front yard and stable boys are caring for the oxen, mules, or draft horses of the wagons. The painted sign hanging outside is an image of a platter of food on the back of a mule. Inside, the familiar smell of food and good beir greets you. Watling’s Gathering has a taproom, and a door into the general store.
While the Avasakirk Road isn’t often used by large trading caravans, it does see some small traders who can switch to mule-back portering for crossing through Scarmen Pass to reach the next stop on this alternative leg (the North leg) of the Silk Road.
Asbjorn Watling was raised in nearby Ringsted on his father’s large farm. Three years ago he settled in Grunhulm, at the age of 24, after nearly a decade of trading along the Silk Road and local trade routes. He is known to tell what seem like grandiose tales about his life as a small trader.
Asbjorn occasionally talks about hiring miners and a surveying crew to expand the Scarmen Pass to allow wagons to transit, or at least to enlarge it for greater traffic. He’s been a good customer to the Zidum Monks and only sells their beir at his roadhouse. Out of respect for Tol Grundir, he hasn’t offered lodging to travelers. He focuses on having mules to trade, good beir, good food, and space to circle the traders’ wagons. Sheriff Tracklehahn will often visit the roadhouse if travelers have been seen in town, to make sure the Lady Mirza and King Goraz get their tax share.
The House of Wisdom
This longhouse serves as both as a school and the church of Avasia, Goddess of Knowledge. During the day young children are sent to the House to learn sagas, music, mathematics, crafting, and religion. Once the children come of an age to work the land they spend less time here unless they have proven to have an aptitude for these studies and a desire to continue learning. Of those who continue their studies, some choose to carry on academically and magically in the House of Wisdom, while others depart for the Guildhall to learn a craft or trade. The most popular rite is the annual children's recitation and re-enactment of the Saga of Orvar and Anke, who stole back the sun from the trickster god Ytinnir. This serves as both a holiday celebration and a graduation ceremony for the year.
By day, a charming wooded promenade often frequented by lovestruck dreamers in their first forays into beguiling conversation and company. By night, a swarthy shaded collective of hidden groves and secret meetings. Is it a group of rowdy youths out beyond curfew for the last dregs of the days trouble? Or something more nefarious? After all, even in an out-of-the-way hamlet such as this, there are always those who deal in dark and evil deeds.
By Crumbling Keep Posted on