Thursday, 20 February 2014

On the cutting room floor...

For those interested, this section of background was edited from The Trolls of Mistwood. I may reintroduce it at a later date to a later product but I thought it might be fun to share on here.

A concise history of Mistwood
This section of the adventure is for the benefit of judges that wish to build a campaign base from the village of Mistwood. The following sections are purely for the judge to have a feel for the village and the events that lead up to this adventure. It is recommended that the judge read this section to help establish the mood and circumstances the village finds itself in.

The town of Mistwood was settled four generations ago by silt eel fishermen. Located on the eastern bank of the Gravic Swamp and west of the Misty Woods, Mistwood became famous for its fishermen and the enormous silt eels caught there. The 25-foot long silt eels were (and still are) considered a delicacy in many of the more affluent cities of the West Coast but more importantly, the eel secretes oil that is the only known cure for the “Blight,” a plague that spread across the southern realm before the settlement of Mistwood. The Blight killed entire villages in its wake until a healer discovered the secretions from the silt eels could cure the disease. There was no other place as abundant with the creatures as the Gravic Swamp.

What the villagers of Mistwood didn’t realize was that the silt eels had an existing predator that hungered for the eels as much as the village’s clients. On the northern borders of the swamp, beneath the bridge spanning the Gravic River, lived a clan of trolls. These vile creatures were notorious for raiding travellers crossing the bridge on the South Road. They were the very reason the silt eels were shipped out of Mistwood, rather than being transported by caravan.

For over ten years, the trolls disregarded the village as it grew and prospered, and the Blight was all but eradicated. But with the village’s success, more and more silt eel fishermen came to Mistwood and eventually, with over-fishing, the silt eel numbers diminished. When the trolls had to scout further into the swamps to catch the eels, they discovered the cause of the silt eel shortage and decided man flesh would be a suitable alternative.

And so the infamous troll siege of Mistwood commenced. At first, the villagers were easy pickings for the trolls. A villager here or there simply vanished. But the trolls became emboldened and began to openly raid the village, carrying away screaming men, women and children. It was at this time the young leader of Mistwood, Baron Johan of House Willow, mounted a defense by erecting a palisade around the village and appointing a night watch to sound the alarm if trolls were about. The attacks were frequent but with the diligence of the watch, few fatalities occurred. The village was, however, still under siege and as the winter months approached, food became scarcer. Fishermen tried to bring food back but many lost their lives to the trolls. Times were dire for the folk of Mistwood.

It was on the winter solstice that the enchantress, Glyndel, arrived at the gates of Mistwood. Her grace and beauty were almost unearthly. She immediately sought out the heroic young Johan and made a proposal to rid the village of the trolls. No one was sure of the deal made with the enchantress, only that she left the village that night and returned a week later with a magical sword named Clawreaver. It was a troll slaying sword, enchanted for the very purpose of decimating the foul denizens of Gravic Swamp.

Johan renamed his night watch the Troll Killers of Mistwood and led them into the swamp. The tales of the troll purge became legendary throughout the southern realm, and the title of Troll Killer of Mistwood commanded renown and respect. It is said that had the Troll Killers not ended the troll siege, the Blight may have decimated the people of the West. The purge lasted over a year, during which time Glyndel frequently visited Johan and it became clear that the two were deeply in love. They were joined in marriage.

At the completion of the purge, no trolls could be found throughout the region and Clawreaver earned its resting place above the hearth of Johan’s fireplace. Glyndel bore Johan a beautiful daughter and, for a time, life in Mistwood became prosperous once more. But none should expect life to remain so.

One evening Baron Johan returned home to find his beautiful wife gone. She left a note explaining she had to return to her family but she would return in time. She never did and Johan raised their daughter, Larissa, with as much love any child could want.

Twenty peaceful years passed in Mistwood. Fishing rules were made to preserve the silt eel numbers and once more the Gravic Swamp teemed with the valuable fish. Larissa grew into a fine young lady, headstrong and beautiful.

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