Campaign of the Month: February 2020
Terror at Thrushmoor
|Demographics||3,394 humans, 56 halflings, 12 dwarves, 18 other|
The settlement of Thrushmoor, a fishing community on Lake Encarthan’s Avalon Bay, can be found in the Ustalavic county of Versex.
Seven hundred years ago, every resident of Thrushmoor mysteriously disappeared in an event known as the Thrushmoor Vanishing. The town was eventually resettled, but to this day its inhabitants believe that the area is cursed or haunted by something called the Briarstone Witch.
Count Haserton Lowls IV
Count Haserton Lowls IV is the former count of Versex County. Count Lowls fled from his estate at Iris Manor just days prior to the arrival of the Royal Accusers who arrived to investigate suspicious financial activity.
Sentilar Ruoy is an aging halfling that owns and operates the Healer’s House (see below). He is engaged in an ongoing feud with Trilliss Mavaine, stemming from their difference in opinion over the most effective and practical ways to wield healing magic.
Magistrate Tillus Padgett
As the elected civil official that has been tasked with administering the laws in Thrushmoor, Magistrate Padgett is responsible for holding court in order to adjudicate minor offenses and hold the preliminary hearings for the more grievous offenses. When the PCs arrived in Thrushmoor, Padgett had been missing for almost a week.
Trilliss Mavaine is an influential member of the town as the leader of New Chapel, the primary center of worship in the town. A fervent follower of Pharasma, Mavaine is often called upon to perform most of the burial ceremonies in town as well as tending to the upkeep of the Old Chapel graveyards. More recently, she has been overseeing the renovation of New Chapel’s sanctuary and has hired an artist to paint frescoes throughout its interior.
The founder of the Sleepless Agency, Cesadia Wrentz is a tall, fit woman approaching middle age. She has reddish-brown hair that she keeps trimmed short. Her eyes are big and inquisitive, and her pale skin is scattered with freckles across her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. Cesadia dresses in a fashion more befitting a businesswoman than an adventurer, though she keeps a slim dagger and hand crossbow hidden beneath her coat in case her usual tactics of diplomacy and guile break down into violence.
This series of buildings in eastern Thrushmoor houses a granary, a bakery, and an ox mill run by the community as a whole. The few halfling citizens of Thrushmoor reside here, as well as the town’s freeholders. Most of the residents of Farmer’s Square are rarely seen in town during the day, as their farmlands lie beyond the town’s edge, sometimes as far as an hour’s ride away.
Constructed in 4024 AR as Thrushmoor’s first town hall, the building that now contains the town’s fish market has been demolished and rebuilt many times over. Always a symbol of the community’s prosperity, it now holds the stalls of three fishmongers’ families, who have handed down their businesses for generations. The atrium shared by the stalls is illuminated by an amber-colored crystal lantern, which the townsfolk have nicknamed Glowing Jill. A local legend says that the lantern, brought by the founders of Thrushmoor, was part of the magical illumination of an underwater palace in the middle of Lake Encarthan, and that its slumbering magic sometimes awakens to cast a supernatural glow in the middle of Thrushmoor.
The center of Thrushmoor’s tiny dwarven community, the town’s smithy has been in business since it was repopulated in the wake of the Thrushmoor Vanishing. Nowadays the workshop is run by Kletta Binter, who inherited it from distant relations who had run it for almost four centuries. A bit lazy and disorganized for a dwarf, Binter is more inclined toward creative handicraft rather than the noble (and lucrative) art of weaponsmithing. For this reason, she produces quaint ornaments such as lamps made from old copper pots and vases created with scrapped lead tiles, which she displays on the lawn in front of the workshop. The smithy has more than one anvil, and other dwarves pay Binter a modest fee to use one, which keeps the business afloat despite flagging sales of her odd wares.
Until just recently, this cluttered and dust-laden bookshop was the primary supplier of books to Count Lowls. The shop’s faded insignia (a bricklayer constructing a wall of books) is still visible from the street. The shop was forced to close when the owner went bankrupt because of Count Lowls’s missed payments and had to move to Rozenport for a job. Unable to afford transport for his remaining stock, the bookseller left all but the most valuable of the store’s books on the shelves, where they will remain until Count Lowls inevitably requisitions them for his own growing library.
This sturdy and elegant two-story edifice traditionally housed the skilled builders of Thrushmoor, who erected and repaired the homes of the town’s well-to-do for more than five centuries. In recent times, many of the guild’s members have moved away, and only a couple of skilled carpenters have maintained their old jobs here. The vacant space of Builders’ Hall has been occupied by Prewyn Noddar, who also acquired the honorific title of Thrushmoor’s Master Builder, despite his scant knowledge of the art of construction. Rather, Noddar is a businessman of few scruples, who profits from renting farmland, exacting protection money, and usury. Noddar’s wife, Mica, is a tall, thin, and sour woman, whose own vulgar avarice often clashes with her husband’s.
This large building is used by the population of Thrushmoor to store coal and lumber, both for retail selling to the population and for wholesale trade. The deposit is run by Lenk Marris, a young, energetic worker and a former favorite of Magistrate Padgett. Marris is well liked by his neighbors and is on good terms with the Sleepless Agency. Although he eagerly serves the community under any circumstances, he is despised by Prewyn Noddar, who would like to replace Marris with a person of his choice. Annexed to the depository is Thrushmoor’s icehouse, a well-insulated, partially interred shed, where large blocks of frozen freshwater from Lake Encarthan are packed tight during the winter.
Built in the early days of Thrushmoor, Fort Hailcourse has been the seat of Thrushmoor’s military garrison and of the town’s magistrate for nearly 500 years. The present building stands on the eastern crest of the double hillock at the north edge of town. The fort, the residence of Magistrate Tillus Padgett, housed a small garrison of 20 Drumish mercenaries who served the county until recently; all but a handful of these soldiers left for other assignments when Count Lowls failed to pay them one too many times. The fort also serves as the town jail and the site where the magistrate performs civil ceremonies, hears trials, and conducts other business of the town.
Perched on a tiny headland on the lake’s shore, a wooden scaffold supports the town gallows. Mindful of the ruthless brigandage and piracy in former times, Thrushmoor has maintained a method of administering the death penalty by placing the sentenced criminal alive in a tight metal cage hanging as a sort of counterweight to the gallows. In addition to experiencing exposure to the elements, starvation, and dehydration, souls unlucky enough to find themselves in the gibbet are also likely to contract tetanus from the rusty bars.
This small cottage, one of a pair that stands just north of New Chapel, is owned by the Pharasmin congregation. Used primarily to put up church visitors during their time in Thrushmoor (public lodging being noticeably scarce otherwise), the building currently serves as the studio and living quarters for Lelwyn Hasok, a half-elven painter whom the church commissioned to decorate New Chapel with exquisite frescoes and murals. The chapel’s second cabin currently sits vacant.
This modest home also functions as the workshop and clinic of the town’s outspoken alchemist, Sentilar Ruoy. The aging halfling provides healing and other alchemical elixirs and tinctures to those townsfolk who, for whatever reason, prefer not to receive such services from the Lady of Graves. Ruoy has an ongoing feud with New Chapel’s Trilliss Mavaine, whose reliance on a god, he says, makes her healing less practical than that derived purely from science.
This building houses an upscale covered market where the town’s notables shop for goods imported from all the nations that border Lake Encarthan. Until some time ago, one of the most prominent market stalls was occupied by Thrushmoor’s second bookshop, The Paper Tree. The shop closed when the owner disappeared and Count Lowls purchased all its books at a public auction for a very cheap price.
The residence of the Lowls family since Pragmus Lowls I built it in 4487 AR, Iris Hill stands atop a hill on the northwestern edge of town. Although it has fallen into a state of disrepair, the manor and its annexed buildings are by far the most impressive civilian structures within Thrushmoor.
A relatively recent addition to Thrushmoor’s landscape, New Chapel is the center of Pharasma’s worship in the town. The two-story wooden building features a sanctuary, an infirmary providing healing, palliative care, and other services. Newly commissioned frescoes adorn its interior. These works by artist-in-residence Lelwyn Hasok (see above) were inspired by Pharasma’s holy book, The Bones Land in a Spiral, and depict the Lady of Graves pronouncing prophecies, judging the dead in the Boneyard, and overseeing births like a divine midwife. New Chapel, though the primary center of worship in the town, has but one member of the clergy on staff, Priestess Trilliss Mavaine, who was the driving force behind the temple’s recent revitalization. Mavaine often finds herself in conflict with Count Lowls, Magistrate Padgett, and Sentilar Ruoy, the first two because Mavaine feels undue pressure to tend to the townspeople’s needs in the absence of a strong governmental presence, and with the latter because of his vocal denunciations of religion (specifically the Pharasmin faith).
This temple of Pharasma has been abandoned for more than half a century, since the mad priest Causton Creed alienated his followers and met a mysterious death at the hands of some demonic entity. What exactly happened at Old Chapel remains a mystery, and the few citizens old enough to have witnessed the event are either forgetful or unwilling to talk about it.
This was Count Pragmus Lowls’s first residence in Thrushmoor while he oversaw the construction of Iris Hill. When Pragmus moved to the new building, the old manor was converted into a luxurious stable. Count Haserton III’s lack of interest in horses and his son’s subsequent impoverishment led to the stable’s rapid decline, and the structure now lies in a state of neglect, with not a horse in sight.
This broken, half-rotten pier, also known as Worm’s Hook, is locally infamous for the three anglers killed here a few years ago. A single, ruined boat has been moored to it for a few months, though none know the vessel’s origin. During recent months, a few citizens, either youths eager to demonstrate their courage or drunkards evicted by angry wives, were using the abandoned boat as makeshift lodgings for the night. This practice quickly ceased when Gavol, one of the town’s stevedores, disappeared while sleeping off a hangover in the boat.
The Silver Wagon
The Silver Wagon: The Silver Wagon is Thrushmoor’s only inn, and as a result, one of the town’s most prosperous businesses. It offers comfortable beds in secure rooms, and the taproom downstairs often features live music. The innkeeper, Dena Gallegos, is a boisterous and brash woman who is just as prone to knock you off your stool for telling a bawdy joke as she is to tell one herself.
Home of the famous Ustalavic detective agency, this two-story building has recently become a place of international renown for Thrushmoor after several capable members of the agency went abroad to perform their missions in neighboring nations. The agency’s founder, Cesadia Wrentz, is a capable investigator and can often be found training new recruits, meeting with potential clients, or poring over case reports that make their way back to her desk from traveling agents.
In Thrushmoor, fish caught beyond the community’s immediate needs are sun-dried or smoked for preservation and export. Thanks to the bountiful waters in the lake and nearby reservoirs, the town’s smokehouse is a busy establishment, where Thrushmoor’s poorest boys and girls often slave away for years before becoming anglers on someone’s boat. The director of the smokehouse is Lysie Brilt, a goggle-eyed 50-year-old woman who started working in the establishment at the age of 10 and never left. Brilt arrived in Thrushmoor from Illmarsh as an orphan, but she was found in the streets by Count Haserton III and has been on good terms with the Lowls family ever since. She is, however, a very harsh boss for her young subordinates, who call her a “green hag” for her oversized, greenish- blue eyes.
The oldest tap house in Thrushmoor, the Stain has catered to local and foreign customers for longer than anyone in town can remember. The proprietor, Emman Gulston, an ex-merchant marine captain and a man true to his word, has become something of an emotional anchor for his fellow citizens in the current crisis. When the weather is clement, Gulston rolls out a tent on the lakefront and mounts a few tables on a newly constructed patio, increasing the capacity of his small tavern and offering lunch at midday. If their pockets allow it, many customers enjoy the friendly ambiance after dusk, although no one dares to return home too late at night. The events of the past few months have soured the inn’s atmosphere, but patrons always brighten up when Gulston’s good whiskey starts to go round and fervent card games are played at the tables.
This duo of ancient, 12-foot-tall, semicircular menhirs sit atop two of Thrushmoor’s higher hills. Each stone is etched with unidentified, non-Kellid runes and a misshapen star.
Isolated at the end of a rocky outcropping on Thrushmoor’s easternmost island stands Wailing House, so named for the otherworldly cries of despair and rage that emanate from it every Wealday night. Abandoned generations ago as a result of the mysterious haunting, the house is completely boarded up and surrounded by a haphazardly constructed wooden fence. Children dare one another to spend the night in Wailing House’s yard and even in the house itself, but only the bravest meet the harrowing challenge, and even then, no one goes near it at night on a Wealday. Despite the townsfolk’s relative acceptance of the phenomenon, Trilliss Mavaine of nearby New Chapel has vowed to eradicate whatever haunts the site in the near future.