Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Visual Guide to Flinch

The village of Flinch was founded more than five hundred years ago by a multi-racial expedition led by the legendary dwarfish explorer named Elder Flinch. The expedition consisted of dwarfish miners from Duirnhold, gnome bankers from Thither, and human wizards from Yon. They came to this valley to mine the flanks of Mount Zinnober.

The dwarfs soon discovered a productive lode in a mine known as the Wave Echo Cave. In addition to the great mineral wealth, the mine contained Atuta Dhatu, the exotic metal with which dwarfs construct their magical artifacts. The dwarfs created magical weapons on-site in a location known as the Forge of Spells.

The mine and the village prospered for centuries until eighty years ago when an army of Red Orcs from Mount Zinnober, led by their now-legendary god-champion Osgda and supported by evil mercenary human wizards, poured down the mountain, attacking, destroying, and laying waste to the entire Xanthus River Valley. The Red Orcs of Zinnober were finally pushed back and ultimately defeated at the Battle of Flinch by an alliance of archons known as the Aureate Compact. Flinch, however, was destroyed.

The survivors of Flinch re-built. The mine was destroyed and Flinch became nothing more than a stop for caravans heading into and emerging from the mountain pass known as the Defile of Castragon. The villagers subsisted on farming beets, potatoes, turnips, and other hearty high-altitude tubers as well as raising sheep and woolly oxen.

With the death of the archon in the Battle of Flinch, the village found itself without a hereditary leader. The surviving villagers turned to selecting a village elder to serve as town leader. This arrangement has served the small village well for the last eighty years.

A few months ago, a band of fifty Red Orcs of Zinnober returned, led by a chieftain wearing the armor and carrying the axe of the legendary Osgda. They emerged without warning from the ruins of the archon's manor atop the nearby hill. The villagers were caught unawares, the gates were not closed in time, and red orcs invaded the village. The men and children were brutally tortured and butchered, the surviving women, those that did not take their own lives, were taken as breeding stock. The village was looted and burned.

When outsiders learned of the fate of Flinch, no archon would devote troops to their aid. It was not until a small band of brave heroes, adventurers, and mercenaries came to Flinch that the Red Orcs were defeated or driven out and the villagers freed.

Of three hundred villagers, only nine women survived.

Since the liberation of the village, new settlers have arrived from Swallow, Choke, Thither, and other towns. The burned-out debris has been cleared and new structures have been re-built. Many of the original structures are still little more than ruined foundations.

  1. Main Gate: a small gate-house facing the lake, usually left open and unguarded. 
  2. Stable Ruins: the demolished foundations of the old stables.
  3. Barn: the barn and silo contain stored hay and tubers, a few pens outside hold a few pigs.
  4. Smithy and Kiln: a journeyman blacksmith named Yurgh recently settled in Flinch from Swallow. His wife Gathe has taken over the kiln and is learning pottery. She is not yet very good.
  5. The Auld Dun Inn: a modest inn with six rooms for rent. The proprietor is a recent settler, a hill-folk man named Tobey. He came to Flinch to be a prospector but soon realized he knew more about hospitality than metallurgy.
  6. Barthen's Provisions: The last trading post before Horek. The proprietor is a middle-aged human named Elmar Barthen. 
  7. Lion's Shield Coster: a merchant company from Kalmath. The master of the post is a shrewd Kalmathian trader named Linani. 
  8. Ruined Temple: a temple to the Aslak pantheon once stood at this site. Now it is a shell containing tumbled marble columns. The villagers have erected a small shrine on the site.
  9. Rectory: once the home of the priests of the Aslak pantheon, it is currently empty.
  10. Ruined Elders' House: the elder's house was once the residence of the elected leader of the village. It also served as a public meeting place. Now only the ruined foundations remain.
  11. Homes: several modest homes survived the sacking of the village. They are occupied by farmers and herders.
  12. Notice Board: the village elder once posted proclamations and rulings to the board. Here trade expeditions recruit escorts, prospectors hire workers, and mercenaries and sellswords may find adventure.
  13. Miner's Hall: a trading post and assay office for prospectors. The hall is run by a wealthy gnome named Harra Thorntooth. 
  14. Worker's House: a large building that serves as temporary lodging for itinerant workers looking to find employment with a prospector or trade caravan.
  15. Homes: more modest homes that survived the sacking of the village. They are occupied by craftsmen and traders. 
  16. Rear Gate: a smaller gate facing the nearby pond. It was this gate that was stormed by the Red Orcs of Zinnober.
Not Shown
The Ruined Manor: the once majestic walled manor home compound of the archon of Flinch lies in ruins atop a nearby hill a half-mile away from the town itself. It stood undisturbed for eighty years until it was recently inhabited by a tribe or Red Orcs from Mount Zinnober.