Thieves & Kings
Village of Capstone
The lands around Capstone have been dominated by the town’s location only two miles north-west of Mornhaven. It is a busy center of commerce and immigrants from afar have helped develop the town. It is a prosperous and pleasant place.
Travellers, soldiers, merchants, Dwarves, and caravans travel in both directions through Capstone. Villagers regard these strangers with a friendly tolerance, ready to lend a helping hand or have a friendly chat in the inns. On the whole, the influence of the development of commerce is diffuse; it is prosperous, but retains its character as an agricultural community more interested in the daily affairs of its citizens than the events occurring in the wider world.
The locals gather at the towns two inns to hear and talk with the many who travel the roads, and its inns reflect the importance they hold in the local community. This traffic has made the inhabitants less insular than its neighbors to the north in Bogwater, but far less than that of its larger sister Mornhaven.
A quiet place where excitement is viewed as bad for the crops and a disruption of work, its folk are generally law-abiding, with a few notable exceptions. It has an able local militia, and it’s location near a large urban center has ensured it rarely sees the problems with bandits that are seen only a days ride to the west in Westlaws March.
The town has a population of 600, but lacks walls, sprawling in the shelter of low hills and woodlands typical of the region. There are perhaps a hundred houses in the town, stretching around Capstone Hill and surrounded by its fields, pastures and woodlands. Most are built above the road, and are often set into the hill. Gardens are popular, and the village seems to draw away from the trade road passing out into the western frontier. Built of honey-colored limestone quarried from the western ridges, its homes are solid and comfortable. Most have two stories, since much of the first levels and part of the second are set into the hills. Thick, dry thatch is brought out of the northern marshlands, and every house has a small stable or barn attached to it with a wicker fence. Most locals keep livestock, even if they are craftsmen, and their yards are clean and well cared for.
The local streets are cobbled, as is most of the roads in every direction. Sewage is commonly saved for use in the fields, since many of the local villagers are farmers. Water is plentiful and the town has numerous communal wells.
Halflings are common in Capstone; they have dug their small cozy homes into Capstone Hill to maximize sunlight exposure. Most consist of a series of adjoining rooms with wide windows, often with doors most suited to the convenience of their smaller size. Quite often, they keep bright, sloping gardens in front of their homes, with cattle and other animals in small burrows of their own nearby.
The large number of halflings in the area means the town’s population has many of their clans present. The result is that the men and halflings of town have close, friendly relationships, often working side-by-side on various complimentary tasks. They commonly trade-off chores, with each others size and skill, working in close quarters wherever needed. Some mannish families even keep halfling-sized furniture in their parlors.
Only the local small farmers, or cottagers live within the town proper, along with guardsmen and various craftsmen. Most farms outside the town are protected by low stone walls and thorny hedges. Most are two-story affairs with roomy barns and workshops. These farms are sized anywhere from a few simple acres, to some larger`knight’s fees that encompass a hundred acres or more.
Village of Archers
Archers, Combe and Saddlestone are also important farming communities located near Capstone, and under its veil of protection. Far smaller than their larger brother, they are located on the pathways that crisscross the region in a haphazard fashion built with no particular plan. Each has a cluster of typical houses, many having their own little courtyards, often built by generations of the same clan. Outlying farmsteads are also typical of the region.
Archers : Pop – 100 : Archers is the northernmost village of Capstone. It lies on the edge of the Chestwood, the large woodland north and east of Capstone. Archers has about thirty-five (35) stone houses and is located against the Escarpment, and among the gently rolling hills typical of the region, cultivated carefully to maximize yields. Houses here tend to be set further apart than elsewhere in the region, but doesn`t appear different from any of the others to most. Archers lies a mile north , and three miles from the trade road. It is very fertile.
Combe : Pop – 150 : Combe is the most isolated of Capstones villages, lying about two miles west and hard against the trade road leading up the Escarpment. The road itself avoids the village, nestled in its own steep valley. The village has many of its own craftsmen, such as a blacksmith, cobbler, tanner, carpenter, mason and a weaver. It has its own tiny inn, the Blue Stone Inn, a popular spot for locals. It does see the occasional traveler, and is both very well-kept and clean. It has a handful of snug, warm private rooms available, and its house ale `Blue Stone Ale` is excellent. The locals are fairly prosperous, and most of the farms to the east count themselves locals. The local stream, the Rushlight, meanders from a spring above the town.
Saddle : Pop – 50 : Saddle sits about a mile south-east of town, about half-way to Mornhaven, though not along the trade road. This hamlet was founded almost solely for the sake of convenience by local farmers to save the trip to Capstone, since it saved time tramping home at night. Commerce and ties between it and Capstone is steady, since the two are so close, and Saddle completely lacks its own inn or craftsmen. The running joke is that the hamlet barely has a population of its own. In addition, there are many family ties between the two communities, especially among its halflings, who count roughly half the population.
The local soils are deep and dark and fertile, and the lands are well-watered. The climate is mild, and centuries of cultivation have not diminished its harvests. The locals practice fairly advanced crop rotation, and plant peas and beans in the off years. Trees are also commonly replanted when harvested. Other crops include wheat, rye, barley, oats, flax, cabbages, and parsnips. Peas, beans, onions and herbs are common in its gardens. Apples, pears, cherries and plums are common fruit tree. Currants, gooseberries and raspberries are also cultivated. Practically every farmer keeps a few livestock, often pasturing them with a neighbors herds, producing pork, mutton and some beef, with milk and butter and cheese for all.
Locals relish bartering, and commonly trade goods and services among themselves. Hard currency is rarely seen by most farmers, and even they trade or barter with local merchants and craftsmen when possible. Through complicated arrangements, the annual trade caravan out of the Kingdom of Greysmere are supplied with smoked bacon, butter and cheese in exchange for iron ore and other products. This makes perfect sense among the dwarves, since they do not relish farming, and local produce is good.
Most local cash exchanges hands during the annual harvest festivals, when traders from Mornhaven visit the commons in Capstone. Locals take advantage of the opportunity for cheap luxury goods such as needles, fine thread and cloth, certain tools and soaps. Most families are self-sufficient; weaving and sewing is common, as is carpentry and leather work. Twice a month, at new moon and full moon, Capstone holds an informal market, where the locals can exchange gossip, goods and coins. For the most part, however, only the innkeepers and the millers are considered indispensable.
While barter is preferred, the Crown’s coinage is accepted, and the traditional silver piece, or knight, serves well as the measure of local trade. Traditional guild pricing is always balanced with quality whenever they strike a deal. Platinum pieces, equal to ten gold crowns, do not circulate any longer, and are all but useless in the region. Only the great dwarven smiths and elven artists can command the prices these rare coins meet.
The Stone Mines
The quarries of Capstone hold an important place in the economy, and are a vital resource for nearby Mornhaven, and extend rather deeply into the lands west of it. For nearly two miles, all along the Grand Escarpment, its honey-gold limestone is shipped throughout the region and into Mornhaven itself for its numerous building projects.
Work in the quarries is hard and dangerous, and there are never as many workers here as could find employment. A handful of low-level mages find work and assist with simple spells such as Tenser’s Floating Disc and the like. Perhaps four-hundred (400) masons work at numerous sites across the western slopes of its hills, and most are real oddballs, including dwarves, gnomes, and even ogres. Mammondal is the dwarven stonemason claiming no clan, who leads the guild, and he has instituted equipment and many methods from his kin in the west, that remain quite secret. He has no tolerance towards his secrets filtering out, and rumor claims he has made more than one worker slip or simply disappear if he questioned their loyalty.