Cities and Sites of Luiren
As might be expected in a city where the people are half the size of humans, just about everything in a hin community is built to a smaller scale. The Big Folk might find a few businesses that cater to creatures their size, but for the most part, those who visit Luiren feel like overgrown giants in a child's world.
Most of the hin communities of any appreciable size are located along the coast, where the thriving trade allows halflings and visitors to intermingle easily. In every coastal city, businesses along the waterfront (particularly inns, taverns, and hostels) can handle guests of either human or halfling size, and the Big Folk tend to feel more welcome here. Farther inland, though, the lodgings quickly shrink to better accommodate the natives.
Most of the folk who live beyond Luiren's borders consider Beluir its capital city. In truth, however, the hin do not have a capital at all, since they have very little in the way of established government, and certainly none to speak of on a national level. Still, Beluir is the largest city on Luiren soil, and it houses the biggest temple dedicated to Yondalla, so it's as good a place as any for outsiders to come seeking audience with important personages.
In keeping with their hospitable nature, the hin have designated one section of the city to accommodate diplomats and emissaries from other nations. A few human-sized homes in a particularly wide-open neighborhood go a long way toward offering comfort to foreign dignitaries.
In addition, many merchant ships put in at Beluir on a regular basis to acquire Luiren trade goods for sale elsewhere. Thus, the businesses along the waterfront cater to all sizes and tastes.
Calcitro Burrow (NG male strongheart halfling fighter 8) serves as the mayor of Beluir. The Burrow family is actually quite wealthy, and its members own a large fruit grove just a few miles beyond the city limits, as well as a number of fine taverns in town. Calcitro is something of a legend in the community. In his earlier years, he was a renowned adventurer who supposedly slew two raiding hill giants single-handedly. In fact, his opponents were drunken ogres, but whenever the tale is told, the truth stretches a bit more.
Gringa Thistlehair (LG female strongheart halfling cleric 10 of Yondalla), the Devout Voice of Yondalla, presides over Yondalla's temple - the largest one in the city. Gringa is fervent in both her faith and her efforts to better the lives of everyone in Beluir. Though she is privately troubled by Cyrrollalee's recent urgings for the hin to find a homeland, she keeps her concerns to herself and preaches that tolerance of outsiders will lead to respect for the hin. Gringa's other preoccupation at the moment is the number of disappearances in and around the Southern Lluirwood. She has discreetly approached a number of different adventuring groups, hoping she can find someone to investigate, but thus far, she has learned nothing.
A tavern and inn known as the Cold Duck, situated near the waterfront, caters to Big Folk as well as hin locals. The mayor of Beluir owns the place, though he rarely appears there, preferring to leave the day-to-day operations to his niece, Cullada Burrow (NG female halfling expert 6). The Cold Duck is famous for its deviled spice-and-salmon duck eggs, a delicacy known throughout the southern coast and the inspiration for the tavern's name.
Erdel Talltufts (NG male strongheart halfling rogue 7) runs Erdel's Extraordinary Equipment Emporium, a shop catering to outsiders who have come to Beluir intending to travel into its interior. Erdel sells just about anything an adventurer might want or need, all at standard costs. What most folk in Beluir don't realize is that Erdel also heads up a small and rather informal thieves guild composed primarily of young boys and girls. He has trained the members of this guild to sneak aboard the various ships that come into the harbor and carry off a few items of valuable cargo.
Beluir (Metropolis): Conventional; AL NG; 100,000 gp limit; Assets 136,050,000 gp; Population 27,210; Isolated (halfling 92%, human 4%, half-elf 2%, elf 1%, other races 1%).
Authority Figures: Mayor Calcitro Burrow (NG male strongheart halfling fighter 8).
Important Characters: Devout Voiee of Yondalla Gringa Thistlehair (LG female strongheart halfling cleric 10 of Yondalla); Captain Furl Mossfoot (LG male strongheart halfling ranger 5/Luiren marchwarden 5), first-ranking marchwarden in the Beluir area; Yannig Longtunnel (NG male strongheart halfling ranger 5/Luiren marchwarden 2), assistant mayor and commander of the watch.
The Watch Ranger 3, ranger 2 (4), warrior 5, warrior 4 (3), warrior 2 (17), warrior 1 (215).
The rest of Beluir's citizens are too numerous to describe here.
Chethel (Large City)
The city of Chethel lies a little way down the coast from Beluir, on the north side of the Mortik Swamp. With a population of slightly more than 14,500 people, Chethel is somewhat smaller and more quaint than the metropolis to the north. Chethel is known primarily for its wonderful hin shipyards, where the halflings happily construct some of the most seaworthy vessels around - though few of them actually sail aboard their craft.
About 1,500 of Chethel's inhabitants are elves and half-elves. They have established their own neighborhood, known as the Long Quarter, where most of them reside in homes and shop at businesses suited to their stature and tastes, but they get along well with the halfling population in the rest of the city. Perhaps because of the stable influence of the elf neighborhood, many hin have chosen to settle permanently in Chethel rather than move around, as their brethren in other parts of Luiren are wont to do;
Most of the outsiders who visit Chethel are merchants seeking trade opportunities or repairs for their ships, though adventurers and explorers often stop here on their way to investigate the swamp. A small area near the docks houses a handful of businesses that cater to such brave folk, but the hin do not really expect repeat business, since the swamp claims plenty of adventurers' lives. In fact, some residents favor passing laws to prohibit anyone from entering Mortik, simply because those who go in tend to make the Bog King angry, and he and his minions take out their frustrations on Chethel. Because of this danger, Chethel's walls are high and stout, even by human standards.
The village of Crimel is nestled up against the Lluirwood about 60 miles west of Beluir. Only about 500 hin dwell here in the shadow of the great forest. Many of these residents cut lumber from the forest under the watchful gaze of a druid and work the wood into usable and well-crafted items for sale in the markets of Beluir. Others provide food for the populace by farming the land or keeping herds of cattle or sheep in the open pastures surrounding the village. All in all, the hin who live in Crimel find life there simple but rewarding. Even with the risks inherent in living so close to the forest, the people of Crimel wouldn't trade the sense of community and friendship they all share just to move to safer environs.
Because of its proximity to the Lluirwood, Crimel has been the target of numerous monster attacks over the decades. As a result, the local temple has made certain that the community is prepared for any sort of danger. A sizable group of marchwardens lives in the village and patrols the forest around it, particularly the area where logging occurs.
Near the center of the village green is the Tumbling Troll, a popular tavern where the locals can meet and carouse with their friends and hear the latest news and gossip from travelers passing through. In addition, the village elders gather here on a regular basis to discuss developing events around Crimel. The Tumbling Troll has a couple of rooms that visitors can rent (one of which is human-sized), but its primary business is the taproom. The human-sized room has been rented for the last several months by a human called Malric Fodemun (LN male human cleric 5 of Bane), who claims to be a retired mercenary looking for a quiet place to live out his remaining years. In reality, he wronged a superior while serving the temple of Bane in Westgate on the Dragon Coast, found out about his error before his head was taken, and fled. Malric Fodemun is an assumed name.
On the opposite side of the green from the Tumbling Troll is Portly Pand's Provisions, a general store that offers basic tools, supplies, and hardware for the loggers and farmers in the village. Pand Roundnose (NG male lightfoot halfling expert 9) is as skinny as they come, but he found the misnomer of his store most humorous and kept it. A warm and compassionate fellow, he constantly extends credit to the locals when they need to barter. He doesn't supply much in the way of adventuring equipment - in fact, the only weapon he's ever purchased for the store is a mundane short sword that still hangs on the wall by the door, over his checkout desk.
The first center of worship in Crimel is the Temple of Yondalla on the northwest side of town. This building is actually the home of Hubin Sharpears (LG male strongheart halfling cleric 6 of Yondalla), the Revered Nurturer of the temple in the village. Hubin has been trying to convince the folk of Crimel that they need a proper shrine to Yondalla, and numerous discussions at. the elders' meetings of late have included this topic.
In the woods just north of town, a small shrine dedicated to Sheela Peryroyl has been built into the hillside. Nola Treestump (NG female strongheart halfling ranger 5/druid 8) tends the shrine and occasionally enters the village to see if anyone needs her care, but she spends most of her time out in the forest, working with the local marchwardens to fend off threatening creatures. Nola is the druid who visits the loggers at least once per tenday to discuss which trees to cut and which ones to leave standing in order to best preserve and regrow the forest.
Silvo Carver (NG male strongheart halfling aristocrat 2/expert 4) is the mayor of Crimel and its wealthiest individual. He dwells in one of the few homes in the village that's an actual building, as opposed to a burrow hole. Silvo owns a large farm on the outskirts of the village, and everyone says his livestock is the largest and healthiest for miles around. In addition to selling fresh dairy products in Beluir, he also sells some of his livestock each year, often to other farmers in the area. Silvo moved to Crimel about fifteen years ago and just happened to arrive shortly after the former mayor had decided to relocate. Silvo simply settled into the vacant house and the job, and no one has seen reason to vote him out since.
Crimel (Village): Conventional; AL NG; 500 gp limit; Assets 4,670 gp; Population 467; Isolated (halfling 99%; other races 1%).
Authority Figures. Mayor Silvo Carver (NG male strongheart halfling aristocrat 2/expert 4).
Important Characters. Rory Fingersall (NG male strongheart halfling commoner 4), proprietor of the Tumbling Troll; Malric Fodemun (LN male human cleric 5' of Bane), incognito fugitive; Pand Ropndnose (NG male lightfoot halfling expert 9), owner of Portly Pand's Provisions; Hubin Sharpears (LG male strongheart halfling cleric 6 of Yondalla), the Revered Nurturer of Yondalla's temple; Nola Treestump (NG female strongheart halfling ranger 5/druid 8), keeper of the shrine to Sheela Peryroyl; Arvor Brightbrows (LN male strongheart halfling ranger 6/Luiren marchwarden 2), head of the local marchwardens.
Marchwardens: Adept 4, adept 2, adept 1 (3), barbarian 2, barbarian 1 (2), bard 2, cleric 3, fighter 7, fighter 4, fighter 3 (2), fighter 1 (6), paladin 1, rogue 4, rogue 3 (2), rogue 2 (2), rogue 1 (2), sorcerer 2, sorcerer 1, warrior 5, warrior 4, warrior 3 (2), warrior 1 (12), wizard 1.
Other Characters. Aristocrat 1 (2), cleric 3, cleric 1 (2), commoner 12, commoner 9, commoner 7, commoner 6 (2), commoner 5 (2), commoner 4 (3), commoner 3 (4), commoner 2 (5), commoner 1 (346), expert 5 (2), expert 3 (4), expert 2 (7), expert 1 (11), fighter 4, fighter 3 (2), fighter 2 (4), fighter 1 (2), rogue 3, rogue 1 (2), warrior 1 (7).
Krenalir (Large Town)
Krenalir sits on the opposite side of the Mortik Swamp from Chethel, its sister city. Although Krenalir's docks are more than adequate to accommodate all the trade necessary to keep its populace comfortable and happy, most merchant ships choose to tie up to the wharves at Chethel or Beluir instead, since those cities offer better accommodations for outsiders. However, quite a bit of caravan traffic comes around the swamp to Krenalir, despite the dangers.
With a population of about 4,800 people - almost all of them halflings - Krenalir is really just a cozy little community. Its main assets are the miles and miles of citrus orchards that stretch away eastward on the Krenalir Peninsula. At harvest time, ships line up three deep in the harbor, each waiting its turn to dock and take on a load of the precious fruit. During this time, Krenalir's population swells to almost half again its normal size. Afterward, when the rainy season starts, many Krenalir natives head north to other parts of the country in search of better weather, turning the city into a virtual ghost town until spring, when the trees need tending again.
Krenalir's mayor, Hudkin Madhair (LN male strongheart halfling aristocrat 3/fighter 1), is a former wanderer who hated life on the road and couldn't wait to get back home. As a result, the despises adventurers and makes every effort to keep Krenalir as inhospitable to them as possible: He has managed to establish regulations that prevent the town's businesses from offering human-sized accommodations or selling human-sized equipment such efforts haven't really stopped adventurers from coming, but they have made it difficult for the city to entice more trade. During the past few elections, Hudkin has remained in office by only a narrow margin, and it's likely only a matter of time before the townsfolk get tired enough of his anti-adventurer stance to vote him out.
Shoun (Small city)
On the eastern coast of Luiren, the city of Shoun (population 7,487) sits on a jut of land that sticks out into the Luirenstrand and forms the bay's northern boundary. Shoun is the last major community along the trade route to Estagund before the trail enters the wild region where the Lluirwood meets the coast. Thus, the town receives the initial caravan traffic on the land route out of the Golden Water region. It is also frequently the first stop for ships arriving from other ports, before they travel farther into the Luirenstrand.
Shoun is well known for two major exports - baked goods and dairy products. The pastureland around it is filled with herds of cattle and goats, and the farmers who raise them bring cheese and butter into the city to sell. Many Shoun bakers have literally made their fortunes using those dairy ingredients to create a wide variety of consumables in their ovens, from cheese breads to delicate dessert pastries. Merchants make a point of stopping in Shoun to purchase some of both commodities, usually on there way back out of Luiren, so that they can ensure that the goods are as fresh as possible when they arrive at their next ports of call.
Melino Smalltoes (LN male strongheart halfling aristocrat 7/rogue 8) is the mayor of Shoun and has been for nearly 70 years. He also happens to be the wealthiest hin in the entire city and for a day's walk in any direction around it, since he owns numerous dairies in the fields outside the town and a number of businesses in Shoun. Because of his accumulation of wealth, many in the community have begun referring to him as Richtoes, but only in a lighthearted way, for he is well loved by the community.
Perhaps two decades ago, Melino couldn't be bothered with integrity and forthrightness in his office, and corruption was high in Shoun. The rest of the city got frustrated with his backroom politics, and he nearly lost his mayoral seat to a rival. Somewhere along the way, though, he found religion and discovered that Shoun (and by extension, its mayor) could actually prosper more if he cleaned up the corruption and ran the city fairly. His plan worked, and though he had to "deal" with some of his former business partners who were none too happy about his change of heart, the citizens of Shoun have been grateful ever since.
Thruldar was once the last outpost city of Estagund along the trade route into Luiren. In the Year of the Shattered Altar (1264 DR), a human druid named Voolad Espiral led a surprise attack on Thruldar with the support of some of the monster chieftains of Veldorn. The druid commanded a small army of dark trees and other dangerous plant creatures, and he managed to take the city completely by surprise. Thruldar was razed and most of its inhabitants slain.
In the nearby forest, several tribes of ghostwise halflings took notice of the dark magic emanating from Thruldar and went to investigate. Upon discovering what had occurred there, the tribes organized a second surprise attack and managed to slay the druid. But the powerful evil that had given the druid purpose would not accept the defeat of its servant, and Voolad soon rose up as a ghost. The hin managed to seal the druid's ghost and his fell minions inside the city by placing powerful spells on the walls. This solution meant that much of the city's wealth had to be sealed away, too, and it remains there still. Knowing that the druid and his dark trees are locked inside the city, the halflings make a point of keeping an eye on the place, hoping to discourage would-be adventurers from entering the ruined city and possibly releasing the evil inside.
Heroes and Monsters
Characters originating from Luiren are almost certainly halflings, whether stronghearts (the most prominent), lightfoots, or ghostwise. An elf or half-elf character could hail from the appropriate neighborhood of Chethel, or a human could come from a family that chose to settle down in one of the hin cities a generation or two ago. Other races are practically nonexistent as natives of Luiren, though extraordinary circumstances might result in such a heritage.
Monsters in the region include dark trees and tall mouthers, plus beholders of various types, ogres, yuan-ti, and a wide variety of woodland creatures.