Ruler: Ilmari Issakainen
Population: 192 (139 humans, 37 dwarves, 15 halflings, 1 half-elf)
Alignments: LN, NG
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Halfling
Resources & Industry: Fishing, hospitality/lodgings, travellers’ services
A busy, prosperous village, Wellswood is justly famed for the warm welcome travellers find in the village’s taverns and inns and for its most striking feature: Lake Thraren—a subterranean lake lying deep below the village’s foundations. The villagers catch the exotic fish swarming in its deep, cold waters and on its shore stands the fortress home of the dwarf clan of Erdikr. Here long before humans colonised the land above, these secretive dwarves serve Lord Issakainen, maintaining the village’s many wells, but let none enter their lightless home.
All is not peaceful in Wellswood, however. Merchants and villagers alike grumble at the slowly increasing burden of taxes levied by the greedy Lord Issakainen while others have begun to wonder exactly what clan Erdikr are up to deep below the earth.
Wellswood stands near the juncture of two trade routes. Here, travellers and traders shake the mud of the road from their feet and Lord Issakainen grows fat on the taxes and tolls he levies on both traveller and villager alike. And although Wellswood is famed for the warm welcome travellers find in its taprooms and businesses the village is well known for another reason entirely.
For Wellswood is aptly named, indeed. Many wells—both natural and dwarf-made—dot the village. Far below lies Lake Thraren, a large subterranean lake navigable in parts and fished for the many exotic fish swimming therein. A small clan of dwarves—the Erdikr—dwells upon the lake’s ebon shores. Nominal servants, or at least allies, of Lord Issakainen they permit few outsiders to visit their lightless home.
Wellswood is not the peaceful place it first appears. Lord Issakainen grows greedy and taxes have been rising steadily of late. Merchants grumble at the increased costs while recently some villagers have begun to wonder exactly what the Erdikr are up to in their ebon hold.
Castle Issakainen: Castle Issakainen’s lofty battlements overlook the trading routes that meet just north of the village.
The Footsore Wanderer: Occupying a walled compound, the Footsore Wanderer has ample accommodations for all but the largest caravans.
Toll Booth: From these watchtowers Lord Issakainen levies tolls on all travellers entering Wellswood.
Wheels & Wagons: Run by two brothers, this large business can repair almost any mode of transport.
Tuomi’s Outfitters: This meticulously organised shop has everything a traveller should need to reach his destination.
The Boot & Wheel: This small inn does a roaring trade; its guests are welcome to pitch their tents within the inn’s grounds or to hire one of its many small lodges.
The Angry Badger: A local’s watering hole, the Angry Badger serves cheap, plentiful drinks and basic, but filling, food. Additional entertainments are always available upstairs (and occasionally downstairs).
Travellers’ Rest: This rambling shrine dedicated to Behron, the god of travellers, is open to all. Travellers low on funds can sleep in the shrine for free.
Lake Thraren: Lord Issakainen tightly controls access to Lake Thraren and tithes those fishing its waters.
Don Galir: Home of the Erdikr clan, this small dwarven hold lies under Wellswood; non-dwarves are rarely admitted.
Home of the Erdikr clan, this small dwarven hold lies under Wellswood; non-dwarves are rarely admitted.
Don Galir is much older than Wellswood. Founded by survivors fleeing a great battle fought against rampaging orcs long ago, the dwarves settling here did so by accident. They discovered Lake Thranen—named for the ancient dwarven heroine who led them here and who disappeared exploring its furthest reaches—and built Don Galir as an ultimate redoubt against renewed orcish aggression. Although the battle took place centuries ago, the dwarves’ work continues unabated. When the humans founded Wellswood, the dwarves knew they could not remain hidden and so forged an agreement with the first lord Issakainen. They agreed to maintain the various wells and the lord’s burgeoning fortress in return for being left alone to live as they please.
Occasionally, the dwarves are seen sculling about on the lake in one of several boats they keep moored behind their fortress’s great stone doors. What they search for, or where they go, on these expeditions is a matter of much speculation among the villagers. The dwarves, however, are a taciturn lot at the best of times and keep their own council.