THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT
Haven lies some 21 days walking and 13 days riding from Throal. A small, rough town, Haven lies in the southeastern corner of the ruins of the Forgotten City of Parlainth. Ork and adventurers led by the famed Troll Torgak founded the town of Haven almost two decades go, after spending three years carefully exploring a small corner of Parlainth’s ruins. After ridding that area of monsters and Horrors, the adventurers set up a permanent settlement from which to conduct further explorations. Other adventurers traveling to the Forgotten City began stopping in the safe area, by this time known as the Haven, to ask what portions of the city had yet to be explored and to hear the most current rumors of monsters and Horrors living in the ruins.
Eventually abandoning their own treasure-hunting efforts in favor of providing services to other adventurers, Torgak and his fellows rebuilt certain ruins into an inn they named the Restless Troll, and later a trading post called Torgak’s Supplies and Goods. Because the ruins themselves are so impressive, the Restless Troll and Torgak’s are spectacular establishments, featuring high ceilings, wide corridors, and marble steps down to the street; in many ways, they rival some of the buildings in the Kingdom of Throal. Their opulence provides an incongruous contrast to the roughand tumble spirit of Haven.
Haven boasts a permanent population of just over one thousand, including several dozen families. As many races live in Haven as in Throal, peacefully and amicably. Most trouble in Haven comes from outsiders. Of course, outsiders constantly travel to Haven, and so opportunities to stir up friction abound. A few years after the town achieved a stable population, other people interested in the opportunities to make a profit in Haven built onto the town, expanding away from the ruins. The first neighborhood constructed during this time is now known as the Old Neighborhood, though several sections of the town predate it.
On the Ruler of Haven
Haven is ruled by Torgak, founder of the trading post. A benevolent dictator, Torgak can use the strength of well-armed Orks and Trolls to enforce his will when necessary, but he has rarely needed to resort to this measure. His chief concerns are to increase trade and traffic through Haven and to keep the peace. Now that Torgak is getting on in years, he no longer craves adventure or the possibility of encountering violent situations. Outsiders who come to Haven intent on brewing trouble are often hauled before Torgak for a lecture; sometimes, he gives them a beating as well.
Despite Torgak’s personal desire for peace, Haven still reflects the nature of the Ork and Troll adventurers who founded it. The town is noisy, rowdy, and rough, and both visitors and citizens alike can indulge in much brawling or other violence before anyone interferes to stop them.
The Defense of Haven
Given the quarrelsome nature of many of its inhabitants, only a town full of warriors ready for a fight could enforce the law in Haven. And despite its peaceful name, the community sits on the edge of a ruined city whose shadows hide countless dangers. Beneath the ancient cracked and bleached-white structures lie dark cellars and long, empty corridors in which monsters prowl and Horrors nest. Indeed, masses of monstrous creatures have attacked the city several times each year since its founding. The circumstances behind such coordinated attacks remain a mystery, but most Haveners suspect that one or more Horrors are behind them. The Horrors living in the ruins are those powerful enough to remain on our plane after the drop in magic that forced most of their kind from our world. Many are intelligent enough to make mental attacks so subtle that they can cause untold damage before being detected. Horrors can compel people to kill friends and family in their sleep, possess individual members of adventuring bands so that the pawn will lead his companions into a trap deep within the ruins of Parlainth, and perpetrate other unspeakably dreadful acts.
On Haven and Other Communities
Citizens of Haven have begun to develop working relationships with representatives of both Throal and the Blood Wood, currently the two largest political powers near Parlainth. Both King Neden and the Blood Warders of Blood Wood hunger for artifacts, information, and magic from the ruins, and will pay well any adventurers who can secure such items. Both the elves of Blood Wood and the king of Throal will often hire adventurers to enter and search any ruins rumored to contain an ancient treasure. Would-be heroes venturing into Parlainth from Haven must often contend not only with the monsters, Horrors, and ancient magical traps scattered throughout the ruins, but also other adventurers racing to claim their prize.