Village Backdrop: Hornwall (5e)
A 5e Compatible GM's Resource by Jeff Gomez
Five years ago, the bandits won. They overwhelmed the village of Hornwall, killed its citizens and looted their treasures. Then, they settled down. The bandits of Hornwall now reside within the very defences meant to keep them out. They have given up the sword and taken up the ploughshare, exchanging a life of danger for one of safety. The villagers hide their secret well, but bodies keep appearing—floating in on the current, dug up by dogs and even emerging from the thawing winter snows. And the citizens who wish to return to the old ways are murdered in their sleep by their loved ones and business owners who wish to keep the past dead and buried. If passing travellers learn the truth, they have a choice. Forgive and forget? Or avenge the uncaring dead and leave Hornwall nothing but ashes.
Most of the village comprises normal homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers.
- Basile’s Brews: This dark, cramped home smells of loam and sugar. Basile the alchemist lives here, roaming from room to room in a psychedelic haze. She has removed all the doors to make carrying objects easier.
- Bloody Well: The Bloody Well once provided water for Hornwall, now it dredges up only red, metallic muck. Luchent designated this area as a makeshift sparring ground, hoping to relieve some of the villagers’ stress.
- Dampé’s Abode: Damp and dark, Dampé’s abode is none-the-less homey. Here Dampé spends hours speaking with his imaginary friend and organising the possessions of the deceased villagers.
- Gravepit: The Gravepit holds the remains of the pervious villagers. Despite the effort of time and wild animals, the bodies do not decay. Instead, they slowly seep to the surface, perpetually rotting in the breeze. The scent is noticeable for miles.
- Green Lodge: The Green Lodge is both a tavern and staging area for hunting trips. Daleren Leroie and her lover Edrix live upstairs, while hundreds of human ears are kept in a secret trophy room. The building is decrepit and filthy, filled with the stench of deer entrails and spilled wine.
- The Hornwall: The Hornwall surrounds the village in an unbroken ring. For a time, this wall protected the villagers from the Thinner gang. Now, the gates sit open and unmaintained. A single watchtower houses a large horn, once used for warning the villagers of approaching danger.
- Lyeshop: The tannery (known as the Lyeshop to locals) is a small-time affair. It is manned by Philbaud the elf, the only villager who was not a member of the Thinner gang. Unfortunately, lye from the Lyeshop is slowly poisoning Shallow Lake. The waters will be undrinkable before long.
- Shrine of Flowers: This tidy wooden room houses a statue of the god of the former inhabitants of Hornwall. Now, the shrine is all but abandoned. Luchent Leroie, the village mayor, is the only person who spends much time here. In the cellar, the villagers store grain, meat and gold.
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