Dessingrove, a Town in Kelerak
Table of Contents
Facts about Dessingrove
Dessingrove is a human town in the Western part of Kelerak, somewhat near the border of the Kingdom of Kale. Named after the ancient oak grove in the center of the community, the town is dominated by the imposing fortress of Carn Marrot, the castle of a powerful baron that had lain in ruin since the Dark Conquest. Nearly a decade ago, however, a mysterious force-- an evil lich-- occupied the castle. Seizing on the chaos caused by the liberation of Kelerak and the subsequent wars that resulted, the lich rebuilt and refortified the castle. From there, the creature raised an army of orcs and mercenary humans and took possession of the town. The downtrodden citizens of Dessingrove have traded the terrible yoke of the Lord of Lust's rule for the even more terrible yoke of the Lich's tyranny. Life in Dessingrove is miserable.
Who Rules: The lich Afej the Dark. The Mayor of the town is a vampire warrior named Gorm, who was once an orc. He has great autonomy in managing the affairs of the town, but he ultimately answers to the lich.
Items availanble: Normal items costing 100 silver pieces or less may be purchased in the town, but since the town is occupied by the lich, no items may be purchased without the prerequisite papers authorizing it.
Population: 998 (Two-thirds human, with half-orcs and orcs making up the remainder).
Major Products: Oats, wheat, livestock, leather, and timber.
Armed Forces: 100 orcs, 10 oluks, and an oluk war chief patrol the town. The Undercarn, tunnels below the castle, house around 1000 orcs and other dark folk, the army of the lich.
The town of Hestor is located in the highlands of Zeland. It sits in a small valley in front of one steep hill. The front of the hill, pierced with an old iron mine, has been enclosed by a ten foot stone wall. Two dark watch towers overlook the wall and town.
Places of Interest in Dessingrove
1 Guarded Gates
These massive stone and iron edifices control entrance and egress to important places such as the town or the approach to Carn Marrot. Each gate is guarded by 4 oluks and an orc war chief. All of the gate guardians are equipped with loud horns to sound a general alarm if needed. To pass through the guarded gates, entrance papers stamped with the seal of the Lich or one of his generals is necessary.
2 Carn Marrot
This is the dread fortress of Carn Marrot, the hold of the lich lord Afej.
3 Entrance to the Undercarn
Sturdy iron gates lead into the Undercarn. Each gate is guarded by a battalion of oluk orcs. All of the gate guardians are equipped with loud horns to sound an alarm if necessary. To pass through the gates, entrance papers stamped with the seal of the Lich or one of his generals is necessary.
4 Temple of Vornoth
This formerly glorious temple is now rundown. Afej has not supported the worship of Vornoth, although he has not outlawed it. Instead, the Lich favors his own patron, the god Grlarshh. The priest of the temple is an older human with long white hair and a crazed look in his eye. His name is Herbet Ack-Toran.
5 Darkfall Inn
This inn, marked by a fading sign depicting a black leaf, struggles to stay in business. That's because the mayor of the town, the vampire Gorm, has taken to frequenting the place. He always brings with him an entourage of orcs and half-orcs vampire spawn. The population of the town has recently realized that those who visit the inn tend to disappear, so business at the inn has slowed to a trickle. The vampires like the ambience, however, so they still visit the place often. The inn keeper is a depressed man named Henry Ack-Wallan.
6 Eastwell Farm
A large farm, including manor house, barns, stables, and outbuildings, lies on the eastern side of Dessingrove. Owned by the canny and tough Eastwells, this homestead has weathered both the Dark Occupation and the rule of the lich. The matriarch of the Eastwells is Jocasa, a particularly intelligent and resourceful old woman. She has outlived four husbands and caused the disappearance of many orcs who came to harass the Eastwell lands. She commands a large band of sons and grandsons, who do her bidding without question. Jocasa is wise enough to know when to fight the dark rulers and when to bargain with them. Her first and only loyalty is to her family.
7 Town Slaughterhouse
This foul-smelling building is where the local cattle are slaughtered. The dark troops and their rulers sometimes use it to dispose of bodies of victims when they don't want the local populace to discover a corpse. The building is open during daylight hours and locked at night.
The Dessingrove brothel is a well-maintained building run by Dolores Daggerhand, a strikingly beautiful older woman. She is excellent at sizing up visitors to the brothel and providing them with delights to entice their senses. Despite her name, she is not violent and never fights. She keeps two orc bouncers on premises who are entirely loyal to her and no one else. Dolores ensures that no violence is ever committed against the seven women and two men who work in her brothel. Deep down, she hates her job, hates the lich, and longs to be free of Dessingrove, but she feels responsible for those in her care.
9 House of Treachery
This colorfully painted house is the dwelling of Matteus Ack-Gyles, a local guildmember and spy for General Gorm. He frequents all the inns of the town, as well as the local market, and reports everything he finds out to the agents of the vampire mayor. Matteus' wife Elsa has been missing for over a year; the Lich has promised that he will find and restore Matteus' wife to him if he serves him faithfully; little does Matteus know, the lich allowed his vampires to slay Matteus' wife.
10 Orc Garrison
This walled compound houses the orcs and oluks who patrol and manage the citizens of Dessingrove.
11 Town Market
This large open square comprises the Dessingrove town market. The market square is lined with wooden stalls where merchants hawk their wares. Any mundane item of 100 SPs or less can be purchased here during daylight hours; no purchase of more than 10 SPs can be made without authorization papers. These papers are the same papers that allow passage through the guarded gates. Also, purchases of 25 SPs or more are likely to attract the orc guard that patrol the market. Matteus the Spy often lurks here.
12 Hold of the Vampire Mayor
This large, ramshackle edifice is the dwelling of Gorm, the vampire mayor. The place is ill-kept and essentially looks like a traditional haunted house. The orcs who bear messages to and from General Gorm shudder as they enter the place.
13 House of the Mage
A well-maintained but otherwise non-descript dwelling in the center of town is the home of Cedrus Ack-Bernerd, a self-taught wizard. Cedrus is a broad, strong man with steel gray hair and the look of a laborer. Having inherited several spellbooks from his grandfather, he practices magic in secret. He has no love for the evil rulers but also has no desire to come to their attention. He can be convinced to sell or trade spells if it doesn't endanger him personally.
14 Temple of Grlarshh
This prosperous building, formerly a church to Heshtail, is now used by the death cult of the god Grlarshh. The high priestess of the cult is a woman named Betha, who took over from the former high priest Widfaral. Betha is gaunt and has a face like a skull.
15 Home of the Cleric
A secret cleric of Bestra, Ethelred Ack-Phillip, lives in this nondescript house near the center of town. Ethelred is a balding half-orc. If he is convinced that the that people are good and desire to destroy the lich, he will sell them healing at half price or provide spiritual succor.
Businesses and Professions found in Dessingrove
1 Inn Keeper
3 Water carriers
4 Chicken Butchers