Before the Healing, this vast lake didn’t exist. In its place was an even larger sea, but when the Healing came, the sea emptied into the Malfurion Sea and was filled with fresh water swelling from the ground. Much of the indigenous sea life followed the great flow during the time of the Healing, so for a few years, Blackwater Lake had very little aquatic or amphibious plant life.
This soon changed. A few species of sea had life adapted quite well to fresh water. In addition, certain kinds of fish, including one species of large shark, prefer fresh water as a kind of nursery. These fish include salmon, which return every year up the river from the Malfurion Sea to Blackwater Lake, and bull sharks. Other fish filtered in and began appearing as well, finding aquatic plant life to be both varied and plentiful. Now, Blackwater Lake is a resource-rich treasure hidden in wilderness.
The following is a description of a typical point of view or value of a Blackwater resident.
- We look out for one another.
- We are friendly and open to outsiders, for they are our bread and butter.
- We look the other way when there is moral indiscretion — so long as such indiscretions are kept private.
- We value our independence above all.
- We do not tolerate oppression, even if we cannot always oppose it openly.
These are examples of individuals that embody the culture.
The Welcoming Courtesan, The Fair but Stern Sheriff, The Happy Huntress
A Blackwater Villager is…
For the people of Blackwater Lake, the greatest event in their history took place at the end of the age of the Shattered World. On that final day, followers of many of the gods assembled at the village, then called Cliff’s Hollow, and joined their local heroes in an adventure that resulted in the Healing of the World. Of the four, two returned home while two others ascended to godhood. Few other villages can claim to have seen a god born and raised among their folk.
The lowest point came soon after, when the people of Cliff’s Hollow found that while the Healing had repaired the world and made it whole, they had all lost their homes. It was a hard time then, but with generous monetary help from the courtesans of Blackwell Manor, they were able to relocate and rebuild the village into something new.
Other important events took place before the Healing. One was the Pirate Attack upon Cliffs Hollow in which a night elf captain led her fleet in a bombardment of the local defense tower that was, at the time, manned by capable legionnaires. Another time, Misinformed Legionnaires seeking to find and protect the children of murdered nobles misread the intentions of the locals and slaughtered the sheriff and one of the deputies before the situation was brought under control by local heroes. Finally, there was Murder Most Foul when a courtesan Blackwell Manor made the mistake of attempting blackmail to better her position through blackmail. A powerful and dangerous assassin was sent but was discovered far too late to save the courtesan.
Already in social disarray due to reforms, an attempt to abolish the slavery system in place within the nearest Avonian province of Vergras, and the subsequent assassination of the leadership there, the Healing provided an opportunity for slaves to escape at last. Thousands of forest elves returned to their forest homelands and humans fled as far from that place as possible before the new kingdom, called Ragonia, arose to re-assert its oppressive social system. This Exodus to the West, brought many humans and those forest elves who no longer felt at home in the Calentor to the new village of Blackwater. Since the founding of the new town, the population has swollen to thousands of individuals. Considering the population of Cliffs Hollow was measured in the dozens, this is a huge increase in population, even if Blackwater Village is still quite small compared to the Midland Cities.
It remains the western-most outpost of mankind.
Great (+4): Rapport
Good (+3): Fight, Crafts
- Troublemaker (Rebel). Your mouth has a way of running away and igniting tempers. You gain a +2 to Rapport rolls to place aspects with negative emotional impact, such as Insulted, Embarrassed, or Shocked.
- Flirt (Paragon). You use your communication skills to set the mood and draw interest to what you have to say or show. A trademark of the Blackwell Courtesans, this stunt lets you use positive aspects you place using Rapport to greater effect. When you invoke an aspect relating to flirtation or seduction you get a +3 bonus instead of the usual +2.
- Assassin (Rebel). Gain a +2 bonus to the first Fight attack you make after you have used Deceive or Stealth in a scene.
- Hunter’s Eye (Paragon). You can use Fight in place of Investigate to track quarry.
- Lock Picking (Rebel). Gain a +2 bonus to Crafts when using the skill to overcome a lock.
- Smithing (Paragon). The craftsmen and women of this region have always been well known for the quality of their work. When using Crafts to enhance weapons or armor with a create an advantage action, aspects successfully placed gain an extra free invocation.
Population: 4,500 permanent residents plus a few hundred transients that include adventurers, travelers, and merchants. In the countryside are a fair number of subsistence farms.
Government: A mayor was all that was needed for the tiny village of Cliffs Hollow, but as the town grew over the past ten years, Mayor Tilly Densdale (a gnome merchant that runs a business called Tilly's Fine Fabrics) selected a group of elders, called aldermen, to assist her. Sheriff Arria, a smart young woman who had started on the streets of Terandun and followed Fina home some 11 years ago, has authority in the town as well as the surrounding countryside. The Sheriff has several deputies to assist as well. Finally, Mayor Densdale has appointed a knowledgable refugee from Ragonia named Finnius as the Justice of the Peace.
Defense: Although Blackwater has no stone walls, it does have earthen embankments with palisade on top to help deter ambitious tribes from the Calentor forest or large beast roaming the southern plains from attack. It has the advantage of being much easier to build and rebuild as the town grows. Other than that, the Sheriff has the ability to call up a small militia if needed.
Notable Inns: The Mythral Nail, once an inn of Cliffs Hollow, has been rebuilt larger and even busier. Run by the Dikson family (avonian, includes Fern, Synthia and 22 year old daughter Tanya), it's located within a hundred yards of the lakeside docks where both water-going and air-going vessels can be moored. It is conveniently located on a somewhat winding road that leads to the Gilded Tower. The Mythral Nail is the most famous inn, but not the cheapest one. Rougher taverns also have some sleeping quarters available down near the docks, such as the Starling Tavern and Inn.
Notable Businesses: This includes well established places such as Tilly's Fine Fabrics, Andermath's Shop of Oddities (run by a scruffy old man that looks to be in his seventies), The Bull & Bass Meat Market run by Hertruda Winterseye (avonian butcher), Forge of Taan Nell (solar elf blacksmith), River Fork Brewery run by Montihugh Drunderman (gnome brewer), Traveller's General Store run by the Traveller family (avonian merchants), and Dean Veban's Fishery (run by an avonian of the same name). A Market Hall, a large indoor market provided by the town and used by traveling merchants and farmers, stands not far from the temple. There is of course the Gilded Tower, a brothel run by Lady Fina that caters to wealthy clients. Other brothels fail to duplicate the Tower's success but nonetheless manage a healthy business. These include the Nymph's Grotto near the docks, and the Silk Pit that stands near the Temple of Faith and the Market Hall.
Temples: There stands at the heart of the town the newly constructed Temple of Faith that honors all the new gods and goddesses. While it does not have a dedicated clergy and is generally maintained by volunteers from the town, Lady Fina is informally regarded as the leading religious figure or at least the local celebrity by the residents of Blackwater who knew her before the Healing. It is known that the town has several would-be acolytes of the gods from among the former refugee settlers who spend a lot of time at the temple. Because Fina is also the madam of the Gilded Tower, most of these would-be priests and priestesses hesitate to approach her about establishing a full time clerical staff.
Coinage: Blackwater uses the standard set forth by the old Avonian Empire, just as the Kingdoms of Ragonia and Avonia do. See the sidebar for Avongate on the Avonia page.
This culture was created with guidance from the excellent article, "Culture from the Outside In", from the Fate Codex: Vol. 1, Issue 2.