Population: 4,000 (2,500 humans; 900 halflings; 300 dwarves; 200 gnomes; 100 others), during the summer trading season the population swells to as much as 6,000.
Government: Autocracy; ruled by Lord Mayor Laryn Dawnish. Eldwyn’s Ledge is in the disputed territory and while claimed by both Cumerin and Ajwain, the Lord Mayor claims fealty to the Kingdom of Cumerin while flying the colors of Eldwyn’s Ledge, sable and gules on a field of argent.
Defense: Town Watch, x20; Town Guard, x400; Mayor’s Retinue, x40. The watch handles local law enforcement, the guard acts as the forts army, and the retinue acts as a personal force for the Lord Mayor.
Commerce: Trade stop, furs, timber. Basic supplies are readily available, though exotic goods and services are harder to find. Inns and taverns support travelers.
Organizations: Order of the Vastlands, Brotherhood of Stonemasons, Sons of Independence, Mystic Circle of Angels.
Notable Features: Eldwyn’s Ledge developed in the shadow of the Wizard’s Tower. It tends to keep away dangerous wildlife though it may be the cause of the low levels of unease felt by the inhabitants. This is a small price to pay for relative safety in the wild lands.
Eldwyn’s Ledge is a large, walled town located in the High Cascades mountain range, perched high on the rim of a large crater lake and flourishes only because of its location above the trade routes and the thermal hot springs that bubble and steam around it. The town was founded a hundred years ago by the least son of a lesser noble from the northern kingdoms. As both a bastard half-breed and a last son he set out to make a name for himself and a place to call his own. That place was discovered on the edge of this volcanic crater and near the trade routes through the mountains far from the greater kingdoms. He attached his name to this spot and set about building it into the town that it has become today.
The citizenry and military of Eldwyn’s Ledge are primarily human, as it is a town founded by and settled by humans. As it has grown its nonhuman population has grown, being mostly made up of displaced halflings and dwarves from elsewhere in the High Cascades. Amongst this population can also be counted a sizeable number of highland gnomes who were unsuccessful in establishing their own community due to harassment by the local tribe of Kelmeth orcs. Currently there are slightly more than 4,000 people living within and immediately outside the town. In addition to the civilian population there is a military garrison of police, soldiers, and guards of 500 that originally came from the Kingdom of Cumerin, but have long since become native and loyal to the Lord Mayor.
The current Lord Mayor, Laryn Dawnish, is the granddaughter of the town’s founder and original Lord Mayor, Flanery Eldwyn. She follows the governance of her father and the office of Lord Mayor has in effect been established as an autocracy. The Lord Mayor wields absolute power over the town and the garrison and is supported by both the town’s council of elders and the soldiers. Under the leadership of Laryn Dawnish, the town within the walls of Eldwyn’s Ledge is a place of law and order. The town has a strong, disciplined town watch, known as ‘Ribbons’ by the population due to their colorful identifying badges. Weapons are forbidden and no magic may be practiced within the town by order of the Lord Mayor and the watch is vigilant in its enforcement. They brook no lawlessness from outsiders, of whom they are suspicious and vigilant. The watch is fair in their dealings with locals, and as such are trusted and respected by the majority of the population.
Both the town of Eldwyn’s Ledge and the garrison keep, are surrounded by 30-foot high walls of timber and stone capped with defensive walkways, battlements, and supported by forty imposing towers. The keep itself and the gate houses are constructed entirely of stone and mortar. Mounting this defensive structure is the town’s well-equipped and disciplined garrison of 400 soldiers who are vigilant to threats from the mountainous vastlands beyond the town. While such defenses would be hard pressed against any sort of organized army from the great kingdoms, it is more than sufficient to detour the local tribes of orcs and kobolds from any harassment or mischief they might consider against the town.
Eldwyn’s Ledge sits 1,000-feet above Cauldron Lake, atop the crater rim situated on one of the few relatively flat pieces of ground to be found on the crater. From this vantage it looks down on the trade routes of the distant kingdoms of Ajwain, Cumerin, and Saffor. This is no coincidence, Flanery Eldwyn, was both industrious and ruthless in his ambition, and placed his town here with purpose. The northern trail winds 96-leagues to Cumerin, a journey of 16-days by caravan. The trail south runs for 120-leagues before it reaches Ajwain, 20-days later. Heading east on the third trail toward Saffor is even more daunting, stretching out for 152-leauges, a journey of 26-days in good weather. Caravans traveling such great distances between the kingdoms of the west, with little but isolated trail villages and tavern hamlets along the way, are more than excited by the prospect of stopping at Eldwyn’s Ledge. The town has become a mecca for the weary traders and merchants traveling the long trails.
This attention is welcome by the town, for here high on the crater rim and deep in the High Cascades the town has little else to offer beyond a bit of civilization and sanctuary. It is a place that is both supplied by and supplying the caravans. The mountainous terrain is inhospitable to agriculture, beyond the countless small gardens maintained by the townsfolk. Despite many and frequent claims to the contrary, mining has proved to be an endeavor fraught with danger and rife with hardship, though some silver and copper do trickle into the town economy. And a few lucky souls have shown evidence of precious stones and gems, but this has never resulted in anything of substance. If the town can be said to have any industry beyond that of being a trade stop, it would be in the realms of timber and furring. Both of which are prosperous enough that many of the townsfolk can be found making a living at such.
In addition to the obvious powers within Eldwyn’s Ledge; the Lord Mayor and her government, the thirteen temples to each of the major powers, the powerful Mercantile Trade Guild, and the equally influential Innkeepers Consortium, there are a fistful of organizations (or factions) that are less well known or merely rumored to be acting within the town’s walls. Greatest in influence amongst these is the Sons of Independence, a known secret group of men dedicated to reducing the influence of the distant kingdoms on the town. The Order of the Vastlands is said to have a contact and possibly operatives working in and around the town to further their own ends, whatever those might be. Evidence suggests that there are at least a handful of members of the Brotherhood of Stonemasons at work within the town, bending and twisting events to their own ends. And, though it is spoken of only in whispers, the townsfolk are convinced that there is a group dedicated to extrapolating the ancient secrets of the arcane from Warlock’s Cauldron who are known as, the Circle of Angels.
The town developed in the shadow of the keep. it tends to keep away wildlife and dangers (orcs) though it may be the cause of the low levels of unease felt by the inhabitants. a small price to pay for relative safety in the wild lands.
A note on the weather and climate. Warlock’s Cauldron, and therefore Eldwyn’s Ledge, has an extremely rare and unusual climate for its location owing to its high altitude and the influence of the Pacific Sea winds. In the summer, the weather is mild and dry. In the winter, the weather is moderate but cold and subject to enormous snowfalls averaging more than 40-feet per year and snow cover averaging eleven and a half feet. This snow does not usually melt until mid-summer, and allows for substantial glaciers on adjacent mountains. It is not uncommon for snow to fall as late as June or as early as September. It is rare and unusual for Cauldron Lake to freeze over, and that last occurred 66-years ago. Partial freezing does occur but it is tempered by the heat beneath the lake and the moderate winter temperatures of the region. The warm summer temperatures have typically cleared the snow has completely by August, but hard frost is possible even into the summer. The summer is short and prosperous with trade caravans traveling the open trails and swelling the town into a busy market. The winter is long and harsh, with the town lying quiet and dormant in anticipation of the summer opening of the mountain trails.