Proper Name: Highfolk, Free Town of; Valley of the Velverdyva (Highvale)
Ruler: The Worthy Sir, Tavin Ersteader, Mayor of Highfolk Town (NG male human Wiz11); and, His Most Excellent Highness, Kashafen Tamarel of Flameflower, Lord of the High Elves of the Vesve (CG male elf Wiz14/Ftr4)
Government: Mayor of town elected for life or retirement by popular vote of household leaders; elf communities are governed by hereditary monarchs from noble families
Major Towns: Flameflower (500 high elves), Highfolk (pop. 8,700), Verbeeg Hill (1,200) Provinces: No strict provincial structure—city claims a patchwork of farm, fishing and forest communities along Velverdyva River valley (the Highvale region); elves of the Vesve have separate holdings
Resources: Gold, rare woods, gems (I), livestock (sheep, goats), vegetables, wild game, timber Coinage: Solar (gp), great lunar (ep), small lunar (sp), wheat (cp)
Population: 46,000—Elf 79% (high 60%, sylvan 40%), Human 9% (Os), Half-elf 5%, Halfling 3% (tallfellow), Gnome 2%, Dwarf 1%, Half-orc 1%
Languages: Elven, Common, Sylvan
Alignments: CG*, NG
Religions: Elf pantheon, Oeridian agricultural gods, Ehlonna, Phyton, Fharlanghn
Allies: Furyondy, Veluna, Verbobonc, Dyvers, Duchy of Ulek, Knights of the High Forest
Enemies: Iuz, independent Vesve nonhumans and monsters
Overview: The land along the Velverdyva River, from the Clatspurs to the southeastern spur of the great Yatil range, has long been nominally claimed by Furyondy. Here is a land of beauty, of pleasant, bountiful farmlands tended by simple, honest folk. Everything in the Highvale functions upon a spirit of cooperation. Man, gnome, elf, and halfling live together in harmony, and strangers are greeted with a hearty handshake and an invitation to share a place at the table.
The elven folk call the Quagflow Valley, the Fairdells. Because of their numbers, many consider Highfolk an olve realm. In reality, though most in the valley defer to the lord of the high elves, representatives from several races and factions have a voice here.
Settlements and Locations within Valley of the Velverdyva:
- Brannigan’s Farm
- Quagflow Road
- Verbeeg Hill
Trade in the valley follows the Quagflow Road from Highfolk Town to the northern town of Verbeeg Hill, there to Perrenland and beyond. Most heavy cargo is transported by barge along the river, which flows at a comfortable pace. The quality of the roadways, and the halfling taverns along it, are unparalleled. The folk of the valley are proud of their home, and care for it accordingly.
Highfolk is protected from harsh winter weather by the Yatils, which block the furious winds common in the north. Light blankets of snow are common in the colder months, and it has been many decades since the last notable blizzard. For most of the year, the weather mimics the spirit of the people, temperate and good-natured.
In times of danger, the laid-back spirit of the chaotic Highfolk vanishes, and neighbor stands with neighbor against the common foe. Despite their easy natures, these are frontier folk; nearly everyone here learns to wield some type of weapon before they learn how to ride a horse. In times of muster, Highfolk can field frightening bands of halfling slingers, as well as dangerous hill and forest troops. Veluna, a strong ally of the Highfolk, has stationed more than two hundred elite cavalry and footmen in Highfolk Town, to assist the mayor and the lord of the high elves. Highfolk’s Knights of the Hart, made up of elite elven and half-elf warriors, represent hope to the people of the valley, and are justly celebrated as heroes.
History: The Fairdells and the Vesve Forest were home to high elves for untold centuries. When humans first arrived, as emissaries from the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the two races developed a kinship that exists to this day. In the ensuing years, though the folk of the valley remained strong allies with Furyondy, it became clear that they were a people unto themselves, and that the king held no true authority here.
Highfolk has always been dominated by three geographic features. The first, the Velverdyva, provides food and livelihood for many in the vale. The Yatils, home to most Highfolk gnomes, provide gems and precious metals that fuel the region’s economy. Last, the Vesve, the largest forest in all the Flanaess, provides both crucial timber resources and most of the trouble Highfolk has suffered in recent years.
The Pact of Greyhawk that ended the so-called Greyhawk Wars did not settle the borders of the Vesve Forest. A vicious, low-grade war has thus continued within the woods for much of the past decade—a war that has taken a toll on the Highfolk. Orc patrols seldom break the defensive line within the forest, but nearly all thorps and villages within the woodland were abandoned. As a result, the population of Highfolk Town has increased, straining its capacity and raising tensions even among these easy-going folk.
The town of Highfolk is primarily constructed of wood. Many of the buildings feature intricately carved arches and steeples. Elven architecture is as evident here as in any “human” settlement on the continent, matching even Verbobonc’s elegant, woodsy style.
The mayor of Highfolk, twenty-eight-year-old Tavin Ersteader, was of low birth, coming from one of the region’s northern villages. Ersteader distinguished himself as a young man, exploring several mysterious sites within the Yatils and Clatspurs and fighting against the forces of Iuz in the Vesve. Said to be a one-time apprentice to Melf Brightflame, Ersteader enjoys a warm relationship with the local elves, and is a good friend of Loftin Graystand, the former mayor, who retired in 589 CY. Ersteader is a sworn enemy to Iuz, and sponsors far more reconnaissance and attack missions against the Old One than did his predecessor.
It is said by some that the honorable mayor seeks audience with the leader of the Vesve’s sylvan elves, though such a meeting is unlikely to occur. Unlike the clans of wood elves living along the periphery of the forest, the tribes of the heartlands are often as antagonistic toward humans as they are toward Iuz’s orcs. In fact, many blame humanity for Iuz, observing with anger that the cambion-god was not only born of a human woman, but was apparently freed from captivity by humans, as well.
Ersteader has stronger allies in the form of the twenty clans of high elves who live along the river and within several leagues of the forest edge. Led by Kashafen Tamarel of Clan Shandareth, these elves see Iuz and his armies as direct threats to their lives and culture. Though less prone to simply attack than their human allies, the elves defend their realm with vigor, and are expert at setting traps and confounding invaders with forest magic.
Mayor Ersteader is wise. Without a grand alliance between all goodly forces in the Vesve, the entire region stands to fall under the heel of the Old One.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Several children of prominent elves were recently abducted from Highfolk by parties unknown. Highfolk’s branch of the Knights of the High Forest was scandalized by reports of financial corruption. Fires of magical origin plague the inns along the Velverdyva.
Hold of Stonefist (see Stonehold)
Hold of the Sea Princes (see Sea Princes)