History And Backstory

From any point on the arid grand plains a traveler can spin a full turn on a worn heel and see at each horizon hazy mountains reaching into clouds. To the West, especially at sunset, the red minerals of the Firetip peaks reflect and glint like distant flames off the facets of the many peaks - polished and carved by generations of dwarves? to catch the light to greatest effect.

To the South and East stretch untamed ranges and unclaimed territories. For all the centuries in memory, no clan has been mighty enough to claim even the foothills of the untamed ranges as their own. Even those foothills are roamed by trolls, ogres, giants - who knows the horrors (or treasures!) that sleep in those mountains proper? It would take a strong and capable bunch to penetrate the foothills - and fools to try.

Far to the North, through the high and treacherous passes, past the ice cliffs and crystal lakes, beyond the glacier walls and the strange frozen forest lies, well, the rest of the world. Or so the old maps say.

Centered amid the scrub and dust of the grand plains hunches a lone settlement: Midhaf. Its date of origin long forgotten even to the memory of your great grandfather's great grandfather. Midhaf is old. Not old like the temporary or perishable eventually age. Old like earth - a canvas for time to paint and repaint.

And centered in Midhaf is a shrine to Pelor. Though no recorded word is known to say it, it is not difficult to assume Midhaf grew around the shrine, a few shops and farms near the Clerics and guards. Though now the two, the town and shrine, are one, unified by the isolation of their setting, family lines of the shrine's caretakers now indistinguishably mixed with those who perhaps settled its perimeter.

Midhaf spreads from the shrine outwards, shops and taverns, craftsmen. There are not a thousand people that call Midhaf home but not so few that you know them all. A makeshift wall defines the perimeter: in some places earthern, some places a wooden palisade, some places just a bit of rubble or a leaning post.

Such a paltry defense, this patch worn wall, a foreigner might wonder why. Any resident of Midhaf would tell him (though none can remember ever a visitor arriving to ask) of Vixxelcurisk, the great Brass Wyrm, that watches over Midhaf and Pelor's shrine. From time to time hobgoblins or others march from the untamed mountains towards the farms and water of Midhaf. Ahh, how quickly warriors become lunch when Vixxelcurisk stirs from the sun-baked plain!

Past the walls of Midhaf, the only construction on the grand plain is the mighty dwarven built aqueduct, stretching like a perspective line from Midhaf to the ice melt of the Firetips. Built by dwarves centuries ago when Midhaf outgrew the well at Pelor's shrine, the aqueduct delivers water to Midhaf's farms. Midhaf, in return, shares its produce with the Dwarves. Rainfall on the plain is far too thin for crops - the water is a lifeline and the dwarves make acceptable neighbors.

And so it has always been, until...