Updated: Apr 3
Sprig Valley is a small city with a population of roughly 9,000. This community has long been composed, nearly half and half, of gnomes and dwarves. In the last five years, this 9,000 has surged to a population of nearly 12,000 – with a growing cohort of half-orcs, elves, humans, and other self-proclaimed ‘noble’ races – noble per their long-lived monarchies from elsewhere in the world. The Valley’s motto has always been ‘Like a single sprig, we each rise to form a vast valley!’
A Brief History
Founded in the 712th year of the Creaton Empire – that is, nearly 2,250 years ago – Sprig Valley began as a lifeless place where a small band of dwarves were cast, tossed from their ancestral home deep in the Sherbog Caverns – a story for another time. These lost dwarves marched hopelessly that they may find another cavern or mountain to call home, and they carried on in this way for months until they found the opposite of what they sought, a valley.
By some indecipherable will of fate, the sherbog dwarves arrived at this expanse of grass and low shrubbery at nearly the same time as a group of gnomes. These gnomes were; likewise, recently thrust from their shire at the flame and steel of a great, evil, gold dragon warlord, Ceakmoor Profeit (Commonly pronounced Keek-more Pro-fate) – the very same whose forces expelled the sherbog dwarves.
With this shared cultural trauma between the two groups – neither with grand monarchies on which to call for aid – these two smaller, gentler peoples struck ground and what they pulled from under the surface to make tunnels they piled on top to form hills and roads. This, in both spirit and stone, was the birth of Sprig Valley.
Some decades after this founding, a system of organization was desired among the people. It was, they thought, time for the dwarves and gnomes to have their own monarchy and with it the means by which to defend themselves on the worldly stage in the wake of a growing war with Profeit the dragon
To this end, the first two kings were elected, one from the dwarves who moved the stone from the earth and one from the gnomes who built homes from that stone. Known together as The Stone Brother Kings, the first two leaders of Sprig Valley were Mimli Forgefellow; a likable male dwarf who earned a reputation for moving the most earth while building the tunnels under the valley, and Willip Downdish; an equally likable male gnome who was the first to offer a greeting when the scared gnomes and dwarves first met.
Nearly three gnomish – six dwarven – generations later, the mantle of the Stone ‘Brother’ Kings has been redrafted. Now known simply as ‘the Stone Monarchs’, Sprig Valley is overseen by Galeera ForgeDish and Nathus Heavyfoot.
These monarchs are also supported by a council of locals that act as an intermediate representation to the monarchs. Together, the council and the monarchs seek to stem the tide of war and strife, as it attempts to spill into the valley.
As mentioned above, the two monarchs are supported by a council. Whereas the monarchs are elected once for life based on the merits of their character and reputation, council members are termed, allowed only to serve for 10 years upon their election. Sometimes the council is made of relations to the monarchs – a sister or a cousin – but this is still voted upon by the people of sprig valley.
A 289 year old female descendent of both Mimli Forgefellow and Willip Downdish, Galeera is the result of a union between Mimli’s granddaughter and Willip’s great grandson. Her nature as half dwarf and half gnome makes her particularly suited for a life between the underground city and surface villages of Sprig Valley. When she is not actively serving the council, the valley, or the borders, she can be found racing and sporting with locals.
A 312 year old, male dwarf, Nathus is a local to sprig valley through and through. His residence is one of the very first caverns dug into the valley’s underground which he treats more like a public museum to the valley’s history than his living quarters. Nathus started his political career as a soldier at the valley’s borders where he staved off monstrosities and beasts. When he is not serving his mantle, he enjoys being among the workers who maintain and expand Sprig Valley’s infrastructure – often joining them in the work with a magical pick he inherited from his father.
Being that the council is ever shifting, the council – for rpg purposes – need not be defined so rigidly. That said, four community members are notable during the events of this adventure.
Goola Stewmaker. Goola is a young gnomish woman who seeks to improve the valley’s academics. She started the first academy, Starmetal Yard, to encourage more valley residents to study. She herself is a novice wizard who wishes to know more so she may improve the life of the residents here.
Brimlo Colder. Brimlo is an aged, male dwarf who serves as head of the town’s guard and oversees the functions of the guards at the valley border. He wants for little and is content with a humble life defending the valley. In the council he votes only in ways that make the border stronger.
Sola Stonesteep. Sola is advanced in age, but she is still a lively female dwarf. She oversees the valley’s hospital and dedicates her fair share to the veterinary clinic as well. When she is not working, she is at Goola’s school teaching druidic magic and the like.
Kolvo Visperan. Kolvo is a youthful male elf from a far off corner of the larger Creaton Kingdom – of which Sprig Valley is a quiet part – who has only recently come to call the valley his home. Though he is not part of the council, he has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the valley and its wellbeing. He brought with him a massive wealth of foreign gold and gems which he oversees and distributes through his bank Hordewell Bank. When he is not managing the bank, he is visiting homes and businesses his wealth helped to build.
The Valley’s Geography
Sprig Valley is now surrounded by a massive stone wall. Around the perimeter of this stone wall, a statue of a stone golem stands guard at regular intervals – every 100 yards. There is one entrance in every direction – north, east, south, and west – protected by guards and magical doors.
As described, Sprig Valley is as much underground as above it. A vast network of tunnels and caverns make up the underground. It is here that most dwarves choose to live and work. The underground, as time passes and new generations add to the city, grows down. Tunnels are never dug out past the stone wall on the surface and creatures trying to dig under the wall will be met with a magical, stone barrier that cannot be penetrated by traditional excavating and many magical means.
Above ground a humble collection of gardens, taverns, and theaters pepper the valley. Dwarves frequent the surface for the company and festivities, but it is mostly gnomes who live in their shires at the center of the valley. Many years ago gnomish wizards set out to conjure a rich forest so the valley may be shaded and supplied with sweet treats. They were successful. In the center of town, a massive oak tree towers over the valley, casting shade and dropping fruit for the citizens who admire it.
Places to See and Things to do
The layout of Sprig Valley is divided into two parts, the underground and the surface. Residents of the valley can move between the two levels at lifts composed of levers and rope near each gate and a great spiral stairwell in the courtyard to the capitol building. Between the two levels of the city, Sprig Valley has most of what one might expect from a secluded, but growing city – that is, many merchants, taverns, and businesses, but nothing foreign, exotic or particularly rare. The following are the more notable features of the valley.
The Capitol Building. A humble structure of stone and iron, the capitol building is a space for progress. The few visitors the Valley has had in the past struggled to recognize it from the surrounding buildings for its lack of flare and ornamental architecture. Several floors reach underground so the capitol is equally available to the dwarves below as the gnomes above. Outside in the courtyard is the Grand Stairwell that reaches to the underground.
At the capitol, adventurers may be approached by council servants – staffers who help run the capitol – and asked to solve two problems with one quest.
QUEST: The capitol needs ink for its documentation and the river that cuts under the valley’s northern wall is being harassed by a Inkredible Cuttler, a dangerous, fresh-water squid. Kill the squid and bring its ink sac back to the council.
Oakay Doakay. The ancient oak tree at the center of the valley is brimming with life. The tree itself is nearly an ecosystem of its own and the branches and leaves are home to all sorts of interesting insects and tiny beasts. Some older gnomes come here to pay homage to the great tree that provides such bountiful shade and fruit in the form of purified water poured over its roots. Visiting the tree presents anybody with as much fruit as they can need to last a party of four for three days.
Thuk’s Theater. A relatively new addition to the valley, Thuk’s theater is run by the Thuk family, a gnomish band of artists who believe art and expression are what make war and conflict bearable. Timmrik Thuk is the elder owner/operator of the theater and often invites visitors to put on a show.
QUEST: Thuk has asked you to put on a show. Each party member makes a DC 18 performance check in order from lowest skill modifier to highest. Performers may elect to take one level of exhaustion and make the performance check with advantage. If the performers fail this check twice before they succeed twice, the crowd demands their money back, 50 Gp. Otherwise, Thuk rewards them 150 Gp.
Starmetal Yard. Also known as SY School by the younger locals, Goola’s school is still in its infancy. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before the school is prepared to offer proper lessons on magic and manners, but Goola and Sola make sure to offer the students the best instruction that they can.
QUEST: for every 1,500 Gp donated to the school, Goola gives the donor an uncommon magic item. She might sometimes offer a rare magic item, but because her skills are still novice, it requires a wild magic roll before every use. After the school has received 27,000 Gp in donations, students wish to also express their thanks by offering their own magic items alongside Goola’s.
Hordewell Bank. Hordewell is a new addition to Sprig Valley, having been erected shortly after Lorik Featherfall arrived with money from the nameless benefactor who – without ever actually being present in the valley – seems to want to improve the small community. Hordewell houses a massive vault that contains all the gold in Sprig Valley, save for the wealth of those older dwarves who do not trust such institutions to keep their gold. Employees at the bank are mostly elves and humans who moved this way shortly after Lorik, but some gnomes serve as tellers at the front desks.
QUEST: Going to the bank reveals that there are many debtors who have not been paying their loans. This information is displayed on a ‘collector’s board’ whereon the info is posted like a bounty board. Hullberry Till is on this board and the task is to repossess his animals and any lumber not already incorporated into the building. The bank rewards anybody who does this with 150 Gp.
DM note: This task should challenge the players to either side with the bank or side with Till, who has – up to this point – been nothing but a friendly and kind-hearted community member.
Paver’s Mine. Paver’s Mine is named after the dwarf who first cast shovel to dirt during Sprig Valley’s founding. Initially intended simply to dig tunnels for dwarven homes, the project eventually unearthed some precious minerals. Certainly not enough to garner the attention of any foreign powers, the gold, silver, and diamonds they pull out of the earth every year is enough to serve as magical components or as weapon’s blades.
QUEST: Visitors often run into Nathus who demands any visitors support the city’s mining efforts. In order from lowest modifier to highest, a party makes DC 19 Athletics checks. Creature’s may opt to take one level of exhaustion to roll with advantage. Every failure produces an Ankheg that attacks the party.
Rugbee Hold. This prison houses intruders and criminals from both beyond and within the valley wall. Inmates are usually only allowed visitors who are related. Adventurers who come here may be asked to help track down an escapee, an elven female rogue named Kendra’lor.
QUEST: The party is asked to track down Kendra’lor who was spotted missing a few nights ago. A DC 16 investigation check reveals a trail leading out from the prison and deep into the mines, only to find a small, empty camp with evidence of a scuffle. Check back for the Find Kendra’lor quest.