The Blackwood Campaign Setting
The Way has flowed down from the Heights and through the Blackwood since the dawn of time. The Elder King made his home at the river’s source, and his wisdom has transformed it into a road for goods, services, and ideas for a thousand years.
But too many of the Elder King’s lords have fallen to vice in the long years of his silence, and the people that once set about their tasks in harmony have encountered dire days. Refugees now stream into the cities of the Way, escaping the growing danger of the Wood with sickness and poverty in tow. Even families with long, honorable histories have fallen on harsh times. Some have turned to secret lives of crime and corruption to support their lofty lifestyles, while the commonfolk bear the brunt of these vices. Many live without hope, but there are still honorable and virtuous souls to lend aid when they arrive.
Riverfolk are city-dwellers. They have been loyal subjects of the Elder King for centuries. He makes few edicts, and they are largely free to govern as they please. Riverfolk have a long tradition of wisdom and justice. However, too many have lost the spirit behind the very rites that brought them prosperity. Theirs is a life of custom and society, and few venture far into the Wood. They are generally taller than their woodland kin, and sometimes much heavier. Riverfolk are typically crafty and sociable people, and some of the greatest diplomats and merchants can be found in their ranks.
Factions have a greater sense of unity along the Way than out in the Blackwood. Settlements may lie further apart than in the forest, but travel between them is easier and more frequent. Custom and tradition is more rigid, and the same laws that govern many cities as equals hold their citizens to uniformity as well.