“DAT SUMMER o’ 4708 wuss mighty hot. Yessir! Hottest since my dad went and got bit by a rabid dawg. Anyways it was dat summer ’em four boys from Higg’s Hole got messed up. Before dat summer ’em boys were just regular folks, well maybe dat Boulderhand kid was a bit different, he was strong as an ox dat one. Well after dat summer ’em boys were a bit outta kilter” (ol’ coot Mulch Gale 4708).

Isger is a vassal state of Cheliax.

In the eyes of Cheliax it is not so much a sovereign nation as a glorified trade route between the mother country and the rich nations bordering Lake Encarthan.

This route leads up the Conerica River from Cheliax, past the capital of Elidir, and from there overland into the nation of Druma.

Higg’s Hole lies in the northern foothills of the Aspodell mountain range in Isger. It lies just below Bloodspire Peak (2,200 meters high). The village was founded in 4607 by one Higgs Ribbelby who found iron and silver deposits in the Bloodspire. Since then the village has kind of prospered. The deposits have thinned out but there is still some to be found. Around the village are also some good grazing grounds for sheep.

The village has four festivals:

The Festival of Rebirth in spring which has a small fair with different contests including beer drinking, pole throwing, sheep shearing, and others.

The Festival of Change in summer which is when all who is fourteen must choose to apprentice themselves, and those who like can try to pick an apple from the Carmille apple tree. The apple tree grows up on a cliff and if you pick an apple you can give it to someone in the village who is unmarried, and if they in turn give you an apple you are bethrothed, and will be married when both of you are eighteen.

The Festival of Remorse in autumn when all day, each villager carries around a small, crude, humanoid figure crafted from straw, whispering to it the sins he or she committed during the past year. At dusk, the villagers gather in the town square and throw their dolls into a bonfire, burning away the sins to either make a fresh start of things or make room for another year’s worth of debauchery (depending upon one’s personal outlook). Penitents then often meet with the village priest (to discuss spiritual matters if he’s not too drunk!) and/or the guardian (for more secular concerns), both of whom sit in chairs atop a raised wooden platform not far from the bonfire.

The Festival of Destruction in winter when ten chosen villagers carry around burning barrels of tar on their heads until they throw them in a huge pile of wood, all is finished with a great firework display.

You and your friends

The life in the village for you is pretty good, especially when Rell can sleep somewhere else than home. Some winters can be harsh and low on food but all in all life’s pretty good. You usually all have chores around your homes but afternoons and evenings you are usually off. You have some favorite areas where you like to spend your free time. Copper Creek, the small river where you can swim and fish, there’s even a small waterfall. The old cabin, which lies in a small forest a mile up from the village, you can even see the village from up there. There you have buried your stash, a small wooden coffer with odds and ends including eight copper pieces and an old dagger. Deadrock Valley, which is a small valley where the Blairs usually have their sheep, there is a small wooden stable there for the sheep where you boys sometimes sleep out.

Your knowledge of the outer world is a bit limited but you all know of the common history of Isger. The village hasn’t been that troubled by bandits due to its remote location, but everyone in the village owns some kind of weapon at least. You know there’s a gnome village called Umok a few days west close to Chitterwood, a farming village called Hallowfeld a few days north and another mining village called Arenberg a few days southeast. And of course that Logas, the old capital, lies many days west and Elidir, the new capital, lies many days to the north.

Being ten years old you haven’t got many worries, you know when you turn fourteen you must choose where you will be apprenticed in the village and you can also be betrothed to a girl during the Festival of Change in summer, but that’s many years off. So one hot summer afternoon you are sitting on a rock near the creek talking about the time when you chased off that horde o’ wolves (actually two mangy starving ones), or when you managed to save Gale’s barn from burning down. You decide that it’s time for a swim …

Welcome to Higg’s Hole

1. Potter. Schlagen family. Heinz and Wilma, their children Zarah (10) and Otto (8).
2. Shepherd. Blair family. John and Mathilda, their children Caleb (14), Jonah (10), Micaiah (9), Nathan (6), and Miriam (4).
3. Shepherd. Odval family. Haley and Glyn, their children Rhona (11) and Sean (9).
4. Carpenter. Krumpstein family. Gunther and Anna, their children Karl (13), Melissa (12), Derri (11), and Johann (10).
5. Miner. Ribbelby family. Higgs Jr (the founder’s son, 82) and Samantha.
6. Miner. Ribbelby family. Jack and Vera, their children James (15), BB-Bill (11), and Judith (9).
7. Shepherd. Gale family. Hoyt and Jenna with ol’ Mulch.
8. Shepherd. Gale family. Clem and Mary Lou, their children Tammie (8), Zeb (5), Betty Jo (4), Gus (2), and Clem Jr (1).
9. Shepherd. Jokum family. Laoch and Uchdryd, their children Angwen (8), Aeronwen (7), Ibor (5), and Barris (3).
10. Smith. Grunwald family. Joseph and Olga, their children Tomas (16), Amber (15), Jorn (12), and Jack (11).
11. Local priest of Torag. An elderly drunken dwarf named Edrukk Hammerfist.
12. Workhand. Busuk family. Harrani and Ina, their children Norgis (17), Orsuf (13), Adela (12), Yanna (10), Darren (7), Mal (5), and Gwendolyn (2).
13. Miner. Morgrym family. Owein and Morgana, their children Pedr (14), Rodric (14), Branwen (11), Meggan (9), and Ivor (3).
14. Miner. Iozif family. Grigoriyev and Golovina, their children Jenya (16), Zhikin (12), Zina (10), Kolya (6), and Vanzin (1).
15. Workhand. Yarblinsky family. Alexandr and Helena, their children Martinia (14), Gerard (9), Teobald (8), Sylwia (7), Marianna (3), and Weronika (1).
16. Silversmith. A gnome family called Frothelthimble. Taridwodqird and Lush, their children Yem (32) and Yen (29).
17. Hunter. Steinmeyer family. Wolfhard and Eloise, their children Gisela (8), Carla (7), Ottmar (5), and Walter (4).
18. Hunter. Andrezii family. Vojtech and Andrea, their children Nikola (9), Laura (9), David (8), Jaroslav (3), and Radovan (2).
19. Workhand. Kalliaral family. Smolk and Khogma, their children Bhanni (10), Jarngird (7), Otvulf (6), and Sheah (3).
20. Ex-legionnaire from Cheliax. Boulderhand family. Dieter and his son Rell (10).
21. Miner. Truddig family. Thorismund and Anouk, their children Mira (9), Theoderic (8), and Brunhilda (4).
22. Miner. Ribbelby family. Seamus and Tegan, their children Jay (12), Ruby (10), Elliot (7), Skye (5), and Ray (1).
23. Guardian (sheriff). Graf family. Martin and Marya, their children Siegmar (14), Rosalinde (9), and Yvonne (3).
24. Greenlund’s Inn. Bert and Greta and their adopted son Elias (10).
25. Miner. Valki family. Zar and Mirizhe, their children Line (14), Bram (9), Rakham (7), Zia (5), and Licha (4).
26. Bakery. Myrnaborne family. Ralf and Hannah and their son Thoerd (10).
27. Miner. Andyll family. Seimon and Mair.
28. Miner. Andyll family. Drystan and Ifanna, their children Erwin (16), Cati (13), Glynnis (11), Anwyn (7), and Alan (6).
29. Shepherd. Brockson family. Kirk and Lyla, their children Frank (13), Verna (10), Adelle (7), Mart (6), and Norris (2).
30. Herbalist. Izkrael family. Owen and Maryam and their baby boy Willis (2).