Boroughs of Dunmark
“I cannot be dead, I will eternal lie, for with strange eons, it is Death that will die.” - Dunmarker funeral chant

Capital: Port Arkham
Settlements: Eel Marsh (330), Plainsmouth (2,000), Port Arkham (20,000)
Ruler: Governor Randalph Charteris
Government: Republic
Races: Human
Faiths: Great Old Ones (cults)
Resources: Agriculture, game, seafood, wood
Languages: Aklo, Common
Border Conditions: none

History
Little is known of Old Dunmark. The locals do not care to talk or even speculate on the past. Instead, they are content to live their safe, quiet lives, as they have “always” done. According to records of the surrounding regions, Dunmark is one of the original lands of Porphyra. The population is almost exclusively human of Kayanoi stock, and speak Aklo with a decided maritime—one migh even say Aquan accent. The zendiqi lords of Enoria named it Dey Ayun Marek, “Old One’s Defeat”, and old tablets there recorded a great victory of the Four in eons long past there, and regarded it a graveyard, a devastated battleground fit only for salting. Both sides ignored it, for the most part, though some few refugees from both sides settled there after the NewGod war.

It has always been secluded, and considered by outsiders, even Freeporters and Tuthoni, to be an unsettling place. Gossipers and writers from the large cities of the east have always found it trendy to pen tales of unspeakable horrors and faceless terrors stalking Dunmarker villages and ruling Port Arkham in secret. Such sensational fear-mongering is foolishness, of course. Records from visitors all describe a simple collection of towns and villages having little fear of the wilderness. For reasons only speculated at, foul beasts seem to steer clear of the region. The worst things travelers have ever reported encountering were bears and wolves.

However, an obscure tome glimpsed in a Wathisi tomb spoke of horrors in Old Dunmark in a different manner. The author spoke of the land as a sister to that of Tuthon, claiming that they were both realms of the “Old Gods” whatever they were- or are. He warned any foolish enough to consider entering Dunmark to slake their curiosity to beware, and be grateful that the Elemental Lords replaced what came before. Few have read this tome, and those who have think the author quite mad. Still and all, those who visit the Boroughs of Dunmark speak of a strange atmosphere in the land. Though the district boasts no monstrosities, and magic is rarely seen, something in the air hangs wrong, and full of foreboding.

Current Events
The inhabitants of Dunmark have lived in the same way for generations. Some tend the fields, some fish, and some speak in town halls. Most keep to their own business, and none worship the New Gods, vaguely claiming a tradition of neutrality in the clash of deist and elementalist. In fact, very little religion can be found on the village streets of Dunmark. There’s little risk of missionaries gaining footholds because the populace as a whole merely tolerate outsiders as the occasional pest. It’s not that they hate foreigners, only that they are cold and distrustful of them, as a rule. More often than not, if an adventurer comes to town, their business is taken, but practically shunned outside of shops. Some foreign ships may find their way to the large harbor at Port Arkham with rumors of strange things in the water, but they always leave port rather quickly thereafter. The one non-human race considered lucky amongst these somewhat xenophobic people are the undines, probably due to a not-so-secret smuggling operation that once ran (and may still do) to the Rainbow Isles, quite under the Governor’s nose.

Things appear normal enough in the Boroughs. The villages, on the surface, are just like all other small secluded settlements. When one stops and really pays attention, however, they begin to notice things, small things that seemed insignificant only moments before. For instance, though the citizens practice no organized religion, nor do they practice magic with any notable frequency, strange runes can be found painted over every door; the weather is fouler-overcast and stormy- far more than in lands just over the borders; and though no monsters stalk the wilderness, strange calls and lights can be observed in the night. The townspeople speak nothing of these things, practically denying their existence if questioned.

For those who are observant enough to lift the veil of denial, they will fi nd that something is not right in the Boroughs of Dunmark.

Settlements
The major settlements of Dunmark are:

Port Arkham is the only settlement in Dunmark that could possibly be classified as a city, and is the capital of the region. With cobbled streets and a fair sized population, it is considered the height of civilization in the land. The Governor’s political offi ce is located here, as well as the Thurston Institute of Higher Learning, which actually boasts a few foreign professors. There is an alarmingly sizable sanitarium, the Howard House, a few miles out of the city. Lastly, a finely built harbor lines Arkham Bay, though it is not used for trade, but for the local fishing and diving fleet.

Plainsmouth is a large farming town in the heart of the Dunmark, known mostly for the surrounding large corn fields and livestock ranches, and the markets that serve both. The town itself is fairly small, with only the most essential of businesses, including a single tavern, The Slaughtered Lamb. Otherwise, residences are spread far apart, separate by the many fields. Foreigners who have visited Plainsmouth often speak of how they initially believed it was a dull place until they witnessed “rather severe harvest rituals”.

Eel Marsh, lost in the mists of the large mire of the same name, is larger than most villages in the Boroughs, and hometown to quite a few past Governors. The village has little to offer beyond reluctant business owners and cold stares. A scant few miles north of town, however, where the ground grows firm, is a valley that sinks low between a pair of hills. In the valley are the ruins of a once vast city containing unusual structures. The village does not acknowledge that such a place exists, and often treats those who speak of it as lunatics, running them out of town.

Intrigues

  • The night after a harsh encounter with locals, the PCs find their tavern empty and surrounded by a mob of armed, robed figures. All means of escape are blocked save a trap door once covered by a piece of furniture. Going through it leads to a set of stone catacombs built at odd angles…
  • On a late night, a drunk regular of the tavern rambles on about strange things in the fields surrounding the village. He is escorted home by a kind patron, but he does not return to the tavern the next night, or any after.
  • A young woman working in Howard House seeks aid when patients start going missing, and no one seems to be doing anything about it.

See Also