Tusman Hills Gazetteer
Date: Fri, January 23, 2004
Topic: Greyhawk Gazetteer
The Tusman Hills are relatively unknown. Fierce warriors hire themselves out to the surrounding armies, but outsiders seeking to explore the hills are quickly repelled. What follows will surprise many as you see the vibrant life that exists within the Tusman Hills
Tusman Hills Gazetteer
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Tusman Hills Gazetteer (as of CY579)
Name: Tusman Hills, partially claimed by Ket and Tusmit ? not enforced
Ruler: No single ruler, various village elders and gnomish chieftains
Government: Village-centric government with common assembly of leaders during festivals based on ancient Oerid tribal traditions. Organized military structure in times of need with rule of the commander overriding village elders. Gnomish and dwarven leaders consulted on region-wide issues with no unilateral action without approval.
- Human (O, some Ob) 7,500
- Gnomes (Rock) 800
- Dwarves (Hill) 350
Language: Old Oeridian is primary language. Most humans have basic knowledge of Gnomish.
Religions: Fharlanghn, Celestian, Atroa, Wenta, Pholtus (minor) ? Oeridian pantheon
Alignments: N(G), CG
Villages: Population figures represent the village proper and surrounding area
Highborough (1,875) This central town is the oldest permanent Oerid settlement in the hills. It sits in a large dish-shaped valley and is well connected by cart tracks to the surrounding villages. Several streams and springs collect into a small lake with no above-ground outlet. The hills surrounding the town are heavily farmed, while the valley floor hosts orchards and vineyards. Irrigation ditches and hand pumps of gnomish design ensure the success of the crops. Much of the produce of this town is exported to surrounding villages in exchange for goods and services. About half of the population lives within the town confines. Several quality inns cater to travelers. Grain mills and butchers exist to refine the products from the surrounding fields. People here are the most civilized of all the hill-dwellers. Buildings are typically of wood or earthen-brick design and seldom over one storey. The only stone fortification in the Tusman Hills exists in Highborough, a 6-storey tower of hewn stone, which now serves as the armory and training ground for the militia.
Wheatton (1,425) This farming community sprang up near the site of the original Tuflik River settlement. Numerous grain farms spread in all directions from the village center. The caravan route between Ket and Tusmit passes within site of this town and its size rises and falls with the level of trade between the two regions. To many, this town on the very southern edge of the hills is the only contact any have with the hillmen. Known for their breweries (even prized by the dwarves of the Yatils), many travelers make a point of stopping in Wheatton on their journey. The militia presence is strong in this town, to nip any problems with foreigners in the bud.
Meadowcrest(1,200) Sitting on the rugged, western borders of the hills, this widespread community is home to many herders and flock-keepers. There is no real village per se; the few permanent structures that exist are widespread. The family clans are quite transient, moving with their flocks to find the best grazing areas. A recent venture, a quarry that produces azure and emerald-grained marble has gained interest from both Tusmit and Ekbir to the west, with traders from these countries inspecting the product. The young of this area are the ones most likely to join the militia, as opportunities are quite limited. There is an equal amount of external trade with the Baklunish settlements of Tusmit, but mixing of the two cultures is limited on both sides.
Ippdell(975) This forest community exists in the northeast corner of the hills amongst a mighty grove of ipp trees. These ancient trees have been carefully cultivated and replanted through the ages and the extents of the forest are actually said to have grown beyond the original borders. The trees are selectively cut and turned into all sorts of wood products by the craftsmen of this settlement. The most concentrated of all the villages, the community has grown close together in a mighty clearing at the middle of the woods. Close to the Yatil mountains, this village has borne the brunt of many humanoid attacks through the ages. The grove, however, seems to offer the hillmen a measure of protection and their tales of overcoming insurmountable odds are legendary throughout the region. Wood for construction as well as for military purposes is sent all across the hills. The dwarves of the Yatils also maintain excellent relations with this village.
Waywynne(750) This near-mountainous community sits close to a dwarven clan stronghold in the Yatils. The original Oerids and dwarves formed a very close bond, the dwarves impressed by the dedication and work ethic of the hillmen. This bond exists to this day and several families of dwarves live within the village to teach the craft of metal-working. The dwarf clan has suffered from a reduction in numbers due to constant battle with the humanoids of the Yatils. The people of Waywynne are happy to help their dwarven friends and have learned to fight side by side in the tunnels and passes of the mountains. Dwarven steel is prized by the humans as much as the lumber and foodstuffs is needed by the dwarves.
Summerhurst(675) This loose-knit community of hunters and farmers occupy a large non-descript tract of land in the western central area of the hills. Most people just scrape out a living in this area and are the most reclusive of all hillmen. An aerie of griffons share this land and even with their low intelligence, the creatures have learned to avoid the skilled bowmen of Summerhurst. This is the wildest part of the hills, with small pockets of humanoids and more nefarious monsters appearing from time to time.
Wildmere(600) More an armed camp than a village, this settlement has been razed and rebuilt numerous times. Such is the price of freedom and the hillmen learned early on that if they did not stem the tide of humanoids pouring through the only overland pass to the hills they would not last long. Many hillmen feel it is their duty to spend several years in this village protecting their families to the south. Massive wood and earth palisades have been constructed over the years amongst the numerous ravines to funnel invaders to the spot the hillmen choose to engage them. Traps and devices of dwarven and gnomish design ensure the area can be defended by only a few.
Gleranhold (Gnomish warren) 300 ? Largest of the gnome warrens, this underground settlement goes largely unnoticed by the people above. Located just about in the centre of the hills, there are only a few above-ground entrances to this subterranean village. The gnomes of this enclave produce valuable gems by the cartload, mined from within their ever-lengthening tunnels. Once or twice a year a heavily guarded caravan makes for the markets of Semfur to the west and Lopolla to the east returning with greater cartloads of items both necessary and curious. The gnomes have good relations with the surface dwellers, but they exist as two separate cultures.
Jarothold (Gnomish burrows) 250 ? A collection of small burrows on the southeastern edge of the hills. The primary product these gnomes mine is precious and semi-precious ore and fuel stone used to power their smelters. These gnomes are master jewelers and have much more contact with their human neighbors. The burrows are widely scattered, but a communication system can allow them to respond to any external threat cohesively. These gnomes are separate from their cousins in Gleranhold, but view them as friends and each clan spends much time enjoying the other?s hospitality.
Kilmurhak (Dwarven stronghold) 350 ? This dwarven clan has existed for eons on the southern edge of the Yatil Mountains. Once numbering close to a thousand, their home has been plagued with repeated attacks by giants and humanoids through the ages. Only about a quarter of the original structure is habitable. Part has been collapsed by seismic activity, part has been purposely collapsed when taken over by a band of orcs and goblins. The dwarves found unlikely allies centuries ago with the arrival of the Oerid in the hills. Today they work side by side with the hillmen, teaching them their craft while depending on the military and trade support of their neighbors in Waywynne.
Society/Culture: The people of the Tusman Hills have not forgotten from whence they came. The original Oerid plainsmen who settled these hills were of a different breed than their Aerdi cousins who swept across the Flanaess. Having seen first-hand the devastation caused by the Twin Cataclysms, this group strived for a simpler, independent life, set apart from organized government. This sense of isolationism has permeated down through the generations. The Tusman Hillmen are fiercely loyal to their own, but are very laid back as an internal society.
Good relations with the gnomes and dwarves who inhabited the hills have made life easier for these people. They live primarily in a simple, agrarian culture, being careful not to overtax the land. They recognize the valuable gift they have found within the Tusman Hills and will die to protect it from outside influences.
The separate towns function almost as independent tribes politically, but commercially they recognize the specialties of each community and have found it most efficient not to try to duplicate what another group can do better. The result is a large community that needs all parts to be successful. The young adults of the land are encouraged to ply their skills in the world, before returning to settle. Usually the first-born, be it male or female, will follow in the traditional occupation of the family. Subsequent children will serve in the militia, travel the surrounding countries or hire themselves out as mercenaries. The hillmen have wisely recognized that this exposure will strengthen their people as well as alleviate the overcrowding that plagued their forefathers.
The elders of each community are looked to for leadership. Disputes are resolved in community forums and regional issues are discussed at the festival gatherings. It is an honest society above all and the hillmen recognize their strong need of each other to survive. Little competition grows between the villages that have existed for centuries. Families have been known to move from one community to another where they are usually welcome and given a hand getting started in their chosen profession. The hillmen are not concerned with accumulating wealth and those that return to the hills after time abroad, usually do so with items of a useful nature.
While no formal education exists, the people are generally well-schooled with help from their gnome and dwarven friends. Visitors to the land are viewed suspiciously until their motives are known. Even then, they are encouraged to complete their business and be on their way. Few from the outside have been welcomed into the community to stay. Magic is dimly viewed, as the destruction wrought by the Twin Cataclysms is made known through legend and song.
The population has strong ties to earth and nature based deities. Formal churches do not exist and many people follow the druidic faith. The people have equal respect for the gnomish and dwarven faiths, but do not actively participate in worship with their neighbors.
The warriors of the Tusman Hills are known regionally for their exceptional fighting skills. They are prized as mercenaries and the young looking to travel will eagerly fill the ranks of the country that can offer them the most action. They tend to stay together with new recruits replacing numbers in standing units of hillmen within the armies of Ket and as far away as Bissel and Veluna.
Military Structure: Descending from the warrior class of the original Oerid tribes has ingrained strong military skills in the people of the Tusman Hills. The human population of 7,500 maintains a standing force of about 350 foot and bowmen at any one time. The majority of these (about 200) remain in the town of Wildmere in the northeast section of the hills where there is a constant threat from goblin and orcish incursions. The footmen will strongly patrol the mountain passes too, these probing missions aimed at flushing out groups of humanoids before they can organize. These are medium footmen, skilled at fighting in the hills. Most have spent time with the dwarves of Kilmurhak and fight with chain and spear, switching to swords for close fighting. Light crossbowmen fill out the ranks, but they are also capable fighters if challenged.
A force of 50 permanently patrols the area around the southern village of Wheatton, where the largest numbers of foreign traders and visitors interact with the hillmen. They are primarily light, mounted skirmishers skilled with the lance and horse short-bow.
The remaining troops, about 100, reside at the tower in Highborough, but from these troops, three rotating patrols of about 25 each, a mix of mounted foot and mounted archers, cover the land.
An additional force of close to a 1,000 trained militia can be drawn on in times of need. These are generally well skilled and armed with spears predominantly, although small bands of retired military men can form a formidable unit. These troops can be assembled and ready to respond to any threat within the hills in two days.
The gnomes of the area have enjoyed the protection of the surface-dwelling hillmen for centuries. As such, they have lived a primarily peaceful life and are really only capable of defending their warren. They are very willing, however, to help provide equipment for the hillmen militia and have come up with ingenious devices for the defense of the passes near the town of Wildmere.
The dwarven clan, already small in number, is constantly battling humanoids under the mountains. In times of dire need, they can provide some heavy footmen, but this would be rare. The hillmen understand this and recognize that without the tireless efforts of their dwarven friends, humanoids would come spilling out of all manner of cracks and crevices of the mountains.
Friends and Allies: The Hillmen don?t actively seek contact with bordering countries. They have lived self-sufficiently for centuries and do not actively seek strong trade ties. Individual tradesmen and farmers will ply their wares to passing caravans or to neighboring towns, but groups of Hillmen do not take their goods to the markets of Lopolla and Semfur.
To the neighboring states of Ket and Tusmit, the Tusman Hills are not a valuable prize, as the area serves as a buffer between the two countries. The hillmen have lived here for as long as anyone remembers and have never shown an interest in acquiring adjoining territory. They seem to want to be left alone and that is fine with both countries. And. if the measure of the fighting skill of the population is shown in the skill of the mercenaries hired by each country, then neither would want to attempt an invasion of the Tusman Hills.
Rivals and Foes: The only threat to the freedom of the hillmen lies in the humanoids to the north in the Yatil Mountains. The disorganized groups have never made a strong foray into the hills and are usually met and pushed back handily. However, in the past decades, these groups seem to be fighting with more order and their ranks have been dotted with ogre troops as well.
NPCs of Note:
Losyn Brookcrafter (F8, male) Losyn resides in Highborough and is the overall military commander for the hills, charged with organizing defenses, training new recruits and patrolling the lands. He spent over a decade in the army of Ket, returning years ago to take charge of the region?s defenses. A grizzled veteran, Losyn is well-liked by all he comes in contact with, his military prowess an example of the best of the Oerid stock the hillmen have descended from.
Rolean Westsinger (Bard 9, male) Rolean is well-known throughout the region as a master story-teller. Educated in Veluna, he is making great strides at recording the history of the hillmen in written form. Short and rotund, he is as welcome in the dwarven halls as he is in his own villages and his dry wit can be the equal of even the most taciturn dwarf. A strong attraction at the festival, hundred gather to hear him recant tales of glorious deeds from past ancestors.
Cyllun Summerseed (Druid 7, male) One of the elders of Highborough, Cyllun has been a village fixture for as long as anyone can remember. His longevity is remarkable, but he remains young at heart and vibrant. He has plied his nature skills to ensure the success of the agricultural lands throughout the hills. He spends several months of the year, before the growing season and again as harvest approaches, traveling the farm communities to offer advice and help to the farmers.
Laonir Ruddybean (T(scout-kit) 9, male) Laonir is an unassuming yet talented man. He has worked tirelessly in the northern hills and mountains, infiltrating the lands of the humanoids to thwart their plans before they can ever get off the ground. Somewhat scorned by the general militia for his small size and lack of warrior skills, he is, nevertheless, highly valued by the military commanders who know the true scope of the work he does. He has become a creature of legend to the humanoid tribes and the thought of him nearby has become enough to instill fear.
Crelissa Summergazer (F6, female) Crelissa is a proud ambassador of the Tusman hill people to the visitors of Wheatton. While she commands the militia in this caravan waypoint, her inviting manner and calm resolve have helped keep the peace more than her sword. She knows that quiet and safe passage near the Tusman Hills are vital so as not to attract the attention of the neighbor states.