Volsin Village sprung up as the domestic center attached to the Volsin Silver Mine, found a leisurely hour's walk or 20 minute ride further north along the mine path. While the actual miners would bunk in a camp onsite at the mine, their wives and children had more permanent homes in the village, and a number of modest shops and businesses spring up to service them. In the mine's heyday, Volsin claimed a population over 500 people, but after the mine played out most of them moved on following after other work; those who stayed behind and scratched out a living from river fishing or lodging the occasional boarder, and their offspring, are all that remain today, fewer than 70 people altogether.
Lawlessness is something of a norm in the city, but because the people are equally hard scratch and poor, there's not much theft to speak of, as there's not much point to it. The only real troublemakers are the feral teens who've managed to avoid imperial 'recruitment' patrols compelling criminals to join the war in the west, or face beatings and fines for their crimes from the Duke of Elkur, whose land the village and mine are on. A few tired Ducal guards are posted in town but only to protect property of value to the duke from being stolen or damaged; they take no interest in petty crimes and clearly regard the posting as punishment rather than a real job.
36 humans, 14 half orcs, 7 orcs, 3 dragonborn, 2 Kenku, 1 Goliath, 1 Elf (Half-elf).
Feudal town managed by the Duke of Elkur, governed by an elected mayor of little more than administrative power - the assignment of permits and licenses and the management of local taxes which tend to total zero, even if she could be trusted not to skim most of it for herself.
Literally none; the town's main defense is that it is a suckhole stealing money and joy from anyone who might decide to go there to make trouible. In a larger sense, it's protected from any serious threats by the military of the Duke of Elkur and by extension, the Imperial army. Nothing short of an actual invasion would be likely to stir up that kind of attention, but recently the Governor of the province has decided to assist the Duke in trying to clean up the village by allowing an enterprising band of local adventurers to take the fortress as their own, and by extension clean up the village and the mine, and restore at least some degree of productivity, if not prosperity, to the region.
The town is self-sufficient, but only barely; most families barter among themselves for what they need, trading fish for small sacks of grain, tomatoes and peppers for nails, paint and bolts of cloth, or pots of honey for sacks of dried beef strips; the three winter months where very little other than tough boiling greens can be grown is especially difficult. Legitimate trader caravans come through once or twice a week on an irregular schedule, with irregular goods to sell, but they do buy salt fish, lumber, and crafted goods like pottery and clothing. The only real mercantile in town is Dr. Don Sod, who is also the town barber, surgeon, and moonshiner, making a peculiar blended whisky in small hogshead barrels cold-aged in his store basement but then buried for two weeks to finish hot, in the steamiest parts of the town dungheap. This adds a second layer of fermentation and counter-intuitively further sterilizes the mix, making it useful for his work as a surgeon, but also a kick in the ass as a recreational beverage.
Unfortunately as the hopes for returning the mine to active service have faded, the able-bodied members of the community mostly moved away, and those who remained and couldn't find decent work turned to crime, robbing travellers on the roads leading to the town. If legitimate work came back, either for the mine itself or a large scale construction project at the castle, no doubt most of them would rather do satisfying labor in return for steady pay and the crime rates would plummet.
The single 'paved' road is a dark-colored, flat and rounded river pebble. It was laid down a hundred or so years ago, dredged up when the river was widened, pleasant in good weather but slippery in the rain and treacherous for horses when rainwater collects and mixes with the sandy mud to create a dense, quicksandy base. The center of town contains the worn-out public baking ovens, the town well, a guardhouse that's usually empty, and a statue of an unknown knight whose head and arms were knocked off ages ago, and whose plinth has been completely scratched out; the lower quarters of the epic statue are entirely defaced with scratched in graffitti and obscenities, and a close look will reveal several gang tags of the Crows and the White Chests, and an incorrectly drawn symbol of the Glass Street Shankers.
A public bath, which is not much more than several squares of cloth hung over rope lines between posts for modesty, can be found in the deep cutout where the town dock used to be; nothing remains of the dock above the water, but a few old foundation posts provide cover for deep bass and trout in the stream. The cloth is filthy, sunfaded and usually soaking wet, but it does provide some privacy.
At the south end of town at the river's edge is a public waterwheel mill, but the wheel has collapsed and the mill is abandoned; the grain fields are overgrown with weeds anyway.
The completely collapsed remains of a windmill can be found in the woods to the north of the garbage hill.
Volsin is located strategically between the mine, Fort Volsin, and the Dwarven settlement Oanog on the other side of the river. The river provides a bounty of healthy fish and reasonably nutritious river kelp, as well as crawdads, frogs, ducks, geese and the like; the woods are dense, filled with fine timber on huge trees, and support a healthy ecosystem of deer and elk, moose, bears, panthers, wolves, smaller rodents, and the occasional monstrous beasts such as Owlbears, Girallons, and Ankhegs, which can become a nuisance.
Guilds and Factions
Volsin Town really is too small to have much in the way of guilds, but there are a few skilled workers in the town still - a couple of lumbermen, a carpenter, and a boatwright who maintains the small river canoes that several people use. The mayor is also the city madam, with a handful of women of ill repute in her extended employment, though travelers are few so work is strictly part-time for all of them, and other work occupies most of the day. Most of the people who stayed are skilled at fishing, and the children tend to organize in mock versions of the real criminal gangs they know of: The White Chests, the Crows, the Past Lives, the Steel Reciters, and the Glass Street Shankers; The Shankers are a Naarodian organization but it's rumored that they have men among the flint-hard bandits that sometimes knock off caravans on the north road. White Chest caravans tend to operate unmolested, while local thugs probably wouldn't be so careful. Occasionally the Duke will send a patrol of soldiers along the road to clear out the criminals, but they generally fade into the countryside only to reappear a few days after the soldiers have gone.
Volsin Town grew out of the success of the old Volsin Mine, a mixed metals mine producing mostly silver, but some gold as well, the two metals often found together in the same quartzite strata. Having been worked successfully for several hundred years, the mine not only attracted hard working miners but their families as well, and generations grew up in the town which prospered as the mine did, and the mine produced several tons of high grade silver ore every month in its heyday, which lasted several generations. The upper areas of the mine were dug out completely into huge cavernous spaces filled with the stone chips and chaff, which could be pulverized and mixed with sand, clay and water to produce a useful concrete as well, though the exact formula evidently left with the Dwarves after they left. As the mine reached deeper and deeper, certainly there may have been encounters with monsters or Drow, or worse in the Underdark; or the mine may simply have played out to the point that it was too costly to keep digging for ore that wasn't worth the time and expense needed to get it to the surface for smelting. Several collapses in the middle passages certainly didn't help things, and by 12035 the mine had all but closed down; without its reliable source of honest income for a large number of day laborers and low-skilled workers, Volsin Town essentially closed down as well. For the past 40 years or so, anyone with a spark of talent, ambition or money has made their way out of the hamlet, leaving behind the dregs of the dregs as the only citizens in the town.
Volsin is a mix of relatively modern stone-foundation, wood-frame housing fallen into sad disrepair alongside hovels, shanties and tents. Many homes have been partially disassembled, the wood and glass used to build other, much more lowly housing, and much of that has been abandoned as well. Some Dwarven touches are seen in the squat solidity of columns and corners; the Dwarven contingent made up at least a third of the workforce, and probably all of the mine management, and at one time they made up a statistically significant proportion of the population, but those who remain have all gone across the river to the small settlement called Oanog. It's no great shakes either, but it is at least clean, orderly, and well defended, with several surface buildings as well as extensive underground chambers and housing.
Located along the hub of a central spur of mountains stretching from the western border nearly into central Khazig, the high elevation and bare mountain slopes make the region significantly cooler than the eastern and southern regions of the country, and the lowlands further north are actually warmer as well for most of the year. Trees are primarily deciduous maples and higher-altitude oak, but with a large proportion of pine including good spruce and fir, cedar and redwood, and a good mix of fruit and nut trees, possibly dating back to groves planted by the hands of the Cumaean settlers in the distant past; ruins of the old world are not uncommon in the region. A cool, fast-moving river passes close by the town, providing fish and other resources that literally sustain life for much of the year. About an hour's walk south along a chipstone path - much of the chipstone originating, no doubt, in the mine - is Fort Volsin, now a total ruin though it was lost to lack of funding in recent times rather than to battle in the distant past. To the west, the deep forest is punctuated here and there by hard-scratch farmers, Orc settlements, and the occasional picket fort comprising a chain of defense across the Prime Province.