Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thornhold: Races of the Lonely City

To be honest, Thornhold is not a large city. With a population of just over seven thousand many Easterners  would barely consider it a city at all.  Nevertheless, it is the largest community west of the Trollhammers.  However, Thornhold’s demographics do not entirely reflect those of the wider world.

Humans comprise the largest percentage of Thornhold’s population.  They dominate the cultural, political and social landscape of the city.  Given the nature of Thornhold’s founding, it’s ironic that most of the contemporary Humans would be considered politically conservative. Spiritually, the majority of Thornhold’s Humans are freethinkers, however the Church of the Divine Child has a strong presence in the city.  There are even followers of the old gods in the city, although most view them as backwards and out-of-step with the times.  Although Humans are scattered through Thornhold, the largest numbers of them can be found in the Wolf and Pine Districts.

Dwarves are the second most populous race in Thornhold.  There are large Dwarf communities in the Pine and Key Districts.  Most of Thornhold’s Dwarves are descended from miners who worked the Trollhammer Mountains. These days, however, Thornhold’s Dwarves are involved in more mercantile pursuits.  Their workshops produce the finest goods in the city which are sold almost exclusively through Dwarf-owned shops. The Dwarves also control one of the two banks in Thornhold, giving them considerable financial influence. As a race, most Dwarves remain conservative and pragmatic.  They cling to the forms of the past, many continuing to worship the old dwarven gods. However, there is a streak of radicalism running through the race. Younger Dwarves are embracing freethinker philosophies and many young Dwarf women are eschewing their traditional roles to pursue careers outside the home.

Visitors to Thornhold are often shocked to discover that Orcs are the third largest ethnic group in the city.  Most of the Orcs in Thornhold are older, born just before or shortly after the Regent’s Curse fell upon the race.  That means the average Thornhold Orc is going to be close to sixty years old. There are more female Orcs in the city than male, with the ratio being three to one. Many female Orcs work as day laborers around the city. Most of the male Orcs, strangely enough, have joined the Monastery of St. Xinqist the Pure as lay brothers. The race has congregated in the Grayhart District and there is even an Orc serving on the Septem Council. That said, most Orcs have no interest in politics. Spiritually, Orcs no longer even pay lip service to their old gods. In Thornhold, many have become agnostic, while others have sought the comfort of other deities. A cult, the Daughters of the Lash, has sprung up among some Orc and Half-Orc women.  Devoted to the Divine Child, the cultists perform acts of self-flagellation in hopes of someday abating the Regent’s Curse and restoring the Orcish people through their Half-Orc offspring.

Halflings comprise a small, but visible segment of Thornhold’s population.  Scattered throughout the city, most Halflings work as domestic servants or in food production.  The former can be a dangerous occupation, as working outside the city walls exposes workers to the caprices of the Fey as well as dangerous monster attacks. Because of this Halfling farmers have moved into the city, settling in the Faith District and developing new agricultural techniques.  Halflings take an interest in city politics, with most considering themselves politically moderate.  Spiritually, most of Thornhold’s Halflings belong to the Church of the Divine Child.  Some still worship the old gods, while a handful have embraced freethinker philosophies.

Nowhere else in the world will Tieflings find the level of acceptance that they do in Thornhold. Barely two centuries old, reviled and distrusted in the East, many Tieflings found a refuge among the early exiles of Thornhold. In a city full of people condemned for the deliberate choices they’d made, the Tieflings, marked by mere circumstances of birth, were regarded more with pity than distrust. As such, Thornhold became a haven for the fledgeling race.  Over time, Tieflings have congregated in the Falcon District, but they can be spotted everywhere in the city, in every sort of occupation.  Politically, in Thornhold, most Tieflings are either conservatives or moderates. Spiritually, the majority of Tieflings are freethinkers.  A minority are fierce adherants to the Divine Child, and even smaller numbers embrace ascetic and libertine lifestyles.

In addition, there are representatives from nineteen other races that call the Lonely City home. Most only have a few members present in Thornhold, but larger groups include: the Gith, descendents of Githyanki and Githzerai, marooned four hundred years ago; the Court of Dusk, a group of Elves who have chosen to remain neutral in the conflict between the Court of Shadows and the Court of Stars, and a group of Darklanders (Drow, Duergar and Deep Gnomes) from the distant south.

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