Against the Tides of Darkness
Vale of Penrose
Geography and Environment
A large tepid valley in the North West of the Barricade Mountains. Known for blooming flowers even during the winter months. While the surrounding The valley often feels unseasonably warm during the winters, due to the warm water currents and natural hot springs common throughout the area. The Vale has several rivers, small lakes, and springs. Due to its high altitude, larger trees do not grow in great abundance, but there are many larger wooded areas, which provide substantial hunting.
The valley side of BrokenThorn maintains the largest settlement in the area, the valley boasts 3 others populated areas, including Woodharp, Clay and Morment. While other farming communities do exists in the area, they are often small or sparsely populated.
Humans compose the dominant race in the area (80%) as the Valley was founded on old Vale Traditions. Due to the proximity of Dwarves in the area, and strong diplomatic ties with local clans, Dwarves compose the second largest population in the Valley (nearly 14%).
While not technically part of the Vale, the dwarven clans in the area often frequent the valley for meetings, business, trade, or coordinated defense. Several clans and humans are also members of The Rosemen, while not residing in the valley itself. Other races are known to frequent the valley for trade or military requisition, but are primarily transient.
Several different deities are worships in the Vale, Cayden Cailean, Gorum, Iomedae, Irori and Torag. Due to the brotherhood culture common in the Vale, many of theses gods are worshiped in multifaith ceremonies.
The Vale of Penrose itself maintains several farming communities and vast iron resources. These resources are occasionally used for trade, this trade most frequently takes place with the mercenary forces local to the Valley. As such, the largest source of foreign income in the Valley is comprised from the Rosemen Mercenary company. The primary trade exports from the valley include Iron Goods, Wheat, Apples and Mercenary workers.
Politics and Government
The is ruled by House Penrose at BrokenThorn. The current head of the house is Ser Randyll Penrose, who took control when Mathis Penrose abdicated his role. While the valley operates in a feudal lordship structure, the Vale has only an honourary role on the Lord’s Council in the Dales. This is because the Penroses and their Bannermen abdicated the family’s claim to nobility to the Manderlays, but not their resources.
Different areas of the Vale are run by several minor “Lords,” who remain as Bannermen to the Penrose family. These notable houses are the Mormerynts, Casterlays, Clays, Freitons, and Gabeways. Of particular note, the Dwarves in the Vale are most frequently represented by the IronSmashers, the largest dwarven Clan residing in the Vale.
Today the Penroses are well recognized for their military capabilities, but suffer some derision and jealousy from the nobility who resent their wealth, military might, and honourary position on the Lord’s Council, despite not formally maintaining a Lordship. Concerns have been brought up on several occasions by the nobility, because the Penrose family does not fall under direct jurisdiction of others Lords in the Vale. Additionally, the family does not pay taxation to the crown due to a treaty, granting the house exemption, due to its services freely given during the War of the Wolves, many generations ago. Because of this the family is under no legal obligation to grant military aid in times of need. As of yet, since the house has never used its forces to pursue individual conquest and provided a valuable service to the Vales, the complaints have not forced much change.
The valley is home to BrokenThorn Keep (formerly Highthorn Castle), which is built into the only road into the valley, and designed to protect the vale from exterior threats. Brokenthorn Keep can garrison near 5,000 men comfortably, but has not needed to do so in centuries. Built along and into a mountain, the dangerous terrain has served as an adequate deterrent from any would be invaders or greedy lords. Much of the larger castle structure was lost several hundred years ago when Gregor Penrose destroyed several supports from within and causes an avalanche, which was used to crush an army beyond the capabilities of the defenders. The valley was defended, but the castle was badly ruined and large portions were lost. With no need for the larger castle, and the high expense, it was never rebuilt, aside from the lower levels defending the pass, which was serviced into the modern BrokenThorn keep. With the recent demand for the Rosemen, influx of income, population, resources and legions of potential recruits, for the first time in centuries, the task of rebuilding the castle proper has begun.