Brookside is a small farming community of about 50 people situated on a small tributary of the River Rush between a modest forest and farming plains. A rough palisade was constructed during an orc scare a few generations ago but has only been haphazardly maintained and has largely fallen apart. The nearest large town, Astin, is approximately 2 days walk away.
Brookside is fairly diverse for such a small town. The plurality of the population are humans but there are smatterings of other races such as Dwarves, halflings, ratfolk, and some grippli who work the river.
Brookside is part of the small state of the Bishopric of Helm. Stuck between the Barbaric lands, the Kingdom of Iustia, and Elven Lands, the Bishopric of Helm has done its best to maintain its neutrality. Due to a history of skilled diplomats, the Bishopric has managed to maintain its independence.
Government of the Bishopric of Helm:
The continent: The continent composed of the Kingdom of Iustia, Elven Lands, the Bishopric of Helm, and Barbaric lands does not have a name as such but is simply referred to as the mainland. While some nearby outlying islands exist, only myths and tall tales speak of lands much past the visible horizon.
Bishop Claudius II rules the Bishopric of Helm. He was elected by the priests 14 years ago and will serve for life. The priests are appointed by the bishop in each county. Priests and the Bishop serve as secular rulers more than religious ones, though technically they are priests of Abadar. Some other faiths, such as the worship of Desna, Nethys, and Torag, are permitted and encouraged in the Bishopric of Helm while others, such as the worship of Zon-Kuthon or Rovagug, are prohibited on pain of imprisonment. Under the Bishop, there are several key officials including Field Marshal of Helm, Chief Diplomat, Master of Information, Arcane Advisor and others. The Textiles Guild is also an extremely influential party in Helm as, over year of mergers, it has come to be a generalized merchant coalition. Less publicly, the Handle of the Reaper is the most influential criminal organization though they face significant competition from the Red Brothers.
In practical terms, the government of Helm is best described as a benign bureaucracy. While corruption and neglect certainly plague the state to a significant extent, the worst instances of abuse are generally curtailed by the priest of the county or the Bishop himself. Much of this reform has been achieved by Claudius II who has followed Iustia’s example by codifying a written law. Though this law exists, its implementation is still young and many cases are not covered by its statutes, frequently leaving judgments up to the wisdom of the local magistrate or sheriff.
The Elven Lands, also known as the Elven Concordate, are a centrally-organized state headed by the Elven Council. The only exception, however, is the Avinoax, a holdout, sovereign state of Elves that have resisted aggressive annexation attempts. They value individual freedom, nature, and the simple things. Many druids and rangers are found among their ranks but they should not be considered simple, as the ambitious, arrogant, and scheming Elven Council has discovered on multiple occasions.
The Kingdom of Iustia is ruled by King Stephen, a young ambitious monarch seeking to make a name for himself. This land is composed mostly of humans with some non-humans and possesses a powerful military and navy.
Dwarves on the continent have tended to maintain their own traditional communities within their larger social contexts. Even in Brookside, the dwarves were more likely to worship, eat, and work with each other than members of other races. This isolation is not intended to exclude other races but merely stems from sticking to the traditions of Dwarven culture. Dwarves frequently work as miners or smiths but can be found performing any trade that can be accomplished by a strong back and a stubborn mind. Torag is worshiped first and foremost while many dwarves also worship Gorum or Abadar. When armed conflicts have arisen, the warriors of an entire Dwarven community often enlist en masse as a single unit. Dwarven communities are distributed throughout Iustia and the Bishopric of Helm but few try to scratch out a living in the Barbaric Lands and none attempt to settle in Elven Lands since the Elven Council’s exclusion of other races allows very few exceptions and those only for extraordinary non-elven individuals.