Candle in the Darkness
Jolaria is a small town compared to some, but its impact is huge. Firstly, it is the most accepting settlement in the known world. While other places frown upon some races for long-past grudges, nearly every intelligent creature in the world has a place at Jolaria. Second, this town has a variety of resources that allow it to prosper through trade. Third, the town is pure in heart, despite the long age of darkness. Its inhabitants are kind, compassionate, and accepting, and the weekly services at the chapel keep it that way. For that matter, the main administration building is centered in the chapel, firmly tying together the governmental and spiritual leaders in the town.
Jolaria has a few important locations. Most of these are actually devoted to one race; not that you won’t find others there, but the location is inhabited by that one in particular.
Jolaria and Jolaria Proper
Technically, the land all the way from the Reboran Peaks to the Numin Plains is Jolaria, but when the townspeople say “Jolaria”, they mean the swath of ground owned mostly by humans. This section is populated by farms, fields, and the collection of buildings known as Jolaria Proper, where most residents find their home.
Farmers have found if not abundant, at least functioning ground in the plains of Jolaria (not to be confused with Numin Plains). These common folk usually meet ends by growing food and either selling it, consuming it, or a combination of the two. This is quite enough for most; the farms here have been established for generations, so there is no lack of ground or confusion as to ownership of the land. The rare famine or dispute is quickly solved by the village council, and anyone in need is supplemented with a rainy day storage for their bare necessities.
Shepherds can also find enough food for their flocks, and other residents have taken to taming exotic beasts and selling them or their produce. Once, an aspiring young citizen even tried to breed some rust monsters, but the result was more the complete destruction of a smithy (owned by a not-too-happy dwarf) than the riches he looked to.
Inside the town proper, most spend their days in various tasks their family has been completing for decades. Children are free to pursue other careers, but they must find their own time and a willing master. With the amount of work that everyone must complete, both of these are challenging, but the right combination of determination and judgement can open otherwise locked doors.
Rebora and the Reboran Peaks
Before Jolaria was given its name by Nerathian conquerors, it was a mining community run by the dwarven Tuin tribe. The community was called Rebora, and it also became the name for the range of mountains surrounding the inhabitants.
Rebora still produces an abundance of precious metals and gems, though it is somewhat reduced from past times. The Reboran community (now 300 strong) commonly trades with Jolaria, whose merchants then turn around and hand the valuables to the Kingdom of Nerath. Rebora is one of the main reasons Jolaria has survived for so long. This makes it all the more worrisome when one considers recent events in the dwarven town.
There is a dwarf named Hulgar Underheart who is and has been unhappy with the status of leadership in Jolaria. He believes that Jolaria shouldn’t exist, and in reality belongs to Rebora and the dwarves who inhabit it. While this view has been around for centuries, it is now gaining much more support. There is a chance that the next head of clan will not be very welcoming to the other races in the region.
No one knows who Rahl is or why a valley was named after him. What they do know is that the question isn’t worth answering. Rahl’s Valley is the most dangerous place in Jolaria. It is home to goblinoids, beasts, small monsters, and some of the more conspiratorial members of the community say a black dragon is housed in it’s depths. Absurd, yes, but it just goes to show you how much the people fear this valley.
The Numin Plains are another key part of the economy of Jolaria. They serve as a resource for many valuable trinkets and treasures, not to mention old and rare texts and even the occasional artifact from bygone ages.
This region is mainly settled by halflings, if settled is the right word. In truth, they roam the vast plains and have since their sudden and quite unanticipated exodus from the Floating Forest to the east. They commonly venture into the caverns hidden beneath the cracked hills, and a few have taken interest in studying the sources of their treasure, making the Numinians a valuable resource for knowledge of bygone ages.
When Jolaria was young and enslaved to Nerath, the people of the town called for help from the elves in throwing off the kingdom’s influence. The elves, embittered by past conflict, agreed to the request and claimed what Jolaria was too weak and small to conquer for itself: freedom.
After the rebellion, the Jolarians settled their debt by giving the Dreamers’ Heights to the elves. With its new fey masters, the Heights quickly grew far stronger and healthier than naturally possible, and the elves in turn owned the most beautiful home south of the Black Woods bastions.
The elves are mostly unconcerned with the rest of Jolaria, though not in a menacing or prideful way. When the time comes, they assist, knowing the benefit of close allies. But otherwise, the lives of others are too short and frantic for their taste. They mainly associate during these periods by giving wood to the others, not even bothering to charge for it.
But when you are the most ancient and beautiful of races in the most healthy and glorious of homes, why would you need to collect coppers for wood?
Jolaria is home to many different faces, but there are a few it is important to know about. They are mentioned here briefly, but their full summaries are in their character pages. You can read through those to be prepared for the people you will meet.