The Village on a Stump
The PCs come across the stump of a once massive tree. The surface of the stump shows an intricate village rising from it, complete with miniature farms, an inn, a local lord's great house, even a proper wizard's tower.
The Tiniest Village
The Village on a Stump is quite simply just that, a miniature village on a stump. The detail is exquisite, appearing not so much as a children's toy, but a real village. The longer a person observes the village, the more intricate the detail becomes, down to seeing furniture inside the buildings. Is this some wizard's trick? A dollhouse village for some fae child to amuse themselves with? Is it something else?
Protections and Entrances
The village is protected from outside interference, it cannot be struck by weapons, spells slide off of it like water, and attempts to manhandle any of the buildings causes them to flicker, become hard as stone, or even sharp as glass. Attempting the destroy a stump village cause cause the attacker to seriously harm themselves. The village is not protected from the elements, so when it rains, it gets wet, when it snows, it gets cold.
Entering the village can be done, and this generally requires pre-existing knowledge of the village on the stump, and the knowing of words of entrance, or magic spells granting access. An alternate and more sinister method is that it a character examines a stump village too long, looking too deeply into it, they can become aware of the fact that it is inhabited, and at the moment they make eye contact with one of the residents, the connections draws them into the stump village.
View from Within
The Stump Village is a living breathing village, populated with sentient beings, livestock, pets, and fantastic creatures. Time passes differently inside a stump, everything is faster inside. A hour inside the stump is a day in the outside world. A person who falls into the stump village might spend a day of their own life meeting the residents, fighting a feud, help solve a local problem, and be shown the way out, only to find they've been gone only a few minutes.
The agricultural side of the village is hidden inside the stump, and each house is the top of a warren, delving deep into the wood. Due to strange and fae magics, there is light inside the stump, and this is where the farms and paddocks are, where tiny livestock are raised and brought to the equally tiny market.
Stump Villages can produce almost everything they need, with the exception of metal. Metal goods brought in by outsiders are given tremendous value, and those who discover stump villages and the way in and out can make themselves comfortable by trading metal, precious and mundane, with the denizens, in exchange for woodcrafting, music instruments, books, and other similar items. The downside is that if it takes a day to get back to the normal village to gather trade goods, it might have been years inside the stump before they return, so the person they made their deals with might very well be dead of old age by then. The same goes for any winsome lasses, or strapping young lads, if they live they will be old and wizened. The best exports of the Stump Village are books, musical instruments, magic scrolls and tomes, lace and cloth, and leather. As time passes differently, time consuming and intricate things are gathered easily from a stump.
Why Does No One Leave?
For one, people routinely do leave a stump, just as outsiders routinely come across it and enter. A few who leave eventually return, almost seeming as time travelers to the residents of the stump. Those who enter by accident, just as some panic and try to flee, just as many take spouses and make their own place inside. The village inside the stump is an isolated place, and people fleeing troubles in the outside world can find a place there. The village itself is almost completely closed away from concerns of secular power, or guilds, and monsters and beasts pay stump villages no mind.
Potential Stump Villages
The Village of Lanteglos is very old, and was created by a tremendous magical accident. An epic tier spell was cast to protect the village from a marauding dragon, and the end result was that it was reduced to a stump village. The spell technically worked, and it was saved. The dragon decimated the rest of the forest, and laid waste for generations before being defeated. Lanteglos was forgotten, and the stump vanished into the new growth forest that rose after the passing of the dragon. The village has entered what is called Winter Phase, and now it is at capacity, newcomers are assessed for their value to the village in terms of metal goods, and outside knowledge, and potential for improving the local breeding pool. Those who fail the assessment are executed, Lanteglos is not a nice place. Those who rebel against those in power are exiled, or executed. The village has a circle of magi who have become exceedingly powerful, and if they desired to reverse the spell, they could, but it would return the village to a new world, one that has forgotten them, their nation, their language, and their ways.
Warringwood is a trap. The stump village looks inviting, and those who are drawn into its exquisite detail, including outdoor water fountains and fantastic art and sculptures find themselves trapped within. Those who live in Warringwood are likewise prisoners, undesireables, and the unwanted. A nearby city discovered Warringwood, and how to get in and out of it, and after launching a campaign they conquered the stump village and executed the original residents. Now the people the city wants to go away but cant quite bring itself to kill publicly are taken to the stump, where they are imprisoned. The village is sparsely populated, few women are sent, and while there are new families rising, there are few eligible mates, and violence is endemic through the village. The important thing is that the way to leave hasn't been closed, its just that no one currently in the stump knows how to get out. That information is kept in an archive in the city, in case someone needs to go investigate and return to the magistrate.
Holsworth is a creation of the fae, a miniature human village, and all who dwell inside are changelings, fae of some amount of blood, and though time passes faster inside the stump, the fae are all immortal so it is of no concern. Visitors are treated well, even if the locals customs and manners are strange, and all guests must stay a year and day, after which they are returned to the real world, often with flowers in their hair, strange dreams, and a profound sadness of something they have left behind and forgotten.
Smol Cleesethorpe was created by a circle of magi to function as a magical retreat. They further created industries relevant to their interest in the stump, paper makers, apothecaries, scribes, and so forth. The village exists to make books, blank and grimoire alike. The circle also exports and sells the inks and other non-metal magic working tools that the stump creates. Highly questionable magic experiments are also carried out inside the village, so that when something goes wrong, there is no public outcry. The stump is inside the main foyer of the Magi's tower, and constantly under observation, so that any need is met quickly. Magi will also take sabbaticals into the stump to pursue their own studies, or oversee the sometimes sweatshop level operations
Cirencester was originally founded as a women's retreat, and it retains these matriarchial roots through its laws and customs, it is now a relatively normal village.
Dalmerlingon was and remains a monastery. It was founded as part of a greater cathedral, intended to be a model of the finished building, it was imbued with magical power and became what it is. Dalmerlingon is unique in that its time flow is opposite, time passes more quickly outside than within. What started as a holy oddity has become a major cornerstone of the cathedral and the faith as a whole. Venerated saints and the elderly among the clergy retire to Dalmerlingon, living out their final days for a greatly extended amount of time. The residents of the stump village are all old, and highly opinionated, and most retain a large amount of respect and clout outside of the stump. When there is a need, a congregation of the elders of the faith can appear, lead the congregation through whatever crisis they are facing, and then return to the stump and back to their slow retirement.
From the Strolen Discord:
Not Registered Yet? No problem.
Do you want Strolenati super powers? Registering. That's how you get super powers! These are just a couple powers you receive with more to come as you participate.
- Upvote and give XP to encourage useful comments.
- Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
- Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities (super powers).
- You should register. All your friends are doing it!
? Responses (1)
Love it. Excellent start for a collaboration to add more stump villages, Idea Scroll style for sure. Made a note to come up with a few ideas to add.
For now though, really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for taking on one of the Discord ideas too!!!