Situated on the Easternmost part of the Badlands and nestled in the mountains is the mining town of Ironton, a freetown of ruffians, frontiersmen, wanderers, fugitives that despite being made up of very colorful types, has managed to thrive for several hundred years – thanks to huge deposits of extremely high quality and pure iron, hence its name.
Ironton trades extensively with the outside world, for the northern road links directly to the Empire and Silverleaf via the Great Western Road, and is kept clear by the Ironton militia, a hodge podge, ad hoc mix of ex soldiers, mercenaries and other fighter types who treat it as a kind of sport. Being firmly in the Badlands itself, its desirable resources and the considerable combined wealth of its inhabitants makes it a target – and as a result has been heavily fortified over the years, with a checkpoint at the Northern pass followed by a large stone wall that runs into the sheer face of the hills and mountains that tower over it – while the mine area itself is fenced off from the rest of the Badlands by wooden palisades.
Despite is rough reputation, incidents of serious violence between prospectors and inhabitants is rare, though outsiders are often tested and not particularly welcome unless they are already known to the inhabitants. Being on the edge of the Badlands, mutation – while still endemic – is less common than in other parts of the Badlands, with only 1 in 100 births resulting in mutation. However, over generations the likelihood increases and can become as high as 1 in 20 births for some long time families – with such children abandoned at birth at the gates a short distance from the mines at a place known as the ‘wailing mound’.
PLACES OF INTEREST
IRONTOWN: The Town itself has around 150 families there at any one time, and an almost equal number of unattached males and a small number of ladies of ill repute who service the miners base and vulgar needs. In addition to brothels, the town also has many small gambling dens, a small arena for bare knuckle fighting and other establishments catering to all manner of vices. While most of the food that the town needs is imported, some vegetables and livestock are raised – and a short distance from the town center there is a large freshwater lake which still has the occasional fish. While the town almost exclusively produces raw iron as its primary export, the local Cider brewed from home grown apples is considered to be one of the best in all of Eletreus with a strong and rich taste and very high alcohol content.
The town has its own militia, organized by Militia leader ‘General Gunther’ (he is not a general, nor even a fighter, but is a local who naturally gravitated to the role of militia leader) and while it has no official leadership, most important decisions are made by an informal council of high ranking and influential members of the town.
TORGAN CAVES: The Torgan caves are a natural cave system extending deep into the mountains – with the network occasionally encountered by accident when mining. Within the system, there is a tribe of Troggs which have so far been unable to be completely cleared, though Trogg hunting expeditions are arranged annually to keep their numbers down and perhaps find the location which to date is unknown where they are breeding from.
AMBUSH RIDGE: The name says it all, for this plateau is currently infested with Orcs and used by them to keep an eye on the roads, where they target any small group heading into or out of the town along the East-West Road that leads to the slag and the center of the Badlands where Kharag the Hobgoblin holds court.
ORCS: Orcs have settled here periodically for the last 100 years or so – and despite several hunting expeditions organized by the militia of Ironton, have been able to escape the purges and hold on to their ambush position – intercepting any travelers they can that attempt to traverse the East-West road or go through the Aldhil pass.
BOG CREEK: Is an unpleasant name for an unpleasant, slow running waterway and swamp infested with Mudlings.
LITTLEWOOD: No one knows exactly what it is that lurks in the heart of the Littlewood Forest, but the locals believe it is haunted at the very least, and give it a wide berth, as do the Orcs, who will enter its fringes but do not stay there for long and are terrified of something lurking in its depths.