Iron Kingdoms 3.5
In Power: Duke Gregore Delryv IV
Population: 70,000 (human, a few hundred gobbers, ogrun and dwarves, a few dozen exiled Iosan elves). This population has doubled in the last year. Half come from refugees from the war-torn west including thousands from Riversmet.
Military: Before the invasion, Rhydden had only a small garrison of less than a hundred soldiers assigned to protect the logging industry from saboteurs. Since becoming a place of refuge, several thousand soldiers of mixed units are stationed here, most still in a state of disorganized chaos. This includes some Cygnaran soldiers although most were recalled south. Lord Delryv’s household guard numbers 50 armed liege-men and has attracted officers among the regrouping military.
Imports: Iron, textiles
Exports: Fine wine, rare woods, furniture, wheat, fruit
Since the invasion Rhydden has dramatically transformed into the last major free city in Llael. In a few short months it has changed from a pastoral town to a refugee shelter and the last hope of Llaelese loyalists. Although the city remains free, it exists under a cloud of impending doom, for its inhabitants know they live on borrowed time and lack the soldiers, weapons, and fortifications to defend themselves against Khador’s might. Their primary hope is to remain unnoticed while the occupation army focuses on the Cygnaran border.
Well away from the regular trade routes, Rhydden has a reputation as a secluded and peaceful town noted for its vineyards and logging. Even before the flood of refugees, things were not quite as idyllic here as believed; residents have had to struggle to make a decent living on the fringes of Llael. Situated on the border of Ios, the town has historically had a difficult relationship with its elven neighbors to the east. All contact with Ios has been wary at best, for loggers in Rhydden have a history of violating the border to poach trees marked as off-limits. The sudden activity in the region has put the elven border guard on high alert and ready to attack anyone who wanders too close.
The soil here is not quite as fertile as it looks. Each crop of grapes was hard won from the earth and at the price of much sweat and toil. Nonetheless the wines of Rhydden are esteemed as far away as Ceryl and Ohk, fetching high prices by those with refined tastes. Many of these fields have been changed recently to food production. The refugees and their need for housing have stretched all local resources thin. Duke Gregore Delryv has raised taxes and has been rallying locals into working on defenses, most notably the construction of massive stone block battlements and gun emplacements. While some have embraced these efforts, others are in denial that war will come to this peaceful valley.
Locales of Rhydden
East Forest Lumber: Although most famous for its wines, Rhydden is also important for its lumber. East Forest, the most successful of the three major logging companies and also the most troubled, employs many hard working, honest people, most of them from old families that have worked the forest for generations. Unfortunately maintaining their quotas has been increasingly difficult particularly with the need for refugee housing. Filling orders has occasionally required loggers to venture east and south into forbidden territory. Recently a group ventured beyond the borders of Ios and returned half a dozen men short. Now a state of tension, anger, and fear pervades Rhydden’s community.
Rhydden Chapel of Ascendant Gordenn: The portly but hard-working Prelate Giusef Escovar oversees this modest church. His pastoral chapel is located outside the town proper in a former farmstead converted for religious services. He and his subordinates keep busy helping ailing refugees, clearing land, and tending crops to help feed the overburdened town.