Tales From Janus Valley
A tiny village on an unwelcoming coastline, Shoals at first glance would have little to recommend it. The region is mostly wilderness and populated by various tribes of hobgoblins. The townsfolk are mostly hardy frontier types and rugged mariners. There are little in the way of attractions for guests. It is, all things considered, a barely significant speck of a place. Nevertheless, the town has a fascinating history.
Long ago, a figure emerged from the wilderness. Jindor the Cleaver was a travelling warrior, born to a family of poor settlers. After losing his hometown to a particularly brutal raid, Jindor declared a one-man war on the local hobgoblin tribes. After years of brutal guerrilla warfare, Jindor scored a decisive victory when he slew the local warlord Zamesh Skullcrack. The remaining tribes sued for peace and designated a spot of land on the coast as off-limits. Other settlers flocked to the sanctuary and the village of Shoals was born.
Shoals gets its name from the rich coastal clay deposits that are continually brought in by storms. This high-quality clay forms ridges that occasionally breach the surface of the sea. This clay is gathered and taken to Shoals, where it is turned into quality earthenworks and fixtures. As a result, a disproportionately large number of potters call Shoals home.
Shoals is mostly an industrial town, with fishermen, clay gatherers, and kilns operating constantly. The lone inn in town is the Seashell Tavern, which rents rooms to infrequent visitors. Shoals’s western border is defended by a stout earthen palisade, a remnant of the early days when hobgoblin threats were fresh in memories. The palisade is manned by a cadre of volunteer militia, who elect a sheriff to maintain order and operate the town’s tiny gaol. On a hilltop overlooking the northeast side of town is the Shoals Lighthouse, an antique stone tower whose origins predate the town. It is a virtual necessity for navigating the ever-changing network of clay ridges during storm season.
Shoals has mostly known peace in the years since Jindor’s passing. It is far enough away from the local hobgoblin camps that they see little interest in violating the age-old truce for the sake of some fish and pottery. Occasional bands of marauders have attempted to breach the town, but they have been consistently beaten back. While hobgoblin leadership declares these raiding bands to be outlaws, few Shoals villagers believe them.