The border between Gran March and the Kingdom of Keoland has been a peaceful one for many years. In the western section of this frontier, the stagnant bogs and slime-coated pools of the Rushmoors occupy much of an otherwise fertile plain. To the north of the marsh, the dark recesses of the Dim Forest cause even the most stalwart travellers think twice before entering among the tall trunks and dangling tendrils of moss.
Only a few years ago, a group of adventurers opened a small caravan track through the previously untraveled Dim Forest. This track connects the town of Hochoch with Gran March’s thriving capital of Hookhill. The track cuts through a narrow finger of the forest, and traders have to take precautions against the marauding creatures there. Ogres and goblins have been reported, often in large and bloodthirsty bands, and only lucky or well-armed caravans can expect to make the journey in safety.
Orlane itself was founded nearly a generation ago, when explorers from Hochoch reported that the land between the Rushmoors and the Dim Forest seemed to be extremely fertile. Soon after the arrival of the first farmers, a temple to the chaotic good goddess of agriculture, Merikka, was erected, and thus, the village of Orlane was born. The land here proved to be very rich, often producing crops half again as large as those grown in more mundane soil. Orlane quickly grew into a thriving community of 300 people.
Occasionally, the settlers were harassed by bands of humanoids from the forest, or strange, scaly creatures from the swamp. These farmers were hardy folk, however, and were not intimidated by a few raids. Instead, they organized a well- trained militia to meet the assaults of the monsters with cold steel. The humanoids soon learned that Orlane was a village best left alone.
Throughout the past year, the population of Orlane has undergone a steady decline. Many farmers have packed their possessions and, for unknown reasons, migrated to other, less fertile areas. Some homes have simply been found abandoned, with food on the table or crops unharvested in the field. No explanation has ever been offered for these strange disappearances. Sometimes the families have returned in a week or two, and other times they have never been heard from again.
The friendly character of Orlane has vanished as those who remain .have become suspicious of the strange occurrences. Families have drawn in upon themselves, rarely conversing with their neighbours. Now, strangers in Orlane are more often met with questions and challenges than friendly invitations.
Something sinister is at work in Orlane!