Sample Community in the After: Onyx Falls

The Brotherhood of Silent Voices established the monastery nearly four generations ago, choosing the valley for both its remote location and beauty. The simple cloister was dedicated to the art of wine making and was well known for its sweet-flavored vintages. The Night of Fire left all but one monk dead, but he quickly left in search of other survivors after burying his brothers.
The monastery stayed empty only a short while before being discovered by a goblin merchant named Vrewl. His tribe had also suffered great losses and was desperate for a sanctuary from the harsh winter. With their chieftain and Shaman dead, Vrewl became their new leader and quickly brought them within the walls of the monastery. As time passed and the winter grew harsher, others stumbled across their settlement. However, with the limited resources, Vrewl was forced to make hard decisions — and he found himself more than capable of making them. He quickly found support from those who did not want bear the burden of these decisions, but enjoyed their fruits. His most ardent supporters are the goblins and mongrels who enjoy a slightly elevated social status, but all who are allowed to stay have a life that is protected and at times even comfortable. 

The settlement is mostly filled with warriors who are familiar with the surrounding area. They spend a great deal of time patrolling for strangers, intercepting them before the location of Onyx Falls can be discovered and identifying potential trading partners. At least one such partner has been identified and is providing scavenged metal in exchange for furs and hides.

Currently, Onyx Falls has managed to remain hidden and reasonably prosperous. However, recent encroachments from the northwest by orcish raiding parties have threatened their security. The only other outside threat they may be facing is coming from below, as strange noises have been heard in some of the collapsed tunnels below the monastery. Internally, there is rising anger at the decision not to eat or use anything from the blackened water, an early law established by Vrewl. Some have begun secretly eating fish caught from the river. No ill effects have been suffered so far.

None are allowed to join the community unless they possess a skill of value. Vrewl makes this determination personally. Skilled craftsmen and warriors are allowed to bring along an unskilled spouse or child. Every year, there is a cleansing. Members who are not pulling their weight are cast out.

The monastery and surrounding buildings are situated on top of a large, yet low plateau located within a secluded valley.  Damaged during the Night of Fire, the plateau now suffers a slight tilt and numerous cracks — although the overall integrity still seems strong. Built within the plateau and winding deep within the earth are a series of catacombs and warrens, used to store the wine created by the monks who once lived there. Perhaps a half-mile to the west of the monastery is one of the sheer valley walls that now stands 100 ft. taller than in the Before. Spilling from it is the waterfall that gives this settlement its name. Nearly 200 ft. wide, the Onyx Falls fills the valley with the constant sound of crashing water. For some reason, the water turns an inky black as it falls, keeping this color for nearly a mile before returning to normal.

To the north, the valley stretches out normally for nearly 10 miles before abruptly ending at a plain of black volcanic glass. On the lip of the eastern valley is an enormous boulder hanging over the edge that seems to defy gravity. It has become the focus of a cult made up of Loranthians who have decorated it with hundreds of drawings of faces. To the south lies a fertile vineyard that refuses to grow anything but grapes.

Resources and Needs
Vrewl is tough but usually fair. He takes his responsibilities to the community of Onyx Falls seriously, and will do just about anything to ensure it survives. That might mean making offers to people with experience in farming, smithing and combat ‑ maybe even offers they can’t refuse.


Population: 200 (100 mongrels, 50 goblins, 30 humans, 20 elves)

Survival: Hunting/gathering, stockpiles, limited trading

Motivation: Build a safe, permanent settlement.

Personality: Selective, paranoid and territorial.

History: Empty monastery claimed by goblins. Gave refuge to very few during the Long Winter; only to those who could contribute in the long term.

Attitude toward magic: Spell casters will be turned away, if not killed outright. The changes to the nearby river and waterfall have been blamed on magic (as has the entire Apocalypse).

Government:  Autocracy. A goblin named Vrewl is the self-proclaimed governor of Onyx Falls. His authority is not currently being challenged because of the prosperity of the community.  However, should the need arise, all the goblins and two-thirds of the mongrels are completely loyal to him.


Desolation Greymalkin Designs