Diamond Lake

(Pop: 2,500) Nestled in the rocky crags of the Cairn Hills region of the Barrens, Diamond Lake is a large mining settlement located upon the shores of its namesake.


Diamond Lake is a poor, gritty, mining community which remains little more than a lawless frontier settlement. Although the settlement is officially under the rule of the Freehold of Norwald, its local rulers enjoy almost complete local autonomy because of its remote location.

The town is controlled by the greedy Lakeside Mining Guild, which in turn, is controlled by a powerful and influential local merchant named Balabar Smenk.

Iron and silver from Diamond Lake’s mines are the lifeblood of the town, and its chief source of wealth and trade. These mines have long attracted both unskilled laborers and skilled artisans, all hoping to strike it rich.

In ages past, Diamond Lake boasted an export even more valuable than its mines, in the form of treasure liberated from the numerous tombs and burial cairns crowding the hills around the town. These remnants of a half-dozen long-dead cultures commanded scandalous prices from local collectors, whose insatiable covetousness triggered a boom in the local economy.

Those days are long gone, though. The last cairn in the region yielded its treasures decades ago, and few locals pay any mind to stories of yet-undiscovered tombs and un-plundered burial cairns. These days, only a handful of treasure seekers visit the town, and even fewer return with anything more valuable than a wall rubbing or an ancient tool fragment.


In the various mines surrounding Diamond Lake, hundreds of laborers spend their days underground, breathing stale air in cold, clammy passages of rough-hewn rock. These miners are the life-blood of Diamond Lake’s economy.

The fruits of their labor enrich the owners, while their weekly pay cycles back into the community via a gaggle of gambling dens, bordellos, ale halls, and temples located along the “Vein,” a strip of seedy establishments located along the town's main road.

Most residents of Diamond Lake can be categorized into two groups: those with nowhere else to turn and those who have come to exploit them. Because work in the mines is so demanding and dangerous, most folk come to Diamond Lake either because they have nowhere else to turn, or are seeking an honest trade of hard labor for subsistence-level pay simply because the system has allowed them no other option.

Many residents are foreigners, displaced from their native lands by war or famine. Overall, Diamond Lake is a sooty, sullen place, prone to unpleasant bursts of violence and passion.

To keep order, and to maintain the flow of profits from the mines, a force of sixty well-armed mercenary soldiers is stationed at the Garrison. These soldiers are here, not to protect the citizenry, but to defend the mines from bandits and lizard folk from the neighboring Steaming Marsh. The garrison is commanded by Captain Trask, who enforces the will of Smenk and his Mining Guild with an iron fist.


Despite its overall dangers and squalor, Diamond Lake is crucial to the economy of Norwald. Viscount Argus Theed; the ruler of Freehold, takes a keen interest in local affairs, noting the operations of the mining Guild to ensure Diamond Lake’s mines turn a tidy, continuous profit.

The Town's local ruler is Governor Lorstan Neff; a weak-willed and corrupt bureaucrat, who only remains in power because of his strong political connections in Redmark. Neff only holds his own against Balabar Smenk and the Lakeside Mining Guild because of his brother Allustan, a distinguished wizard, formerly of the Veiled Society, who retired to Diamond Lake five years ago.

Instead of scheming against the governor, Diamond Lake’s six mine managers plot endlessly against one another, desperate to claim a weakened enemy’s assets while at the same time protecting their own. While they are not nobility, the mine owners exist in a class far above the common-folk. The mine owners consider themselves far above their employees, many of whom are either indentured or effectively enslaved to be miners as part of a criminal sentence.

Prominent NPCs