A while ago while browsing the Internet I discovered the Italian town of Viganella. This town is situated in a steep mountain valley and suffers a unique affliction: every year for 84 days the town receives no sunlight whatsoever.

 
From November 11th onward the sun is so low in the sky it does not clear the mountain walls, and shade grips Viganella even at noon.

This inspired me to use it my campaign:

Lapinsk
Population: 3000 (mostly dwarves), gold limit: 4,500 (higher than normal because of lucrative weapon sales), AL: LN

The town of Lapinsk occupies a narrow valley, enclosed between hills so steep it appears more like a stone cleft in the mountains. Now, in the winter, the sun never shines in the town because of the steep rock cliffs on either side. Even at noon the houses remain in perpetual twilight, shadows filling the streets. Plants do not grow here and wildlife shuns the town.

Most houses are made of large stone blocks supported by ancient oak beams and are only one story tall, two for the largest structures. The outer buildings are carved directly into the cliffs and these include clock towers, public balconies, and sculptures indicating Houses of Moradin. Flickering oil lamps line the streets. The town is extremely neat, no garbage or litter is to be seen, and the dwarves go about their business quietly.
 

The true industry takes place deep below the hills, where all the mines, forges and smithies are. Lapinsk is a massive producer of steel goods, especially weapons and armor. Becaise the town is so quiet, only piles of dross outside of town hint at this industry.
 
Secrets:

  • A criminal organization called the Oversight Brothers controls a majority of smithies and politicians. They have strong support among the locals and grant favors to smallfolk. They are quasi-religious, believing in dwarven superiority, and tightly control the sale of arms to customers who are not moutain dwarves.
  • War is brewing with the human feudal lords who live in the foothills, where an important runelord on a diplomatic mission was murdered. There is strong pressure to close the town to outsiders.
  • Alexi Cleftoe is a dwarven merchant rich enough to ignore the Oversight Brothers, but no guards will work for him without their blessing. He wants to hire the players to escort a last shipment of (very profitable) steel goods to feudal buyers in the foothills, and the rulers of Lapinsk would execute the players if caught.
  • A local druid has decided the town is cursed by the gods of nature and it is the town’s unworthiness which causes the eternal shadow in winter. He has been harassing only dwarven farmers but begins to escalate his attacks.

 

Taverns: The Old Bear
The local tavern is a sprawling one room stone building. Like the rest of the dwarven houses, medium sized characters must stoop inside because the ceiling is under six feet high. The interior is dark and lit only by two hearthfires and an oil lamp. Smoke-blackened oak beams dominate the interior and it has a stuffy smell of bread, beer and beets. Most of the dwarves look at the players stonily, staring out from under thick fur hats and over thick luxuriant beards. Ale, earth’s blood (the local spirits) and a few other drinks are available. Your gold pieces are accepted as roughly equivalent to the mountain dwarven drachma.

 
If the players buy an expensive meal in town, or perhaps partake of Alexi’s hospitality, they receive an excellent meal:

You are served garlic potato soup with leeks as a first course, and plenty of ale. Dark crusty bread and sour cream accompanies it. The main dish is grilled kebabs, chunks of rabbit and lamb combined with onions and peppers, heavily seasoned and served with potatoes and a heavy, savory sauce. The food is very hot, delicious, and filling.
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