Shalemstead is a small town of 3,500 people along the eastern bank of the Isdmir River. The town is growing due to its proximity to the Elves of Valor’s Forest. The elves do not allow any non-fairy creature to stay in the forest, so they must find shelter in the human settlement nearby or camp in the much less hospitable outdoors. Many of the citizens of Shalemstead have grown to rely on this tourism and their reputation for hospitality is well known throughout Cimmeria.
Shalemstead is self-sufficient and requires a lot of farmers to provide for its own citizens as well as the many tourist and trade caravans that pass through on the way to meet the Valor’s Forest Elves. The necessary professions in town are monopolized by guilds that are controlled by the descendants of the original settlers of Shalemstead. The guilds are named after their founding family member. All the blacksmiths belong to the Boris guild, all the innkeepers belong to the Shord guild, all the wainwrights belong to the Tama guild, etc.
The town’s government is solely composed of the guild leaders. This council of elders meets every three months to make important decisions for Shalemstead. They contribute all the funds for any necessary expenses such as paying guards, maintaining roads, or building bridges. These funds are in turn collected through guild dues, tariffs, and the personal profits that the guild leaders make on their own operations in town.
Many years ago the Shalemstead was attacked by a cabal of vampires. A fire started during the attack and dozens of people were injured or killed. The town’s only cleric at the time, George, also perished in the attack, but the small shrine he had built remained untouched by the flames. As the town has grown, a new and larger temple was built. Regardless, many of the townsfolk continue to pay homage to the gods at this small shrine in George’s honor.