Atmosphere

 

Lakeshore's culture is very much that of a frontier territory. This is reflected, amongst other things, by the lack of a centralized municipal authority. There's a stubborn streak of independence through most of the local folk, one that's missing only in some of the larger settlements, where money or military power holds sway. Members of the average Lakeshore family want nothing more than to be left alone to get on with their lives, and they're willing to fight to hold onto that right, both for themselves and for their neighbors.

The geographic dispersion of Lakeshore's residents also contributes to the region's frontier feel. Even the largest settlements comprise at most 2,000 people, and the majority of the land is dotted with individual homesteads or tiny villages with less than a dozen families. These people's lifestyles also reflect a frontier way of life. Most grow their own food and make their own tools, trading only for those items they cannot provide for themselves. Barter is a common form of trade between ordinary folk, though most will accept coins if they can be convinced of the purity of the metals used.

A third factor that reflects the frontier is the lack of an organized transport system. There are perhaps a half dozen formally recognized "roads" throughout Lakeshore, and these are mostly the simple result of many people following the same routes. Maintenance of proper dirt roads occurs only near the larger towns, with most of the route being marked only by the wagon ruts of prior travelers. Between smaller settlements, there are only tracks and a scattering of small villages. Travelers without a compass or good wilderness skills will frequently need to stop and ask for assistance.

Perhaps the most important factor of any "frontier," though, is the sense of danger. Lakeshore can be a dangerous place. There is always the threat of pirates to contend with, as well as dangerous creatures roaming the wilderness. And, of course, lurking in the back of everyone's mind are the unexplored dangers of the Bloodwood.

History and fiction based on the colonization of the Caribbean and North America are a good source of inspiration for establishing the Lakeshore atmosphere, as are tales of the American west. Some possible sources of inspiration might include the tale of the Roanoke colony, the escapades of various pirate captains, or accounts of the various gold rushes.

Atmosphere

Bloodwood Ish Ish