Grenzfestung - Keep on the Borderlands
Welcome to the borderlands.
The Alps have served as a formidable frontier between the warm, maritime lands on the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the dark, forbidding forests of central and northern Europe for as long as humans have wandered the landscape. In the tenth century of Christendom, these massive, snowy peaks separate two empires and dozens of petty kingdoms and feifs, allowing only limited, perilous traffic between the civilized lands through windy mountain passes. The Duke of Swabia, whose lands extend into the Alps from the north, has recently fortified a tiny village on the eastern shore of Lake Lucerne along an important trade route to the territory of the Lombards to the south. He sent his nephew Stephen to look after the keep and organize a small force to patrol the narrow mountain valleys within short range of the keep, and to provide a place of refuge for travelers and local peasant herdsmen summering their livestock on the fertile, cool meadows.
Stephen has recently reported an escalation of lawlessness in his demesne, as well as rumors of night raids by both human and nonhuman brigands. In response, the Duke has sent a small group of reinforcements to his nephew. The party, having traveled from the Duke’s palace with these reinforcements for protection, has just arrived within sight of the Grenzfestung, the Keep on the Borderlands, and is badly in need of a rest and supplies.