Mordent is a domain in the world of Ravenloft. The capital of Mordent is Mordentshire.
Climate/Terrain: Temperate forest, marsh, and plains
Major Settlements: Mordentshire (pop. 2,600).
Races: Human 99%, Other 1%
Human Ethnic Groups: Mordentish 93%, Dementlieuse 3%, Richemuloise 2%, Borcan 1%, Other 1%
Languages: Mordentish, Falkovnian, Vaasi
Religions: Ezra, Hala
Government: Hereditary aristocracy
Ruler: Lord Jules Weathermay
Mordent is a bleak domain on the Core’s western coast, a land of fishing hamlets and desolate, haunted moors. Tracks of dense forest still cover much of the countryside, alternating with low, foggy plains and rolling heaths. Stiff winds whistle across the eastern moors; some travelers have reported hearing chilling howls carried on the breezes. At night, curling fog creeps out of the moors and into the domain’s decrepit graveyards. Majestic ruined manors, crumbling and choked with dark ivy, loom out of the fog. Abandoned to the restless spirits of the moors, such estates are widely regarded as haunted, and the Mordentish know better than to investigate when a dim light is spotted in an upper window. In particular, they avoid the infamous House of Gryphon Hill, where the dread spirit of Lord Wilfred Godefroy lurks. Mordent’s shore along the Sea of Sorrows is rocky and battered by cold winds, the rugged chalk cliffs rising up a hundred feet or more. Salt spray perpetually hangs in the air, and belligerent seagulls gather to snatch the bait of fishermen. It is in Mordent that the broad Arden River finally joins the Sea of Sorrows, at Arden Bay.
Mordent’s seaside communities, huddled in the bitter ocean winds, are stoic clusters of shanties and venerable taverns. The whitewashed buildings are constructed with thick wooden frames, soft brick, and plaster. Wooden plank roofs grace the humble structures, gray and warped by the sea air. Every window and door is equipped with sturdy storm shutters. Narrow tin chimneys puff white smoke into the sky, and weather vanes spin frantically in the shifting winds. Twisting wooden staircases descend the steeper cliffs, providing access to the humble vessels moored along the docks below. Mordent is a gray, damp land, its temperatures moderated by the sea; extreme summers and winters are uncommon.
The Mordentish are lean, hearty people hardened by generations of fishing and sailing. Their skin tends to be fair and ruddy, though duskier tones are not unknown. Mordentish eyes are usually a faded blue, green, or gray. Hair color varies widely, with flaxen blond and medium brown being most common. Men cut their hair very short or grow it past their shoulders, often keeping it in a neat braid or ponytail. Women grow their hair exceptionally long, though those with curlier locks trim it to halfway down their backs. Clothing is woolen and durable and kept fastidiously neat and clean whenever possible. Men wear loose shirts with breeches and high socks; wealthier men also don waistcoats over their elegant, lacy shirts. Women wear long dresses close fitting on top and flaring below the waist. The Mordentish seem to prefer somber colors, either black and grays or dark hues of blue, green, yellow, and red. Ornamentation is shunned, though patterns such as checks or plaids are sometimes seen. Jewelry is rarely worn, as it is regarded as gaudy even among the nobility.
The Mordentish are simple, practical people who value common sense and established traditions. They do things at their own pace and are prideful of their ways. They are also superstitious folk who believe whole-heartedly in the supernatural, particularly the restless dead. They are not paralyzed by fear, however. The Mordentish have learned to respect and avoid haunted places lest the resident spirits seek out the curious in their homes. This strategy seems to work for them, at least most of the time. The Mordentish are polite and friendly toward strangers but always remain somewhat reserved. They guard their own secrets closely and have a knack for getting others to talk candidly without revealing much of anything themselves.
Mordent is the former home of Rudolph van Richten, the famed monster hunter and scholar of the macabre, now presumed deceased. Gennifer and Laurie Weathermay-Foxgrove, granddaughters of Mordent’s noble lord, currently manage van Richten’s herbalist shop in Mordentshire. The twins are themselves acquiring a reputation as dedicated sages and hunters of the supernatural, much to the distress of their father. They idolize their grim uncle, George Weathermay, renowned as Mordent’s favored prodigal son. A stalwart foe of evil, Weathermay rides a forlorn path across the Core in search of the minions of darkness.
Government of Mordent
The ailing Lord Jules Weathermay, patriarch of the Weathermay family, rules Mordent from his grand estate, Heather House. The Weathermays have always governed with a light hand, and despite Lord Weathermay’s poor health, life rolls on in Mordent, as consistent as the tides. The Weathermays are the last prominent noble household in the domain, the others having fallen to tragedy and attrition centuries ago. Indeed, the crumbling estates that dot Mordent’s moors testify to such vanished bloodlines. The Weathermays have managed to hold on to both their estate and their lineage, though their presence is barely felt outside of the village of Mordentshire. Lord Weathermay rarely pronounces any laws; he merely collects regular taxes and keeps a close eye on his lands. Mordent’s villages are essentially autonomous, administrating their own laws and militias. Mayors and other civic servants are elected from among the male property owners, who remain dutifully mindful of how their decisions will affect the poor. The mayor of Mordentshire, Daniel Foxgrove, is the widower of Lord Weathermay’s daughter and father of Gennifer and Laurie.
Trade and Relations
Mordent’s currency is the mournepiece (equal to a gold piece), the weepstone (equal to a silver), saltpenny (equal to a copper). Its resouces include barley, wheat, hops, sheep, cattle, dairy, flounder, sole, sardines, lobsters, oysters, chalk, clay, ships. Fishing provides an important backbone for Mordent’s economy, though sheep herding is also vital to the domain. Mordent does brisk trade with Dementlieu, where demand for seafood and wool provides Mordent with access to high culture and new inventions. Borca and Richemulot are also important trading partners. All four domains have agreed to a mutual defense pact to protect against potential threats from militaristic Falkovnia. For a domain of such small size and with a predominantly agrarian landscape, Mordent is a familiar land to folk throughout the Core. This may be due to its reputation as the rural, slow-paced sister to Dementlieu.
The Mordentish Character:
Mordent is a realm shrouded in mist, inhabited by a society that is surprisingly nice for Ravenloft. They are no strangers to the dark nature of the plane however, and they make sure to lock their doors at night, for that is when most ghosts rise from their graves to haunt the domain. The Mordentish have responded to the nature of Ravenloft in a unique way however, and the domain has produced a surprising number of (admittedly short-lived) monster hunters and scholars studying the creatures of the night.
Non-human races are exceedingly rare in Mordent. Elves in particular, find the cold, moist climate unpleasant, and find even the forests unwelcoming – often describing the dark forests as possessing an ‘emptiness.’ Only half-elves are common enough represent a significant minority, and even they are few and far between.
Non-human races are thought to be at least partially of the magical world, and to associate with them is considered to be inviting ill fortune. A few dwarves have found markets for their crafts, and their dour manner fits well with the stern Mordentish. Halflings also share the Mordentish love of home and comfort, but are often looked upon with suspicion because of their wandering ways. This distrust of wanderlust, coupled with a similar distrust of magic, make Mordent an unfriendly place for the Vistani.
Though most of the noble families in Mordent have died out, there is still a distinct difference between the high and low classes. This difference tends to express itself in differences in speech and culture rather than in fashion – the Mordentish like to think of themselves as above such frivolities. Relations between the classes tend to be relatively good, though aristocrats tend to look down on the poor for their uncultured ways, while the poor often think that the rich put on too many airs.
Mordent has always attracted a few immigrants, particularly from the domains of the other Four Towers – Dementlieu, Richemulot, and Borca. The instability of Borca has encouraged a few Borcans to relocate to Mordent, despite the decline of profit caused by such a move. These Borcan immigrants actually fit in reasonably well, their naturally dour and serious natures fitting well with the equally dour and serious natures of the Mordentish.
Attitudes towards Arcane Magic:
The Mordentish do not deny the potential benefits of magic, they tend to hold arcane practitioners at arm’s length, treating them as potentially dangerous. However, this is not because they fear the practitioners (any more than anyone would fear a person with terrible destructive powers) – rather they fear what the magic user might attract. A common Mordentish proverb goes, “don’t visit evil and it won’t visit you” – those who seek to command powerful energies are also the most likely to be corrupted by these same forces.
No magical schools exist in the domain, and most native practitioners are those whose families could afford hiring a tutor, who are often foreign.
Attitudes towards Divine Magic:
Divine magic is widely accepted throughout Mordent, and it factors into the daily lives of most Mordentish. Those practitioners of divine magic are held in high regard, though this is usually tempered by which god they worship.
Ezra: In this misty domain, it should come as no surprise that worship of Our Lady of the Mists is quite strong. Almost all Mordentish are members of the Church of Ezra of varying faith. The Mordentish sect is a relatively benevolent one, and it has seemingly little interest in politics. It is still quite powerful, and it serves as Mordent’s first (and best) line of defense against the forces of darkness. With the trickle of Borcans into the domain, a few small churches that practice the Home Faith have been founded in Mordent. The Church is also responsible for maintaining the domain’s large graveyards.
Hala: There are a few Halan hospices in Mordent. The witches’ combination of arcane and divine magic is marginally acceptable to the Mordentish people, though most see it as playing with fire, inviting the influence of dark forces.
Fighters in Mordent are often members of the local militia who help defend their respective towns from wildlife, brigands and the rare monstrous threat. A few Mordentish make their lives as highwaymen, though they have a short life expectancy, and are often found dead with no visible wounds or poison in their system. Pistols and rapiers are the most popular weapons among those who can afford them.
Male Names: Alfred, Allan, Allistair, Andrew, Arthur, Benjamin, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Cyrus, Daniel, Douglas, Edward, Elias, Elijah, Francis, George, Giles, Henry, Hugh, Ian, Irving, Isaac, James, Jeremiah, Jonathan, Joseph, Lawrence, Martin, Matthew, Matthias, Nathaniel, Neville, Nicholas, Oliver, Owen, Peter, Richard, Robert, Samuel, Silas, Simon, Stephen, Thaddeus, Theodore, Thomas, William
Female Names: Abigail, Alice, Alyson, Anne, Annabeth, Beth, Bridget, Candace, Charity, Chastity, Constance, Deborah, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Emily, Esther, Faith, Gennifer, Grace, Hannah, Helen, Hope, Jane, Judith, Julianne, Katharine, Lacey, Laurie, Lillian, Lucille, Lydia, Margaret, Martha, Mary, Mercy, Meredith, Nell, Patience, Prudence, Rebecca, Ruth, Sarah, Susanna, Tabitha, Virginia.