Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
Rickety piers extend into the shallow, weedy waters along the shore of the Midbay. Blue, sweet smoke wafts upward from tiny chimneys jutting from the grassy ground beyond. And everywhere people are walking, riding ponies, running, and talking.
This pastoral settlement of halflings has grown to become a major center for the diminutive demihumans, no doubt because of its proximity to Greyhawk itself.
Halflings, as a rule, enjoy the Free City for a time but grow tired of living there. Consequently, more than 5,000 of them have settled here, near the inlet of the Selintan River.
Wide banks of shallows have made the shores of Midbay inhospitable to large craft. Those vessels keep to the clearly indicated channel in the center of the wide waterway, following deep water all the way to the wharves of Greyhawk.
But the halflings, with their light canoes of leather and bark, found good fishing in those shallows. They brought sheep to the lower slopes of the Cairn Hills, and found that their flocks flourished along the grassy lake shore.
And here, among a collection of low hills lying under shade of a vast grove of elms, the halflings have settled. The solid wooden doors of their burrows dot the landscape, as do the shutters over their small windows and the often smoking chimneys avove their hearths.
Elmshire is a city of good food and cheery folk. Many inns have raised doorways and ceilings, and at least one or two human-sized beds, for human visitors are not uncommon here. Indeed, its shoreline often offers shelter to the barges of the Rhennee. In winter, the population of the town swells with the bargefolk who encamp here for the season.
At night Elmshire glows with thousands of candles, torches, and lanterns all flickering cheerily. If the air is clear, boatmen following the deep channel into the Selintan can mark their progress by the sight of the bustling town along the shore.
The mayor of Elmshire, Windsor Greenshade, is an accomplished politician who retire some time ago from a life of adventure. Windsor puts on an air of the country hick for outsiders, but he is much shrewder than he looks. He is always looking for a way to make money, both personally and for Elmshire.
He is conscientious to his people, and they respect him for his wisdom and courage. Under the years of his leadership, Elmshire has nearly doubled in size.
Thievery and violence have decreased dramatically, while trade with Greyhawk has improved.
The halflings can assemble a ragged militia of some 600 fighters in an emergency, under the command of their mayor. All of the militia are armed with daggers. Three companies in addition use short bows, while the other two use short spears.