Leaf and Land
Men of the Lake
"They had been wealthy and powerful, and there had been fleets of boats on the waters."
The Heart of Trade
The denizens of Lake-town and the inhabitants of Dale are two separate folks sharing a common heritage. Esgaroth was first founded by merchants coming from Dale, but soon the city grew independent from that powerful city of Northmen, and ended up outliving it when Smaug destroyed Dale and scattered its population. For almost two centuries the survivors of dale and the original Men of the Lake lived together under the threat of Dragon-fire, until their destinies were suddenly sundered by the flight of the Black Arrow.
Today, they city of Dale has been rebuilt and its crown restored to the head of the rightful heir of Girion; one of the first pronouncements of King Bard has been the recognition of the independence of Esgaroth and the rule of its council. The Men of the Lake busied themselves for many years with the great works needed to build their town anew, and the refounded Esgaroth emerges today from the surface of the Long Lake as a testimony to their strength of purpose.
The Men of the Lake are among the most enterprising and ambitious inhabitants of Wilderland. Even in their darkest years they never completely stopped looking beyond the borders of the Long Lake, and the most daring among them travelled far when everyone else cared only for their own defenses. Today, Lake-town sits in the middle of a crossroads of opportunities, with a stronghold of Dwarves needing provisions and an ambitious young kingdom of Men to the north, and an ancient realm of Elves to the west.
The Men of the Lake distinguish themselves from their neighbors, the inhabitants of Dale, by their greater love for 'modern' things and exotic novelties, a contrast with the Bardings' healthier respect for tradition. Where the wealthiest among the folk of Dale display their status wearing gold bracelets and torques, or pins and brooches with precious stones, the inhabitants of Lake-town favor rich furs and fine-woven fabrics, often the product of foreign craftsmanship. Their differences extend beyond mere appearance though: Bardings are said to prize nobility and lineage, while Lake-men value above all men or women who elevate themselves through resourcefulness and daring.
Men of the Lake Names
The Northmen of Dale and Esgaroth speak the same language and share a common vocabulary of names. To choose a name, see the list of names for Bardings.
Standard of Living
Since the death of the Dragon, trade has steadily become more profitable than ever. With every passing year more wealth goes up and down the Running River, as the demand for the goods that only Esgaroth is able to provide increases – with the Kingdom under the Mountain and Dale adding their requirements to those of the Elves of the Woodland Realm, the Men of the Lake rank as belonging to a Prosperous culture.
Bonus Equipment: A fur-lined travelling cloak, travelling fear for the current season, a bedroll, a backpack or saddlebags, comfortable boots, 5d6 silver pennies, and choose any two: a fishing rod and line, a set of playing cards (marked or unmarked – your choice), a gaming set, a supposed "dragon bone" fished out of the Long Lake, a random item from any other culture's list of bonus equipment.
Men of the Lake Traits
Your character has certain traits deriving from your Lake-town ancestry.
Ability Score Increase – Your Charisma score increases by 1 and you may increase any two additional ability scores by 1.
Adventuring Age: 16 to 30 – Men of the Lake don't usually become adventurers before their 16th year of age, and rarely continue beyond their forties, when they retire to serve their family and folk.
Size – Most Men of the Lake stand between 5 and 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Speed – Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Natural Born Traders – You have proficiency in the Persuasion skill.
Starting Virtue – You gain one Men of the Lake Cultural Virtue of your choice.
Languages – You can speak, read, and write Dalish – an archaic version of the Common Speech.