Erik's Campaign Design wiki
The Village of Sanctuary
Sanctuary Island has long been the home of you and your kin. A small temperate island in the farthest reaches of the ocean, this small village attracts no merchants nor visitors, instead being completely self sufficient and reliant only on its villagers to operate. Vast orchards and rich fields combined with the nearby fish from the ocean more than provide for the people of these lands. Everyone in the village provides for everyone else and although the people of the isle are not rich, they are content with their lives. It is for this reason that the village has never wanted for outside assistance, such as foreign merchants or travelers. And according to the near ancient maps kept by the mayor, Sanctuary Island lays so far from any other land that no merchant or adventurer, no matter how brave, would desire to come out to the island for such little wealth.
It was to such a life that you were born. As were your parents and their parents before them. As was all of the village. The lack of visitors means no new blood comes into the village. But this means that the Mayor promotes the familial bonds of the village. After all of these years, near everyone is related in some manner to everyone else, albeit a second or third cousin. Providing for the village is no different from providing for your family, especially since they most likely are. There is no reason to depart the island, even if there were any sea worthy vessels, which there are not. Not to mention the dangers of the ocean. Every single person who has abandoned the village has never returned, surely devoured by the sea. Instead, it makes more sense to live a calm, content life among friends and family.
This is not to say the Sanctuary is without its hardships. The winters are harsh and brutal, often burying the village for months on end. And the spring often brings terrible storms and flooding. But the Summer, while hot, is often a time for rebuilding and preparing for the following winter and fall is the time of celebration as the harvest comes in. While the island is not overly large, being at most 20 miles at its longest, it also hosts its share of dangers. Various beasts and monsters are said to make the forests beyond Sanctuary their home and further discourage sensible people from going too far from their homes. The need for a city watch remain, even in their peaceful village, for the times when goblins get restless or even occasional owlbears get overly bold.
The quickly approaching harvest festival is one of the most important, and most celebrated, events in Sanctuary. The Harvest Festival is obviously a time to celebrate the harvest and a great feast is prepared for everyone. Festivities are held all across the village, but the most important of which is the Crowning of the Harvest King and Queen. Young adults across the village compete in different contest and the male and female who perform the best in the contest are given the title of Harvest King and Harvest Queen for the year. While the title doesn’t come with any actual benefits, previous winners often find themselves in important positions and every mayor since the towns founding has been a previous winner. Either way, the festival gives the village a glimpse of their future, both in terms of food and in leadership.
The Final Gift
Sanctuary might be sufficient, but its resources are not limitless. The village can not provide for the weak, elderly or infirm and it is for this reason that the village adopt the ritual known as the The Final Gift. When a member reaches a certain age dependent on their race, becomes injured beyond saving or should break the laws of the village, they are offered the opportunity to give their Final Gift. While some might try to delay it for a time, everyone eventually accepts, especially if they are becoming a burden on those around them. A small canoe is loaded with a few days worth of supplies and they depart on the boat, never to return again as they float out into the endless sea. This is a sad event, but the villagers understand that resources needed to keep those citizens healthy would stretch the rest of the village too thin and it is seen as an honorable thing to do. For them, this is the final gift that they can give to their friends and family.