Ravengro was founded in 4594AR to support Harrowstone, a prison built to answer the growing need for a centralized repository for criminals in the county of Tamrivena (now known as Canterwall). Count Eigen Lorres, one of the last counts to rule Tamrivena before the county switched to its current government, was not a well-liked ruler. In an attempt both to bolster his failing reputation and bring money into Tamrivena’s coffers, he announced the construction of Harrowstone, a prison that would not only house all of the county’s prisoners (thus removing them from being incarcerated locally), but that for a price, would house dangerous prisoners from all over Ustalav. Count Lorres’s plan worked perfectly—not only was the transfer of criminals out of local jails seen as a boon throughout the county, but other counties also responded well to the invitation, sending caravans of payments to Tamrivena and caravans of prisoners to Ravengro. The town of Ravengro itself was always intended to be little more than support for the prison. Not only would Ravengro provide a place for the prison’s employees to live, but it would also provide all of the supplies needed by the prison—food, water, tools, weapons for the guards, and anything else necessary.
Historians often point to Harrowstone’s unfortunate destruction in the fire of 4661 as one of the trigger events that eventually led to the entire region’s bloodless uprising in 4670—the prison’s loss, combined with the government’s inability to rebuild the site (or, more likely, its lack of interest in doing so), certainly disenfranchised the citizens of Ravengro, who by the time the region was ready to abandon hereditary rule were all too eager to accept the new democracy. Since that time, while Harrowstone has remained a constant reminder of darker times, the town of Ravengro has recovered remarkably. Today, the town is a quite healthy farming community blessed with fertile fields and orchards. The town’s chief products are wheat, barley, and corn. Because the town is close to the shore of Lake Lias (“The Great Blue Dot”), Ravengrians can supplement their food stores with fish, but fishing is not sustainable as a commercial enterprise.
Despite their success, Ravengro’s citizens are the town’s greatest hindrances to expansion. Insular, they take some time to warm to strangers and often damage new opportunities for trade with their standoffish attitudes. Yet as hesitant as the townsfolk are to talk to strangers, they are all too eager to talk about them. Rumormongering and gossiping are traditional pastimes among the townsfolk, especially when it comes to strangers. Without a steady supply of unusual visitors to town, they’d be limited to whispers about illicit affairs, unwanted pregnancies, and speculations upon their neighbors’ prosperity—the arrival of strangers in town puts folk in an awkward state, in which their desire to avoid contact with possible troublemakers comes into direct conf lict with their curiosity about new faces. As a result, visitors who make plain their intention to stay in town for more than a day typically receive the bulk of Ravengro’s hesitant curiosity.