The fort itself, composed of red, white and black sandstone bricks assembled to form mosaics on each wall of the keep depicting the Imperial double-eagle, stands a short distance from a gentle stretch of Thunder River, far from the treacherous rapids to the north, nestled amidst scrubland hills and dense pine forests. The houses and shops of the villagers cluster around the fort, surrounded by a mid-sized wall. Of Kroton's once lovely waterfront, only a pair of stone docks and a crumbling road up to the fort remain.
The fort is manned by the last "official" Imperial Legion on the frontier, a garrison of about fifty men commanded by Captain Karl One-Hand, who is also the de-facto Lord Mayor of what's left of Kroton. The garrison is supported by a local militia due to an inability to recruit new soldiers to replace those who fall in battle.
Only a single tavern remains, the Prince's Arms (jokingly referred to by the local garrison as the Harlot's Legs, with the same motto: "We're Always Open!"), known for its games of chance, decent ales and solid, rib-sticking food. The current owner, Marlene the Knife, runs a lucrative side-business selling "Marlene's Emergency Dungeoneering Kits" to adventurers, consisting of backpacks loaded with essentials such as rope, iron spikes, torches, rations, chalk, and other sundry tools of the adventurers' trade. Because of this, she's in fierce competition with Old Pete, who runs the general store and manages Bartok's smithy, for adventurers' business.
A day's journey from the fort stands the tower of Meinrad the Astrologer, a magus obsessed with the study of the movements of the heavens. Most consider him a harmless, if curmudgeonly, old fortune teller who likes his privacy; some few whisper conspiratorially that he's in league with dark forces, citing the frequency of lightning strikes around his tower as proof.
Other nearby sites of interest to adventurers include the Black Swamp, a festering, pestilence-ridden
|the hills surrounding the Grottoes of Discord|
An old monastery, known locally as the Spider Cathedral nowadays, was once home to sect of priests who demanded outrageous tithes from those passing through church lands, claiming that, since money was the root of all evil, by collecting it they were cleansing the populace of sin. The sect died out centuries ago now, but their vast accumulation of wealth has never been found. The crumbling ruin that once housed them has since been used as the lair of a vile gangster, but currently stands empty and abandoned.
For those willing to travel, a week to the north stands Fort Fire Mountain, similar in layout to Fort Thunder River but garrisoned by the Lost Legion, a band of cut-throats, mutineers, thieves and honest soldiers held together by harder-than-nails commanders who refused to leave their post, even at the Emperor's command. Fort Fire Mountain was built among the ruins of a Hyperborean resort town, and the geothermal hot springs that once fed the luxury baths of that ancient empire now feed the spawning grounds of giant frogs and stranger amphibians. Claims have filtered south of an orcish king who runs a gladiatorial arena for savage and Legionnaire alike to watch and bet on the spectacle.