In centuries past, Laveen was a paradise on earth, a glittering, cool oasis on the southern edge of the Phoenix desert. Situated near the confluence of the Gila and Salt Rivers, nestled at the base of the Estrella Mountains, Laveen seemed to be planted by the gods themselves, as the ancient tales recounted. Such tales of divine origin hold in the minds of many even today, owing to those magnificent magical orchards.
The magical orchards of Laveen are an amazing sight to behold. Irrigated by ancient trenches bringing water from the Gila River, the miraculous orchards produce fruit continually. Year round, for as long as stories have been told, the Laveen orchards pour forth their bounty. Trees of all kinds are found there, including many otherwise foreign types that will grow nowhere else in Arizona. [Many an ambitious farmer, scholar, or magician has spent years trying in vain to propate Laveen fruit seeds outside of the Laveen fields, but all attempts have thusfar ended in failure. Whatever great magic sustains the trees in that zone prevents them from taking root elsewhere, it seems.]
The Ancient Hohokam
In centuries past, when the footprint of the Noble Ones was new to these desert regions, Laveen was the center of human habitation in the Phoenix desert. The city of Laveen was the last living remant of the ancient Hohokam civilization. The civilized Hohokam were of the same racial stock as the Dineh, but were gentle, friendly, and refined, in stark contrast to their wild cousins. The Hohokam welcomed our Noble forefathers, and provided us with valuable supplies and knowledge in our early days in these hostile desert lands. At a time when Aryan encapments were small, weak, and primitive, Laveen was a mighty jewell in the desert, a friendly home to all races, and a point of cultural enlightenment.
Yet it was Laveen's urbane openness and domestic blessings that proved to be its ultimate downfall. The natural blessings of her magical orchards proved a magnet for the slothful and decadent, and in the end, it was not an external invasion, but her own festering weakness that led to her ruin.
The Rise of the Half-Orcs
Laveen's half-orc population, which started out as a small pariah group [looked down upon with disgust even by the urbane Hohokam], gradually grew out of control. While the Hohokam used the blessings of their leisure to express their artisitic and cultural genius [scores of their finest intellectual productions can be found even today in our libraries], the half-orcs used their leisure for little more than drunkenness, violence, and promiscuity.
The Night of Long Spears
By the time the Hohokam began to become aware of their growing danger, it was too late. In one fateful day, which began with an attempt to arrest the half-orc gangs leaders, the Hohokam's fate was sealed. In what is still remembered by historians today as the Night of Long Spears, the half-orcs of Laveen exploded in an orgy of violence, slaughtering the Hohokam men, women, and children with abandon, gleefully drinking their blood and feasting upon their bodies in the streets of Laveen. [Some Hohokam managed to escape, and today a few clans in Buckeye and Tempe trace their lineage to those horrific events.]
Of course, the glory that was Hohokam Laveen was quickly torn down by its new half-orc masters. Hohokam archetecture was torn down; today the half-orc swarms domicile in piles of rubble and lean-to shanties. Laveen's impressive hydrolic engineering, which provided running water and sewage disposal throughout the city, fell into ruin; half-orcs today seem content to live in their own fith. The half-orcs of Laveen today are the most corrupt race in the known world, enabled by their magical trees to devote their full time to drunkenness, vice, violence, and sex.
Chaotic Conditions Today
The Orc-town Lord provides some measure of governance to what can otherwise best be described as anarchy. The Orc-Town Lorship is little more than a criminal syndicate designed to exploit maximal wealth from the slums, and the office tends to change hands with alarming rapidity, as rival gangs and general uprisings overthrow previous Lords. When conditions are not in total chaos, the Lord can be counted on to run a profitable business selling the fruits from her orchards to the outside world. The Lordship also specializes in raising revenue through kidnappings of various personages from the civilized world, with special targeting of Der-juden merchants and Aryan nobles, when possible.
Due to its terrible living conditions and overpopulation problems, Laveen is a source of continual lawlessness throughout the region. Aryan military leaders have periodically attempted reprisal actions against Laveen, but the results of such expeditions have been uniformly counterproductive. The only time the half-orcs seem to acquire motivation or organization is in response to external attacks, so our policy towards them is usually neglect, allowing them to consume themselves in violent dissipation rather than risk stirring them up into organized hostility. The prospect of filthy hoards of Laveen half-orcs streaming towards Tempe, which is after all, within a day's journey, is a daunting one indeed...
--The son of a high profile Tempe nobleman has been kidnapped, and is being held in the Orc-Town Lord's dungeon. A military expedition is infeasible, but a small group can be sent into the town, in disguise, to effect his rescue.
--The new Orc-Town Lord is distressingly competant, and appears to be uniting the half-orc clans, with the intention of forming a grand army to sack surrounding settlements. A small group is sent in to foment dissent, and assassinate the new lord if possible.
--The phoenix firebird, while flying above the region on its way to or from its aeire home, was ambushed. A savage battle ensued, against what appeared to be flying demons or devils, in the skies immediately above Laveen. The magical faculty of Applied Spellcasting University quickly sends a small diguised party into Laveen to recover any feathers or body parts (phoenix or demon) to be found, which would be highly valuable to their magical research projects.