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The Nentir Vale Empty
PostSubject: The Nentir Vale   The Nentir Vale Icon_minitimeThu 05 Jul 2018, 10:32 pm

The Nentir Vale
The world as you know it is composed of isolated pockets of civilization surrounded by dark areas of untamed wild. The small communities and even largest cities' inhabitants are mostly cut off from the world outside their walls. Travel between cities and villages is dangerous, and most people are ignorant about the rest of the world aside from rumor. Bandits, vicious humanoids, and monsters of all kinds inhabit the darkness between settled areas, and those who wish to venture out do so at their own risk.

The Nentir Vale Nentir_vale_zps9sc3yq9w

Fallcrest lies near the middle of the broad borderland region known as the Nentir Vale. The vale is now mostly empty, with a handful of living villages and towns scattered over this wide area. Abandoned farmsteads, ruined manors, and broken keeps litter the countryside. Bandits, wild animals, and monsters roam freely throughout the vale, threatening anyone who wanders more than few miles away from one of the surviving settlements. Travel along the roads or river is usually safe—usually. But every now and then, travelers come to bad ends between towns.

The Nentir Vale is a northern land, but it sees relatively little snow—winters are windy and bitterly cold. The Nentir river is too big to freeze except for a few weeks in the coldest part of the year. Summers are cool and mild.

Fiveleague House
Fiveleague House is more properly known as the Fiveleague Inn. It’s a strongly built innhouse surrounded by a wooden palisade. Fiveleague House caters to travelers and merchants coming or going from Hammerfast, a day’s journey (five leagues) farther east. The proprietor is a big, bearlike human named Barton.

Gardmore Abbey
The Gardbury Downs take their name from this striking ruin, a large monastery and town that has lain in ruins for almost one hundred fifty years. The abbey was dedicated to Bahamut and served as the base of a militant order of paladins who won great fame fighting in Nerath’s distant crusades. Local legends maintain that the abbey was destroyed by evil forces after hearing of a dark artifact of terrible power in possession of the order there. What the artifact was and how it ended up in possession of the paladins changes with each telling and the story remains a popular standard in every tavern in the Vale.

The Sword Barrow
This large burial mound stands near the middle of the Gray Downs, a desolate region. The old human hill-clans who lived in the Vale raised the barrow centuries before civilized folk settled in Fallcrest. The hill-folk are long gone, but their grim barrows remain. The Sword Barrow gained its name because scores of rusted blades of ancient design are buried around its edges, blades pointing inward; a visitor can turn up several in a few minutes of looking around.

Hammerfast (pop 4,462 with another 262 in the surrounding mountains, 100 guards, 600 militia)
A dwarven hold cut from the rock of a deep vale in the Dawnforge Mountains, Hammerfast is the largest and wealthiest town in the region. The Trade Road runs through the citadel gates and continues eastward beyond the Dawnforge Mountains. Hammerfast is governed by a council of masters, each the leaders of one of the town’s powerful guilds. The current High Master is the leader of the merchant guild, a dwarf named Yesenia Ferrero Tejedor. Legends say that somewhere in the Dawnforge mountains sleeps the terrible many-headed red dragon Calastryx.

Harken Forest
This large woodland stretches from the Nentir River to the mountains and extends for miles to the south. It separates the Nentir Vale from the more populous coastal towns of the south. A strong goblin keep called Daggerburg lies somewhere in the southwest reaches, not too far from Kalton Manor; the goblins sometimes raid the river-traffic moving along the Nentir, or send small parties of marauders to Harkenwold’s borders. An elf tribe known as the Woodsinger Clan roams the eastern portions of the forest. They occasionally trade with the humans of Harkenwold and keep an eye on travelers along the old King’s road. They have a long-standing feud with the Daggerburg goblins, and the goblins keep to the western parts of the forest to avoid swift and deadly elven arrows. However, the goblins are growing more numerous and have become bolder in recent months.

Harkenwold (Pop 2,156 spread out across the barony, no standing army, 150 militia)
Half a dozen small villages lie along the upper vales of the White River. Together, they make up the Barony of Harkenwold—a tiny realm whose total population is not much greater than Fallcrest’s. The people of Harkenwold are farmers, woodcutters, and woodworkers; little trade comes up or down the old King’s Road. The ruler of Harkenwold is Baron Jon Stockmer, an elderly man who was known for his strong sword arm in his youth. He is a just and compassionate ruler.

The infamous Gravelstoke family, once among Nerath's most prestigious aristocrats, are rumored to have a manor somewhere in the Harkenwold.

Kalton Manor
Back in the days when Nerath was settling the Nentir Vale, minor lords in search of land to call their own established manors and holds throughout the area. Kalton Manor was one of these, a small keep raised by Lord Arrol Kalton about two hundred years ago. Lord Arrol intended to settle the lower vale of the White river, but it was not to be—monsters from the Witchlight Fens drove off the tenants Arrol had brought with him. At the end, Arrol and a handful of his servants and family lived alone in a half-finished keep slowly falling into ruin until they disappeared as well. Stories tell of hidden treasure—the old Kalton fortune—hidden in secret chambers beneath the ruined keep. It is said the ancient black dragon Shadowmire had a hand in the downfall of Kalton Manor, and that he still dwells somewhere deep in the fastness of the swamps.

Keep on the Shadowfell
Long ago, soldiers from Nerath built a strong fortress over the Shadowfell rift to protect it. The old keep lies in ruins now, and is rumored to be haunted.

Kobold Hall
Like Kalton Manor, the wreck now known locally as Kobold Hall was the estate of a minor lord who came to Nentir Vale to establish his own demesnes. Ruined during the Bloodspear War, the old castle has been abandoned for almost a century. Kobold tribes from the Cloak Wood are rumored to lurk in its depths.

Nenlast (Pop 417, 5 guards, 30 militia)
This tiny human village lies at the east end of Lake Nen. The folk here make a meager living by trading smoked fish to the dwarves of Hammerfast. They also deal with the Tigerclaw Barbarians of the Winterbole Forest. When the wild folk choose to trade, they come to Nenlast to barter their pelts and amber for good dwarven metalwork. Evil Frost Witches are said to dwell at the northwest tip of Lake Nen, and somewhere in the Winterbole dwells the white dragon Bitterstrike.

Raven Roost
This small keep stands at the southern end of the Old Hills. Once it was the seat of a small manor, but it fell into ruin long ago. Bandits often harry the Trade Road in this region.

Ruins of Fastormel
Once a prosperous town on the shores of Lake Nen, Fastormel was destroyed by the Bloodspear orcs and has never been resettled. The town was ruled by a Lord Mage (the most powerful wizard in town claimed the ruler’s scepter), and the Mistborn Tower of the last Lord Mage still stands amid the ruins of the town. The tower is shrouded in a strange silver mist that never dissipates, no matter what the weather would otherwise dictate.

The Stonemarch
A rugged land of stony hills and deep gorges cut by white-rushing rivers, the Stonemarch is home to tribes of dangerous humanoids and giants including the Bloodspear Orcs. Orcs, ogres, giants, and trolls haunt the farther reaches of these barren lands. Fortunately for the residents of the Vale, the monsters rarely come east over the Cairngorm Peaks. Notables include the green dragon Vestapalk.

Temple of Yellow Skulls
The ruins of an evil shrine stand in the middle of these desolate hills. Legend tells that a rakshasa prince summoned demons to this place and bound them to his service by imprisoning their vital essences in gold-plated human skulls. None of these have yet been recovered from the ruins, but the story persists.

This striking peak is the largest of the Old Hills. It is said to have extensive caverns within, an ancient minotaur labyrinth ruled by the Mages of Saruun from the fortress of Saruun Khel. North of Thunderspire the Old Hills are the domain of the Blackfang Goblins.

Winterhaven (pop 977, 10 Guard, 50 Militia)
Hard under the Cairngorms at the west end of the Nentir Vale lies the remote town of Winterhaven. Like Fallcrest, Winterhaven is a small town surrounded by a few miles of farmland and pastures. It is ruled by Lord Ernest Padraig. Notable characters include the sage Valthrun the Prescient, Linora the priestess of Avandra, and the guard commander Rond Kelfem. Ernest is an old friend of Lord Faren Markelhay of Fallcrest, who is married to Ernest's younger sister the Lady Aranda.

Map of Fallcrest:

Fallcrest stands amid the Moon Hills at the falls of the Nentir River. Here travelers and traders using the old King’s Road, the Dwarven Trade Road, and the river all meet. The surrounding ridges shelter several small valleys where farmers and woodsfolk live; few are more than six or seven miles from the town. In general the people outside Fallcrest’s walls earn their living by farming or keeping livestock, and the people inside the walls are artisans, laborers, or merchants. People with no other prospects can make a hard living as porters, carrying cargo from the Lower Quays to the Upper Quays (or vice versa).

Fallcrest imports finished goods from the larger cities downriver, ironwork and gems from Hammerfast, and salt from Winterhaven; Fallcrest exports timber, leather, fruit, meat, and grain in return. The surrounding hills hold several marble quarries that once produced a good deal of decorative stone, but the area has little demand for ornamental stone these days, and only a few stonecutters still practice their trade.

A small town built from the ruins of a larger city, Fallcrest is the crossroads of the Nentir Vale.

Population: 1,350; another 900 or so live in countryside hamlets and farms within about eight miles of the town, giving the Fallcrest Barony an area of some 200 square miles. The people of Fallcrest are mostly humans, halflings, and dwarves with a smattering of tieflings, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs. No dragonborn or eladrin are permanent residents, but travelers of all races pass through on occasion.

Government: The human noble Faren Markelhay is the Lord Warden (hereditary lord) of the town. He is in charge of the town’s justice, defense, and laws. The Lord Warden appoints a town council to look after routine commerce and public projects.
There are around a dozen lesser noble families within the Fallcrest demesne (such as the Tiefling Dorimant), who provide military service to the Lord Warden in return for land or stipend. Landed families hold at least one manor (square mile) of farmland. Each manor produces enough to support 100 peasants and raise a lance of levy soldiery - 1 mounted knight and 4 footmen or hobilars. Manors more than a mile or two from the city walls typically center around a thorpe of 20-80. Several manors may center on a hamlet of 80-400. Hamlets are the largest settlements within Fallcrest demesne outside the town itself.

Defence: The Fallcrest Guard numbers sixty warriors (around 12 mounted knights and 48 common foot soldiers with halberd or light crossbow), who also serve as constables. Moonstone Keep is their barracks. The Lord Warden can call up to another 350 trained levy at need - ca 20% (70) mounted knights, 10% (35) light cavalry & scouts, 10% (35) crossbowmen, and 60% (210) heavy foot.

Inns: Nentir Inn; Silver Unicorn Inn. The Silver Unicorn is pricier and offers better service; the Nentir Inn sees a more interesting clientele.
Taverns: Blue Moon Alehouse; Lucky Gnome Taphouse; Nentir Inn taproom.
Supplies: Halfmoon Trading House; Sandercot Provisioners; House Azaer.
Temples: Temple of Erathis (Contains shrines of Ioun and Moradin); Moonsong Temple (Sehanine; contains shrines to Corellon and Melora); House of the Sun (Pelor; contains shrines to Kord and Bahamut). The shrine of Avandra migrates between all three temples on it's own every few days.

Fallcrest's Story
Up until four centuries or so ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of the Nentir.

With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred ten years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.

Over the next two centuries, Fallcrest grew into a small and prosperous city. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble about a century ago, Fallcrest continued to flourish—for a time. Ninety years ago, a fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.

In the decades since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This is a place in need of a few heroes.

Key Locations
Fallcrest is divided into two districts by a steep bluff that cuts across the town. The area north of the bluff is known locally as Hightown. This district survived the city’s fall in relatively good shape, and it was the first area resettled. To the south of the bluff lies Lowtown, which tends to be newer and poorer. In the event of a serious threat, people retreat up to Hightown—the bluff and the town walls completely ring this part of Fallcrest, making it highly defensible.

Tower of Waiting (1)
This old fortification was built on a small island in the Nentir to guard the city from any waterborne attack from the north. It fell into ruin even before the sack of the old city, and now is little more than an empty shell overrun by mice and birds.

Upper Quays (2)
Boats proceeding down the Nentir must stop here and offload their cargo, which is then portaged through the town to the Lower Quays and loaded onto boats below the falls. Likewise, cargo heading in the other direction is carried up to these quays and loaded aboard boats bound upstream.

Five-Arch Bridge (3)
Dwarf artisans from the citadel of Hammerfast built a fine stone bridge over the Nentir two hundred years ago. Although the bridge was destroyed when Fallcrest fell, the great stone piers supporting it remained intact, so a few years back the people of the town laid a new timber trestle over the old stone footings.

A small toll house guards the western side of the bridge. Five Fallcrest guards under the command of Sergeant Thurmina watch this post. They collect a toll of 1 cp per head (and 1 sp per mount) making use of the bridge in either direction. Thurmina is a gruff woman who has been known to turn a blind eye to odd cargo moving over the bridge when paid to do so. The river current begins to pick up on the south side of the bridge. Boats (or swimmers) venturing far from the banks are in danger of being carried over the falls.

Nentir Inn (4)
A fine new building constructed of fieldstone and strong timber, the Nentir Inn stands on the west bank of the river. Merchants from Winterhaven or Hammerfast make up the clientele, along with travelers who happen to be passing through. A good room with two single beds goes for 5 sp per night. The Nentir Inn also boasts a lively taproom, which is popular with the folk who live in the vales on the west bank of the river. Owned by the half-elf Erandil Zemoar.

Knight’s Gate (5)
Fallcrest’s northern city gate is known as Knight’s Gate, because the Lord Warden’s riders normally come and go from the city by this road. The gate consists of strong outer doors of iron-reinforced timber and an inner portcullis between a pair of small stone towers. The portcullis is normally lowered at sunset, and the gates close only in times of danger. The gatehouse barracks accommodates five Fallcrest guards plus Sergeant Nereth, who commands this gate. He is a stiff-necked fussbudget who rigorously enforces all rules; the guards stationed here can’t stand their sergeant.

Silver Unicorn Inn (6)
For many years, the Silver Unicorn has billed itself as “the Pride of Fallcrest,” charging high rates for its attentive service and well-appointed rooms. The recent opening of the Nentir Inn put a big dent in the Silver Unicorn’s business, and the owner, a stern halfling matriarch named Wisara Osterman, strongly disapproves. She’s certain that there is something shifty about Erandil Zemoar, but can’t put her finger on it.

A room in the Silver Unicorn costs 2 gp per night.

Halfmoon Trading House (7)
The Halfmoon family is a large, far-flung clan of halflings who keep small trading posts in several settlements throughout the Nentir Vale. This is the largest and most important of those establishments. It’s under the care of Selarund Halfmoon, a friendly halfling who dispenses a never-ending stream of advice to his customers, such as, “It never rains but as someone gets wet!” or “A nail ain’t afraid of a hammer with no handle!” No one knows what he’s talking about most of the time, but Selarund is more sly than he lets on and keeps a close eye on events all around the town. The Halfmoon Trading House is an excellent place to buy mundane tools, gear, supplies, or clothing.

Moonstone Keep [8]
The seat of Lord Warden Faren Markelhay, Moonstone Keep is an old castle that sits atop a steep-sided hill overlooking the town. The outer bailey includes barracks housing up to sixty Fallcrest guards. At any given time about twenty or so are off-duty. Other buildings in the courtyard include a stable, an armory, a chapel, a smithy, and several storehouses. The keep is the large D-shaped building at the north end of the castle.
Faren Markelhay is a balding, middle-aged (44) human with a keen mind and a dry wit. He is a busy man and sees to local matters personally, so adventurers calling on him are likely to wait a long time for a short interview. However, he is eager for news of other towns in the Vale (and farther lands as well) and never turns away someone who brings him news or waits to see him.

Faren's wife Lady Aranda Markelhay (nee Padraig) is a cool and reserved woman of 34, known to be a student of the arcane arts. She is the younger sister of Lord Ernest Padraig of Winterhaven. The Markelhay's have four children, the eldest Ernesto is a squire to the Baron of Therund far to the south. Lady Aranda keeps a limited selection of magic items for sale and will willingly sell to and teach magic to those she trusts.

The elderly Tiefling warrior Kallain Dorimant has served the Markelhay family for 62 years. Today he is Faren's Seneschal, keeping Moonstone Keep secure and well provisioned. Kallain's daughter Mercy is recently trained as a Silver Falcon, a Paladin of Sehanine. Kallain's human wife Adra is a talented chef, and runs the kitchen of Moonstone Keep.

The Tombwood (9)
Along the southern slopes of Moonstone Hill grows a large thicket that has never been entirely cleared. Within its tangled paths lies the old castle cemetery (now heavily overgrown), as well as a battle-mound dating back centuries.

House of the Sun (10)
When Fallcrest was a larger city, it supported several good-sized temples located in the Hightown districts. With the town’s depopulation, several of these were abandoned, including the House of the Sun, a temple dedicated to Pelor. The place also includes shrines to Kord and Bahamut. Recently, a zealous dwarf priest of Pelor named Mateo came to Fallcrest from Hammerfast and reestablished this old temple. Mateo is loud and opinionated, a real fire-breather who goes on and on about smiting evil wherever it might lurk.

House Azaer (11)
A small, well-off trading company, House Azaer is owned by the tieflings of the Azaer family. They import goods (including arms and armor) from Hammerfast, Harkenwold, and the lands to the south, and organize caravans up to Winterhaven several times a year. House Azaer is an excellent place to purchase nearly any mundane equipment, although its prices are a little on the high side.

Amara Azaer is in charge of the house business in Fallcrest, and spends her time on the premises. Though young, the tiefling is quite sharp and doesn’t miss an opportunity for profit in running the Azaer business.

The Nentir Falls (12)
Here the Nentir River descends nearly 200 feet in three striking shelf-like drops. On the small island in the middle of the falls stands the statue of an ancient human hero named Vendar, holding up his hand as if to challenge enemies approaching from downriver. Local legend tells that Vendar slew a dragon whose lair was hidden in caverns beneath the falls.

Temple of Erathis (13)
This large, impressive stone temple is finished with Fallcrest’s native marble. Its chapel is a large rotunda with a 30-foot-tall dome. The temple of Erathis is the largest and most influential temple in town. The place also includes shrines to Ioun and Moradin. High Priestess Dirina Mornbrow oversees two lesser priests and several acolytes—townsfolk who spend part of their day tending the temple. Dirina is a woman of about sixty who is convinced of the superiority of Erathis’s dogma, and disappointed that more people in Fallcrest don’t pay proper reverence to “our city’s patron god.” She is familiar with several divination and restoration spells and can aid adventurers at need—for an appropriate gift to Erathis, of course.

The Bluffs (14)
Fallcrest is divided in half by a great cliff snaking northwest to southeast across the town. The bluffs average 150 to 250 feet in height. They are not strictly vertical, but are too tall and steep to be easily climbed.

The Catacombs (15)
The limestone bluffs between Hightown and Lowtown hold a number of caves, which the folk of Fallcrest have used as burial crypts for centuries. As caves fill up, they are walled off and forgotten about. Naturally, stories abound in town about treasure hoards hidden away in the crypts, and the restless undead that guard them.

Moonsong Temple (16)
The third of Fallcrest’s temples is devoted to Sehanine. It also includes shrines to Corellon and Melora. The Markelhays regard Sehanine as their special patron, and over the years they have given generously to the temple. The temple occupies a commanding position atop the bluffs, and its white minarets can be seen from any corner of Lowtown.

The leader of the temple is High Priest Ressilmae Starlight, a wise and compassionate elf who finished adventuring decades ago and retired to a contemplative life. He is a musician of great skill who happily tutors the local children, even those who are poor and can’t afford to pay for their lessons.

Fallcrest Stables (17)
Lannar Thistleton owns this business, providing travelers with tack, harness, stabling, shoeing, wagons, and just about anything dealing with horses, mules, or ponies. He keeps a larger corral about a mile outside of town, and at any given time Lannar has several riding horses, draft horses, or mules in his paddock near Wizard’s Gate. The halfling is an excellent source of rumors, since he sees the travelers coming or going by the roads. He is a friendly fellow of about forty, with a large brood of children at his home out in the countryside.

Wizard’s Gate (18)
Fallcrest’s eastern city gate is known as Wizard’s Gate, because it’s the gate most convenient to the Septarch’s Tower. The road to the east travels a few miles into the surrounding hills, linking a number of outlying farms and homesteads with the town.

The gate resembles Knight’s Gate in construction, and is similarly watched by a detachment of five guards and a sergeant. The leader of this detachment is Sergeant Santiago, a dwarf veteran who fought in the Bloodspear War and was present at the Battle of Gardbury Downs, where Fallcrest’s army was defeated. A friendly drink goes a long way toward loosening Santiago’s tongue about that long-ago war.

Naerumar’s Imports (19)
Considered the finest of Fallcrest’s retail establishments, Naerumar’s Imports deals in gemstones, jewelry, art, and magic trinkets. The owner is Orest Naerumar, a tiefling who displays impeccable manners and discretion. Orest corresponds with relatives and colleagues in several towns and cities outside the Nentir Vale; given a few weeks, he can order in minor magic items, or other items of unusual value. Similarly, Orest purchases interesting items such as these, since other dealers in distant towns or cities might be looking for them.
Naerumar can acquire Common magic items. He can occasionally acquire Uncommon items (25% chance).

Kamroth Estate (20)
This is the home of the self-styled “lord” Armos Kamroth, a wealthy landowner who collects rents from scores of farmers and herders living in the countryside nearby. Armos is a brusque, balding man of about fifty who makes a show of loaning money in good faith and exacting only what the law allows—but somehow he has quietly bought up dozens of free farms over the years and turned their owners into his tenants.

Moonwash Falls (21)
A small, swift stream known as the Moonwash flows through Fallcrest to meet the Nentir River. The stream is rarely more than 20 feet wide or 5 feet deep. The town’s children love to play in the pool at the base of the falls in the summertime.

Septarch’s Tower (22)
This lonely structure is a tall, oblong tower carved of pale green stone that doesn’t match anything else in the town. In the days before the Bloodspear War, this was the seat of Fallcrest’s mages’ guild—an order of a dozen or so wizards and arcane scholars. Defensive enchantments prevented the orcs from sacking the tower, but the guild’s members died fighting for the city or fled to safer lands.

The tower is now the property of Nimozaran the Green, an elderly wizard who was once apprenticed to the last of the old guild mages. Nimozaran considers himself the “High Septarch of Fallcrest” and master of the guild, whose membership now includes only himself and a rather unpromising male halfling apprentice named Tobolar Quickfoot. Nimozaran expects any potential new guild members to pay a hefty initiation fee, and so far none of the few other arcanists living in or passing through Fallcrest have seen reason to join. He can teach a limited number of spells.

Nimozaran can enchant common and uncommon magic items.

Blue Moon Alehouse (23)
This brewhouse on the banks of the Moonwash Stream is the best tavern in Fallcrest. The owner is a nervous, easily flustered fellow of fifty or so named Par Winnomer. The true genius behind the Blue Moon is the halfling brewmaster Kemara Brownbottle. She is happy to let Par fret about running the taphouse, while she spends her time perfecting her selection of ales and beers.

The Blue Moon is popular with halfling traders whose boats tie up along the Lower Quay, well-off town merchants, and the farmers who live in the countryside south of Fallcrest. The old dwarves Diego (area 24) and Sergeant Santiago (area 18) hoist a tankard or two here on frequent occasion, and both can provide beginning adventurers with good leads on potential adventures.

Diego’s Arms (24)
The dwarf Diego Herrero is the town’s weaponsmith and armorer. He is a garrulous old fellow who spends his time trading stories with his customers with a pipe clenched in his teeth, while his apprentices (two of whom are his sons) do the work. Make no mistake—Diego is a master armorer, and under his supervision his apprentices turn out work of exceptional quality.

Diego has in stock (or can soon manufacture) just about any mundane weapon or armor, although he advises beginners to try a hammer: “If you can drive a nail, you can kill an orc! You can drive a nail, can’t you?”

King’s Gate (25)
Fallcrest’s southern gate was destroyed in the attack that devastated the city long ago, and it still has not been entirely rebuilt. One of the two paired towers is nothing but rubble, and several large gaps remain in the town walls south of the bluffs through which anyone could enter the city.

Despite its lack of functionality, the King’s Gate is still used as a guardpost by the Fallcrest guards. Sergeant Gerdrand is in charge here; he is a tall, lanky man who doesn’t say much, answering questions with a grunt or a shake of the head.

The Market Green (26)
The majority of Fallcrest’s folk live above the bluffs in Hightown and walk down to do business on the streets of Lowtown, which bustle with commerce. This wide square is an open, grassy meadow where Fallcrest’s merchants and visiting traders do business in good weather. The town’s children gather here for games of tag or kick-stones.

Sandercot Provisioners (27)
The largest general store in Fallcrest, Sandercot’s deals in just about anything—food, clothing, stores, rope, tools, gear, leather goods, and more. Compared to the Halfmoon Trading House, Sandercot’s has slightly cheaper prices but goods of somewhat lower quality.

The owner is Nimena Sandercot, the widow of the late and unlamented Marken Sandercot.

Lucky Gnome Taphouse (28)
The Lucky Gnome is widely regarded as the cheapest and coarsest of Fallcrest’s drinking establishments. It caters to the porters and laborers who work the nearby docks, and fistfights are a nightly occurrence.

The owner of the Lucky Gnome is a dubious character named Kelson.

Lower Quays (29)
Keelboats and similar craft put in here to unload their cargo and portage it up to other boats above the falls. As described above for the Upper Quays, the porters’ guild jealously defends its monopoly on moving cargo around the falls, and it frequently attempts to intimidate local merchants into paying for portage services—whether needed or not. In addition to the porters’ guild, another gang of troublemakers lurks around the Lower Quays: the River Rats. These street toughs and thieves look out for the chance to pilfer from the warehouses or roll a drunk in a dark alleyway.

Boats belonging to a number of different travelers tie up here, the most common of which are the keelboats of the halfling Swiftwater Clan. The Swiftwaters carry cargo all the way down to the Nentir’s mouth, hundreds of miles downriver. They’re more than willing to take passengers for a small fee. Irena Swiftwater is the matriarch of the clan. She passes herself off as an absent-minded reader of fortunes and maker of minor charms but is rumored to be a sharp merchant.

Last edited by Kolson on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 8:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Nentir Vale Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Nentir Vale   The Nentir Vale Icon_minitimeTue 01 Jan 2019, 7:28 pm

The Nentir Vale ANQ1FdE

Half a dozen small villages lie along the upper vales of the White River. Together, they make up the Barony of Harkenwold—a tiny realm whose total population is not much greater than Fallcrest’s. Harkenwold is a small barony in the southeast reach of the Nentir Vale. Several tiny hamlets and a number of steadings (isolated farms) are scattered across the broad dale of the White River. The great Harken Forest surrounds the realm, isolating it from the lands nearby. In better times, this quiet backwater contently avoids major trouble.

The Barony of Harkenwold is a broad valley just over 50 miles long and roughly 20 miles wide located between arms of the Harken Forest. This primarily open land consists of gently rolling hills covered in a mix of cheery meadows, light forest with little undergrowth, and the occasional thicket. The climate is cool and rainy. Many small streams wind their way across the land, eventually joining the White River. These brooks are at most a few feet wide, and small footbridges cross them regularly.

The people of Harkenwold are farmers, woodcutters, and woodworkers; little trade comes up or down the old King’s Road but instead down the trail from Hammerfast. The ruler of Harkenwold is Baron Stockmer, an elderly man who was known for his strong sword arm in his youth. He is a just and compassionate ruler.

Population and Demographics
Harkenwold’s total population is 2,156, scattered across half a dozen villages and a score of isolated steadings. Most of the citizens are humans (50%), halflings (25%), and dwarves (20%), with a smattering of other folk (5%).

Harkenwolders living in the countryside are primarily farmers, shepherds, or woodcutters. Denizens of the villages also include woodworkers, smiths, carters, brewers, cheese makers, and leatherworkers. The other villagers tend nearby fields or orchards.

Culture and Travel

Harkenwold’s Steadings

A steading is a farm or homestead in Harkenwold’s countryside. Each of these settlements features a strongly built house of fieldstone and timber, surrounded by approximately 200 acres of pastureland and cropland. Some steadings have defensive palisades around the main house. A single extended family commonly lives in the house — two or three couples with their children, their older relations, and a few hired hands. Rarely do the total inhabitants of a steading exceed 20 people.

Characters on foot average 2.5 to 3 miles per hour on roads or trails. Walking from Tor’s Hold to Easthill, for example, takes about two days. If the travelers avoid the well-traveled trails and strike out directly overland, the mixed terrain reduces their speed to 3/4 normal. Venturing into the Harken Forest or the Briar Hills is much more difficult. The rougher terrain reduces speed to half normal.

Travelers in Harkenwold are rarely more than a mile or two from the nearest steading. Most Harkenwolders are happy to put up visitors for the night, although the accommodations might be a dry barn or stable.

Villages and Points of Interest in the Barony of Harkenwold

Harken Village

The Nentir Vale Pfa0nSg
Note: The road leading to the village to the east is Dardun, not Darken. That's a typo.

Population: 282; another 80 or so live in the keep. The people of Harken are mostly humans, dwarves, and halflings.

Government: The human noble Jonn Stockmer is the baron of Harkenwold. He oversees justice, defense, and laws within the six villages and surrounding countryside that makes up the Harkenwold. The baron appoints village elders to help with the daily governing of the Harkenwold and to act as an advisory council during times of emergency. The town elder for Harken Village is called Old Samuel, an ancient and respected dwarf.

Defense: Harken village itself has no standing defenses, but 30 or so able-bodied warriors can be raised from the population relatively quickly. If the need arises, the baron can call up 150 militia at need from the whole of Harkenwold. The keep itself has 5 guards and is the headquarters of the Harken Rangers. There are usually 15 Rangers in the keep at any one time though most of their number are scattered throughout the wold on missions.


1. The Silver Nail
A favorite of traveling merchants and adventurers, the Silver nail is a respected taphouse known to be an excellent pub and grub. The Nail is owned by two brothers, humans by the names of Joff and Tom Newcastle.

2. Stockmer Keep
Built almost 400 years ago by Benedict Stockmer, the founder of Harkenwold. It sits on top of a hill and offers a commanding view of the village below and of the surrounding countryside. It's been expanded a few times since then, and boasts a strong stone wall around an enclosed court yard, a dragon net to prevent flying creatures from landing in the courtyard whenever they please, and spikes along the top of the wall and buildings to prevent landing by such creatures. Through the use of superior construction techniques and magical wards, the keep itself has been reinforced to prevent or resist tunneling, teleportation, ethereal ingress, phasing, extraplanar invasion, and general magical destruction. The guard also keeps a selection of guard dogs to sniff out intruders, mundane or magical.

Notable Folks
Baron Jonn Stockmer: Human. The Old Man, as the locals like to call him, has ruled Harkenwold since inheriting the title from his father sixty years ago. Stoic almost to a fault, Jonn isn't one for wasting words, which suits his subjects just fine.

Baroness Emily Stockmer: Human. The baron's third wife and an old friend of his. They've known each other for 84 years, something they are both fond of bragging about. Knows a lot about a lot of things and is rumored to be Baron Stockmer's spymaster.
Holly Amblecrown: Human. Griffin's wife. Lady-In-Waiting to Baroness Stockmer.

Marsden Lonetree: Human. Castle steward. One of the few nobles with ties back to the old Empire still living in Harkenwold. He owns an estate south of Darden where he owns a large herd of sheep.

Jeremy Harlo
: Human. Head Scribe and Librarian of Stockmer's library. He's almost completely bald and his thick glasses make his eyes far larger than they'd normally be. He's wearing dark blue scholar's robes, though fancier than the ones Grif and the others are wearing.
Griffin Amblecrown: Human. Assistant Scribe. Kathryn's younger brother.

Captain Theo Walsh: Human. Leader of the Harken Rangers. Has served in the this capacity for 23 years.
Sergeant Leonard Howard: Human. Second-in-command of the Rangers. His former sister-in-law runs the inn in the village.
Ludmilla ex Vistani: Human. A former Vistani, those wandering folk who wander the planes looking to entertain the peoples. Now a senior Ranger.

Alma Walsh: Human. Theo's mother and the castle cook. Fond of telling embarrassing stories about her son and keeping up with castle gossip.

Jack Bluemane: Human. Castle stable master. Jack is very tall (6'7") and muscular.
Mia Bluemane: Half-Dwarf. Is very short as half-dwarfs go (5'1") and petite. Hails from the village of Tor's Hold.
Sophia Bluemane: Human (with thin dwarven ancestry). Jack and Mia's seven and a half year old daughter. Has a vivid imagination and claims to be friends with a silver dragon. She is sometimes bullied by children in the village.

Bill Cooperson: Human. The castle Master-At-Arms and commander of the castle guard.
Arnold Peterson: Human. The nightwatch gate captain. A stocky and broad man in his 30s with a beard that doesn't quite hide the scar on his left cheek.
John Howard: Human. Hunter's cousin and a guard in service to Baron Stockmer.

3. Cliffside Brewery
The three Morales — brothers Juan and Juan Diego, and Juan’s notoriously short-tempered wife Pilar — run this fine brewery. This brewery not only brews its own ales but also sells its product to taverns in Hammerfast and, indirectly, to Fallcrest and Winterhaven.

They are good friends with the smith Olivia in Albridge.

4. Old Samuel’s House
The Elder of Harken, Kellar is an ancient dwarf who worked as a master stonecutter and mason for a century. He built much of the expansion to Baron Stockmer’s keep.

5. Robert Harnalo’s House
Robert Harnalo is a retired soldier who bought some land after retiring to the village. He does a little farming but is mostly content to live off his savings. He's fond of telling stories to the local children, especially about the Nerath Empire and the Last Legion.

6.Tower of Green Flame
A mysterious crystal spire rising above the town, this tower is thought to be the residence of an ancient archmage who long ago departed the world to explore other planes. Townfolk avoid the place for the most part, fearing arcane traps or curses. Of the few explorers brave enough to venture inside, more than one has disappeared and the rest found the place empty – three small, unfurnished floors with nothing but dust and bird nests. On moonless nights, eerie green phosphorescence plays about the tower’s upper floors.

7. Harkenwold Trading Station
The major mercantile outlet in Harken, the Trading Station is owned by a stout, oily little man named Rennis. He's fairly unpopular with the locals and has been creeping around the Widow Howard for years now.

8. House of Faith
A large temple built by an adventuring cleric of yore. Shrines dedicated to Pelor, Moradin, Erathis, and Sehanine stand inside. The current prelate is a kindly middle-aged woman named Sister Sondal. She spends most of her time teaching the local children and reading the villagers' love fortunes.

9. Meredith’s Place
The beautiful human Meredith Howard runs a small inn with her halfling friend Nonnie Greentoes. She charges 5 silver pieces a night for room and board.

Notable Folks
Meredith Howard: Hunter's aunt. Mother of John, Erin, and Jo. Is currently nursing her friend Nonnie Greentoes.

Erin Howard: Hunter's cousin, John's sister, and Meredith's daughter. Bit of a tomboy and wannabe Ranger. Loves fishing and the outdoors. Is also a good cook, a skill she learned from her mom.

Joanna "Jo" Howard: Hunter's cousin, John's sister, and Meredith's daughter. 9 years old. Out of the Howard children, she is closest to Nonnie.

Mrs. Taylor: A townie helping out at the inn while Meredith deals with her friend's inevitable passing.


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