Sword Mountains

0

Sumber Hills

0

Sighing Valley

0
0

Ruined Moathouse

0

Locations

Home Players Locations

Rivergard Keep

Description

A small but strongly built castle on the banks of the Dessarin River, Rivergard Keep is one of the Haunted Keeps of the Sumber Hills. A taciturn mercenary lord named Jolliver Grimjaw and his band of sells words occupy the keep. They are repairing the old castle and protecting trade along the river from the depredations of monsters and bandits, or so they claim. In fact, Rivergard Keep is the secret stronghold of the Cult of the Crushing Wave. Grimjaw and his followers are the very outlaws from whom they claim to be defending trade.

Red Larch

Description

The town of Red Larch was a way stop on the Long Road seven days north of Waterdeep and was located at the intersection of three trails. One trail led to the Bargewright Inn, another to Kheldell, and the third ran into the hills to derelict, monster-infested keeps. The town was named for a stand of red larch trees that were chopped down about the time of the town’s founding.

Red Larch is a town on the Long Road, a few days’ travel north of Waterdeep and a few days’ travel south of Triboar. It’s a way stop for caravans coming to or from the cities of the North, with an inn named the Swinging Sword, a tavern called the Helm at Highsun, and many craftspeople who cater to travelers.

Hills partitioned into fields and pastures by fieldstone fences or hedges surround Red Larch. A mile or so outside the town, cultivated areas give way to unspoiled wilderness. Miles of hills, woods, and grassland stretch on as far as the eye can see, filled with plentiful wildlife.

The Swinging Sword and the Blackbutter Inn are the only inns, and the Helm at Highsun is a large tavern across the street from the inn. Locals gather at Guelker’s store or the tavern to gossip. Ironhead Arms is the best place to buy weapons and armor, and Halvor Tarnlar sells well-made clothing for travelers. Red Larch doesn’t have a mayor, but Constable Harburk keeps the peace. Characters affiliated with factions might know the names of faction agents and supporters in town.

Trade

Red Larch was known for its nourishing, though otherwise non-noteworthy food, called crumblecake. Crumblecakes were made into moist loaves from nuts, chickpea mash, chopped roots and greens, turkey, and wildfowl scraps, all baked together.

Defenses

Around the Year of the Staff, 1366 DR, the town had a militia of around 100 skilled archers, mostly younger boys, who train by keeping predators away from the poultry farm, Mhandyvver’s Poultry. This led raiding parties amongst the orcs to avoid the town.

History

The town was named after a small forest stand of larches that extended along the ridge. The trees, however, were felled by the first settlers in the region, who chose that location thanks to a natural water spring that fed into a small pond that could serve as drinking water for burden animals.

Feathergale Spire

Description

Home to the flamboyant Feathergale Society, this tall stone tower stands on a height commanding splendid views across the Sumber Hills. It can be seen from afar by anyone traversing the hills and is used as a private retreat by an elite hippogriff flying club comprised of rich Waterdhavians calling themselves the Feathergale Knights. These “knights” affect a dashing image and are given to drinking, singing, wearing fashionable clothing, and general revelry.

Feathergale Spire rises from a pillar of rock high into the air, the tallest point for miles. Built from white limestone and embellished in marble, the spire resembles a gleaming sword that pierces the sky.

Red Larch

Red Larch has been an important stop on the Long Road for two centuries now. Named for a distinctive stand of red larch trees that were cut down when the hamlet was founded, Red Larch became a settlement in the first place thanks to a drinkable spring that fed a sizable pond ideal for watering horses, oxen, and pack mules.

An east-west trail meets the Long Road at the pond, running west to the logging community of Kheldell and east to Bargewright Inn and eventually Secomber. Another trail leads to quarries in the Sumber Hills and to ruins of stone keeps long ago left to monsters and outlaws (the Haunted Keeps).

In recent years, new quarries have been opened on the northwestern edge of town. So far these have yielded up great slabs of marble much prized in Waterdeep for facing large new buildings and repairing older edifices. Red Larch is also a center for stonecutters quarrying slate on the fringes of the Sumber Hills.

While Red Larch remains prosperous, dark omens are appearing. The heart of the Sumber Hills has become far more dangerous, with monsters lurking seemingly everywhere (no one goes into the hills berry­ picking or hare-hunting these days, though Red Larcher children traditionally did so daily in summer and fall). Banditry is on the rise, and the weather seems to be getting more severe and more unpredictable. Several Red Larcher shepherds have seen strange figures watching them from distant hillsides in the wild fields east of town where they have traditionally grazed their flocks. Quarry workers used to cut by torchlight when orders were backing up but do so no longer, shunning the pits by night. They are spooked by rumors of dark-robed figures in stone masks lurking in the darkness beyond the torchlight. The townsfolk fear that dangerous times are at hand, but no one seems to know what to do about it.

Locations

Unless the characters are stuck in some sort of massive dungeon by a mad wiazard buried under a tavern, they will travel. The question will be what is there when they do get to a destination? Do they have good ale? Bad food? Can we get something besides George’s cooking?

It is not practical to list every possible location that exists in the Sword Coast, well, at least not yet. The character’s themselves are not that widely traveled, and therefore this list will focus on the places they have visited and learned about. A basic lore of locations as they move forward.

Waterdeep

The City of Splendors is a bustling city on the Sword Coast. A rider from Red Larch can reach Waterdeep in seven days, three if he or she changes horses often and dares to ride by night. Some merchants have termed Waterdeep “the best supply center in the world,” with the largest collection of superb craft workers, experts, useful contacts, and potential hirelings to be found anywhere. Others warn that it represents a huge army of potential enemies for those who aren’t careful-and everyone agrees that its busy streets are full of spies.

Waterhavian noble families and guilds hold tremendous political and economic sway up and down the Sword Coast, but within the city itself, true power lies with the Masked Lords of Waterdeep individuals who convene secretly and whose identities are largely unknown. The public face of this ruling body is the Open Lord of Waterdeep. The current Open Lord, Laeral Silverhand, has held the position for only a few months, and many of the city’s nobles and guild masters are vying for her attention and conspiring to wrest power away from her office, while taking advantage of the transition to dispose of unwanted rivals. This kind of political chaos is “business as usual” for most city residents.

Sword Coast

Description

The Sword Coast is the western shore of Faerûn, a rough, brawling area dominated by Waterdeep. It’s treacherous, filled with undersea reefs, rock outcroppings, and soft undersea shelves reaching out for miles. True ports are few on the coast, which is the reason the best harbors capable of handling sea vessels, Waterdeep and Port Llast, grew into important cities. Other cities, like Luskan and Fireshear, are poor ports, but they service the northernmost towns where the demand for goods is small; these ports can only handle shallow ships.

In addition to the dangerous nature of the Coast, many hostile races reside here, including sahuagin, locathah, tritons, savage mermen, and barbaric sea elves. The Sword Coast is very similar to the nearby High Moors in that it’s both a forbidding terrain and contains inhabitants dangerous to those who pass through it.

The Coast was the first part of the North to be inhabited by civilized people, and it consists largely of gently rolling grass- land. Sometimes the land touches the Sea of Swords in a pebble beach, but it more often meets the water in a series of sea caves, broken rock spits, and low cliffs marked by sea stacks (pillars of rock severed by the tireless waves). This terrain lends itself to smuggling, but it also forces ships navigating close to the shore to be small and of shallow draft, therefore vulnerable to the driving onshore storms that pound the area. The opposite side of the Coast area is a boundary of extensive woods, mountain ranges, or hilly regions. These high lands wall off the large Dessarin river system from the sea.

Rassalantar

Description

Rassalantar was a hamlet and caravan stop on the Long Road, just north of Waterdeep in the Sword Coast North region.  Many a traveler has come upon the quiet village of Rassalantar and taken comfort in the soft beds and rich ale of the Sleeping Dragon, a cozy roadside inn. Few pay much attention to the walled farms and grazing sheep around the town, and fewer still take notice of the ruined keep hidden among the stand of trees west of the village. Yet Waterdeep has long maintained a large contingent of its City Guard here, using a nearby barracks as the base for outriders who infrequently patrol the road north as far as Amphail and south to Waterdeep.

Geography

The small community consisted of six walled farms. They centered around a spring-fed pond which drained into a stream and emptied to the east into the Stump Bog, a sprawling, desolate marsh haunted by monsters. To the west of the farmhouses, a narrow patch of trees known as Keep Woods masked the ruins of Rassalantar’s Keep, and to the east of the pond was the Sleeping Dragon.

Defense

Since Rassalantar was under Waterdeep’s protection, sixty guards were stationed in the barracks just off the road behind the Sleeping Dragon inn. The fighters were outfitted in chain mail with shields and fought with spears, longswords, hammers, and daggers. The Waterdeep soldiers patrolled the Long Road from the gates of their city to a cavern a half-day’s ride north of Amphail. The guards were rotated back to duty in Castle Waterdeep once a month. The officers, on the other hand, do not rotate, because they were veterans who knew the surrounding country very well. The local captain was Gheldarm Tassor (LN Human Fighter/6), and he is assisted by two sergeants, Blaskos Ulraven (LN Human Fighter/4) and Timmer Longschal (LN human Fighter/4).

History

Long ago, the warrior Rassalantar built Rassalantar Keep to the west of the present settlement. The ruined keep was used by traveling vagabonds, doppelgangers, and hungry monsters as a place of shelter. In 1370 DR, the hamlet of Rassalantar was under the protection of Waterdeep with guards patrolling as far north as half a day beyond Amphail.

Dessarin Valley

Description

The Dessarin Valley, also known as the Gateway to the North by its residents, was a valley region situated between the Sword Mountains and the High Forest. It was home to a diverse range of folk, although most inhabitants were either humans or halflings. The main industry of the Dessarin Valley was agriculture, and Goldenfields played a large part in the agricultural economy of the North.

The Dessarin was unlike the rest of the Savage Frontier. While it was largely unsettled, comprising many scattered, remote villages and farmsteads, the valley was much safer than the surrounding area had been in years past.

Geography

The region of the Dessarin Valley was bordered on the east by the High Forest and the Forlorn Hills, and on the west by the Long Road.

Geographical Features

Mountains and hills

  • Dessarin Hills: These rugged hills held several ancient dwarven ruins and were home to orcs, ogres, and other fearsome beasts.
  • Sumber Hills: The badlands located on either side of the river Dessarin held several notable locations, such as the Halls of the Hunting Axe ruins and the Feathergale Spire in the Sighing Valley.

Rivers and streams

  • The valley was named for the great River Dessarin, that flowed from the Evermoors in the Savage Frontier to the Sea of Swords just south of Waterdeep. It was fed by several tributaries, including the River Surbrin, Horn Stream, and Gaustar’s Creek.

Wetlands

  • Black Maw Bog: These wetlands surrounded the area around and underneath the massive Ilikur’s Bridge.

History

In −4420 DR, the shield dwarf kingdom of Besilmer was founded. Besilmer was a very atypical dwarf kingdom, built above ground with fields and pastures to support it. For years, Besilmer flourished but then fell under attack by giants and trolls. This led to the construction of Tyar-Besil, an underground city. Besilmer fell a century after its construction. Ruins from the kingdom still stood as late as the 15th century DR, most notably the Stone Bridge that spanned the Dessarin River; and, although in poor condition, the ruins known as the Halls of the Hunting Axe.

In the Year of the Raised Sword, 893 DR, the Knights of the Silver Horn discovered the ruins of Tyar-Besil. The knights set up strongholds in the ruins but came under attack by Uruth Ukrypt. This led to Dessarin Valley being dragged into the Orcfastings War, and the First and Second Trollwars. By the Year of the Circling Vulture, 942 DR, all signs of human civilization had been wiped out.

Around the Year of the Wailing Winds, 1000 DR, following the expansion of Waterdeep, a few small villages started to develop. This led to the founding of Red Larch, Yartar, and Triboar.

Dwarven Kingdom of Besilmer

This dwarven realm’s name and history is forgotten even by most dwarves, al- though two of its proudest works remain as landmarks known throughout the Sword Coast North today: the Stone Bridge and the Halls of the Hunting Axe.

Besilmer was founded almost as long ago as Gharraghaur, by dwarves under Torhild Flametongue. Torhild and his followers believed that the dwarves would always be a beleaguered race, so long as they mined in the mountains and fought the other creatures who dwelt there, most notably giants and orcs.

The future of the dwarves, Torhild believed, lay in learning to farm, reshaping the downlands, not the mountains, to form beautiful, pastoral, stable communities, living at peace with neighboring men and elves. In his vision, they would use the native innovations and craft-of-hands of dwarves to prosper as inventors, builders, and repairers.

Accordingly, Torhild founded his realm in the troll-infested hills of the fertile Dessarin valley, where no elf or other civilized folk laid claim, and set to work. The trolls were eradicated, though they continued to raid, each year, from the Ever- moors to the north. Irrigation was begun, and livestock herds accumulated and bred.

Fallen Kingdom. Dwarves fleeing from Delzoun (see below) occupied the Halls for 40 winters more, but succumbed to harsh winters, wolves, and orcs in the end.

Persistent rumors tell of great riches buried hastily by the fleeing dwarves, and of magical treasures hidden somewhere beneath the earth near or under the Halls, but no such treasure has yet been found. Besilmer is today forgotten, al- though its sign, a wheel over a plow, can be found on rocks at Ironford and on the pylons of the Stone Bridge, as well as here and there around the Sumber Hills (the modern name for the hills bisected by the Dessarin, which lie just south of the Stone Bridge).

Its borders extended from tree’s edge of the Westwood, east to Ironford, and from there due east to the edge of the High For- est. At that time, the High Forest extended further westwards than it does today. From there its borders went north along that tree’s edge to the short-lived lumbering town of Caddarak, now marked only by the stone hall of its lord, Darthurn, called by humans the Hall of Four Ghosts.

From there, the realm’s borders ran due west, skirting the hills that lie south of present-day Yartar, to Tsordvudd (known today as Kryptgarden Forest).

Notable Locations

Settlements

Thorps
  • Bargewright Inn: Though it began as a single boarding house, this settlement grew large enough to be targeted by the Zhentarim and fall under their sway.
Villages
  • Amphail: The village of Amphail was well known for the quality horses that were bred within.
  • Beliard: This delightful little village served as a marketplace for cattle ranchers from the surrounding areas.
  • Calling Horns: Like several settlements found throughout the North, Calling Horns grew from a single building to a thriving community.
  • Longsaddle: Home to the famed Harpell family, this small village fell under the protection of the Lords’ Alliance.
  • Noanar’s Hold: The isolated village on the edge of the High Forest was located within the region patrolled by the undead Hunt Lords.
  • Red Larch: This way-stop settlement was located on the Long Road, a way north of Waterdeep.
  • Westbridge: The town that housed the charming Harvest Inn, was so named for its location to the west of Stone Bridge.
Towns
  • Goldenfields: Also known as the “Granary of the North”, this massive temple-farm provided food for many settlements in the North.
  • Mornbryn’s Shield: Located on the western edge of the Evermoors, this town was forced to regularly defend itself from the creatures of the swamp.
  • Triboar: This bustling crossroads town was the meeting place for many merchants that traveled along the Long Road or the Evermoor Way.
  • Womford: This small village featured a mill, a marketplace, and riverside docks.
  • Xantharl’s Keep: Named after a famous ranger of the North, this fortified village fell under the authority of the northern city of Mirabar.
Cities
  • Yartar: The member-city of the Lords’ Alliance, was the commercial center of the region.
Other
  • Griffon’s Nest: The ancestral mound of the Griffon tribe of Uthgardt barbarians was nestled within the northern Surbrin Hills.

Landmarks

Abbeys, Monasteries and Temples
  • Scarlet Moon Hall: This refuge was home to the Scarlet Moon druidic circle.
  • Summit Hall: Originally founded by Samular Caradoon, this monastery served as the headquarters of the Knights of Samular.
  • Vale of Dancing Waters: Considered sacred to the dwarves of the North, this hidden valley housed the Shrine of the Tender Oath, which was dedicated to the goddess Sharindlar. The vale was located on the west side of the river Dessarin, at the end of a hidden trail leading south from the Stone Bridge. Called “Tyn’rrin Wurlur” in Dwarvish, it was once the site of the summer palace of King Torhild Flametongue of Besilmer.
Keeps and Towers
  • Feathergale Spire: Home to the dashing, aerial mounted Feathergale Knights, this tower offered a commanding view of the entire valley.
  • Rivergard Keep: Locates on the banks of the river Dessarin, this stronghold house bandits that operated under the guise of well-meaning mercenaries.
Ruins
  • Ruined Moathouse: An old set of ruins of a small fort which has been occupied by a group of bandits and in the areas below the fort are representatives of the Elemental Temples.
Bridges
  • Ilikur’s Bridge: This grand bridge spanned a stretch of wetlands along the Long Roach, between the Sword Mountains and Dessarin Hills.
  • Ironford: The surrounding village of Womford grew around this bridge, which crossed the Dessarin River at the Iron Road.
  • Stone Bridge: The great stone archway that crossed the Dessarin once connected two regions of the dwarven realm of Besilmer.
  • Zundbridge: While not as remarkable as the valley’s other bridges, Zundbridge allowed for crossing of the Dessarin just south of Waterdeep.
Roads
  • Cairn Road
  • Dessarin Road
  • Evermoor Way
  • Jundar’s Pass
  • Iron Road
  • Kheldell Path
  • Larch Path
  • Long Road
  • Stone Trail

Campaign Details

Dessarin Valley, a lightly settled region of caravan towns, isolated homesteads, and uninhabited wilderness just a week’s journey from Waterdeep. Nothing of note to the wider world has happened here for hundreds of years.

The frontier long ago receded farther northward, leaving behind a quiet backwater littered with ruins. These days, the Dessarin Valley has little in common with the popular conception of the Savage Frontier. Winters are hard here, but the hordes of ores and other hungry monsters are a long way off from these parts.

 If the Dessarin Valley isn’t quite as wild and lawless as it once was, it’s still lightly settled territory that serves as a route to distant lands. Residents in places such as Red Larch or Triboar boast that their humble settlements are “the Gateway to the North.” Through these lands pass hundreds of caravans and keelboats each year, linking the great ports of Waterdeep and Neverwinter with places such as Everlund, Mirabar, or Silverymoon. The steady caravan traffic breathes life into the towns of this area, supporting businesses in the settlements along the Long Road. Inns cater to travelers anxious to sleep safely within sturdy walls and enjoy good food by a warm fire instead of camping by the side of the road.

In addition to catering to caravans and travelers heading to or from the far North, the Dessarin Valley is a breadbasket for the hungry populations of Waterdeep and Neverwinter. The farms and pastures of the area produce grain, livestock, poultry, apples, and hops, then ship them downriver (or drive them down the Long Road) to the coast. Few people become rich from farming, but farmers in the region do well for themselves provided the weather cooperates. (That’s one reason why the unusual weather lately has been a concern.)

History

Most people who live in the Dessarin Valley have no idea of its long history. Old-timers nodding sagely by the hearths of the local taprooms sometimes observe,

“These lands, they have old bones.” Most locals have no idea of how right they are.

While some truly ancient ruins in this area go back to the days of the first great elf kingdoms, none of these figures into the story of this adventure. The earliest realm that does is the shield dwarf kingdom of Besilmer, which was founded nearly six thousand years ago in -4420 DR. Its existence is so far back in the mists of history that only a handful of non-dwarf sages have even heard of it. Most people of the Dessarin Valley don’t know Besilmer at all, but they are familiar with two of its works: the engineering marvel known as the Stone Bridge and the crumbling ruins known as the Halls of the Hunting Axe.

The realm of Besilmer was something rare: a dwarven kingdom built on the surface, with its strength measured in fields and pastures. It prospered for a time but was plagued by trolls and giants. The dwarves were obliged to build a stronghold underground, carving out the fortress-city of Tyar-Besil a century after Besilmer’s founding. Unfortunately for the dwarves, the realm collapsed after its king and founder died in battle.

Most of the surviving dwarves sought safer lands. The dwarven city beneath the Sumber Hills was abandoned by -4160 DR and then forgotten.

Tyar-Besil slumbered in darkness for many long centuries, occasionally discovered and occupied by monsters or ambitious miners, only to be abandoned again. It came to light again in 893 DR, when a group of adventurers who called themselves the Knights of the Silver Horn discovered the ruins. Over the next six years they returned again and again, eventually founding strongholds of their own to safeguard the hidden entrances to the sprawling dungeon.

The knights had some success in clearing small domains in the wild Sumber Hills, but only a few years later the powerful ore realm of Uruth Ukrypt arose nearby, and the Dessarin Valley became a battlefield. Trouble followed on trouble: the Orcfastings War, the First and Second Trollwars, and finally a series of vicious drow raids. By the year 942 DR, human settlements in the Dessarin Valley had been all but wiped out, and the Knights of the Silver Horn were no more. Their strongholds crumbled into ruin and became known in later years as the Haunted Keeps. Eventually, no one remembered who built them or why.

The current wave of settlement in and around the Dessarin Valley began after 1000 DR, coinciding with Waterdeep’s growth from a warlord’s stronghold into a major city. The first small outposts that would grow into places such as Red Larch and Triboar were carved out of a wild and untamed land. People resettling the Dessarin Valley found the remains of “kingdoms of old” scattered here and there throughout the area.

Current Events

Minor issues are nothing unusual in the Dessarin Valley. Bands of savage humanoids from the Sword Mountains or the Evermoors occasionally raid here. Human barbarians known as the Uthgardt roam these lands, and the more aggressive tribes can be very dangerous. Bandits sometimes gather in the lonelier parts of the vale to waylay caravans traveling the Long Road or the Kheldell Path. Every now and then reckless or unlucky adventurers manage to stir up some ancient curse in the ruins scattered around the area. Constables of valley settlements are usually up to the task of restoring the peace.

Amphail

Description

The village of Amphail, famous for its horse breeders, lies on the Long Road, a good three-day ride north of Waterdeep through rolling farmlands. By night or in a snowstorm, a traveler can locate this quiet, beautiful village by the thick stands of dusk wood and spruce that cluster along the road nearby. In summer, the stench of horse manure gives outsiders ample evidence of the town’s presence.

This farming village is pleasant to the eyes of all. In hot summer weather, though, it is only pleasant to the noses of those who like horse manure. The folk of Amphail is famous for breeding and training horses. They have traditionally equipped the noble families and armies of Waterdeep and the armies of Neverwinter, as well as merchants and satraps of Amn and Calimshan.

Fine horses are plentiful here. However, those thinking to just ride off on some are warned that the Roaringhorn family maintains a patrol of 12 skilled knights to deal with horse thieves. This patrol is guided by the scrying of six youthful Roaringhorn sorceresses who dwell on the family farm. These young ladies often show up in the saddles of pegasi, wands at the ready, if the patrol runs into monsters or thieves using magic.

Amphail’s horse farms have traditionally equipped the noble families and armies of Waterdeep and Neverwinter, as well as merchants and satraps from Amn and Calimshan. Amphail grays are famous across Faerûn as intelligent, loyal, and hardy personal mounts. Most soldiers, however, prefer the larger, more powerful, glossy black chargers that Amphail’s breeders produce.

Amphail is a small but prosperous place, the sort of town a hurried traveler can ride through without noticing much of interest, thereby missing a great deal.

Color

Named for its founder, a former warlord of Waterdeep, the small town of Amphail is home to just over seven hundred souls, yet it sought and received membership in the Lords’ Alliance just under a century ago, thanks to the maneuverings of the noble families that control its lands. Where once it was simply an example of the extent of Waterdeep’s reach, Amphail became the playground of that city’s noble families, a place where they can scheme against their rivals and send their more rambunctious offspring to unleash some of their destructive tendencies without harming the family’s reputation in proper society. As a result of being a member of the Lords’ Alliance, Amphail is the equal of such great cities as Neverwinter and Baldur’s Gate in matters that concern the other powers of the region, despite its clear inferiority in size and strength.

Amphail’s sovereignty means that, although patrols from the Waterdeep City Guard sometimes ride north to check on matters in Amphail, the only true authority in the town is the will of the noble families that control it. The primary business of Amphail is horse ranching, and the town is a fine place to find replacement mounts, and all manner of tack, bridle, feed, and other goods necessary to keep up one’s horse. Most farms have farriers, or at least hands that can swiftly shoe a horse, and spare shoes all but litter the town.

Visitors to Amphail often get a polite admonishment to “mind the high born” or “ware silver saddles” from the locals, but those who ignore such warnings should expect no help if they get into trouble with the nobility. Amphailans are by their nature suspicious of and quiet around folk who openly display wealth or status, having learned early in their lives that nobles are folk who like to throw their weight around, to the detriment of anyone nearby without enough coin or a grand enough title to stand up to them. I find that these common folk are ideal sources of information about the very people they distrust.

For their part, the young nobles that litter the town seem to make mischief mainly because they can. The feuds and rivalries that would generate only carefully worded insults in the city can escalate into brawls when these miscreants are far from the watchful eyes of their parents. Duels have long been prohibited by mutual agreement, due to the blood feuds they provoked in the past, but hands often drift to sword hilts when heated words are exchanged. Nearly every other sort of noble indiscretion is foisted on the residents of Amphail. Those who suffer property damage or worse at the nobles’ hands are forced to forgive the offense in exchange for the application of coin or a promise made in the transgressor’s name (suggesting that the youngster’s relatives will handle any obligations). Some businesses survive entirely by bringing the comforts of Waterdeep to Amphail, creating gathering places where young nobles can feel at home.

The three greatest families with significant interests in Amphail are Houses Amcathra, Ilzimmer, and Roaringhorn; and most coin and business eventually pass through the hands one of those houses or its intermediaries. When Amphail joined the Lords’ Alliance, these three houses were the loudest and most influential voices, and now control the rulership of the town, with the controlling family changing each Shieldmeet. The current Lord Warder is Dauner Ilzimmer, who speaks for the town to the Lords’ Alliance. House Amcathra has yet to choose its successor for next Shieldmeet. Houses Jhansczil and Tarm have smaller breeding concerns in the area, and House Eagleshields has holdings near Amphail that it uses to continue its long tradition of caring for unhealthy animals from nearby farms and offers fine tack and other gear for sale.

Among the common folk, the Oglyntyr family has the largest and oldest cattle and horse farm in Amphail, and supplies some of the finest Amphail grays (loyal, intelligent steeds favored as personal mounts) to nobles and travelers in the region. A new family, not noble but possessing much wealth, has purchased the old Baldasker ranch. We suspect that the Hemzar family, who were unknown in either Amphail or Waterdeep before the purchase, like most of the mysterious matters in Amphail, may have the secret backing of one noble house or another.

My contacts say the Oglyntyrs have petitioned the Ilzimmers to help crush this upstart business, a move that they are considering. I visited the Hemzar ranch, and I’d consider such a move inadvisable. A large family of Tashlutar descent, they seemed capable and confident of their position, despite my warning. I wasn’t allowed the opportunity to explore the property fully, but I did note signs that the Hemzars are prepared to rear and train far more dangerous beasts than horses and cattle. I was then tempted to warn the Oglyntyrs, but that family can be as odious as the worst nobles. These things tend to sort themselves out.

The noble families of Waterdeep who send their children to Amphail, or allow them to go there, hope that their sons and daughters will learn some lessons about life while away from Waterdeep. If they are going to cause damage or hurt feelings in the process, at least they will do so far away from the watchful eyes of the other nobility of the city. To the young nobles, there is no one in Amphail of any real consequence who might be permanently harmed by any improprieties. They also believe there is no one of note nearby to hear these hot- headed youngsters issue their boasts and proclaim their schemes – I have more than once learned of a threat simply by listening to children of different houses brag to one another about matters that were meant only for the family.

Aside from the excesses of its nobles, Amphail is a peaceful town, with the threat of full-scale retaliation from both Waterdeep and the Lords’ Alliance casting a long, dark shadow over any plans to disturb matters there. The nobles of Waterdeep have heavy purses and are willing to spend as much coin as necessary to protect their favored playground- and to punish anyone that might disrupt their control over it. The only thing the nobles don’t seem to be able to spend away is the smell of manure, which in the summer months hangs thick over the town. It is that manure that helps to feed the true business of Amphail: feeding Waterdeep the produce from the many farms that surround the town.

Because so many of Amphail’s farms are owned by House Ammakyl, members of that noble family are by far the most enriched by the commerce there. They consider themselves good landlords to the folk that farm their lands, and are sure to bring any threats to honest, hard-working commoners to the attention of both the Lord Warder and the Lords of Waterdeep. Anything that threatens farming in Amphail threatens the City of Splendors directly, and such situations are dealt with swiftly and surely by the city’s Guard. As a result, even the most rebellious nobles are careful not to tread too heavily on Ammakyl turf in Amphail, as a house that does so might swiftly find its favorite foods suddenly difficult to procure for a revel or some other event where the family’s status is at risk.

History

Amphail was named for Amphail the Just, one of Waterdeep’s early warlords who had estates here. Although all traces of his keep are long gone, legend holds that Amphail still rides the area in spirit form, frightening away trolls and hostile barbarians.

Geography

The village was three days’ ride north of Waterdeep.

Trade

Its main trade was growing food for Waterdeep, but it was also known for its outstanding horses—including Amphail grays, glossy black chargers, and Amphail fancies. Due to this, the village suffered from the stench of horse manure during the warmer months.

The wealthier inhabitants or landowners of Amphail were generally the ones who bred horses. The largest horse breeder was the Roaringhorn family of Waterdeep, but others included Amcathra, Ilzimmer, Jhansczil, and Tarm, as well as individual breeders Rorth Baldasker, Ohm Oglyntyr, and Elraghona Selember. The independent stable masters Ohm “Steelhand” Oglyntyr, Rorth Baldasker, and Elraghona Selember are also noted breeders.

The Eagleshield family, which produces skilled animal tenders, maintains a farm where sick animals are nursed, and a shop where tack of the finest sort is made and sold. The Eagleshield harness is made for the lone rider’s mount. It is of black leather, adorned with silver-plated studs bearing the spread-winged eagle that is the heart of the family blazon.

The Ammakyl family makes more money than all other inhabitants of Amphail combined. This clan dominates the chief business of Amphail: feeding Waterdeep. Any local vegetables that don’t come out of Ammakyl fields are purchased by the family at fair market prices and carted to Waterdeep in large, well-armed family caravans. These caravans are always on the road between Amphail and Waterdeep.

Defense

The village had no standing militia of its own but benefited from Waterdhavian guards who patrolled from Rassalantar.  There are also the numerous private guards on all the horse farms.

Popular Posts

Brewing

Leatherworking

My Favorites

Table Build – VTT v2

0
Well, after a few month of use, everyone enjoyed using the screen. It is a high success. Even being able...

To Play or Not to Play

Classes

Potter