Saturday 17 December 2011

Gray Vale

See NPCs Page.
Beneath the mysterious Star Mounts, at the southern edge of the ancient High Forest, the Gray Vale straddles the river Delimbiyr in the North. A prosperous region thanks to river traffic, merchant caravans from distant lands, and other travelers looking for treasure amid the wreckage of lost kingdoms, Gray Vale is a land ripe for adventure.
Common Knowledge
Gray Vale has grown into a trade center in the North in large part due to the success of Loudwater. This small town has an advantageous location at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. Rich and arable farmland enables the community to thrive. Most merchants in the vicinity use the river to transport goods, making Loudwater an ideal nexus for nearly all commerce in this part of the world.
Although Loudwater and other small settlements enjoy some prosperity, the threat of danger checks their growth. Displaced savages from beyond the High Forest are a constant peril. Goblins infest the Southwood, snatching cattle, supplies, and the occasional child before retreating to the dim shelter of their foreboding forest. Whispers of Najaran serpentfolk fill the taprooms as locals peer suspiciously at strangers, ever watchful for these sinister infiltrators. All of these dangers and more cast a pall of fear and mistrust over Gray Vale.
Regional Features 
Gray Vale’s borders are soft, shifting with the ambitions of prospectors and settlers, but all who live in this rich valley regard the Star Mounts as its northern boundary, the rugged Graypeak Mountains as the eastern border, and the High Moor as its southern perimeter. The Vale stretches west, following the Grayflow out to the Sword Coast, though the influence of the area thins as one draws closer to the Western Heartlands.

Dominions of the Gray Vale (1481 DR)
Western Gray Vale
Barony of Secomber - allied with Loudwater - Lord Boris
Urshani Hobgoblins of the High Moor
Graywood Elves - King Cirallon Swancloak

Central Gray Vale
Tigerclaw Uthgardt of the Dire Wood - Prince Konn
Korzzbad Goblins - vassal to Queen Esmerelda of Llorkh
Lordship of Loudwater - Lady Eclara Moonfire
Loudwater vassal manors
Northwood - Lady Lirael Widdershins-Sirocco
Brownstone - Sir Joran Amainas, regent for Sir Halvard Brooke
Virdan - Sir Cottel Jameson
Sunstone - Sir Rory Amainas
Malt - Sir Otto Falthis
Alwyck - Lady Thaya Rensard
Jelt - Dame Lisania Vanegold
Oakbank - Sir Harvarr Quortath
Hartsfont - Sir Brandini Covere
Barony deTrevani - Lady Amara deTrevani (inc Fiery Spire, Greentree, Trevan, Castle deTrevani)

To North: Heartblood River Halflings of Upwater and Downwater Shire.

Eastern Gray Vale
Adakmi - town council
Kingdom of Orlbar - Queen Valeris (inc Malwych, Redar, Brightwater, Graystone)
Vassal to Orlbar: Erstlin - Sir Dolf Dragonheart 
Realm of the Mountain King - King Oro Loroth (inc Loagrann, Hali, Ogremouth) - allied with Llorkh
Kingdom of Llorkh - Queen Esmerelda 
Vassal to Llorkh:
Irondawn - town council
Timbervale - Lord Tirios Sevrym
Korzzbad Goblins of Southwood - Warlord Delderosh

To South: Glintshield Dwarves of Citadel Yaunaroth and the Vale of Naurogloth - allied with Llorkh
To East: Shadovar Empire of Netheril
To North: Frost Giants of the Graypeak Mountains
The whole Gray Vale region had been under pressure in the century since the Spellplague due to the change in magic, climate etc - initially cold, famine and disease, more recently orc, goblin, Uthgardt and other raiders, no longer easily dealt with through powerful spells. Many villages and some larger towns have been abandoned. Some people died; others fled west to the Sword Coast. A century ago Loudwater itself was a sprawling unwalled garden city of around 8,000; by 1479 it's a much smaller fortified township of 2,000.

Loudwater: Easily the largest settlement in Gray Vale, Loudwater is encircled by a wall of timber and stone more than 20 feet high. The fortifications and the determined but personable people living here make Loudwater an attractive stop for travelers of all kinds. The High Lords of Loudwater claim a demesne that traditionally begins around twenty miles west of town, four miles east of now-ruined Zelbross, and extends east from Loudwater twenty-four miles or so to the borders of Orlbar territory. The High Forest marks the northern border, the South Wood the south. Currently the village of Oakbank, 24 miles east of Loudwater between the Delimbiyr and Grayflow, is the easternmost settlement that owes allegiance to the High Lord, Lady Moonfire. Several families of petty nobles are still vassal to the Moonfire clan, such as the Kiris-deTrevani, Kiris Alkirk & his daughter the Baroness Amara deTrevani, the Covere of Hartsfont, the Amainas of Sunstone,  and the Brookes of Brownstone, but their numbers have been in decline since the Spellplague. See Loudwater NPCs

Manorial Rents
Resources: (2) Timber, Arable (Loudwater: Docks, Market).
Rural Manors Typical Net Cash Rents: 2gp/person (20% High Lord, 20% Reeve, 60% Lord of the Manor). Cash Rents are received M1.

Manors & Tributary Villages (12) - population - Liege (below the High Lord)
There are currently 11 manors and thus 11 landed families in the Dominion of Loudwater. The Kiris manor is considered extinct since the loss of Kiris Dahn.
1) Moonfire Manor pop. 2040 (urban) - Steady, +2%
Loudwater - 2040 - Lady Moonfire, the High Lord of the Vale
2) North (Tavys) Manor pop. 800 - Healthy, +4%
Area 40 sq miles of farmland and waste, pop. 800, of which 200 in 30 farmsteads, 600 in villages. Cash rent to lord avg 960gp/yr). Jorah Blackthorn is Steward of the Manor.
Tavysburg - 350 - Lady Lirael (PC), formerly Lady Eclara Travys (kidnapped M6? 1479 DR, recovered M3 1480).  Dame Aryn Blackthorn is Reeve in Tavysburg, her adult sons Sirs Jorah, Michael & Arren are knights.
Elfstree - 250 - mostly half-elves & some elves. Home village of Lirael Widdershins.
3) Brooke/West Manor (area 30 sq miles, pop. 760) - Average, +0%
Brownstone - 570 - Sir Halvard Brooke, elder daughter Amanda, runaway daughter Kathy at Fisher's Friend in Loudwater from M11 1479 DR. Halvard was killed by Zhents M2 1480, raised by Halvath the Green Regent.
4) Jameson Manor (pop. 500) - Average, +0%
Virdan - 350 - Sir Cottel Jameson, new wife Lana (fr 1479-, killed by Zhents 2/180, raised by Green Regent), old maid Sylvia
5) Amainas Manor (pop. 561) - Steady, +2%
Sunstone - 561 - Sir Rory Amainas, son Sir Joran
6) Covere Manor (pop. 714) - Steady, +2%
Hartsfont - 500 - Sir Brandini Covere, his daughter Carlia is Lady Moonfire's Lady-in-Waiting
7) deTrevani Barony (pop. 1400) - Healthy, +4%
Trevan - 300 - (from M2 1480 DR): The Baroness Amara deTrevani, daughter of Lord Kiris Alkirk, at Castle deTrevani, aided by the the genasi fire wizard Ashara, Head of the Fiery Spire school of pyromancy.
Greentree - 800 (from M4 1480 DR): mostly half-elves & some elves
8) Falthis Manor (pop. 306) - Steady, +2%
Malt - 250 - Sir Otto Falthis the Half-Dwarf
9) Vanegold Manor (pop. 800) - Average, +0%
Jelt - 700 - Lady Lisania Vanegold
10) Quortath Manor (pop. 950) - Average, +0%
Oakbank - 800 - formerly inc. Temple of Oghma - Sir Harvarr Quortath
11) Rensard Manor (pop. 700) - Average, +0%
Alwyck - 550 - Lady Jaela Rensard

Urban population: 2,000 in Loudwater
Village population: 6,000
Total domain population: 9,531 (M4 1480 DR est.), levy forces ca 950.

Loudwater Demesne Standing Forces, ca 225* (1480 DR)
Loudwater Town
50 Loudwater Patrol min-7
20 Loudwater Wall Guard min-9
20 Moonfire Personal Guard min-11
9+ Knights min-13
6+ Knights min-15
100 Nobles' House Guard min-8 to min-11, Travys Manor min-13
+ca 20 Miscellaneous - Rangers, other nobles, etc
*Up from 200 in 1479: +13 Travys Manor House Guard, +12 deTrevani House Guard.

The Green Regent - Halvath Cormarrin (PC) (M2+ 1480 DR)
In late winter 1480 DR, Halvath Cormarrin of Brownstone received a vision from Mielikki and became the first Green Regent since the Spellplague, the first in a hundred years. Whereever the green-bearded Regent walks, life flourishes...
M4-5 1480: Havlath works on establishing lasting symbols and pathways for the people to remember and engage with the Lady of the Forest. This includes practicing and refining Floragami - directing Green Regent quick growth of vegetation into symbols and shapes. Halvath works on, for example, growing a blade of grass into the rough shape of a Unicorn as he reaches to take it up and present it as part of a blessing to supplicants, or topiary forms for establishing, marking, or adorning sacred places in the forest. Halvath particularly tasks promising individuals to tend and establish sacred places in the forest, and to spread the work of Mielikki. In his travels, the Green Regent also begins to mobilize and seek appropriate recruits, Lady willing, for the Forestarms (spiritual followers), Needles (rangers), and Shadoweirs (woodland knights) of Mielikki; seeking to strengthen and bring the protectors of the vale into a more unified force against the darkness ahead.
 M4-5 1480 DR: With word of the Green Regent (Halvath Cormarrin) spreading throughout the Vale, Halvath's shrine at Brownstone becomes a place of pilgrimage and the centre of the Regent's growing faith. Amanda Brooke asks to become a Forestarm and tend the Shrine, and is accepted. 21/6/1480: With the Regent's blessing at the Summer Ball, Amanda is engaged to marry Sir Joran Amainas, Shadoweir of the Green Regent. Amanda can employ 1st level Religious/Healing/Nature rituals.

1. Shera the Priestess  (Ritual level 6), Secomber
2. Amanda Brooke (Ritual level 1), Priestess of the Shrine, Brownstone

1. Boris, Lord of Secomber
2. Sir Joran Amainas, Guardian of the Shrine, Brownstone
3. Sir Rory Amainas, lord of Sunstone
4. Sir Cottel Jameson, lord of Virdan
5. Diora Falthis of Malt, Guardian of the Shrine, Brownstone 

1. Trapper John, Chief of Needles, Brownstone (from M6 1480)

The River Pirates
The River Pirates were linked to the Zelbross slavers, but not the same people the Burning Hand eliminated at Zelbross, although there may have been some overlap. They were raiding along the Greyflow during the first 6 months of 1479 DR, selling captives to Humungus' Zelbross slavers, who also bought captives from the Lady of Shadows and from Zark the half-dwarf, then transported them on to Najara as serpent-brides. The pirates are believed to have kidnapped Amara deTrevani and other women individually, but they also launched two major raids, the sacking of the Temple of Oghma near Oakbank, and the sacking of Travys Manor. Their slave raids ceased after the Burning Hand wiped out their customers the Zelbross slavers.

Llorkh: Ever an unsavory place, Llorkh had sharply declined in recent years. A string of incompetent rulers drove off most of the honest residents, and the ruined city served as a haven for a self-styled bandit king and his lackeys.
The Star Mounts: This ancient range of mountains marks the southern boundary of the High Forest and takes its name from the queer lights that shine from its heights. Legends claim that these mysterious mountains are home to dragons, elves, strange birdfolk, and more. Perhaps the most unusual story is that in the upper reaches, great crystal towers grow out of the rock. It is uncertain just who or what lives inside these towers (if they even exist), because clouds blanket the peaks year round and few have the courage to ascend the heights.
The High Forest: From the northern slopes of the Star Mounts and stretching for miles to the north is the High Forest, an ancient wood notoriously haunted by fey creatures, gnolls, and drow. Infrequently, wood elves of the forest trade with the people of Loudwater, but they are tight-lipped about what goes on in their sylvan homeland.
The Graypeak Mountains: Sheltering the people of Gray Vale from the distant doom of Netheril is a range of old, rugged mountains known as the Graypeaks. Barren and capped in ice and snow, these mountains are said to be home to giants and vicious wild and unnatural creatures. Adventurers who have braved the peaks report ancient dwarven ruins buried beneath the stone, and their claims are supported by old dwarven coins, weaponry, and other antiquities that have been recovered.
Southwood: This young forest separates a portion of Gray Vale from the Highstar Lake and the serpent people of the High Moor. Local woodcutters occasionally take timber from this forest but do so at great risk, for a large tribe of goblins has staked its claim here.
People of Gray Vale 
Unlike other areas of the North, the people of Gray Vale are decidedly mixed, blending cultures from all over the region. But humanity has a slight edge, and most humans have fair skin, hair that ranges from blond to light brown, and the full range of eye colors (though hazel is dominant). A proud people, they are self-reliant, tough, and grizzled, accustomed to the hardships that press against them. Most folks are farmers, though plenty of miners try their hand at coaxing more out of the old mines of the Graypeaks.
Half-elves comprise another large group of the Gray Vale population. Like the humans of this area, the half-elves have fair skin and light hair. Although most retain signs of their elven heritage, years of human and half-elf marriages have diminished these traits until most half-elves could pass for human.
In addition, one can find a number of dwarves, drawn to Gray Vale to reclaim their lost holds. Halfling fisherfolk work the river, living alongside their human allies. The region even has a smattering of eladrin and elves, though most members of those races encountered in the Vale hail from the High Forest to the north.

Trade in the Gray Vale (1480 DR)
Trade runs from Daggerford on the Trade Way, east up the Grayflow River to Loudwater, east to Llorkh, south from there to Timbervale/Stonefang Tunnel/Citadel Yaunaroth (Glintshield Dwarves). Some trade passes east from Llorkh over Dawntreader Gap to the Fallen Lands then on to Netheril or Evereska, but that is a tough route and dangerous. Recently Amara deTrevani opened up the old trade route from Loudwater north-east through deTrevani to the River Halfling Shires on the Heartblood River.
Loudwater exports simple manufactured goods, linen, planed hardwood (not raw timber), and a small amount of food, mostly grains and cured hams, also beer. Loudwater imports luxury goods from the Sword Coast (eg wine), high value manufactures (eg weapons and armour) from the Sword Coast and now also from Naurogloth, and raw iron ingots from Llorkh.

Llorkh exports high quality iron from the local mines, and small amounts of precious metals, importing food.
The Glintshield Dwarves (Yaunaroth/Naurogloth) export dwarven manufactured goods, jewelry, and some precious weapons, and import food, especially grain, some of which is re-exported as beer.
The Heartblood River Halflings export smoked fish and pipeweed. They import manufactured goods, especially metalwork, and beer.
Timbervale exports bacon, and raw timber down the Grayflow.
Secomber exports dried fish. Logging the Unicorn Run is forbidden, but a small amount of raw timber is exported from the north side of the Grayflow, downstream west to Daggerford.

The High Moor
In M3 1480 DR the serpentfolk of Najara exchanged a captive serpent-bride, Lady Eclara Travys, for their wereserpent spy Lyath. During the exchange an agreement was reached with Loudwater (Lirael) - no human of the Vale would enter Najara, including all the High Moor, and in turn no Najaran would enter the Vale.
Most folk think the Moor is a rocky wilderness, vast and uninhabited
—except by trolls. Its soil is too thin for farming, and
its stone,— mostly granite, —is of poor quality for mining. It'’s
sparsely settled by human barbarian tribes that raise goats and
sheep on the moors, guard caravans coming from the east, and
fight constantly with the various goblinoid tribes.
Bound on the west by the Misty Forest, whose dim blue
glades and deep groves have always carried a fey and whimsical
—but deadly —reputation, and on the east by the yuan-ti
and ophidian-haunted Serpent Hills, these crag-studded,
rolling grasslands are said to hide the ruins of lost, long-fallen
kingdoms. Just which kingdoms sages argue furiously over.
Minstrels sing colorful but contradictory ballads on the topic,
and legends are uniformly vague. “"The bones and thrones of
lost lands"” is a favorite phrase; it'’s borrowed from a long forgotten
A few wolves and leucrotta are the most numerous predators
on the Moor thanks to trolls, bugbears, and hobgoblins,
who have slain most other large beasts of prey. Their relative
scarcity has allowed hooved grazing animals of all sorts to
flourish, from small, sure-footed rock ponies to shaggy-coated
sheep. Those who dare to venture onto the moor can be assured
of ready food - —either they catch it, or they become it.
Rope trip-traps, javelins, and arrows are the favored ways of
bringing down the fleet grazing animals, although those with
patience and a quick hand can dine on grouse, flunderwings,
rabbits, and ground-dwelling moor rats in plenty.
Like the Evermoors north of the Dessarin, the High Moor
is studded with lichen-festooned rocky outcrops, moss, breakneck
gullies, and small rivulets of clear water that spring from
the ground, wind among the rocks for a time, and then sink
down again. It’s also shrouded by frequent mists. The prevailing
winds are gentler breezes than the mist-clearing, chill
winds of the North.
With the obvious exception of Dragonspear Castle, ruins are
harder to find in the moorlands. Foundations and cellars are
usually all that remain—and almost all such serve as the lairs of
monsters. Many towers have toppled into rock piles and have
later been hollowed out to serve as tombs— which have in turn
been plundered and then turned into dwellings by beasts arriving
still later. There are also legends of magically hidden castles
and high houses appearing only in certain conditions, such as
full moonlight or deep mists, to those in the right spot.

Friday 16 December 2011


I'm going to rule that PCs can learn Rituals without the Ritual Caster feat, as long as they are trained in at least one of the key skills (Arcana, Religion, Nature, or Heal). If you have both the Ritual Caster feat and are trained in a key skill, you can take a +2 bonus on the skill roll.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Knowledge skills for monster threat assessment.

I'm going to allow checks on Nature/Religion/Arcana/History/Streetwise etc to assess monster threat level within the following bands. Threat level will be for typical representatives, it's possible that a particular unusual creature could fall outside the band on either the high or low end.

Low Heroic: 1-3 - eg goblin
Heroic: 4-7 - eg orc
High Heroic 8-10 - eg ogre
Low Paragon 11-13
Paragon 14-17
High Paragon 18-20
Low Epic 21-23
Epic 24-27
High Epic 28-30+

Whether the check DC is easy, medium or hard will normally depend on how famous or obscure the monster is; assessing dragons is easy, while assessing some obscure creature from MM3 might be hard, or even impossible if no one has ever reported meeting such a thing before.
A failed check close to the DC may get vague information, within a 2-3 band spread, while a badly failed check means you have no idea.

Sunday 11 December 2011

Organisations & Background

Arael's Clan
Arael is from the Black Dog tribe of the Uthgardt, a minor splinter tribe or large clan (ca 240 strong) from the Tree Ghost nation, that has taken residence towards the South edge of the High Forest. Their tribe takes its totem from the large black dogs (or small wolves) that guard the tribe.
The young squaw 'Dru' was 15 years of age and due to be given a name by the Great Oak on her 16th birthday (or 1st nameday), as all tribe members have done for generations. The ritual involved spending her 15th year communing with and tending to the Great Oak. However, this all went awry when a chaotic evil Tiefling, Morthos, came through the sacred grove, setting it alight and corrupting the life out of the Great Oak with hellfire. The Elder Shaman of the tribe summoned the last of the tree's dying essence to cast a great curse of misadventure upon the Warlock, and any who would travel with him. Not believing this curse could have worked and requiring that balance be restored, the Druids split apart from the elder council and entered solitude for weeks. When eventually they emerged on the squaw's naming day, they commanded that if she were to be named as a tribe member and gain her druidic mantle, she would have to restore balance for failing to protect the tree. 
Leaving the village only with the weight of her great shame upon her shoulders and her black dog yearling, Drifter, Dru set off for the nearest settlement to search for clues...

Tree Ghost Tribe
This Uthgardt barbarian nation are the largest Uthgardt tribe inhabiting the High Forest, and the primary human inhabitants of the forest.  It is not uncommon for them to show signs of elven ancestry.  They split from the corrupted Blue Bear tribe (destroyed at Hellgate Keep) in 1313 DR.  Their Ancestral Mound is the Grandfather Tree at the heart of the High Forest, tended by the most powerful Druids of the tribe.
The Tree Ghosts currently have no leader above the level of the clan, an extended family grouping typically of around 150 Uthgardt, living in semi-nomadic villages scattered throughout the Forest.  Best estimates put the total Tree Ghost population of the High Forest at around 12,000, comparable in numbers to the rival Forest Orcs and Goblins, and more numerous than the reclusive Wood Elves or vicious Forest Gnolls.  The Tree Ghosts practice limited farming, but derive most of their sustenance from hunting and gathering.

The High Forest
The largest old-growth forest in the Northlands, the High Forest covers roughly 150x150 miles within its borders, or 22,500 square miles, with an estimated humanoid population density of just over 2 per square mile, or around 50,000.  Inhabitants include (estimates according to Curuvar the Brazen of Loudwater): humans (12,000), orcs (12,000), sylvan elves (8,000), goblins (12,000), gnolls (3,000), centaurs (1,600), river halflings (1,200) along the Heartsblood, and small numbers of bird-men (400) in the Star Mounts.


Orders of Torm (Dragon 381)
The temple of Torm is a popular, far-reaching one, mercifully free of the stigma attached to the priesthoods
of previous gods. For instance, Helm’s reputation was stained by the actions of zealous missionaries who conquered frontier lands in his name. Many branches of Torm’s temple exist in the Realms, and each one varies in outlook and uses slightly different holy symbols.

The Evenhands of Everlund
An upstanding order of knights based in Luruar protects the civilized lands of the north. Commanded
by the Lord of Everlund, Kel Moorwalker, the order strives to emulate and honor Tyr, the fallen god of justice, who was Torm’s predecessor and the deity he is said to have most admired.
Symbol: A gauntlet, palm forward, with the scales of justice emblazoned in the palm. Sometimes, the
gauntlet is set against the silver tower of Everlund Suggested Classes: Cleric, fighter, paladin

Girded Healers
An order of knights sworn to both Torm and Ilmater, these divine servants favor the healing powers of the
divine and work to ease the suffering caused by the Realms’ evils. Girded Healers operate throughout the
Realms, but particularly in those lands worst ravaged by war and magical catastrophe.
Symbol: An open gauntlet, fingers spread, loosely wrapped in white linens around the wrist
Suggested Classes: Cleric, warlord, monk

The vibrant capital of Akanul, Airspur clings to the cliffs on the east side of a southern bay off the Sea
of Fallen Stars.
Population: 30,500; another 70,000 live in the nearby countryside. Most citizens are genasi descendants of refugees from Abeir, the majority being windsouls and stormsouls. Small populations of other
races live in the city, particularly half-orcs who lived near the ruins of old Airspur before the genasi rebuilt
it. Few dragonborn stay in the city for long due to tensions between Akanul and Tymanther.
Government: Queen Arathane, a windsoul genasi, has ruled Airspur since the death of her long-lived
mother. Four stewards control various aspects of the city, and together they can overrule the queen’s
edicts. Genasi occupy all important roles of power in Airspur. This is due to the political structure, traditions from Shyr in Abeir, and even outright prejudice (particularly against dragonborn who might be from Tymanther).
Defense:  The Airspur defenses are divided between three corps: the Sky Guard, the Ground Defense League, and the Wave Riders. These professional soldiers form the core of its armies and the city watch during peacetime. The rest of Akanul’s military is conscripted from the population, although only a small number of nongenasi are included in the conscript catalogs.
Inns: Shadow of the Rock, Cliffwatch, Spireview Inn, Rang’s Hostelry.
Taverns: Seven Stone Steps, The Hook and Eye, The Wind Clipper, The Drunken Gull.
Supplies: Thwaite’s Tack and Gear, Gwind’s Sundries, Seaside Provisioners.
Temples: None. The genasi of Airspur are uncertain about religion. The difference between gods and
primordials or other powerful beings is not firmly established in their minds. Even so, religions of all
kinds exist in the city. Priests of real gods and cults of false powers come to Airspur to gain converts,
and some achieve results. As yet however, the steward of the Sea has blocked the construction of large
temples that would take up land otherwise useful to the people or the state, and the Steward of Fire has
the city watch occasionally check in on individuals of religious bent who might choose to follow a god’s
edicts instead of the city’s laws.

Queen Arathane
The common people of Akanul consider Queen Arathane strong and fair. She is roundly praised for
continuing her mother’s policies of state support of descendants of the refugees of Shyr. Even the poorest
among the genasi can expect shelter and food.  The nobility have a more complex relationship with their queen. Frequently opposed by the stewards early in her rule, she sometimes chafes under the
Covenant of Stewardship and frequently seeks ways to achieve her ends without resorting to the Court of
Majesty. The Firestorm Cabal represents one of these tactics. These privateers are sworn to protect Akanul, but the group is known to hold Arathane and the stewards in contempt. Arathane tacitly condones their presence and their occasional antics because of their usefulness as a supplement to the nation’s defenses and as nongovernmental foil against other nations such as Tymanther.
In addition to friction with the stewards, Queen Arathane finds herself besieged by suitors and potential matchmakers. The queen is approaching her fourth decade of life, and the question of succession
causes a great deal of gossip. Yet the iron-willed Arathane doesn’t consider it to be a pressing issue since
both her mother, Queen Cyndra, and her grandmother bore a child late in life.

Tradrem Kethtrod, Steward of the Earth 
The current Steward of the Earth is an earthsoul genasi, breaking the string of watersouls elected to the position. Until Tradrem, no earthsoul had aspired to a higher position than leadership in Akanul’s armies. Coming from a minor noble family, Tradrem feels he has much to prove, and the thoughts behind
his earnest face constantly turn to the politics of any given situation.
Tradrem holds the Stewardship of Earth, a position in charge of understanding the landscape—both literal and political—in which the genasi find themselves. He heads a group of informants and spies both within and outside Akanul, and he commands the efforts of surveyors and explorers. Only the monarchs of
Akanul and former Stewards of the Earth have a true understanding of the size, means, and goals of the
organizations that the Steward of the Earth controls. The power this provides is nominally checked by
the fact that the Steward of the Sky can prosecute any illegal activities, but the queen can overrule any
prosecution. Stopping that edict requires the Steward of the Earth and the other stewards to vote to prevent it. In the few decades since the inception of the Covenant of Stewardship, this system has yet to be
tested due to loyalty among the noble houses, but as Tradrem seeks to use his powers to their full extent,
he might find that he and the queen have reason to exchange favors.
Notes: The Steward of the Earth has recently been dispatching Firesoul Genasi agents to the lands of the Western Heartlands, via a Portal that exits in the Sword Coast region south-east of Waterdeep.  They are rumoured to be searching for an artifact of elemental fire, possibly of Netherese origin.


Adakmi & the Pillars of Night

The Citadel of Adakmi
Founded as the southern fortress of the Elven realm of Eaerlann on the Delimbiyr River's Shining Falls, Adakmi was constructed with aid from the Ammarindar dwarves.  Capable of holding two thousand defenders, she stood for more than two thousand years, guarding the southern approaches to the Black March, before her sack by the Tanarukk demon orcs of Hellgate Keep in 882 DR.  According to legend, the last warriors of Eaerlann joined with a strong force of Ammarindar's elite mithril-clad Dwarven Defenders under Queen Helmma, and together they held off the unstoppable Tanarukk long enough for many Ammarindar dwarves to retreat south, beyond the Greypeak mountains.
In the six centuries since, small numbers of elves, dwarves, river-halflings and humans have sought shelter within Adakmi.  Adakmi was once occupied by Zhentarim forces, who plundered the nearby tombs of the Ammarindar dwarven kings at Splendarmorn, but she overthrew Zhent rule almost a century ago.  Today the citadel has a mixed population of 400 390 within the walls, including 80 76 combatants.  Adakmi fiercely maintains her independence, and has resisted both the Banite Hand of Naarash and the invitations of Queen Valeris to join her new Kingdom of Orlbar.  In M6 1479 DR an attack by 100 Hand cultists was repulsed, 40 corpses were left hanging from the citadel walls.

Adakmi's main gate in the south wall comprises twin iron-bound doors that stand 20' high, with crossbow-armed men guarding the walls above.  Inside, the Sundial Tavern, formed from an elven cavalry barracks, provides high-priced rest, shelter and stabling.  The Great Tower overlooks the course of the Black March as it rises into the mountains to the east, exposing anyone on the road to a withering hail of fire.  Much of the land within the citadel has been turned over to cultivation, both orchards and vegetable plots.  The small north gate opens besides the plunge-pool of the Shining Falls, nets at the southern outflow retain the schools of trout farmed here.  From the north gate the Falls Road zig-zags up the mountain flank, blocked in several places by rock falls.  An hour of steep climbing takes travellers up above the mist, to ancient ruined wharfs of the Moon Docks.  Only one Moon Boat of Eaerlann still remains, pulled by giant pike and steered by the dwarf captain, Glasur.
In M5 1481 DR a rift opened in the vaults of Splendarmorrn. 12 militia who went to investigate did not return. Over the next several weeks several more citizens vanished. Glasur went to seek aid from Lirael of Northwood.

Adakmi Town Council
Currently 10 strong, this comprises prominent citizens of the town, including
Glasur, the flat-capped dwarf Moonboatman of the Upper Delimbiyr.
Freyja Fangbreaker, Glasur's wife, from a famous old dwarven warrior clan of Ammarindar. Reveres Moradin, she has seen the ghosts of dead kings in the vaults of Splendarmorrn.
Stentorio Rivers, wine-loving halfling merchant/trader from Downwater Shire, has lived in Adakmi 8 years (1481). Ex-bargee, left Downwater ca 1460 DR to avoid having to get married and raise a family.
Alturnus the Tombkeeper, tall, gaunt, white-haired priest of Kelemvor, he has guarded the dwarven royal tombs of Splendarmorrm, as well as Adakmi's current graveyard, for over thirty years (ca 1448-). Has a Moonshaes accent.

The Pillars of Night

Headquarters (1474-79 DR) of the Hand of Naarash cult devoted to Bane, god of tyranny, the Pillars of Night lie in a mountain glen a few miles east of the valley of the upper Delimbiyr River, a hundred miles or so north of Adakmi along the Black March trail.  The cult was supposedly ancient, founded by a hobgoblin prophet of the previous century, but nothing had been heard of it until five years ago (1474 DR) when it first emerged in the north to menace the peoples of the Delimbiyr and Gray Vale.
The Pillars of Night show clear signs of ancient Giantish construction, but the original builders have been gone for centuries. Within the giants' temple, ancient runes reference an entity called Naarash - a demonic spirit entity, possibly one of many released into the world in the Hellgate Keep disaster of 882 DR.  Naarash's spirit inhabited a great stone called the Eye of Naarash that corrupted the stone giants and turned them to evil. In 1474 DR the spirit of Naarash encountered the hobgoblin Bane-priest Anak, a refugee from the recent fall of the Temple of Bane-Iyacthu at Orlbar. Anak formed the Hand of Naarash cult, which threatened the north for five years under a dozen leaders, the penultimate being Lakarzh, also a hobgoblin. On 24/8/1479 its last leader Jaryn, a fallen Paladin of Amaunator, was slain by the heroes of the Burning Hand. When Naarash emerged from his Eye to challenge the heroes, they destroyed him too and effectively ended the cult.
However, Jaryn's lieutenant - and former Light of the Sun member - the Tiefling darkblade Dajani, is believed to have survived the disaster.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

'Heathen' PCs

PCs on 'Heathen' quest against the Hand of Naarash
1. Dolf Dragonheart, Paladin of Torm  + NPC Cohort: Oran, Cleric of Bahamut
2. Ashara of Akanul, Genasi Fire Wizard
3. Lirael Sirocco, Ranger
4. Sir Calard, Knight
5. Dru, Druid

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Ancient Ammarindar

Map of the ancient dwarven realm of Ammarindar ca 880 DR (600 years ago) and the Elf realm of Eaerlann to the north and west, shortly prior to their destruction by the demon hordes of Ascalhorn/Hellgate Keep.