Thieves & Kings
The fortified town of Dale sits on the edge of the Ambarin River, where the forested cliffs of the Great Escarpment rise above the town and surrounding lands. It reminds people how closely the wilds of the Forest Kingdom are to its citizens and the deadly monsters can threaten the unwary.
Lying three miles north-east of Mornhaven, the community is an agricultural town noted for XXX. Its taverns attract adventurer and trader both, but it is rarely a place for either to spend an evening unless running late to arrive at the city gates of Mornhaven before they close. In most ways, it is the kind of village one typically sees along the roads of Shem, but its proximity to Mornhaven has lent it the simmering impact of guild politics among its Mangai and is often a popular place for smugglers.
Fortified behind a thick stone wall, the town is ruled by Lady Starfire, a young half-elven adventurer who was appointed by the Baron of Seaholme, Baron Proudglaive to oversee this Royal holding. The town boasts two gates, sealed by iron portals, but kept open during the day. Two 40’-tall towers rise above the gates, and keep careful watch through a pair of town guards. Lone travellers and small groups (such as a typical adventuring band) can enter for free, but merchants and wagons pay a 5 cp toll. Monsters, or creatures that could be declared monsters, are typically refused entry without proper certification.
The town is home to shops, houses and tenements, supporting a population of farmers, craftsmen, fishermen and laborers. Some people hols land in the fields outside the walls, but live within them, making the daily commute to look after their pastures and crops. Visitors for more than a day can usually find a place in a tenement somewhere in town, and generally only 20 sp per month; such places are usually single rooms with no furnishings, unless the previous tenant left them behind, with a small corner fireplace, and no direct access to water. Locks are non-existent.
Starfire Manor : A grand stone house built by dwarven stonemasons, and home to the local noble clan, led by Lady Starfire. She collects taxes for the Baron of Seaholme, oversees local disputes between the farmers and guildsmen, and protects river trade north to the lands of Hexwater. A former adventurer, her golden skin and emerald green eyes are rivaled only by her long, flowing auburn hair. Above being a ruler, she is far more popular for the constant series of entertainments she holds; tourneys, feasts and evening balls that fill every festival and invite some of the most famous from Mornhaven’s high society. Visits to the manor are a chance to hear stories of trade, travel and far-off places, such as Starfall or the haunted halls of Eveningstar. Various human and sometimes elven relatives visit with each other here, but she is best-known for her attraction to tieflings.
In addition to the sprawling manor grounds inside the walls, there is also a sizable barracks for her men-at-arms, led by Captain Harrowleaf, an elven warrior and distant relative of lady Starfire, whose calm and confident nature is unnerving to most of his soldiers. About thirty soldiers are based from these halls, but it also sports the armory of the local militia and twice a month operates as the training yard for those who choose to train. There are usually two hands of troops (10) available at any given time.
South Commons : Caravans and river traders set up camp south of the town, against the southern town walls. Anyone looking for bulk supplies can often find good deals at this location when traders are present, provided they know how to work their way through the nuances of barter and trade. There is a small fenced commons here, but no provision for formal stables or long-term housing of mounts.
The Dockyards : Looked after by Rivermaster Snarl, the thin, weathered master pilot with grey hair, who oversees all traffic on the docks. Despite his age, he has an unstoppable attitude, and remains very active. The docks are small, allowing only a limited number of boats to moor here, but this is rarely a problem. Several small fishing boats often vie with larger barge traffic for space. The area has a series of large warehouses for river traders who seek to store goods outside of the markets of Mornhaven, because the costs are far better. At night, the docks are busy, with people moving between the docks and the “Fisherman’s Friend Pub” in the northern part of town.
Shrine (“House of the Ploughman”) : Temple of Korg, the Father of the Fields : A fairly substantial vine-covered temple rising above the northern walls of Dale, with a spire nearly a hundred feet above the town. A sacred shrine of the older aspects of Korg, the shrine is an extensive stone temple with emerald green windows and an extensive garden of trees and domesticated plants, looked after by the ancient and popular Brother Griffon, a blue-eyed, dark-haired man in rustic garb that many mistake for a barbarian warrior. He is best-known for his skill in medicine and herbalism, and travels around Dale helping livestock and fields remain healthy and productive. He is known to take days travelling the woodlands north-east of the town, and along the riverbanks, where river boats call him the “Fish Whisperer”.
Apothecary (“Dale Apothecary”) : ### $$$ : Typically selling herbs, roots and spices familiar to most, the place also boasts powdered unicorn horn and dragon’s claws and such, much to the ire of the local Chandler’s. Broland Minx, a thin and restless half-elf owns this place, his hands scarred and worn through the production of healing potions and alchemist’s fire, the staples of his trade. A fair wizard, he also sells common rituals to those who can prove their certification to the Shek-Pvar.
Chandler (“Garwan’s Curios”) : ## $$ : More a junk shop than a traditional chandler’s, the shop sells the usual lamp oil, torches, candles and basic provisions, but includes a large quantity of second-hand goods (or junk) bought on the cheap by adventurers or merchants passing through. It means someone looking for a cheap lantern or coil of rope, can find it easily. The place is a popular place for locals, particularly children, who listen to the stories behind each piece, as related by the owner, the white-bearded dwarf Garwan. Otherwise, he spends his time puffing on a pipe of smokeweed, casually observing the world.
Innkeeper (“Green Tankard Inn”) : ### $$$ : Simply known to locals as “The Tankard”, this roomy inn serves as the public house for locals on the south side of town. The Tankard offers a local ale at 4 cp per tankard, and a small selection of good (but expensive) wines at 1 sp per tankard. Meals are a traditional pottage with fresh bed for 3 sp per serving, and available throughout the day. Private rooms can be had for overnight stays at 5 sp per night, consisting of a single bed with a chest, side-table and washbasin.
The inn is the domain of Laval Marsh, a loud, talkative halfling who enjoys relating long tales of the history of Mornhaven and the surrounding lands. Several young cousins help serve and cook for guests.
Innkeeper (“Fisher’s Friend Pub”) : ### $$$ : A rougher place than the Tankard, most folk come to the Fisher’s Friend looking for a stiff drink and a brawl. The owner, Karzon Kull is a dwarven fighter who willingly splits his knuckles on any who dare challenge him. The place is a haven to fishermen and dock laborers, and sometimes farmers from the northern part of town, serving hard ale 4 cp per tankard but never wine or other “soft” spirits. Food is usually sausages and roast vegetables on wood skewers and dunked in melted cheese 1 sp per skewer (three make a meal). The place has no stables or rooms for rent.
Mercantyler (“Dale General”) : ### $$$ : A far more traditional provisioner, Dale General is a simple and traditional shop selling clothing, food, drink and common weapons and adventuring gear. She can order any goods within 2-3 days for a mark-up of 20%. The owner Calla Mornhaven, is assisted by a young foundling from Bogwater who is learning the trade.
Metalsmith (“Dale Smithy”) : ### $$$ : Selling a variety of typical ironmongery, Megana Mystral is a broad-shouldered, brawny woman as broad as a dwarf, though much taller. She laughs easily and gets along well with the two young apprentices she keeps, who watch her in awe. She spends most of her time doing simple work, and rarely has time for commission work, without ready need, though she does make shields for the local militia when requested.
Miller : ### $$$ : A fair-sized mill made of blackened, ancient stone, and well-known for its fey heritage; the builder’s wife was a fey shadow elf. Now centuries later, the mill, built just south of the Commons outside the town walls, with its own small millrace and pond, provides fair service to the local farmers. Its present owner, the descendant of the original builder, is head of an especially long-lived clan, and is rumored to still have connections to the shadow fey realms. The millstone is rumored to be spelled to produce extra-fine flour, and magically doubles the amount milled; a fact which might be true given the extensive free lands the clan presently owns, all purchased through hard coin to the local ruling Starfire clan.
Ostler : ### $$$$ : A typical stables operated by three dwarven brothers, Darkon, Dread and Destrier; the sons of Garwan the Chandler. They manage any horses and other mounts in their care, for a fee of 2 sp per mount per day, providing feed of oats and plenty of hay, brushing both the mount and its tack, and otherwise cleaning the creatures placed in their care.
Weaponcrafter (Spec : Light Blades : “Star’s Knives”) : ### $$$ : A dimly-lit workshop smelling of oil and steel, is the realm of the weaponsmith Darra Star, who makes simple bladed weapons of good steel, such as daggers and spears. While she is a good smith, she doesn’t do more complex blades, rather makes most of her income forging good-quality steel sickles for the local farmers. If given the chance, she will talk all day about knives and daggers and her favorite tales of each blade in her possession. She does not, however, talk openly of her homeland in Blackgate.
Woodcrafter : ### $$$ : Owned by Bannon Hark and his partner Ivor Thorn, the two are busy all day shaping timber for export to Mornhaven, making bulk furniture (such as travel chests), and conducting repairs on wagons. They rarely have time for commission work, but help locals when they have the time. Both have begun looking for a couple apprentices to let them expand their shop.
The Lordship of Dale
The Lordship of Dale, is a fairly quiet agricultural district, with farms running close against the Great Escarpment to the east, and river fishermen and their cottages, small docks and drying racks running to the west. Small villages of barely a couple dozen people can be found a mile north and south of Dale; Malt to the south, and Elfstree to the north. Both have no craftsmen, but house small halls for village meetings and other business of note, and store a small armory of spears, shields and arrows for the local militia.
The Great Escarpment forms a bottle-neck at this point, with the lands opening to the north and south, and the lands to the west of the Ambarin River are dominated by the Iron Bogs north of the Nethwater lands. North of Dale are the lands of Hexwater, and the extensive lands of Mornhaven lie to the south.