The Frontier of the Southern Crown
The Nentir Vale
Before the Civil War this was the next great conquest for The Southern Crown. The soil was rich and the minerals were said to be plentiful by scouts and explorers. Three settlements were built stretching from the South-East of the Kings Road in Harken Forest, to the North-West all the way to The Cairngorm Peaks. The First was Fallcrest, off the Nentir River. The second was Harkenwold, which set between Fallcrest and the south and the last was Winterhaven.
Over 100 years ago a fierce swarm of barbarians known as The Juun Horde descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. The King, Ceryel, led an army to the vale and made a stand at Fallcrest. The battle raged on for days and the Juuns were defeated at the cost of much bloodshed, destruction and a virtuous king. A single arrow pierced the King and he fell and in turn his kingdom at the hands of his son’s. Thus began the war.
During the war the Vale grew in more mystery as expansion had ceased in exchange for national dominance in the South. Land that had once been marginally tamed now grew fiercer and many more monstrous tribes and “kingdoms” flourished.
After the civil war of The Southern Crown many relocated to the Nentir Vale for a new life. But, with this new life came with thebnew problems of monsters, harsh and unnatural conditions and droves of bandits. Even in the safety of a keep and its walls there were still the threats of corrupt officials and common thieves. In the last ten years there has been several valuable minerals found in the mountain ranges to the east and west. As well as several resources found valuable to many Gnome Tinkerers and Human Alchemists. Most of these precious finds are brought through the city of Fallcrest a keep in the center of the Nentir Vale.
The vale is 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 fares 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.
The “clear” parts of the map are covered in mixed terrain—large stretches of open meadowland, copses of light forest, gently rolling hills, and the occasional thicket of dense woodland and heavy undergrowth. The downs marked on the map are hilly grassland, with little tree cover. The hills are steeper and more rugged, and include light forest in the valleys and saddles between the hilltops.
Cities and Locales
Fallcrest stands amid the Moon Hills at the falls of the Nentir River. Here travelers and traders using the old King’s Road that runs north and south, the dwarven Trade Road from the east, 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 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 and ironwork from the dwarf town of Hammerfast, and exports timber, leather, fruit, and grain. It also trades with the nearby town of Winterhaven The surrounding hills hold several marble quarries that still produce a good deal of stone.
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.
The Gardbury Downs take their name from this striking ruin, a large monastery that has lain in ruins for almost fifty years.
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.
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 cities of The Southern Crown
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. The two largest villages our Harken and Albridge
Kalton Manor is a small keep that was established many years ago. It lies just outside Harken Forest and is to the east of the Witchlight Fens.
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.
Once a prosperous town on the shores of Lake Nen, Fastormel was destroyed by the Juun Hoard and has never been resettled.
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 Juun Horde. 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.
The Winterbole Forest borders the northern portion of the Nentir Vale and is host to all sorts of strange and dangerous inhabitants. The Tigerclaw tribe of humans lives deep within and trade with the town of Nenlast from time to time. An outpost of elves, the Snowsong Tribe, roams throughout, and the great eladrin kingdom of Amethystra occasionally appears when the Veil is thin.
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. Winterhaven has in the last several years discovered oil and other precious materials in the surrounding areas.