Daggerdale 1372 DR
Capital: Dagger Falls
Population: 28,041 (88% humans, 5% dwarves, 3% half-orcs, 2% gnomes, 1% halflings)
Religions: Lathander, Mielikki, Silvanus, Tempus
Imports: Armor, books, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paper, textiles, weapons
Exports: Furs, meats, ores
Alignment: LG, NG, N
Daggerfolk are known to be hard, grim, and unforgiving, largely because Zhentil Keep has been trying to claim their land for decades, seeking to rule this dale as a client state or smash it as Teshendale was ruined. In fact, Zhent agents ruled the dale for nearly thirty years, driving Randal Morn - the dale's rightful lord - into an outlaw's life in his own land.
Three years ago, Randal Morn (NG male human Ftr6/Rog4) overthrew the Zhent occupiers in his homeland and reclaimed his ancestors" seat. Barely holding his war-torn community together in the face of Zhent aggression, Randal Morn is no shape to help other dales with their problems.
Of all the dales, Daggerdale is the most likely to offer contracts and support to adventuring parties willing to fight Zhents, clean out monster-infested mines, rescue hostages taken by bandits, kill those same bandits, or travel into the mountains after predatory vampires. If Daggerdale is to survive, Randal Morn's followers and hired agents must pacify the dale's wildlands and drive out local monsters.
Life and Society
The years of Zhentarim occupation forced Daggerfolk farmers to put aside their plows and become hunters or herders. Venison and goats could be hidden from Zhent tax agents; fields planted with winter wheat and hardy cabbages could not.
Most Daggerdale communities keep their gates locked, opening them only to trusted friends or people vouched for by someone inside. Some still behave as if they were at war with the Zhents. It's possible that the roughness of current Daggerdale society will smooth out over time but Daggerfolk might also make themselves as ruthless as the Zhents in order to survive.
Major Geographic Features
Most of the land is rolling wooded hills broken by labyrinthine rocky valleys. It's good grazing country for livestock, but farms are confined to the region around Dagger Falls.
Border Forest: The Border Forest is the frontier connecting four different regions of Faerûn: Daggerdale and the Dalelands to the south, the Moonsea and the Zhents" Citadel of the Raven to the east, Anauroch to the west, and the Tortured Land to the north. The forest's native inhabitants are fey, such as satyrs, pixies, sprite dryads. In part because of their constant fight with Zhent loggers working out of Snowmantle, Border Forest fey tend toward cruelty and violence instead of the lighthearted capriciousness typical of fey farther south.
Dagger Falls: The waterfalls above Dagger Ford, which give the town of Dagger Falls its name, are not navigable by boats. Unlike Feather Falls along the Ashaba, Dagger Falls" sheer drop much for salmon returning from the Sea of Fallen Stars to come.
Dagger Hills: Some parts of the thick bracken of the Dagger Hills are not bandit country. Unfortunately, such areas are monster country - wolves, leucrottas, owlbears, lycanthropes, and even beholders hunt through the thick underbrush. In the years of Zhent occupation, cleared farmlands were reclaimed by nature - not by the forests to the south, but by the dense thickets and thorn fields of the northern hills. These plants are as resistant to fire as they are to human intrusion.
Desertsmouth Mountains: These rough mountains form the western border of the Dalelands and tower over the hills of Daggerdale. Now that the city of Shade stands in the Shoals of Thirst, the Desertsmouth Mountains shield the Dales from more than just the harsh winds of Anauroch.
The great dwarven kingdom of Tethyamar once occupied the Desertsmouths. Several hundred years ago, it fell to orcs, ogre, evil wizards, and fiends, and some of the last still lurk in the peak. The last king of Tethyamar, Ghellin, died of old age in 1369 DR in Cormyr, still dreaming of retaking his lost realm.
The town of Dagger Falls is the cornerstone of Daggerdale. Most the region's important sites are in or near that town.
Constable's Tower: Rebuilt many times over the past few centuries, this fortress near Dagger Falls is now so imposing that Randal Morn wishes to take it over as the new seat of his government. He is prevented by an ongoing magical cataclysm with structure - a tempest of lightning bolt, fireball, disintegrate, and meteor storm spells occurring in alternating cycles with powerful magic that repairs the damage to the keep itself. Fools who step into the tower suffer from the damaging spells but are not helped by the repairing spells. Randal Morn would pay 5,000 gp and give land and a title to anyone who could make the keep livable.
Dagger Falls (Large Town, 2,804): They"re not pretty, but the inhabitants of Daggerdale, the stone walls of Dagger Falls a surest haven in a troubled land. The walled town sits just northwest of Dagger Ford, where the Tethyamar Trail crosses the River Tesh beneath the falls. The stone construction and steep slate roofs of the town's buildings allow them to survive heavy winter snows.
Dagger Falls began as a storage site for dwarven metals being shipped down from the mountains to the southern lands. After all these years it's still a frontier town, a place where everyone wears weapons and occasionally has cause to draw them in the public good (as well as in the pursuit of private quarrels).
Eagles' Eyrie: Rising above Dagger Falls, this rocky knoll houses altars sacred to the Brightblade clan of dwarves, who sometimes return to make sacrifices. Any favors that can be done for the dwarves make Randal Morn happy, because his family's prior relations with them amounted to a blood feud. He can't afford this type of conflict if he wants to keep the town out of the hands of the Zhentarim.
Lathander's Light: The temple to Lathander in Dagger Falls still smells of smoke from the fires that ruined it during the Zhent occupation. The Daggerfolk rebuilt the temple as a sign of their determination to heal the scars of the occupation. Lathander's clergy are well-loved, not least because a sizable number of young priests from around the Dales come to Daggerdale to spread the Dawn Lord's light where it's most needed.
Daggerdale began as the happy community of Merrydale. The community's peace and prosperity ended bloodily during an infestation of vampires. People forced to stake their undead children found little merry about the dale from that point, and over a few years the appellation fell out of use. Daggerdale - a translation of the valley's original name in the Dwarven tongue - eventually supplanted the name of Merrydale.
Daggerdale prospered for a long time as a trading partner to the dwarven realm of Tethyamar. When that kingdom fell, Daggerdale came on hard times. Its bustling trade vanished, and Daggerdale became a rustic backwater, little troubled by events elsewhere in the Dalelands.
That changed in 1336 DR. Two decades after Teshendale fell to the Zhents, Daggerdale met the same fate. Randal Morn, the hereditary ruler of Daggerdale, was driven into exile in the hills. For years, he fought a grim campaign against Zhent forces occupying, the dale's biggest town, Dagger Falls.
In 1353 DR, Randal Morn and his friends succeeded in killing Malyk, the puppet ruler the Zhents had installed to give the dale a show of autonomy. This only increased Zhentil Keep's determination to keep the dale beneath its boot. The Zhents installed a series of constables and hired unsavory locals for the constabulary as an auxiliary to the Zhent garrison. The fight against Randal Morn"s guerillas in the hills appeared to go in the, Zhents' favor, so the constables made the most of their opportunities to lord it over their fellow Dalesfolk.
Morn"s personal war turned into an all out battle in 1369 DR, when he succeeded in retaking the town of Dagger Falls, killing or driving off all the Zhents. The long battle left many scars - the war in Daggerdale was often a civil war, pitting Dalesfolk against Dalesfolk.
Plots and Rumors
Zhentil Keep"s numerous setbacks and factional infighting over the last five years provided Randal Morn with a narrow window of Zhent apathy in which to free his land. That window has now closed. The Zhents control virtually all of the Moonsea. Some among the Black Network are looking southward again, and Daggerdale may not have the strength to shake off Zhent rule a second time.
Dark Deeds, Bright Relic: When the Zhentarim burned the temple of Lathander, they also looted its altars. One of the temple's holy relics, a magic torc that radiates light capable of dispelling darkness spells, turns out not to have been taken back to Zhentil Keep. Divination spells cast by the priests have determined that the torc is located somewhere within Eagle"s Eyrie, possibly in the areas that are sacred to the Brightblade dwarves.
It's a delicate mission, because the Brightblade dwarves have their own sacred relics in the Eyrie that need to be left alone. Only adventurers considered trustworthy by Randal Morn or the temple of Lathander will be considered for the job.