Featherdale 1368 DR
Featherdale is a small, peaceful land with no central government or major towns. The people are sturdy, no-nonsense farmers and herdsmen. Featherdale lies along the banks of the Ashaba River.
Population. Feather Falls: 85. Black-feather Bridge: 70. The countryside: 2,400.
Inns. The Riverman in Blackfeather Bridge is known to many travelers along the Ordulin-Hillsfar road. It is a quiet, homey country house with good food and a warm bed for only 7 sp per night. The Riverman is owned by a dwarven adventurer named Borruk Battleaxe.
Taverns. The Ferryman's Folly in Wright's Ferry is the only tavern of note. It is frequented by the local farmers and rivermen and is a good place to get to know the folk of Featherdale.
Supplies. Jherald's General Store in Blackfeather Bridge is a trading post and provisioning stop for caravans passing along the road. Unfortunately, Jherald is a shameless price-gauger who charges 150% the standard cost for his wares, Normal foodstuffs can be purchased from local farmers for more reasonable prices.
Darwinn's Trading Post in Feather Falls is a far more reasonable general store, with only a 10% markup on PHB costs. Darwinn also sells potions of healing and potions of flying for 300 gp each; the source of his stock is unknown, and he refuses to tell.
Temples. Feather Falls has a temple dedicated to Lathander, the Morninglord. A ruined temple to Leira can also be found there.
Other. Featherdale has no seat of government or acknowledged ruler. Heads of household usually govern affairs in their villages or lands.
"They're good folk in Featherdale. Most have more common sense than any 10 adventurers taken together. A few winters back, Lashan of Scardale decided to make Featherdale a part of his empire. The Dalesmen knew that they couldn't fight his soldiers, so they simply waited out Lashun's rule. As I said, they've more common sense than ye might think." - Elminster
Featherdale is a small, rural land along the banks of the Ashaba. Like Battledale, it has no central government or towns. The land's sturdy farmers and herdsmen are not as widely scattered as the folk of Battledale, and have never found a reason to build towns or raise walls.
Unlike the other Dales, Featherdale is not a valley. The name simply refers to the region along the banks of the Ashaba between Blackfeather Bridge and Feather Falls. Rich, open farmland lies along both sides of the river, broken by small ranges of hills or copses of trees.
Featherdale is a frequent stop for travelers along Rauthauvyr's Road. A major trail from Scardale to the Blackfeather Bridge runs through the center of the Dale. Dozens of small paths lead to Battledale, Hap, Tasseldale, Harrowdale, and even Yhaunn. Featherdale is a quiet crossroads in the center of the Dalelands.
There are no towns in Featherdale, but there are a number of small villages and crossings. The largest community in the Dale is Feather Falls, a village of 25 buildings. Blackfeather Bridge is the second largest town, with 16 buildings. The village of Wright's Ferry, near the middle of the Dale, is a meeting place and market for the Featherdalesmen.
Featherdale is a rustic Dale, like Battledale or Mistledale. As Scardale begins to return to "normal," Featherdale has prospered with the reopening of the port and the demand for its produce.
Featherdale has no central government or ruler. Each village or farm tends to look after its own business. On rare occasions, issues arise that cannot be solved locally. When that happens, a Dalemeet is called.
The Dalemeet consists of anyone who wants to come. Strong independent farmers or clans often show up in force, as well as the various village elders and rivermen passing through. The issue at hand suffers through the debating of a hundred or more people who all think they have something to say about it. Outsiders who have attended a Dalemeet find it to be no surprise that Featherdalesmen believe that governments are stupid.
The Dalemeet is not binding to anyone. It is only convened once or twice a decade. The last Dalemeet was held after the wizard Cholandrothipe was killed by assassins, ending the magical portage around Feather Falls. The Dalesmen agreed to chip in to expand the old portage to replace the wizard's service.
Law and Order
Featherdalesmen believe you can do anything you want, so long as you don't injure someone else. Justice is very haphazard in the Dale, since offended parties usually take matters into their own hands. On occasion, ugly feuds have developed that have lasted for years.
Village elders or clan patriarchs often claim the right to mediate in disputes, simply to keep the peace. Lawbreakers should be warned that a substantial number of ex-adventurers have retired to the Featherdale area, and that on occasion one of these old warriors appears to make peace between opposing parties.
Featherdale has no defenses of note. However, in a real crisis a retired adventurer or stout farmer could probably muster a few dozen men to hunt down a monster or drive off bandits.
Most of the Featherdalesmen are self-sufficient farmers. A few smiths, tanners, and wainwrights earn a living in the small villages of the Dale, but most of the people live and support themselves on the farms.
The Featherdalesmen often trade their produce - grain, corn, ale, cheese, vegetables, and salted meats - at Blackfeather Bridge or Feather Falls. No merchant costers have permanent bases here, but many of the large companies of Sembia and Cormyr will send buyers to Featherdale around harvest time.
Featherdale's chief site for communication and exchange of news, as well as mode of transportation, are its riverboats. Dozens of small, sturdy keelboats ply the waters between the bridge and the falls, carrying goods and news to the small communities along the riverbanks. The rivermen are widely known as gamblers and rogues, but they are considered likable gossips and storytellers.
The only major temple in Featherdale is the House of Morning, in Feather Falls. As its name would suggest, it is dedicated to Lathander. The House of Morning is supervised by Morninglord Jallian Horgontivar (LG male human Clr13) and 16 lesser clerics and acolytes.
Cyric's priests consider the Blackfeather Bridge to be a sacred spot, marking one of the places where their god passed in his mortal life. However, the Featherdalesmen want nothing to do with the Black Sun and chase off any Zhentish priests they catch in the area.
Founded only 13 years ago, Blackfeather Bridge is rapidly growing. Heavy traffic along Rauthauvyr's Road has led several entrepreneurs to open small businesses here, including a popular inn, a general store, a smithy, and a wainwright. A new taphouse, the Blackwater Stout, will be opening soon. An older inn known as The Riverman is a good place to catch up on local rumors and gossip from far lands.
This mysterious edifice still stands undisturbed in Feather Falls. Cholandrothipe was a well-known wizard who provided a portage service around the falls, diminishing boats and carrying them up in his pockets to dispel the enchantment at the other end. Cholandrothipe was murdered by agents of the Red Wizards.
The old wizard was said to have amassed quite a fortune with this service, and very little gold has ever been recovered from his tower. His slayers ransacked his tower, but were forced to flee as they triggered various magical traps and encountered hidden guardians. Adventuring parties have visited the tower on several occasions, and report extradimensional rooms and concealed underground chambers.
The Temple Beneath the Falls
Another mysterious site in Feather Falls lies behind the cascade, in the cliff face. Several niches and small caves lead back into the hillside, and it is rumored that one or more of these openings leads to an ancient temple dedicated to some evil god. Local legends tell about the mustering of a band of armed farmers to drive out the cultists a hundred years ago, but it is not known whether the ruins of the temple still exist.