Harrowdale 1372 DR
Capital: Harrowdale Town
Population: 42,061 (humans 90%, half-elves 5%, elves 4%)
Government: Republic (plutocracy)
Religions: Chauntea, Mystra, Oghma, Tymora (Malar, Mielikki, Silvanus)
Imports: Glassware, lace, ore, paper, silk, spices, tools, weapons
Exports: Ale, beef, cheese, fruit, furs, lumber, mutton, wool
Alignment: LG, LN, NG
As the oldest surviving dale, Harrowdale has learned to tend to its own affairs, respect its neighbors, and care for its land - both the cleared lands of its farmers and the woodlands it considers borrowed from the elves. Until recently, Dalesfolk would have described citizens of Harrowdale as conservative country folk, much like the Featherdarrans to the south. Harrowdale Town's growth into a large port has changed that image.
Life and Society
Scardale's misfortunes have transformed neighboring Harrowdale in the space of only ten short years. Harrowdale Town can now claim to be the best, if not quite the largest, port into the Dales. The folk of Harrowdale Town are more worldly than their parents and more interested in entertaining visitors from the outside world. Unlike the opportunists of Archenbridge, the new entrepreneurs of Harrowdale Town have not fallen far from their dale's core values, preferring a well-measured plan to risky speculation.
The country folk have changed little. Like the Deepingfolk, the Harrans of the countryside often live among the trees. Harrans not as connected to the Elven Court as the Deepingfolk but they are sympathetic to druids, rangers, and others who share the elves bond with the land.
Harrowdale's rulers are the Council of Seven Burghers, the seven wealthiest folk of the dale. A Burgher holds his or her position for life, and upon a death in the Council, the Harrans appoint the wealthiest non-Burgher to fill the seat.
Major Geographic Features
Harrowdale's borders can't be missed: Cormanthor to the north, Dragon Reach to the east, and the Cold Field to the southwest. The dale itself is mostly farmlands, which turn to orchards closer to the sea and to the Velarswood at its center.
The Cold Field: South of Harrowdale and north of Scardale, this treeless moor is haunted by the spirits of warriors who fell in of battles here. In summertime, shepherds of Harrowdale and Scardale graze their sheep along the high grass, since the sheep care less than the shepherds about the spirits sleeping restlessly in the unmarked graves beneath the hills. In winter, only fools into the Cold Field's confines.
Velarswood: Harrowdale's woodcutters and loggers stay on the fringes of this ancient wood. Cloakers, trolls, stirges, bonebats and more dangerous predators hunt the interior of the forest, and are hunted in turn by worshipers of Eilistraee who have a hidden temple in the wood's northern reaches. The drow who worship Dark Maiden spend much of their time in Cormanthor now, fighting against the Vhaeraunian drow, but they don't leave the temple unguarded.
The significant sites in Harrowdale are in Harrowdale Town on the coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars.
Halvan's Keep: The former residence of Harrowdale Town's hated tyrant, this burnt-out ruin on the outskirts of Harrowdale Town clings stubbornly to its secrets, including Halvan's supposed treasure trove. It's an open secret that the 50-gp fine assessed town watch to anyone coming out of the ruin does nothing but keep young Harrans from venturing into the old castle's grounds for a lark. Secret organizations, dark brotherhoods, monkish sects, monster summoners, and adventurers are still drawn to the ruin like rats to darkness.
Harrowdale Town (Large Town, 4,206) It's a testament to the Harrowdale way of doing business that the bustle of new activity in this port town's harbor hasn't been allowed to overshadow the village's other charms. Some of Harrowdale's noteworthy buildings are left over from the town's previous era of prosperity, six to seven hundred years ago.
The Council of the Seven Burghers runs a tight ship. The constabulary is run by Ellarian Dawnhorn (LG female sun elf Ftr5/Wiz4). She has little love for adventurers and even less love for Sembian adventurers. Adventurers who can stay out of Ellarian's way have more luck at the town's temples and with the general populace. Harrans have nothing against adventurers, as long as the latter solve problems instead of create them.
House of Mystra: All three temples in Harrowdale Town frequently sponsor or aid adventurers. The clerics of the temple of Tymora enjoy gambling on adventurers' luck, sponsoring numerous groups to find relics blessed by the goddess. The temple to Oghma helps adventuring groups for a fee. The House of: Mystra wishes to attract the goodwill of adventuring companies. Sadly the temple's high priest, Llewan Aspenwold (NG female human Clr11 of Mystra), Harrowdale has turned out to be a poor site for a temple to Mystra. The old Harrans do not trust wizards or other practitioners of the Art, and the younger generation lacks magical aptitude - few Harrans possess the basic talents required for successful study of the Art. The temple relies on the patronage of travelers, merchants, other outsiders, and customers of the Fall of Stars tavern.
In the first centuries of the Dalelands, Harrowdale was named Velarsdale after its founder, whose name also graces the Velarswood. In those days, Velarsdale was ruled by chaotic lords and was every bit as disorganized as modern Featherdale. A tyrant named Halvan taught the Velarsfolk that disorganization could cost them their freedom. After Halvan's mad (and fatal) quest to carve Halfaxe Trail into the heart of the Elven Court, the folk of the dale renamed themselves and instituted their current form of self-government, a ruling council comprised of the seven richest merchants of Harrowdale Town.
Within the last twenty years, Scardale's careen through disaster after disaster has opened the way for Harrowdale to become a major Dalelands port The resulting economic boom is tempered by several factors. Several of the Seven Burghers aren't keen on encouraging other Harrans to become richer than they are. Nor are they keen on blatantly exploiting new economic opportunities for their own gain. Hence, Harrowdale's economic policies emphasize sustainable and wise growth instead of quick profits. This suits the Harrans, who are happy to have more gold in their pockets but less keen on sharing their space with the Sembian opportunists, Moonsea con-artists, and Archenfolk who sniff down the trail of bigger profits.
Plots and Rumors
The corner of the Riven Court that lies east of the Elvenflow River is one of the wildest and most desolate portions of the forest, inhabited by dire animals, magical beasts, and dangerously cunning bands of gnolls who wandered into the region from the Vast. Small freeholds and homesteads in the northern part of Harrowdale are constantly plagued by wild animal attacks and harassed by gnolls.
The Black Trade: A cleric of Tyr begins a campaign to keep Zhent trade goods out of Harrowdale. The Council of Seven is mildly embarrassed that the Zhents move so much of the trade flowing through Harrowdale. They'd like the cleric to turn his attention to stopping Zhent attacks rather than focusing on Zhent trade, but the cleric continues his tirades until an assassin tries to kill him. Are the Zhents striking back, or has a misguided Harran merchant resolved to shut him up?