Scardale 1368 DR
Occupied by forces from the surrounding lands, Scardale is a dangerous and chaotic city where foreign powers maneuver for control. Extensive areas of the city now lie in ruins. Many of the native Scardalesmen have abandoned the city, moving into the countryside.
Population: Scardale: 2,160. The countryside: 5,900.
Inns: The Warrior's Rest is a cheap, dirty inn with bad service, available for 8 sp per night, The Dragon Point Inn is a better establishment, one of the few to survive the occupation. A room here costs 2 gp and 2 sp per night.
Taverns: A number of filthy taphouses litter the streets of Scardale. A typical tavern is The Sleeping Lion, favored by Cormyreans and some of the Daleland garrisons, The Dragon's Tail is noted for its clientèle of Zhentish troops, black marketeers, thugs, and smugglers.
Supplies: A good selection of overpriced rations is sold by Yahorlim the Grocer, The Scardale Provisioner is a high-quality general store with a 30% markup over PHB prices (due to banditry losses.)
Watch: All of the garrisons patrol their districts. A Scardale Watch of the provisional government has recently started to patrol all districts of the town. They have little recognized authority.
Temples: Shrines to Tymora and Tempus can be found in Scardale-town.
Other: Many areas of Scardale are dangerous; the garrisons often clash in small skirmishes and street fights.
"I'm sure ye all remember Lashan's war about 10 years ago. Scardale has always been a powerful and wealthy Dale, and it should have been no surprise that sooner or later a lord would arise with dreams of empire. The Scardalesmen are asking for an end to the occupation of their land, and are ready to put the past behind them. But I'll tell ye this: in 50 years, Scardale will be a threat again. Wars leave wounds that never heal entirely." - Elminster
Most Dalesmen still think of Lashan the warlord when Scardale is mentioned. To this day, it is a land under occupation, and the people are only now beginning to recover from the disastrous wars their lord led them into. Scardale is among the largest and most powerful of the Dalelands, and as the war fades into history the people of the Dale begin to hunger for self-rule and an end to martial law.
Scardale lies along the steep-sided defile of the Ashaba, known as the Scar. More than 80 miles long and almost 25 miles in width, the Scar was once lightly populated with farmers and herdsmen, but since the war many Scardalesmen have left the city to find homes in the countryside. A number of small villages have grown into thriving towns as the people of Scardale leave the city to the foreigners and mercenaries.
Lightly trafficked coastal trails lead to Harrowdale and the Sembian city of Yhaunn. More travelers enter and leave the Dale by the Ashaba Road, leading to Feather Falls, However, the most important means of travel to and from the Dale is the port of Scardaletown, at the mouth of the river.
The city of Scardale was once the largest in the Dalelands, but is now only a mere shadow of its former self. Despite its decline, it remains one of the Daleland's leading communities. If the occupation were to end, Scardale would quickly regain its prominence.
Several prospering towns have grown up in the countryside during the city's occupation, including Scarsdeep and Chandlerscross. Some of the occupying powers have suggested stationing garrisons in these towns as well, but the Scardalesmen have protested against any such plan.
The Lord of Scardale
Since Lashan Aumersair fell, Scardale has been ruled by a provisional government consisting of a local lord and a parliament of advisors. The lord of Scardale is a charismatic ex-priest named Myrian Beechwood. Myrian was formerly an adventuring priest of Waukeen who worked extensively to aid the folk of Scardale in the first months of the occupation. He left the temple when the occupying forces offered him the provisional lordship, never expecting to be in office as long as he has.
Myrian (LG human male Clr6) is a tired and angry man who has fought (diplomatically) for the restoration of Scardale's liberty for years. Many of his actions are subject to the approval of the Parliament of advisors, composed of representatives of the occupying powers - Cormyr, Sembia, Zhentil Keep, Hillsfar, and each of the Dales. Since the parliament rarely agrees on anything, Myrian rarely manages to make any progress. He refuses to become the puppet of any one faction.
Scardale-town's real powers are the parliament members, in many cases the commanding officers of the various garrisons. Within their own districts of authority they run things as they see fit. The local provisional government has no power to contradict the rulings or edicts of any of the garrison commanders.
Scardale's countryside, things are a little better. While Myrian is acknowledged as the lord of the Dale, the townspeople and farmers also realize that their government has no power. They run things for themselves like the natives of Battledale or Featherdale, avoiding the involvement of outside forces in all but the most serious matters.
The discussion of Scardale's rulers would not be complete without a mention of Lashan, the last ruler of the Aumersair family. Lashan disappeared at the end of the Scardale wars, and rumors of his death were never substantiated. If he still lives, Lashan is the rightful lord of Scardale and cannot be usurped. Scardale's harsh treatment at the end of the war has left some elements of the populace with a yearning for the "good old days," when Scardale was respected - and feared - by her neighbors. Lashan's return would find a surprising amount of popular support from the Scardalesmen.
Law and Order
As noted above, Scardale's countryside is very informal. Most natives want to avoid calling in the occupation forces to settle their own disputes, and look after their own matters. Important farmers or village leaders often move to suppress trouble before it gives an occupying force an excuse to act.
In the city, law and order is a mishmash of martial law and anarchy. Actions that are illegal in one district may be encouraged in others. For example, the Dale garrisons arrest looters, the Hillsfar contingent kills looters on sight, while the Zhentish garrison instead extorts locals for protection money against looting incidents!
Recently, Lord Myrian has managed to organize a Scardale watch of locals with the power to enforce the city's old laws. While the watch is only armed with club and sap and must defer to the garrisons, it is still an important step in returning Scardale to independence.
No native army or militia remains in Scardale, but the Dale is adequately defended by the various garrisons. The contingents of soldiers from other Dales take turns patrolling the countryside, since the Dalesmen don't trust the outlanders not to loot and pillage outside the city walls.
Many of Scardale's folk are veterans of Lashan's army. Most were disarmed at the end of the war, but a fair number concealed arms and armor from their soldiering days. Any band of Scardalesmen is likely to be very well-armed.
Once the most important port in the Dalelands, Scardale was closed for years after the war. Only recently has it reopened. Banditry in the city and the countryside has made trade very dangerous and unreliable; many locals prefer a simple system of barter, IOUs and favors.
The large number of soldiers in Scardale-town has enabled entrepreneurs to make a killing with cheap taphouses, inns, and festhalls. Most of these red-light business pay out a big portion of their income for protection money.
In the countryside, the Scardalesmen spent years producing at meager subsistence levels. Things are improving, and many farmers now journey to Harrowdale, Yhaunn, or Blackfeather Bridge to sell their grain, ale, and vegetables at harvest-time.
One local merchant of note is Aldavius Darkhand (N human male Rog9), a roguish black marketeer and fence who commands the loyalty of a small company of like-minded traders. He can get anything for anyone - for a price. Generally, Aldavius and his men can command a 100% markup over Player's Handbook prices.
In the town of Scarsdeep, a trader named Shaliana Ghend (NG female human Ftr6) operates the Scardale Provisioner, the only major company to survive Scardale's decline. She moved her operations out of the city soon after the war, and has provided excellent service to the countryfolk. Recently she sent her daughter Talana (CG female human Rog5) to reopen Scarsdale for business. Talana's shop is well-defended and is frequently replenished from Scarsdeep.
Most of Scardale's temples were destroyed in the battles at the end of Lashan's war. Only the Lap of Luck, a temple to Tymora, survived. Tymora's house is served by Gelli Parabuck (CG halfling male Clr8), a cheerful halfling who is quite popular with the Scardalesmen despite the fact that many feel Tymora has temporarily deserted the land.
Another temple of note is the Shrine of Crossed Swords, dedicated to Tempus. Battle Chaplain Ulara Axehaft (N female human Clr7) founded the shrine five years ago to minister to the garrisons of the city. The Shrine has flourished ever since.