Tasseldale 1368 DR
Tasseldale is home to a dozen small towns known as tassels. Artisans of all kinds are present in greater numbers than anywhere else in the Dalelands. Tasseldale is tied to Sembia and is in danger of being swallowed by its neighbor to the south.
Population: About 3,400 in the 12 tassels, including 440 in Tegal's Mark; about 2,900 in the countryside.
Inns: The Markhouse in Tegal's Mark is a fine inn with rooms for 1 gp per night. It caters to travelers on Rauthauvyr's Road. The Boar and Lion in Moontassel is a common stop for East Way travelers, offering excellent food and service for 13 sp per night. The Tasselway Arms in Tasselheart is widely used by locals, offering good rooms for only 1 sp per night.
Taverns: The Royal Flagon in Tegal's Mark is popular with adventurers and travelers, and is a good place to pick up rumors. The Sword and Sash is a noted festhall, bawdy theatre, and taproom.
Supplies: Turnell's Provisions, in Tegal's Mark, is a general store that carries most supplies and equipment for a 10% markup over PHB prices. Dreshen's Tack and Harness, located in Glaun, carries all kinds of riding equipment as well as wagons, wheels, and feed.
Watch. Tasseldale is patrolled by six groups of 12 mairshars each.
Temples. There are no major temples in Tasseldale, but an abbey dedicated to Tyr can be found nearby in the Dun Hills.
Other. Numerous jewelers, carpenters, ropemakers, and other craftsmen and artisans can be found in any of the villages of Tasseldale.
"A long time ago, Tasseldale was in the heart of old Cormanthor. Over the centuries, mankind cleared the land and made farmlands and pastures out of the forests. Ye can still find elven ruins scattered throughout the Dale. Most folk believe that the elves kept the Sembians out of Cormanthor - but ye need only look at Tasseldale to see how Sembian plows and gold defeated elven arrows." - Elminster
Tasseldale is an example of a Dale that followed the retreat of the Elven Forest. When Moondale (now Ordulin) was thriving, Tasseldale was still heavily wooded and guarded by the elves against Sembian advances. But as Moondale became a Sembian city, the border of the forest retreated, and human farmers and trappers followed. Tasseldale's broad valley was not settled by humans until 980 DR - almost a millenium after humans first came to this area.
The scattered tassels or towns of the Dale are very Sembian in character. Craftsmen of all kinds gather in Tasseldale, including tin, pewter, gold, and silversmiths, toymakers, glaziers, bookbinders, limners, cabinet-makers, and dozens of others. Tasseldale is the only Daleland to produce manufactured goods for export to other lands. It is a peaceful and prosperous land.
Tasseldale lies in an old river valley that stretches from the Arch Wood to Blackfeather Bridge. Many hundreds of years ago, the river found another course, leaving behind a rich, gentle land of rolling hills and forested lowlands, The valley is quite large, running for more than 80 miles long and more than 30 miles wide at points.
Tasseldale is very busy and sees large amounts of traffic on the East Way (the Ordulin-Arabel road) and Rauthauvyr's Road, from Ordulin to Hillsfar. Numerous smaller trails lead to Deepingdale, Archendale, Battledale, and Featherdale.
The tassels are the center of the community. Home to craftsmen and merchants, the villages are the heart of Tasseldale. They are of roughly equal size and importance, but the tassel of Tegal's Mark is the site of the Sharburg, the home of Tasseldale's Mairshars.
Other tassels include Archtassel, Moontassel, Glaun, Tasselheart, Halfcrag, and Arrowmark. In addition to the tassels, large areas of the Dale are heavily farmed and settled.
The Grand Mairshar
Tasseldale is ruled by the Grand Mairshar, Elizzaria Whitehand (NG female human Clr8/Ftr9). The Mairshars are the Dale's defenders, mounted warriors who patrol the Dale and keep the peace. Elizzaria is an aging swordswoman with gray hair and a blunt, direct manner. A Tasseldale native, she adventured as a priestess of Tymora before leaving the faith after a dispute.
She returned to her homeland and joined the Mairshars, rising to the post of Grand Mairshar 15 years ago.
Elizzaria is tired and careworn, and looks forward to retiring. She is training a cheerful paladin named Erich Inshiland (LG male human Pal8) as her successor, and will step down as soon as she feels he is ready.
The Grand Mairshar has broad powers to defend the Dale, enforce the law, and handle relations with other powers. She is advised by the Tassel Elders, a council of leading citizens representing each village.
By law, she must consult with the Tassel Elders before creating law, mustering the militia, or sending Mairshars out of Tasseldale. The Grand Mairshar may appoint her successor, but her appointment must be approved by the Elders.
Tasseldale's police force is both the constabulary and the soldiery of the land. The Mairshars are fighters of levels 2 through 5 equipped with chain mail, shields, crossbows, and longswords. They are all mounted and a number may possess magical items of varying power.
The Mairshars have recently expanded, increasing their numbers from four 12-man patrols to six 12-man patrols with a training reserve of 10 more men. Eventually, Elizzaria would like each of the Dale's tassels to maintain its own patrol.
The Mairshar candidates are volunteers who are carefully assessed over the course of months. Very few are actually accepted into the ranks; the Tasseldalesmen believe it important that the Mairshars are both skilled warriors and level-headed peacekeepers and judges. A Mairshar may be a trainee for a year or more before joining one of the regular patrols.
Mairshars are legally empowered to arrest and sentence lawbreakers, defend the borders, and arbitrate disputes. Any sentence or ruling can be appealed to the Grand Mairshar, but Elizzaria rarely overturns her subordinates' decisions. Tasseldale's only prison consists of a few cells in the Sharburg, and those are empty most of the time.
As noted above, Tasseldale's first line of defense is its force of mairshars. The patrols are strong enough to handle any routine brigandage or banditry, and even small raids or monstrous incursions. In addition, the mairshars train and equip a very large militia.
Tasseldale's militia consists of every able-bodied male between the ages of 15 and 64. Each tassel maintains its own armory and musters its own militia company. The armories contain pikes, short swords, helmets, and crossbows. Many of the militiamen also own suits of light armor. When the militia musters, a mairshar commands each company.
There are no true fortifications in the Dale, but the Sharburg is a strong tower and would be held in time of war. The Tasseldalesmen do not drill often, but their numbers and equipment make the militia a serious fighting force.
The folk of the Dalelands trade agricultural and forest products in exchange for the manufactured items they cannot make themselves. Tasseldale is the exception to this rule. The craftsmen and artisans of the Dale can supply all the local requirement for worked goods and still even produce enough to export. Of all the Dalelands, Tasseldale is the closest to being self-sufficient.
However, Tasseldale is dependent on the import of raw materials for its craftsmen. There are no mines in the Dale and all the ores for its tin and silversmiths must be bought from Sembia or Archendale. Glaziers, weavers, jewelers - all these artisans require access to materials not found in the Dale. This growing dependency on imported material has given mercantile Sembia a very strong foothold in the villages of Tasseldale. Without Sembian imports, the Dale would grind to a halt.
The older Dalesmen fear that Tasseldale will become another Moondale, a land swallowed by Sembia. They are actually safer than they think. Sembia's merchants have found that Tasseldale is an excellent place to conduct business that the Sembian government would not approve of.
In addition, many wealthy Sembians enjoy spending their summers in Tasseldale and would not care to see their quaint country homes become urbanized. All things considered, Tasseldale is more profitable as a neighbor than as a province.
Several large merchant costers operate in the Tasseldale area.
The Red Wyvern Company from Ordulin maintains a large post in Tegal's Mark, supplying ores and textiles to Tasseldale. The Sheathed Dagger Coster from Selgaunt supplies all kinds of fancy items and exotic imports, including silks, dyes, and spices.
The Sheathed Dagger can be found in Arrowmark.
Locally, dozens of small merchants import fancy items from Ordulin and Selgaunt. A few larger companies compete against the Sembians and Archendalesmen.
The Tasselway Coster, based in Glaun, carries salted meat, wool, grain, fruit, cheese, ale, tin-work and pewter-work to Arabel along the East Way. The coster is owned and operated by the Drasden brothers, a pair of weathered but cheerful ex-adventurers.
Riurmorn's Silks and Linens, operating out of Moontassel, imports Sembian textiles and eastern silk.
The company is owned by Riurmorn (NE male human Ftr5), a northman of unknown origin. Riurmorn is a secret agent of the Dragon Cult, and reports on traffic in the Dale to his masters.
Thorik Rivenrock's Ores is a small coster in Tasselheart that is owned and operated by six dwarves - sons of old Thorik, who is now deceased. The dwarves buy ore from several mines, and sell to the metalworkers of the Dale. The coster's leader is Jarvik Thorsson (N dm F6), a burly and outgoing dwarf who dreams of secretly re-opening the Sessren mines.
Numbers of small shrines dedicated to various powers are scattered throughout the Dale's small towns. The only major temple is the Abbey of the Just Hammer in the Dun Hills overlooking the Ashaba.
The Abbey of the Just Hammer is dedicated to Tyr, the God of Justice. It is the home of 15 priests of varying level, and a guard of 10 warriors. The abbey is governed by Lord High Justiciar Deren Eriach (LG male human Clr12), a man of inflexible convictions. The Lord High Justiciar frowns on adventurers, viewing them as a force for chaos in the land.
Tegal's Mark is a typical tassel, located near Rauthauvyr's Road. It was founded by a swordsmith named Tegal about 180 years ago. His work was exceptional, and Tegal's blades were prized from Suzail to Mulmaster, As is customary with swordmakers, Tegal had a unique smith's mark that he impressed on his blades.
When he died, his apprentices continued his work and kept Tegal's mark alive. The swordworks are still known as Tegal's Mark and the village that grew around the forge goes by the same name.
1. The Sharburg. Built on the ruins of an ancient elven watchtower, the Sharburg has recently been reinforced with low stone walls. Tasseldale's mairshars are based here and the Grand Mairshar receives embassies and holds audience in the old tower.
2. Aladiam's Imports. Aladiam (N male human Rog9) is a retired adventurer who imports silks and spices from Sembia. He also fences and smuggles on the side. Player characters will find that Aladiam is always looking for daring sellswords to carry his illicit goods.
6. Tormel Cabinetmaker, Noted as one of the finest woodworkers in the Dalelands, Tormel is now semiretired. The business is continued by his son, a dull-witted fellow named Senn. Tormel's work can fetch as much as 100 gp for a well-made armoire or dresser.
7. Grenden Toymaker. This small shop is filled with wondrous devices of all kinds. Grenden (LG gnome male Ftr0) is a friendly fellow who is delighted when one of his toys finds its way into a child's hands.
9. Tegal Swordsmiths. The largest weapon-makers in the Dalelands, the Tegal Swordsmiths enjoy a fine reputation for strong and true blades, The company's leading smith, Jalissa Two-hammers (LG human female Ftr8), is capable of forging weapons of quality for five times normal price, but requires at least one month of preparation.
10. Elgaun Manor. This luxurious residence is only occupied in the summertime. The Elgaun family of Yhaunn is fond of spending their summers here. A couple of local Tasseldalefolk look after the property during the winter.
11. Theremondivyr's House. The local wizard is a quiet scholar and sage-for-hire named Theremondivyr (LG male human Wiz7.) He is a rather timid and nervous man. Theremondivyr will aid anyone who is seeking knowledge, but will go out of his way to help out adventurers of good heart.
One of the small tassels, Archtassel is located near the southern edge of Tasseldale, under the eaves of the Arch Wood. The folk of Archtassel are farriers and woodworkers who rely on the forest for their materials.
Archtassel maintains a heated rivalry with Archendale's foresters and there is little love lost between the two communities.
Recently, several of Archtassel's trappers disappeared in the Arch Wood. Several people loudly and publicly expressed the opinion that Archendale had something to do with it. Some of the more hot-headed woodsmen have called for a retaliatory raid against an Archendalesmen logging camp.
Near Archtassel is the smaller village of Arrowmark. The hamlet is known for the fine bows and fletching available here. Arrowmark is a very small and sleepy town, and even other Tasseldalesmen tend to forget that it is there.
Arrowmark is unusual in that it is "home" to one of the most famous ghosts of the Dalelands, the Gray Lady. The Lady wanders throughout Tasseldale on summer evenings, silently wailing. She seems to seek out lonely travelers and pass through them, chilling them to the bone and often causing the faint of heart to swoon. The Gray Lady's touch is rumored to pass visions of ancient elven treasuries hidden elsewhere in the Dale.
One of the larger tassels is Glaun, a town built around an ironworks in the Dun Hills. The smiths of Glaun cut peat and smelt pig iron from the nearby bog. The tassel is noted for its cold-wrought railings, lanterns, and other decorative ironwork. Glaun was named for a human smith who discovered the bog and its iron and set up his nearby shop more than 200 years ago.
Located near the center of Tasseldale, Tasselheart grew up from a small crossroads. The village is the location of Tasseldale's summer market and people from all corners of the Dale come to trade their goods and catch up on gossip. There has been talk of moving the mairshar headquarters to Tasselheart.