By Rand Sharpsword
Rand Sharpsword, collector of bits of travel and geographical information, brings you further details about the Dalelands. Rand provides these to supplement the information found in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.
Moonrise Hill (Hamlet, 350): The elves call this village, which lies just a few miles northeast of Lake Eredruie, Ssrenshen. Tree homes camouflaged behind artfully shaped foliage can be hard to miss, but few who make it to the village miss the Bonepile -- burnt ground containing the skeletons of a hobgoblin raiding party, owlbears, and other nuisances.
Like the folk of Bristar, the elves here serve in the Swords of Deepingdale, the Dale's unofficial and seldom-gathered militia. The Moonrise Hill elves are more standoffish than the elves of Bristar, partly because they have to defend their territory against treasure seekers seeking driftgems blown off the mountain above the village, Moonrise Crag. The mountain's rock is weak and porous, and small, precious rubies trapped in the rock break free when the ferocious west winds slam the mountain's crumbling east face. Adventurers and others seeking the gems are not welcome visitors to Moonrise Hill and should practice their arrow-dodging skills.
Starglance Temple: Named for the venerable elf who tended the temple while the other elves retreated to Evermeet, the Starglance Temple to Corellon Larethian has become a rallying point for elves who wish to retake Cormanthor. The temple blends into the forest near Highmoon, but few who do not worship Corellon can sense its presence as they pass.
Hunter's Down: This long, tree-studded hill, north of Highmoon and east of Moonrise Hill, is named for an ancient battle, the last stand of human hunters against a bugbear army. In truth, the hill's history goes back before humans arrived in the Dales, to the first horrible battles between elven armies -- a conflict between the elves of Hlaarr and those of Yhendorn. Hunter's Down is no simple hill -- it is a grave barrow containing the massed dead of both sides of that ancient war.
The elven dead do not trouble the outside world much. They are still guarded by twelve great elven liches, known as baelnorns. The baelnorns spend most of their time debating the mistakes made by the elves who lie buried beside them. Brave souls who enter the tombs by diving through a magic pool hidden in a thicket atop the hill can sometimes trade information on events in the outside world for minor magic items or healing. Others who strike the baelnorns as determined tomb robbers find only death.
Fall of Stars: One of the few establishments in Faerûn founded as a club exclusively for adventurers, this Harrowdale town establishment offers everything from dragon's blood whiskey to information to a safe place to sleep.
Scarsdeep (Small Town, 1,400): Like Chandlerscross, Scarsdeep has soared while Scardale Town has fallen. Scarsdeep's contribution to the partnership is to mount constant patrols along both the borders of the Dale and in the vicinity of Scardale Town. At some point, Scarsdeep and the other Scardalefolk might want to take back Scardale Town, but for the moment they've decided that the city is more trouble than it's worth and aim to keep its problems contained within its walls. The most difficult part of their task is to ensure that boats seeking passage past Scardale can do so safely.
Luckily for the citizens of Scarsdeep, and for Scardalefolk in general, the military council that rules the town has a "benevolent protector." The town's new temple to the full Triad -- Torm, Tyr, and Ilmater, worshiped under the same set of three connected roofs -- proclaims Scarsdeep's intention to take the high road.
Plots and Rumors
Deeper than Honor: The PCs are asked to referee a mortal duel between a member of the Sun Soul monastery and a monk of the Broken Ones who has traveled north to Tasseldale from Sembia. Fighting the duel breaks the laws of both the monasteries, but the combatants cannot settle their dispute in any other fashion. Hence, the PCs are asked to arrange a hidden location for the duel -- something that will escape the monastery's notice until it is too late. If religious obligations are not enough, the monks promise the magic items of the losing fighter to the PCs for their aid. If the consequences do not seem confused enough, yet, throw in the post-duel wrinkle that the survivor converts allegiances and assumes the responsibilities of the monk she killed, unavoidably turning the PCs' part in the affair into semipublic news. Were the PCs motivated by simple greed? One of the monasteries might want to examine that question in punishing detail.
Serious Games: An otherwise level-headed ranger, who has previously shown no interest in the Woodsman's War, wants to hire the PCs to break into an Archenbridge tavern to retrieve colors taken from Tassadrans in the last few tendays. Has the ranger developed new civic pride, or is another factor prompting his interest? Did the Archenfolk find something better than mere colors when they looted a defeated Tassadran woodsman?