Rand's Travelogue Bonus Edition
The Herald's Holdfast
By Rand Sharpsword (Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl)
Rand Sharpsword, collector of bits of travel and geographical information, brings you further details about the Silver Marches area. Rand provides these to supplement the information found in the Silver Marches.
Few inhabitants of the Silver Marches can claim to have visited the remote and mysterious residence known as the Herald's Holdfast. Those who know of its existence call it a repository of lore or a storehouse of much that has been forgotten in all other places.
Herald's Holdfast (Outpost): Magical; AL N; special gp limit; Assets special; Population 5; Integrated (dwarf [20%], elf [20%], gnome [20%], half-orc [20%], human [20%]).
Authority Figures: Old Night, male human Wiz9/Lor7.
Important Characters: Dargin Stoneweaver, male shield dwarf Wiz7/Lor2; Llyllanndra Havenstar, female sun elf Wiz7/Lor3; Naithee Uvarkk, female rock gnome Wiz7/Lor1; Hakan, male half-orc Bbn3/Sor3.
Symbol: The Herald's Holdfast uses as its recognition mark the emblem of an open book, in silver, on a dark gray field.
A day's rough journey north and west of Silverymoon (or south and west of Quaevarr), the Herald's Holdfast is within an isolated dell hidden in the southern eaves of the Moonwood. A short stone tower (more like a fortified manor house than a genuine stronghold) squats in the dell like a misshapen woodland idol. Three-quarters of the tower is set against the slope of a steep hill that surrounds the dell. Only one door is set into the tower wall, and it is a moss-covered stone portal worn smooth by time and use. So well concealed is the tower within its wreath of vegetation that even those who know what they are seeking must make a Spot check (DC 20) to identify the tower, and a Search check (DC 20) to locate its single entrance. The tower door remains unlocked at all times, and it swings open freely to the touch.
Where did this place come from? Who built it, and why? And how has it remained untouched by the orc hordes and other creatures of the region? The tower's caretaker, an ancient human sage who insists on referring to himself as Old Night, receives these questions with patience and an enigmatic smile. His replies are cryptic at best, however, and not terribly useful. Old Night and his companions have lived in the Holdfast for untold decades, possibly centuries: No one can be certain exactly how long they have been here. The elves of the High Forest believe that Old Night is a member of an obscure and tiny secret organization known as the Heralds (hence the name of the tower), and that the group dedicates itself to collecting and preserving Faerûn's past. They count among their enemies any who would destroy or revise history, and number among its allies the Harpers, who give them aid from time to time. Others claim that there is a portal that leads to Silverymoon located somewhere hard by the Holdfast that only Old Night and his associates know about. (Old Night won't answer questions about these topics, either.)
Important Sites in the Herald's Holdfast
The following locations are among those that adventurers will most likely see and visit.
Out of Character
Locating a particular piece of information or a specific volume of lore in Old Night's library is easier said than done. Each character that seeks something in the library may make a Search check. Calculate the DC for the check as follows:
Character has ranks in a Knowledge appropriate to the topic of his or her inquiry (arcana, history, local, and so on):
DC 20 -1 for every Knowledge rank above 5 (to a maximum of +10).
Time required: 5d20 hours -1 hour for every Knowledge rank above 5 (to a maximum of -5).
Character has no ranks in an appropriate Knowledge:
Time required: 10d20 hours
A character who possesses the Bardic Knowledge class feature gains a +2 synergy bonus on his or her Search Check.
Beyond the main door is the Chamber of Humanity, which is a single room dedicated to human history. Human arms and armor from various eras, along with numerous other human artifacts, hang from the walls; above them tapestries and the carved rafter beams depict important scenes from Faerûnian human history, as well as some human heroes and heroines. A doorway leads from the Chamber of Humanity to a corridor delved straight into the hillside. Therein are more chambers similar to that of the Chamber of Humanity, and each is dedicated to a single race, including dwarf, elf, giant, gnoll, gnome, goblin, orc, and halfling. According to rumor, secret doors exist elsewhere in the tower that lead to many other chambers. Each racial chamber is decorated with items created by or for the race it represents. Some of the items are priceless due to their extreme age or historical significance, while others are valuable for the precious metals or gems they bear.
At the very end of the corridor, beyond all the chambers, sits the structure's largest room: the library. Said to be a storehouse of knowledge equal to or even greater than the Vault of Sages in Silverymoon, the library contains a bewildering number of books, tomes, scrolls, stone tablets, all shelved or piled high on numerous tables. Almost all these sources of information pertain to the history or genealogy of the races to which the chambers are dedicated.
Old Night permits all visitors who conduct themselves politely and without aggression to examine the contents of the library, but visitors are not permitted to remove any of the books from the Holdfast. (They are welcome to make a copy of whatever information they find, however.) Old Night does not make a habit of aiding visitors with their quests for information, other than to point them to either the appropriate chamber or the library.