More of the Vilhon Reach!
By Rand Sharpsword
Rand Sharpsword, collector of bits of travel and geographical information, brings you further details about the Vilhon Reach area. Rand provides these to supplement the information found in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.
Vilhon Reach Locations
Deepwing Mountains: These jagged beaks mark the southeastern limit of the Shining Plains. They harbor all manner of ferocious beasts, especially red dragons and other winged monsters (hence the region's name).
Hlondeth: Relationships with Sespech were tense for some time. Dediana's son, Dmetiro (LE male pureblood yuan-ti Sor6), has romanced the baron's eldest daughter for a few years. His suit has not yet met with success, but the lady has not sent Dmetiro packing, either. Beautiful buildings are going up, the most wondrous being the great aviary of Extaminos, completed in 1368 DR.
Nimpeth: Nimpeth, like its fellow city-states, guards its independence carefully. Its citizens are deeply suspicious of Chondath and sensitive about their own power and accomplishments. Visitors who speak poorly of the city or its products are apt to be attacked or challenged to duels, and local authorities invariably favor their own over any outsiders.
Lord Woren (NE male human Wiz14) owns the largest vineyard and the largest slave emporium in the Nimpeth area. He also runs the city, using diplomacy and guile to keep Chondath at arm's length.
Wet River: This meandering stream flows from the west side of the Orsraun Mountains, through the Wetwoods, north to the Lake of the Long Arm thence to the Sea of Fallen Stars. It sees some use as a trade route, with most goods loading and unloading at Assam.
Elbulder: Hundreds of years ago, Elbulder was a logging town that used the River Arran to float logs to the Sea of Fallen Stars and the rest of the Vilhon. The Rotting War and the disapproval of the Emerald Enclave put a stop to the logging. The Enclave's objections were well taken, as the Chondalwood once extended south of the river, and miles of prairie lie where trees once stood. During the logging boom, magic boats transported logs up the Arran, so magic is better received here than anywhere else in the Vilhon.
Alaghôn: Alaghôn's ancient vaults and catacombs contain secrets best left undisturbed. During the time of Anaglathos, for example, the blue dragon allowed a lich queen from Unther to reside below the palace. When Anaglathos died, the lich quietly stayed on. A few ancient tomes make reference to the lich, but Alaghôn's citizens remain ignorant of her presence.
Gildenglade: The half-elves in Gildenglade primarily serve as the physical labor for the woodcutting efforts, but they enjoy their work and are treated as equals by both the elves and the dwarves of the community.
Morningstar Hollows: Morningstar Hollows was once a quiet village of farmers and craftsfolk. The nearby Alaoreum River continued to flood its banks year after year, so the residents finally left the village and moved to nearby Velorn's Valor. The floods have continued, creating a bog. Lately, reports have surfaced that indicate that about three dozen lizard folk have taken over the abandoned town, from which they fish and hunt.
Orbrekh: This slim northwestern branch of the Orsraun Mountains next to the Gulthmere is home to a family of giants who keep the area safe for travelers. The giants are known to have a good rapport with the Emerald Enclave.
Xorhun (Small City, 10,000): Located at the edge of the Holondar Valley, Xorhun serves as a garden spot for nonhumans, especially elves. The city is nicknamed "Corellon's Cradle" and "Lifeblood Falls" by the residents.
Xorhun has an unusual effect on elves and gnomes; it increases their fertility rate. Children are born at a rate two to three times the norm for their races. One must live in the area for five years before the fertility effects begin to show. Other than this unusual property, Xorhun serves primarily as a stopping point along the Holondar, the road that connects Hlondeth to the south and Alaghôn to the north. Primarily craftsfolk and merchants populate the city.
More Turmish Life and Society
The Turmians have a well-known respect for their land, and they have a custom of burying a small amount of valuables on their property. These caches are intended both as gifts to Chauntea and also as "seeds" for future wealth. Needless to say, the Turmians take a dim view of strangers who go about with digging implements in hand.
The people of Turmish have a habit of marking their foreheads with small dots of colored ink or chalk to show ability. If they wear one dot, individuals can read. If they wear two, they can write. If they wear three, they can use magic. The locals usually assume visitors who have not so adorned themselves are illiterate or worse. Different variations of this scheme are used throughout southern Faerûn. Visitors are warned not to treat this custom lightly. Guards and even civilians are apt to stop marked strangers on the street for a demonstration of the abilities noted by the markings. Civilian questions are usually polite, but will not take no for an answer. Guards are more direct and insistent. People found wearing marks falsely are put to death.
Plots and Rumors
Escaped Bandits: When a recent bandit attack wiped out a caravan, Honlinar scrambled to assemble a group of trackers to bring the miscreants to justice. He eventually recovered most of the caravan's goods, but several bandits escaped, and Honlinar still seeks to bring them to justice.
Night Prey: Lord Quwen once more seeks to know who or what lurks in the Wetwoods. Parties answering his summons learn that grazing lands south of the Wet River have suffered mysterious nocturnal attacks that left the animals strangely weakened. Herders who have survived the attacks have seen nothing. Several herders were killed, though none of their animals were. Several different kinds of creatures could have made the attacks. Perhaps a flock of nigh-flying stirges has descended on the area. Or perhaps the attacks are the work of a vampire and its attendant vampire spawn.
Supper Surprise: The latest rage in Nimpeth is to dine on Vilhon eels -- long, ribbonlike, black (with green mottling) creatures that were the bane of net-fishers in the Reach for centuries. Eels are marinated in wines, fried, then slit open and stuffed with herbed eggs and cheese. In recent months, over two dozen eels were found to contain gold rings, gems, and bracelets of linked, chased plaques of electrum, mithral, and silver, set with eyeball-sized sapphires. Where are these riches coming from? How is it that eels end up swallowing them? Where can more be found?
Chondath's Ruler: Lord Eles Wianar devotes his time to reading and influencing the deeds of others inside Chondath and around it. He has multiple spies (none of whom know of each other) in the households of all self-styled nobles of Arrabar. He openly confronts and slays those who try to assassinate him or launch serious attempts to wrest his throne from him. He is equally jealous of his treasury.
Sespech's Danger: Lord Eles Wianar's current plan for invading Sespech involves an overland strike against Elbulder along the Old Road, timed to coincide with an amphibious assault on Mimph. Wianar believes the two-pronged strike will divide and confuse Sespech's defenders. The previous assault on Elbulder was merely a reconnaissance in force, and the naval harassment of Mimph has the same purpose