Deepingdale 1368 DR
One of the most: prosperous and peaceful of the Dales, Deepingdale is home to a number of elves and half-elves. The capital of Highmoon lies along the Ordulin-Arabel road and is one of the largest communities in the Dalelands.
Population. Highmoon: 1,100. The countryside: 3,600.
Inns. The Rising Moon caters to travelers on a budget, such as mercenaries, merchants, and adventurers. A stay costs 6 sp per night. The Silver Shield is a fancy inn run by an elven family. A room costs 13 sp per night.
Taverns. The Oak and Spear is a taproom famed for its home brew. Many travelers and minstrels stop here. A draft costs 8 cp or a good song.
Supplies. Royal Provisioners of Highmoon maintains a fine selection of travelling rations for passing caravans. All kinds of tack, harness, tools, and camping supplies can be bought for only a 10% markup over standard prices.
Temples. Deepingdale has temples devoted to Oghma and Corellon Larethian.
Watch. Highmoon is policed by a small force of Watchmen, lightly armed constables who keep the peace.
Other. Several Cormyrian and Sembian merchants maintain caravan stops and warehouses in Highmoon.
"Deepingdale is a living glimpse of the past. Hundreds of winters ago, all of the Dales shared the Deepingdalesmen's respect for the forest and its creatures. Now many of them have forgotten the promises their ancestors made - promises that are remembered in Highmoon." - Elminster
Lying in the heart of ancient Cormanthor, Deepingdale is a peaceful land with a deceptive strength about it. More than any other land, Deepingdale has honored the ancient pacts with the Elven Court. Outsiders consider the Deepingdalesmen to be hopelessly rustic tree-lovers. However, one shouldn't mistake peaceful intent for weakness. The folk of Deepingdale stand ready to defend their lands and the forests that they love.
Since the Retreat of the Elves, a number of those who remain behind call this Dale their home. Half the Dale's population is elven or half-elven. There are few places in the Realms where human and elf have ever enjoyed more trust and friendship.
Deepingdale is a wide, deeply carved valley in the hills between the Archwood and the Semberholme forests. Rich woodlands and bountiful game fill the valley. Most of the Dalesmen are farmers, woodsmen, and hunters.
The Dale lies astride one of the two major roads linking Cormyr and Sembia. To the east is the city of Ordulin, and to the west lie the Thunder Peaks and Arabel beyond. Smaller paths lead to Archendale, Tasseldale, and Battledale.
The thriving town of Highmoon is Deepingdale's capitol. It lies at the head of Deepingdale's valley, on the East Way (the Ordulin-Arabel road.) Highmoon is a favored stop for caravans travelling between the cities, but isn't the center of trade that Archenbridge is. The smaller villages of Bristar and Moonrise Hill are unique in that they may be the two largest elven communities remaining in old Cormanthor's forests.
If Battledale is the breadbasket of the Dales, then Deepingdale is the supplier of game, furs, and timber. It is worth noting that the Deepingdalesmen are very careful not to overhunt the forest and always replace any timber they fell.
The Lord of Highmoon
Deepingdale's ruler is Theremen Ulath (NG half-elf male Ftr6), the lord of Highmoon. A wise warrior of middle years, Theremen has been the Dale's lord for 18 winters. He is a kind-hearted man with the respect and love of his people. In recent years, Theremen has been looking towards the future, and he believes that conflict with Sembia or Archendale is very likely. He is trying to prepare the Dale for the darker days he sees coming, and is working to strengthen the Dale's defenses and militia.
The lordship of Deepingdale is not hereditary, but is instead awarded by the town council to a deserving candidate - usually a loyal warrior or priest who has served the community well. Deepingdale's council is composed of leading citizens from both Highmoon and the countryside.
As lord of Highmoon, Theremen is responsible for the Dale's defense, enforcing laws, and handling diplomatic matters. He enjoys a broad range of powers, but Theremen only exercises the minimum authority necessary. He recently ordered a wall to be built around Highmoon, but allowed the Dalesfolk a chance to overturn his decision.
Law and Order
The folk of the countryside try to police themselves, settling their differences in a meeting of neighbors. Serious matters are brought before the lord of Highmoon. It is worth noting that it is against the law in Deepingdale to fell a tree outside of a few designated logging areas; the fine is a stiff 200 gp.
The town of Highmoon is guarded by a small force of Watchmen, constables who answer to the lord. The laws of the land are a set of decrees by the lords of Highmoon. Theremen believes the Dalesfolk should have a say in the law, and listens carefully to the council's recommendations. He also gives the council a chance to overturn any decisions he thinks important enough to bring before them.
Highmoon's laws are fair and forgiving. Adventurers would have to go out of their way (i.e., arson or murder) to earn any kind of severe punishment from the Deepingdalesmen. Armed conflict is an exception; bandits and raiders are considered military matters, and treated as the Dale's enemies.
Deepingdale is ready for trouble. The standing army consists of two 70-man companies of 2nd-level elven archers, plus a Tower Guard of 30 human and half-elven men-at-arms who serve Theremen.
In addition, all able-bodied folk between the ages of 18 and 45 (about half the Dale's population) are enlisted in the militia. The militia is equipped with leather armor, sword, and spear, and musters in 100-man companies at various rallying points throughout the Dale if an alarm is sounded. Traditionally, the Dalesfolk muster three times a year to keep their skills sharp.
The town of Highmoon itself is surrounded by a nearly-completed wall. If a serious threat were to arise, the wall could be temporarily finished with a wooden palisade in three to four days.
Deepingdale imports a small amount of finished textiles and goods from Cormyr and Sembia. Silks, wool, cotton, and items such as small stoves, cookware, lanterns, and other metal goods are all traded in Highmoon. Generally, Deepingdale does not trade as much as Archendale or Scardale.
Highmoon is a favorite stop for merchants seeking to buy Dalelands goods. Large amounts of grain, fruit, and vegetables find their way to the Highmoon market. The Dale is famous for its excellent timber, game, and furs.
The largest merchant coster of Highmoon is the Silverhand House, a company that ships rare wood, resin, amber, and beaver and martin furs to Arabel and Ordulin. The Silverhand House is owned by Gaelin Silverhand (CG elf male Ftr8), a retired elven adventurer who founded the house more than 60 years ago.
A second enterprise is Andelmaus Logging, a large company that supplies timber to the wood-starved cities of Sembia. The company is owned by an unscrupulous merchant named Kessia (NE human female Ftr6.) She has occasionally stepped over the line of allowable logging, and Andelmaus Logging is currently on probation for their practices. Kessia is hiring mercenaries to guard her logging camps and warehouses.
The last company of note is Hanseld's Emporium. Hanseld (CG half-elf male Rog5) is a likable, humorous fellow who imports rare and exotic spices, curios, and finished goods from Selgaunt and Marsember. He also can arrange for the fencing or smuggling of stolen goods. People travel from all over the Dalelands to browse through his wares.
Deepingdale is home to two major temples, although most people only know about one of them. In the town of Highmoon there is an important temple to Oghma, the god of knowledge. It is tended by the Learned Father Hasicor Danali (LN male human Clr12), a grave and serious fellow who aids all people of good heart. Danali supervises seven lesser clerics.
The other temple is hidden deep in the woodlands surrounding the Dale. It is a dedicated to Corellon Larenthian. The temple takes the form of a green, grassy glen in the heart of the forest, concealed by protective hillocks. The temple is nearly empty now, with a single priestess remaining to tend it and minister to the elves who visit the shrine. The priest is a venerable elf named Meriel Starglance (CG elf female Clr7) who plans to pass to Evermeet soon.
Bristan and Moonrise Hill
To the north of Highmoon lie the elven communities of Velenthuil and Ssrenshen, known in the Common tongue as Bristar and Moonrise Hill. Bristar overlooks a wooded lake that is the headwaters of the Glaemril, and Moonrise Hill is beneath the shadow of a rocky crag that juts out over the tree-tops. The villages are among the few elven holds surviving in the Dalelands.
Both communities consider themselves to be part of Deepingdale, and their High Councillors are leaders of the council that serves the lord of Highmoon. The elven archers who defend Deepingdale are natives of these two hamlets. Humans of Deepingdale are welcomed in both villages, but other humans will find a rather chilly reception. For years, the elves of Bristar and Moonrise Hill have been withdrawing farther and farther from the affairs of the lands about.
In the forests north of the Glaemril there is a deep valley, choked with black oaks and gnarled thorn-trees. The woods in the surrounding area have the unpleasant tendency to steer travelers toward the dark valley, but on other occasions they seem to conspire to make the valley almost disappear. The folk of Deepingdale call this area the Darkwatch.
Legend has it that the elves of Cormanthor imprisoned some ancient evil in the valley, entombing it in a rune-covered boulder or in the heart of a great oak. It is also said that the chained evil is slowly seeping out, escaping its bonds as the centuries wear away at its prison. The elves and men of Deepingdale avoid the area.
Recently, the area's woodsmen have reported that horrible monsters are hunting in the woods surrounding the Darkwatch. They claim that the monsters are revolting mutations or twisted parodies of normal forest creatures, and that the things kill for the pleasure of it.