Shadowdale 1368 DR
The most famous of the Dalelands, Shadowdale is home to many powerful adventurers and has played a very prominent part in the area's history. Numerous ruins, caves, and entrances to the Underdark attract adventurers to this small farming town.
Population. The village of Shadowdale: 500 (includes surrounding area.) The countryside: 900.
Inns. The only inn of note in Shadowdale is the Old Skull Inn, a respectable and reasonably-priced establishment. Rooms range from 2 sp to 5 gp per night. The Old Skull is also the only taproom of the village.
Supplies. Jamble has a 50% chance of stocking any particular item in the standard price list, and a 20% chance of stocking a weapon. His prices are at a 15% markup. Weregund the Trader charges standard prices and stocks most everyday items.
Watch. No formal watch organization exists, but the locals can summon 2d6 guardsmen from the Twisted Tower within 1d6+2 rounds.
Temples. Shadowdale has temples of Chauntea, Tymora, and Lathander.
Other. Shadowdale is home to Elminster the Sage. Elminster rarely receives visitors and is often away from his tower for extended periods.
"The finest folk in Faerûn, if ye care to ask me. But it's not the heroes or Harpers or sages - ahem - that make Shadowdale special. It's the farmers and craftsmen, people who have more courage and common sense than many great knights and mages I have met in my time." - Elminster
The most famous of the Dalelands, Shadowdale's notoriety would appear to be at odds with its pastoral lifestyle. It is a quiet, wooded land of dense forests and prosperous farms - and it happens to be home to a surprising number of very powerful and important people. The reputation of Shadowdale's residents has spread from the Sword Coast to the farthest reaches of the Moonsea.
Of all the Dalelands, the land of Shadowdale is the most common stop for parties of adventurers. The town has long looked to adventuring companies for security and leadership. A large number of ancient ruins, accesses to the Underdark, and hidden treasure caches ensure that most heroes will find something profitable and useful to do in Shadowdale.
Shadowdale lies along the road from Shadow Gap to Voonlar, controlling a major trade route from Cormyr to the cities of the Moonsea. Most people are familiar with the town of Shadowdale, but the greater portion of Shadowdalesmen live as independent farmers and homesteaders in the open lands northeast of the town.
Shadowdale stretches almost 100 miles from the Dagger Hills to the Elvenwoods, and is more than 30 miles wide. Like Mistledale to the south, the Dale's lands of the Dale have open since before humans came to Cormanthor. Unlike Mistledale, the lands of Shadowdale are broken by large areas of light woods and rolling hills.
Most travelers come to Shadowdale along the Shadow Gap-Voonlar road, but major trails lead south along the Ashaba to Mistledale and west through the Dagger Hills to Daggerdale. The trails have not been very safe lately, with raiders and brigands reported in the area.
Besides the town of Shadowdale, there are no other communities or villages of note. However, there are some large, remote family freeholds that are home to as many as 20 to 30 kinsmen. These freeholds are usually known by the name of the family: Blackcreek Crossing, the Shallain Hold, and so on.
In recent years, Shadowdale has been the Dalelands' front line of defense. The Dale played a part in the alliance against Lashan of Scardale, and contributed forces to King Azoun's crusade against the Tuigan Horde. Most importantly, the Dale fended off a major Zhentish invasion during the Time of Troubles.
Shadowdale has also been faced with a number of troubles of its own. In 1339 DR, the ruler of the Dale, Lord Aumry, was assassinated. The warrior Jyordhan captured and executed the murderers, but was later revealed to be a Zhentarim agent. He ruled with a heavy hand until 1345 DR, when he was slain by the mage Khelben Arunsun of Waterdeep.
Shadowdale was leaderless for three years, although Jyordhan's heir Lyran Nathander claimed the throne. In 1348 DR, the rightful rule of Shadowdale was reestablished by the Knights of Myth Drannor. Doust Sulwood, one of the adventurers, became Lord of Shadowdale and ruled for five years. His successor, Mourngrym Amcathra, has ruled since. He defended the Dale against the forces of Lyran the Pretender in 1357 DR and against the Zhents during the Time of Troubles, in 1358 DR.
The Lord of Shadowdale
Shadowdale's ruler is Lord Mourngrym Amcatha (NG male human Ftr6), a noble adventurer of Waterdeep. It is the custom in Shadowdale for the lordship of the Dale to pass to whatever hero or adventurer is deemed most worthy by the retiring lord. Mourngrym was named to his position by the Lord Doust Sulwood (CG male human Clr8), one of the founding members of the Knights of Myth Drannor.
The emblem of the rightful lordship of the Dale is the Pendant of Ashaba, a magical necklace that has been handed down since the time of Shadowdale's first human ruler. A few years ago, the Pendant was taken from the usurper Jyordhan by Khelben Blackstaff, when Jyordhan attacked the archmage. Khelben held the Pendant in safe keeping in Waterdeep, and finally sent it back to the Dale with the Knights of Myth Drannor.
Mourngrym is a courageous, responsible man who has ruled well and wisely during his tenure as Lord of Shadowdale. Several years ago, he married Shaerl Rowanmantle, a noblelady of Cormyr who was originally sent to keep an eye on him. The two have a young son. Mourngrym is a very popular and well-loved ruler.
Shadowdale's first and foremost line of defense lies in the powerful heroes who make the Dale their home. While characters like Elminster, Storm Silverhand, or the Knights of Myth Drannor may not be around at any given time, few troublemakers want to take a chance that they are at home. Large numbers of less famous adventurers constantly pass through the town, spoiling for an evil band to hunt down or a horrible monster to defeat.
Shadowdale is also home to the strongest keep in the Dalelands, the Twisted Tower of Ashaba. The Tower is nearly 1,000 years old and was built by the original drow rulers of the land. When Shadowdale was freed, the Tower became the seat of the Lords of Shadowdale.
The Twisted Tower is garrisoned by 90 capable men-at-arms, most of them experienced veterans. The garrison served with merit in the battles against Lyran the Pretender and Zhentil Keep. Shadowdale is also defended by one of the better militias in the Dalelands. While there are no formal musters, drilling companies, or equipment issues, Shadowdale's people have fought off invasions on at least two occasions. The townsfolk also include a number of retired adventurers who are still handy with a sword or a staff.
There are no formal patrols in the countryside or the village. If serious trouble breaks out in the village, the locals will usually summon guards from the Tower to deal with it. In the countryside, the farmers and freeholders will muster a local band of militiamen to handle things.
The Twisted Tower features an aerial landing stage and stalls for several hippogriffs. Several of the guards and members of Mourngrym's court are proficient in airborne riding, and overfly the Dale's outlying areas to scout out trouble and keep an eye on things.
Compared to some of the other Dales, Shadowdale is not very big. Battledale and Mistledale grow and sell far more food than Shadowdale, and more urban lands such as Tasseldale or Archendale see much more craftwork and trade. However, Shadowdale is not as isolated as Daggerdale or the High Dale. A lot of traffic passes through the Dale along the Tilverton-Voonlar road, and the folk of Shadowdale sell their produce to both Moonsea and Cormyrian merchants. Some of the local merchants include Jamble, Weregund the Trader, Icehyill, and Hammerhand Bucko.
Jamble (CN male human Rog7) is a slick character who trades in interesting and exotic items from Cormyr to the Moonsea. He carries a small stock of everyday supplies, but views his general store as a source of capital for speculative ventures elsewhere. Jamble will buy or sell almost anything for the right price.
Weregund the Trader maintains a larger, less expensive general store than Jamble. His General Store is considered the Dale's trading post. Weregund regularly deals with the caravans that pass through town. Most items listed in Goods & Services for less than 100 gp can be found in his store, and there is a small chance that more expensive items can be purchased here. Weregund is widely known as a greedy, cowardly man, but once you look past those faults he's really not so bad.
Icehyill (NG female human Ftr6) is a retired adventurer who made her fortune on the Suzail-Waterdeep caravan routes, She is a very skilled and canny businesswoman, and will occasionally speculate in small but valuable items. Icehyill has very little stock on hand, but can order many small or fancy items.
Hammerhand Bucko (LG male human Ftr2) is a wainwright and carpenter whose work is excellent. Hammerhand himself is a sarcastic, stubborn individual who won't hesitate to call a fool for what he is. Hammerhand's wagons and wheels can be found throughout the Dalelands.
Shadowdale is home to temples dedicated to Chauntea, Lathander, and Tymora as well as smaller shrines of Mystra and Tempus. Outside of town, there is a sacred spot known as the Druid's Grove. Shadowdale is still recovering from Lord Joadath's rule, an agnostic who drove out all faiths, good and evil.
Morningdawn Hall is the temple of Lathander. It is a building in the shape of a great swan, and is actually the second temple of Lathander to stand on this site - the first was destroyed by Bane during the Zhentish invasion of Shadowdale. The High Dawnlord is a Sembite named Munro Cassimar (LG male human Clr10), a vain and proud man who regards his assignment to the Dalelands as a form of exile. Cassimar will support and heal adventuring companies that are willing to donate significant amounts of treasure for "the glory of Lathander."
The House of Plenty is dedicated to Chauntea. It was founded soon after the Time of Troubles, and in its early days operated out of Beregon Hillstar's barn. A temple was raised a few years ago in a swampy area known as the Bog, which the followers of Chauntea drained. The House of Plenty is overseen by High Harvestmistress Glamerie Windbough (NG female human Clr9) and 16 priests of lower level. Glamerie believes in the cyclic philosophy of her temple, and will only raise dead if adventurers have been in Chauntea's direct service.
The House of the Lady is the oldest temple in the Shadowdale area, and is dedicated to Tymora. It is frequented by adventurers seeking information, advice, and healing. The local high priestess is the Preceptress Eressea Ambergyles (CG female human Clr8), a woman of boundless energy and devotion who has seen her faith through some very tough times. She is aided by more than 20 lesser priests and acolytes, as well as a large lay following.
The Druid's Grove is not an organized temple of any kind, but simply a clearing of ancient menhirs, or standing stones, surrounded by a grove of oak and mistletoe. It is maintained by a small organization known as the Circle. The members of the Circle are good and neutral druids and rangers who watch over the forests in the area.
The Village of Shadowdale
Perhaps the most famous small town of Faerûn, Shadowdale has withstood Zhentish invasions, treachery, attackers from the Underdark, bandits, raiders, rampaging dragons, and the wrath of an angry god. Needless to say, the locals are tough to impress or intimidate.
The village of Shadowdale covers a rather extensive area - people living on farms as far as 10 miles away are almost considered to be townsfolk. In addition to the local population, a number of traders, wanderers, and adventuring companies are often passing through.
Sylune's Hut. This small cottage was once the residence of Sylune, Witch of Shadowdale. Sylune died more than 10 years ago, defending the Dale against the attack of a huge red dragon during the Dragon Flight. She is interred with her husband, Lord Aumry, on top of Watcher's Knoll. It is rumored that Sylune somehow survived her apparent death, and Lord Mourngrym refuses to sell or raze this property in the event Sylune returns.
Mirrorman's Mill. Raised in the time of Lord Aumry's rule by the first of the Mirrorman line, the mill passed into the hands of Mirror-man's son when the old miller passed away. Mirrorman's son turned out to be a Zhentish spy. When Jyordhan fell, the younger Mirrorman disappeared. The mill has been held since by the Lord of Shadowdale, who assigns his guardsmen to watch over and operate the mill when it is needed.
Elminster's Tower. This small tower is home to Elminster, the Sage of Shadowdale, and his scribe and assistant Lhaeo (gone as of 1372 DR). The path to Elminster's tower is well-marked with warning signs such as, "Trespassers may be polymorphed," and "Enter at your own risk. Have you notified your next of kin?". Elminster has little time for just any band of adventurers that wants to bother him, and cannot be hired. However, he will occasionally aid good-aligned adventurers who serve the Dale or who have come across unusual magic.
You can use Elminster as a plot device of sorts, a voice of authority to give floundering players a clue or to help PCs against tough opposition by providing them with information, safe shelter, and identification of interesting magical items. Be careful not to overuse Elminster in this role; the mage usually has better things to do with his time in all but the most dire circumstances.
Tulba the Weaver. Tulba is a tubby, genial man who lives and works with his wife, Lella. He works wool and flax into bolts of sturdy cloth. Tulba (N male human Ftr0) is also secretly employed by the Merchants' League of Amn to keep an eye on new caravan arrivals.
Mother Tara's Festhall. Mother Tara is a stout halfling matron who provides fine wines, dining, music, and dancing for just 10 gp. Mother Tara holds the deed on a house next to her festhall known as Mane's Manor, and will rent the place out to adventurers or other large parties for 15 gp per month.
Storm Silverhand's Farm. Storm is one of the Seven Sisters, and is known as the Harper of Shadowdale. In recent years she has turned away from adventuring, spending more time on her small farm. Despite this, she is often gone for long periods of time. Storm is less jealous of her privacy than Elminster, and will keep an eye on good-aligned heroes for the Harpers.
Earthworks. The forces of Zhentil Keep have invaded Shadowdale several times in living memory, always using the north road to attack the village. Before the Second Battle of Shadowdale, during the Time of Troubles, earthen ramparts were raised to defend this road. The earthworks were left standing against the day that Zhentil Keep would resume its attacks.
Castle Krag. This ruin was the seat of Jyordhan, the Zhentarim agent who ruled Shadowdale after Lord Aumry's murder. In Jyordhan's time, the castle was filled with Zhentish soldiers and spies. Castle Krag was burned by the people of Shadowdale when they finally rose and drove out the Zhents.