History of the Great Dale
Politics and Power
The Great Dale is a political nonentity. Its borders are defined by its neighbors and the will of the Circle of Leth to protect its forests. There is no national government, and the people like it that way. Two people could claim to rule the Great Dale, were they so inclined: Lord Uthlain of Uthmere and the Nentyarch:
Uthlain has enough trouble governing his small city, especially now that the Shadowmasters have moved into town. Even if he tried to extend his influence outward from the city, the people of the open lands would simply laugh at him. Some of Uthlain's advisors entertain the notion of subjugating the rest of the dale through military might, but the Lord of Uthmere wants no part of such aggression. He knows the homesteaders and clansfolk would appeal to the Nentyarch, and the land would erupt in a civil war. While Lord Uthlain may have many ambitions for UthMere - and, by extension, the rest of the Great Dale - he has no desire to water the forests with blood.
The Nentyarch already leads all the folk he cares to govern through the Circle of Leth and harbors no desires to become a druid-king. He is already in charge in the ways that matter, and he is happy to avoid the politicking and headaches that come with overt rule.
History of the Great Dale
The Great Dale has been mostly undisturbed since its lands fell out from under the control of ancient Narfell. However, recent events have caused the people of the Great Dale to wonder if their long streak of luck is finally running out.
|Nentyarch of Tharos builds his capital at Dun-Tharos and forges the Crown of Narfell. He begins a campaign to conquer the various petty Nar realms and unite them beneath his rule.
|Nentyarch's armies destroy Shandaular, capital of Ashanath; all Nar kingdoms now united.
|Raumvirans establish the realm of Raumathar, with its capital at Winterkeep.
|Year of Stone Giant
|Narfell and Raumathar destroy each other. Dun-Tharos and Val-Murthag are ruined.
|Year of Lyre
|Uthmere is founded by Lord Uthmere of Dilpur.
|Year of Last Hunt
|Great Druid of Leth takes the title of Nentyarch and raises a new druidic castle amid the overgrown ruins at Dun-Tharos.
|Year of Twelve Teeth
|sorcerer Clymph raises the demon-built tower that bears his name.
|Year of Burning Tree
|Clymph builds Tower Threespires. Shortly thereafter, he is slain by demons in his own keep.
|Year of Dawndance
|war-captain Umphras unites the major cities of the Easting Reach into the new nation of Impiltur.
|Year of Defiant Keep
|Lord Elphras of Impiltur raises a castle near the Great Barrow; the castle is mysteriously abandoned soon thereafter, and he is not heard of again.
|Year of Wanderer
|Windblown Goat is built near the old stone markers at Bezentil. Other folk follow, founding a small town at the site.
|Year of Serpent
|Szass Tam allows the Tuigan horde to pass through Thay and attack Rashemen. Thousands of refugees stream across Lake Ashane. A few of the more determined head toward Uthmere and settle along the Great Road. To this day, the people of the Great Dale refer to these people as "the newcomers."
|Year of Helm
|The Rotting Man appears in the Rawlinswood.
|Year of Wave
|Lord Uthlain inherits his position from his father, Lord Uthrain. The elder lord is killed in a hunting accident initially blamed on the rangers of the Forest of Leehyr. A group of adventurers tracks down the real killers, servants of the Shadowmasters who hoped to destabilize Uthmere.
|Year of Banner
|A strange plague sweeps through the Forest of Lethyr, destroying the minds of many treants and reducing them to mere trees.
|Year of Tankard
|An adventuring party enters Clymph Tower with the aim of destroying its demons. They are never heard from again.
|Year of Unstrung Harp
|Rotting Man's army takes Dun-Tharos, driving the Nentyarch into exile at Yeshelmaar.
|Year of Wild Magic
|Talontar blightlords begin mustering a blightspawned army to crush the Circle of Leth and raze the Great Dale.
The government of Uthmere is an inherited monarchy. The first ruler of the city was its founder, Lord Uthmere, a wealthy Dilpuran sea captain who believed he had discovered the perfect gateway to eastern Faerûn. He began the construction of the Great Road along the center of the Great Dale, and it was completed during his grandson's reign.
Sadly, Lord Uthmere's plans for transforming his town into the jewel of the Easting Reach never materialized. Each of the lords who followed has tried to breathe life into that dream, but none have had much success. This is partly because the rest of the country doesn't really want this to happen, but it's mostly because Uthmere's main competitor as the gateway to the east is Telflamm, a city notoriously corrupted by the Shadowmasters headquartered there.
The Great Dale itself has no government. The closest the lands outside of Uthmere come a ruler is the Nentyarch, the leader of the Circle of Leth. The Nentyarch earned his position by becoming the most powerful and respected druid in the region. He plans to hold this place of honor until another druid surpasses him, he retires, or he dies.
In the open lands of the Dale, politics - such as they are - work like this: The Nentyarch tells the druids what to do; the druids advise the clanlords and the leaders of homesteads, and those individuals run their lands as they choose. The leader of a small clan is hardly an autocrat or a tyrant; he might be the king of his hold, but one who rules with the consent of his kinsfolk. The Nentyar rangers or Leth druids often serve as impartial arbiters when neighboring clan-chiefs can't come to an agreement about matters of mutual concern.
Despite the Great Dale's lack of traditional riches and the fact that it is mostly untamed wilderness, a number of factions harbor ill intentions toward the Dalesfolk and their druidic protectors.
The Qu'encesta are members of one of the most violent tribes in all Narfell. Eager for plunder and slaughter, they have launched attack after attack against their kinfolk over the years, and every time, they have been crushed by the combined might of the other tribes. Recently, they have decided to switch targets and have turned their collective eye on the Great Dale.
Under the guidance of Warleader Heara (CE female human Bbn11/Rog2), the Qu'encesta have been slowly massing for war. Their activity has not gone unnoticed by the Dag Nost tribe, who live in the southern plains of Narfell. The Dag Nost are not the target of the impending Qu'encesta raid, though - the folk of the Great Dale are. Warleader Heara plans to strike south, cutting straight though the narrowest part of the Rawlinswood to break out into open ground near Bezentil.
In the path of the savage Qu'encesta stand the blightspawned armies of the Rotting Man. Heara and her warriors know little of the Talontar blightlords, as the tribesfolk normally do not come so far south. Similarly, the blightlords pay little attention to the barbarians of the plains north of the Rawlinswood. Most likely, the blightlords will meet the drive of the Qu'encesta invasion with their own army - unless the Rotting Man chooses to stand aside and allow the Qu'encesta to pass through his forest or, worse yet, makes an alliance with the bloodthirsty barbarians.
Demons From Ancient Days
The rulers of ancient Narfell forged their empire, not with statesmanship and diplomatic skill, but through pacts with demons who agreed to serve them. Despite the power of their foul allies, the rulers of Narfell came to a bad end. While they were being wiped out, many of their demonic servants vanished into the deepest, darkest parts of the forest. Some of these, fiends concealed themselves for centuries, slumbering away the years while they waited for great Narfell to rise again.
But many of the creatures were unable to awaken from their deathless slumber. Beneath the Rawlinswood and the darker portions of the Forest of Lethyr, these ancient demons still lie buried despite the passage of fifteen centuries.
Every now and then, some curious fortune-hunter runs across an old ruin, and while poking around for treasure, disturbs a sleeping demon. The Nentyarch is aware of the potential problems, but he prefers not to risk awakening the creatures. Some of the fell powers sleeping beneath the forests are so strong and wicked that not even the Nentyarch himself could hope to imprison them again.
The Nentyar hunters keep an eye on such places to ensure that no strangers get near them, but their bitter contest with the Talontar blightlords and the impending raid of the Qu'encesta may make such vigilance difficult. While the Circle of Leth has its hands full, the invaders are likely to discover and let loose a few demons.