Devils in the Nentir Vale
Fallcrest Specific Locations
Up until four centuries or so ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of the Nentir.
With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred ten years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.
Over the next two centuries, Fallcrest grew into a small and prosperous city. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble about a century ago, Fallcrest continued to flourish—for a time. Ninety years ago, a fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.
In the decades since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This is a place in need of a few heroes.
Moonruby was an ancient elven town situated to the southwest of Fallcrest. It had a protective fort in what is now the Cloakwood. This fort has become the stronghold of Karl Fraley and his companions.
Hard under the Cairngorms at the west end of the Nentir Vale lies the remote town of Winterhaven. Like Fallcrest, Winterhaven is a small town surrounded by a few miles of farmland and pastures.
The Barony of Therund
Lying to the south of the Nentir Vale, the Barony of Therund is a land that clings to the greatness of ancient Nerath like a tick clings to a corpse. The Baron Hideki Manshoon Therund fanciies himself a true noble from the days of old, but in truth, his barony is little more than a small city named Moonstair (known for its portal to the Feywild), and a handful of military keeps that have to constantly fight to hold back the savage hordes of humanoids that inhabit the backwoods of the land.
Karl Fraley is the last descendent of House Fraley of the Barony of Therund. House Fraley was broken up, with its members scattered to the far corners of the Nentir Vale after it was found out that the patriarch of the family, Dystrachan Fraley, was making pacts with devils to expand his houses power.
The Forgotten Sky Kingdom of Equistia
The ancient sky kingdom of Equistia was home to a group of elves and eladrin known as the Fae. It was abandoned after an attack on the kingdom from a group of many different earthbound elvish and human tribes that sought to gain access to the hidden treasures of the kingdom. The Fae elves lost the battle and decided to leave the kingdom, but not until activating a spell that not only drove the attackers away but sealed the city as well. The seal can only be unlocked by a Fae Sculptor, who has the ability to create a direct current between two great magical orbs that guard the entrance to the city.
The Sky Kingdom floats above Lake Wintermist, in the northwest of the Nentir Vale, its gates still unbreached.
AshiBeni ’RainCloud, the half-elf, is said to be descended from these Fae elves.
This tower lies about 25 miles southwest of Fallcrest, approximately halfway to Restwell Keep. It was build long ago for unknown reasons, and was destroyed by goblins and orcs. Recently Lord Warden Faren Markelhay of Fallcrest commisioned its renovation. Its new purpose was to be a front line defense against the lizardfolk of the Witchlight Fens, goblins of the Cloakwood, and miscellaneous monsters of the Ogrefist Hills.
The Chaos Scar
A mile long valley, ancient in its evil. Recently, a group has emerged to rule this valley. It calls itself the Brotherhood of the Scar. Some nearby cities and nation states believe them to be worshipers of Bane. Others think them servitors of Zehir, or possibly a demon prince. Other denizens of the Scar have carved out their own dominions within the valley’s many caves. The weakest settle near the mouth of the valley and the plain beyond, while the strongest lair closer to the valley’s terminus and in the fortress that now encloses the valley’s upper wall.
Some cities have tried to hem in the threat of the Chaos Scar, with little to no success. A long-forgotten ruler who fancied himself a king erected a wall across the valley’s mouth long ago. It still stands, partly in ruins, its gates open and unguarded. Towers that once ringed the valley have fallen to ruin as well. Some are inhabited by monsters; others are simply empty.
The Chaos Scar itself is death to most who wander in. It is filled with evil and riddled with caves both natural and tunneled by generations of monstrous denizens. The deeper one travels into the valley, the deadlier the foes lurking in its caves and hollows. Strange features have been raised, or have simply appeared, within the Scar—circles of standing stones, bizarre towers, grotesque cottages, and other more otherworldly features. Capping off the valley is the fortress of Hallowgaunt, home to the mysterious Brotherhood of the Scar, crowned by a perpetual storm of black clouds and crackling lightning.
Many adventurers have entered the Chaos Scar. Few have returned. Those that do weave dark stories of monsters working in concert as never before. Others tell of monstrous creatures working against one another. Welcome to the Chaos Scar.
- The Crossroads
Inside the Chaos Scar is a trading post run by a tiefling named Millen Silvereye. His name is appropriate: he does indeed have a silver left eye. It’s said that this gives him psychic powers, and makes him a keen negotiator.
The Crossroads is little more than a two-level trading house, a boneyard, and a structure known as the Gibbet Tree. The Gibbet Tree is a thirty foot tall iron structure that has a number of metal cages attached to it. Creatures that are convicted of the most heinous crimes, and some that are only accused of these types of crimes, are placed in the Gibbet Tree to die a slow and horrible death.
The Crossroads functions as a place for the civilized peoples of Restwell Keep to acquire the items salvaged, scavenged, or stolen by the savage races of the Chaos Scar. It is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Founded ages ago by a long forgotten lord, Restwell has kept a sentinel’s post over the Chaos Scar for time out of mind. It has served as a hobgoblin warlord’s fortress, a bandit gang’s hideout, and now as an outpost of civilization in a monster-infested wilderness.