LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

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LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:37 pm

Waterdeep
Waterdhavians are a composite of their component parts. A sizable number of the natives are recent arrivals from one part of the world or another, all with different viewpoints, deities, and attitudes. Waterdeep, as a result, is varied and cosmopolitan in nature. "Social level" and "class" are far less important in Waterdeep than in other cities of the Realms (and elsewhere); any prejudices against folk due to race, creed, or coin are brought in by visitors from outside the walls, and are not tolerated to a large extent. Waterdhavians attempt to be understanding and open-minded, but the trend is not pursued to a fanatic level. That nobles, merchants, adventurers, traders, and immigrants all have their place in society is accepted, but that does not mean they necessarily want to associate with each other. Waterdeep at its best is never a society of equals, but it is hard to surprise a Waterdhavian; they have seen it all. Proud and wordly, many outsiders take those from the City of Splendors for arrogant, but they are better described as "jaded" by their many exposures in this crossroads of the trading world.

Waterdeep is roughly divided into wards that were once walled and warded by guards. Now only the City of the Dead remains so guarded, progress and time have eroded the other physical boundaries. The wards are: Castle Ward (the center of most government), City of the Dead (the cemetary), Dock Ward (a rough part of the city), North Ward (the refuge of nobility), Sea Ward (home to many temples and the city's arena), Southern Ward (natives all call it the South Ward, it hosts mostly traders and caravans), and Trades Ward (home to most of the city's businesses and merchants).

The city is ruled by a council of largely secret lords. The hidden Lords of Waterdeep maintain their identities behind magical masks, called helms, and while they rule in public, none know the true of identities of most of them. Lord Piergeiron the Paladinson, Warden of Waterdeep and Commander of the Watch, is the unmasked and open lord known to all. The city maintains two forces under arms: the guard and the watch. The watch is the local police and the guard is the city's soldiery who man gates, watchposts, and patrol the roads. Important factions within the city are the 76 noble families, the guilds who once controlled the city's politics and can be marked by their guild insignia, and the rising merchants outside of the guilds.

Waterdhavian coins are Copper Nibs, Shards (silver), Moons (electrum), Dragons (gold), and Suns (platinum).


Sources:
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Greenwood, Ed. Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1992.
Schend, Steven and Ed Greenwood. Campaign Guide to the City: Book I of the City of Splendors. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1994.
Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.

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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:43 pm

Shadowdale
The rustic simplicity of life in the Dales produces a rugged, self-reliant adventurer who is proud of his homeland and its history of independence. To an outsider, the Dalesmen seem close-mouthed, suspicious, and reserved. Indeed, until a newcomer is identified as friend or foe, or vouched for by a trusted individual, most keep their responses to the civil minimum. They are polite, but it is an observant and reserve politeness - they have had a bellyful of unwanted visitors and a little caution goes a long way. This is especially true for Shadowdale where its people have repulsed almost a dozen invasions led by the Zhentarim or its agents. The most famous of the Dales, Shadowdale's notoriety seems at odds with its pastoral lifestyle. Rangers, druids, and bards are beloved; paladins are just a little too perfect; fighters and clerics are a part of life and useful when they can be of use; thieves and mages are dangerous and disliked (except, of course, the Sage himself who is just eyed carefully). Elves and half-eves are more common here than almost anywhere else on Faerun.

The town of Shadowdale is the only village of note in the Dale, but there are some large family freeholds in the region. The freeholds may contain 20 to 30 kinsmen and are named for the family (e.g. Blackcreek Crossing). The city lies along the road from Shadow Gap to Voonlar, controlling a major trade route from Cormyr to the Moonsea. The Old Skull Inn is a popular stop for adventurers here.

Shadowdale is one of twelve seats on the Dales Council, a loose governing body that sits annually with the tolerance of the contributing Dales (of which there are now only eleven, but the twelfth one -Teshendale, destroyed years ago- is still represented). Each Dale is self-governed and Shadowdale is ruled by Lord Mourngrym Amcathra (a noble adventurer from Waterdeep) who proved his worth defending the Dale against the forces of Lyran the Pretender in 1357 DR and the Zhents in 1358 DR. The city has no standing guard force, but the large fortified Twisted Tower of Abshaba hosts many capable men-at-arms for its defense. The Harpers are powerful in the town (and the Dales at large), but many less savory powers also wield power: the Zhentarim, the Elves of Cormanthor, agents of Cormyr, agents of Sembia, and even the Red Wizards of faraway Thay all vie for control in this quiet town.

Coins from across the Realms are used in the Dalelands, but those of Cormanthyr are very plentiful and popular here: thalvers (copper), bedoars (silver), shilmaers (gold), and ruendils (platinum).


Sources:
Baker III, L. Richard. The Dalelands. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Greenwood, Ed. Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.
Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.

No challenge is meant to TSR Ltd. or Wizards of the Coast's respective intellectual property. See required disclaimer here (viewtopic.php?f=73&t=15392&p=98703#p98703).
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:47 pm

Zhentil Keep
The people of the Moonsea cities are by nature plotters, informers, and spies. They keep their own thoughts most private - from each other and particularly from strangers. The walls not only have ears in most Moonsea cities, but also tongues ready to speak out against anyone who strikes the local lords as a threat. To the outside world, the people of the Moonsea are viewed as unfriendly, sullen, crafty, and dangerous - but they are no more universally evil than the Dalesman are universally good. Still, in Zhentil Keep, it is safe to assume the worst. Night time in the city can be dangerous, but while it is known as a great degenerate power synonymous with evil, it is not lawless. Press gangs, thieves, and kidnappers roam the streets at night but only upon the patience of the city's rulers. Still, evil as the place may be, its citizens mistrust outsiders more than their fellow locals. After all, who would come visit Zhentil Keep unless they stood to gain something from it?

Zhentil Keep is the oldest city on the Moonsea that still stands. It has grown from a small fortified keep and caravan stop to large metropolis the size of Suzail or Selgaunt. It is a large dark city where most folk seek their pleasures in private, rather than the shady valleys that pass for squares between the towering buildings of stone. It is one of two large fortified cities on the West Branch of the Moonsea and abuts the Dalelands to the south.

Zhentil Keep is ruled officially by First Lord Chess, but whispers speak of the power of Manshoon, the city's true ruler. The law is barely kept by the Hands, a careful watch force which forbids dueling and the open display of unsheathed weapons - but they could always be persuaded to turn away for a price. These have lost power to the rising strength of the church of Cyric, whose power has supplanted the once puissant church of Bane in the city, and the Zhentarim. The Zhentarim, or Black Network, is a fierce group involved in murder, kidnapping, slavery, and revolt across the Realms; Fzoul Chembryl and Xeno Mirromane are some its most notable members. The Black Network is the prominent power in Zhentil Keep, though the remnants of Bane's church still awaits his return.

Citizens of Zhentil Keep are Zhents, members of its army are Zhentilar, and members of the Black Network are Zhentarim. A Zhentarim could be a Zhent, but might not be.


Sources:
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. Adventures. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1990.
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Terra, John. The Moonsea. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1995.
Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.

No challenge is meant to TSR Ltd. or Wizards of the Coast's respective intellectual property. See required disclaimer here (viewtopic.php?f=73&t=15392&p=98703#p98703).
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:51 pm

Westgate
The typical native of the Dragon Coast does not think of himself or herself as a Dragon Coaster, as opposed to the Cormyreans or Dalesmen to the north. In fact, this native rarely thinks of nationality and home city at all. Each man, woman, and other sentient is a nation of one, seeking to him-, her-, or itself from the dangers of the outside world. As a result, most of the natives here are thought to be selfish at best, and rapacious and greedy in their worst moments. The natives consider themselves to merely be sensible, and see nothing wrong with helping a little bit of wealth into their pocket rather than see it travel off to Waterdeep or places elsewhere. Westies, citizens of Westgate, have a price (as anyone does), but theirs is just a little bit more reasonable. They view organized powers as competitors and bullies, vying for the same wealth that might be theirs, and while they may not have seen all the wonders that a Waterdhavian has: they are willing to overlook the shock in hopes of finding a rube or a tool to be used.

Westgate is one of the two major city-states on the Dragon Coast (which encloses the lands from Proskur to the Pirate Isles, the southwestern portions of the Sea of Fallen Stars). The other, Teziir, eclipsed by Westgate's trade and wickedness, is an enclave mostly peopled with bland, neutral merchants. Westgate is the primary link for trade between the Inner Sea and the Sword Coast, in part because the tides block Teziir from deep water ships for parts of the year, and part because Westies are that much more unscrupulous in ensuring that the trade is theirs.

Westgate is ruled, on paper, by a council of rich noble merchant families who elect a head -the Croamarkh- every four years. The current Croamarkh is Luer Dhostar. The real power in the city is divided between unscrupulous and warring merchant clans and the Night Masks thieves guild (whose mark is a domino mask). There is a city watch, more than 2000 strong, headed by Durgar the Just (a paladin of Tyr), but it is wise enough to not patrol the roads outside of the city and largely to mind its own business. The city has no outside political affiliations.

The Lords of Westgate (name/badge) are the Athagdal Family/russet weighing scales, Dhostar Family/tawny wagon wheel topped by three stars, Guldar Family/black hawk, Malavhan Family/red sun, Ssemm Family/ivory bird's claw, Thalavar Family/green feather, Thorsar Family/blue hand holding corn, Urdo Family/yellow eye, and the Vhammos Family/steel-gray open hand.


Sources:
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. Adventures. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1990.
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Scott, Curtis. Pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1992.
Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.

No challenge is meant to TSR Ltd. or Wizards of the Coast's respective intellectual property. See required disclaimer here (viewtopic.php?f=73&t=15392&p=98703#p98703).
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:53 pm

Skullport
The residents of Skullport are primarily immigrants, and do not have what others might think of as a civic pride or identity. Most still think of themselves in terms of their homelands and allegiances of those places. However, while few Skulkers would ever picture themselves patriotically fighting for their current home city, they do share certain behaviors and beliefs. Skulkers are private folk who keep to themselves in general and do not stick their noses into others' business. In fact, Skulkers rarely demonstrate curiosity unless by doing so they will obviously line their pockets with coin or otherwise improve their lot in life. That is not to say that they do not gossip -they are known for gossip- but their deeds themselves are those of an opportunist survivor, whatever their whispered conversations may be. Slow to trust, careful to watch their back, and eager for a chance to profit (regardless of at whose expense it comes), the Skulkers would likely give the headache of a lifetime to a paladin searching their city for evil intent.

Skullport is divided generally into four wards: Skull Island (south), the Port (west), the Trade Lanes (north), and the Heart (east). It is generally arranged around the Skull Pool and the River Sargauth in a portion of the Underdark accessible by the Undermountain Complex. Rope bridges and buildings on stilts avoid the frequent flooding. An ingenious system of pipes brings in much of the fresh air required to sustain the population, food is mostly shipped down from the surface of Faerun, and waste management is a horror for the cleanliness of the streets despite an attempt at plumbing.

Skullport has no official government and while there are many power groups vying for dominance, the arbitrary keepers of peace are the Skulls. They have only ever given out one hard and fast rule: "This be safe haven to all traders and customers; keep your weapons and your uncivil tongue sheathed lest you find the grinning skull of Death smiling in your face". Breaches of the peace are often incinerated upon their arrival. Sometimes they instead make bizarre demands of those who attract their attention such as "go help a goblin harvest his mushrooms" or "go help a zombie with its burdens". Most Skulkers affiliate themselves with some larger power group in the city, and those visitors who do not may soon be floating down the River Sargauth or for sale on an auction block. Some examples are Agents of the Eye, Beholders, the Drow, the Harpers, the Lords of Waterdeep, and the church of Cyric.


Sources:
Wolf, Joseph C. Skullport. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1999.

No challenge is meant to TSR Ltd. or Wizards of the Coast's respective intellectual property. See required disclaimer here (viewtopic.php?f=73&t=15392&p=98703#p98703).
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 8:56 pm

Silverymoon
Silverymoon is an island of beauty, learning, and civilization among the settlements and towns of the Savage North. An echo of lost Myth Drannor, it is a wondrous sight of architecture and topiary. It is therefore a target of many who would destroy such beautiful things and its people have developed into disciplined, organized, and capable folk in order to protect it. Adventurers from Silverymoon are often confused with those from the Western Heartlands, and are only rarely confused with their more brute cousins from the surrounding areas. Truly a blessed city, Silverymoon is insular, but accepting to a degree. It is a place where humans, elves, half-elves, gnomes, dwarves, and halflings dwell in peace together. Others are received with careful suspicion and often times turned away, but with the utmost courtesy. The city is a haven for artists, musicians, mages, and sculptors and there are more here than any other city on the Sword Coast save for Waterdeep. Abroad, its far-ranging citizens are honorable and reliable.

Silverymoon is built across the River Rauvin. The oldest part of the city is on the northern bank and the southern bank is filled mostly with warehouses, paddocks, and caravan-related businesses. The two sections are linked by the famed Moonbridge which only allows passage by moonlight. It can still be lifted even then to permit tall-masted ships or to protect the city. The city is full of ancient wards which prevent magic use.

The city is ruled by High Lady Alustriel, a senior member of the Harpers. It is a member of the Lords' Alliance, a haven for Harpers, and allied with Waterdeep to the south. The guard force of the city is the Knights in Silver who maintain a headquarters at the House Invincible, a fortress-temple of Helm on the city's northern side.


Sources:
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Greenwood, Ed. Volo's Guide to the North. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1996.

No challenge is meant to TSR Ltd. or Wizards of the Coast's respective intellectual property. See required disclaimer here (viewtopic.php?f=73&t=15392&p=98703#p98703).
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Tue May 08, 2012 9:07 pm

Orc Village
The Orc Village, so-named by others because its chief -Jarg Brassskull- has not the imagination to dub it anything more clever, is a hold out of a rampaging orc tribe that culminated in territory from which its remnants could not escape. The survivors of that horde cleared a space much like many other orc fastnesses, a rocky plain atop some high ground with a rough-hewn palisade around its few buildings. The construction evinces orcish cunning despite escaping the complex defenses of human or demihuman fortresses, its rocky approaches hazard cavalry, slow infantry, block siege engines, and submit any and all who might approach to the cruel arrows of watchful archers.

The orcs of this tribe are typical of their race: hungry for battle and victory, uncaring for others. The banners of Gruumsh, the One-Eyed God, smeared in blood and decorated with the trophies of victories past, proclaim their creed of unreasoning violence, but this tribe is not so long-lived by blind aggression. The orcs of Brassskull's village have shown some allegiance to Ilneval, Gruumsh's lieutenant, planning their violence carefully and maintaining their benighted fort on Riativin's eastern borders. The tribe at the orc village is led by Jarg Brassskull, and he is supported by his old, wizened shaman. The two rule with an iron fist, crushing opposition to their unusually long-lived tenure
ruthlessly.

The strong human might mingle in this camp briefly, but only until he earned the ire of a resident and a quick death thereafter. The nearby elves of Shilmista and Tethyr, too much retreated from Faerun's shores, avoid the blight in the Snowflake mountains. The dwarves of long-lost Shanatar have not the numbers to repulse them. Goblinkin, even, receive chilly receptions warmed only by the application of fists or boot leather, urging them to hurry to serve the orcs' bidding.


Sources:
Greenwood, Ed and Jeff Grubb. A Grand Tour of the Realms. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1993.
Schend, Steven. Lands of Intrigue, Book Two: Amn. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1997.

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"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Sat May 19, 2012 5:37 pm

More and more detail to follow...
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Re: LORE: Starting Cities of the Realms

Postby Harroghty » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:14 pm

Tangled Trees
The Tangled Trees is a local name for the village of Faelorin, an old settlement of the Sy'Tel'Quessir (green or wood elves) in the Tangled Vale, only recently resettled in the wake of its ruin many years ago at the hands of the great green dragon Venom. The older village had once climbed into the trees, but was moved to the ground for protection from aerial attacks by flying wyrms - though it did little to prevent the end when it came. The settlement has, over the years, been revived by young green elves who are proud of their ancestors' battles in the forest.

The Sy'Tel'Quessir of Tangled Trees have a martial spirit and a proud memory of their kins' battle with Venom over the years. They are considered to be primitive by other elves, and even among Cormanthyr at large they are regarded as simple for their love of the forest and its beauty. Despite the opinions of the Teu'Tel'Quessir (moon elves) and others in Cormanthyr, the Sy'Tel'Quessir are devoted to the protection of the Empire of the Elves against any outside aggression. And their aid is much desired because they are the fiercest elven warriors in the region: talented archers, gifted woodsmen, and masters of stealth. They measure other elves by their performance in battle. Nearly all Sy’Tel’Quessir in Cormanthyr can track their heritage
back to one of four clans of the Emerald Vale: the Audark, Kevanarial, Moonglamaer, or the Selorn clans. These were the largest of the green elf clans dating back to the Crown Wars and the founding of Cormanthyr.

The most commonly worshiped elven deities of the Tangled Vale are Rillifane Rallathil and Corellon Larethian. Rillifane is the more highly venerated of the two, with Corellon being paid homage as he who gave birth to the elves. Rillifane has always been recognized as the patron of the Sy'’Tel'’Quessir, protector of the woodlands and guardian of the harmony of nature.

The territory of the Tangled Vale extends through the Vale of Lost Voices to the west, the Standing Stone and Elven Court to the north, the Dragon Reach to the east, and the River Verire to the south—though the latter changed with the coming of the Dalesmen. The borders of the Tangled Vale were easily defined by large sections of twisted forest, the result of Venom’'s magic. Even after the death of Venom there are some wyverns in the region, but the larger issue of their presence is seen very much as a problem for the Dalesmen to resolve themselves.


Sources:
Schend, Steven and Kevin Melka. Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves. Lake Geneva: TSR, 1998.

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