Heroes of the Vale
In addition to the settlements described below, a fair number of isolated homesteads (more than a few of them long abandoned) are scattered throughout the terrain.
One of the largest settlements in the vale, Brindol is a prosperous farming community and caravan stopover located along the Dawn Way on the south bank of the Elsir River. Orchards of apple and pear trees follow the river’s winding shores, while broad grain fields and farmlands surround the town for miles in all directions. Brindol is the home of Lord Kerden Jamaath, and his small keep and the city walls are the only fortifications of note this side of Dennovar.
Read more about Brindol here.
A sleepy little hamlet about halfway between the Hammerfist Holds and Brindol, Dauth is home to about two hundred people. It is noted for The Tired Giant, an inn and tap-house under the proprietorship of Galadan Ryethresher. The Rhestorilan nobles who once ruled here died out about two generations ago, and Dauth Keep – their ancestral home – is only a burned out shell overlooking the settlement. A council of elders now governs the village.
A trade city located on the shores of Lake Ern, Dennovar is the largest community in Elsir Vale. It’s the eastern gateway to the vale, the first bit of civilization a weary traveler encounters after crossing the Golden Plains. Lady Yisel Bristeir is the titular ruler here, but in practice the city is governed by the Merchant’s Council – powerful oligarchs primarily concerned with keeping the city a good place to do business. Dennovar is also noteworthy for the dozens of temples, both minor and major, that dot its streets. The activities of these places are overseen by the Temple Council, made up of the highest ranking priests devoted to each of the deities the temples serve.
If Dennovar is the eastern gateway to Elsir Vale, then the small town of Drellin’s Ferry is the western. Once a dwarf-made bridge spanned the Elsir River here, but it was destroyed during an epic flood about a hundred years ago. Since that time, travelers of Dawns Way have crossed by means of ferry, from which the town gets its name.
Read more about Drellin’s Ferry here.
A small town at a ford of the Elsir River, Elsircross is known for woodcutting and papermaking. The self-styled “Baron” Hargil Trask, the Gavel of the Lumber Consortium, and the rest of the no-good Trask clan govern the town by the Baron’s fiat. Lord Jarmaath of Brindol has no use for Trask and would like to see him and his lot driven out of Elsircross. The towns of Elsir Vale haven’t fought among themselves in many years, however, and Lord Jarmaath is loath to intervene in another town’s business, even if that business is getting rid of a despot like Hargil Trask. For his own part, Trask is smart enough to keep his thugs from running amok in his own lands, so his subjects (and neighbors) tolerate him and his swaggering kin for now – but Trask has ideas about adding Marthton or Red Rock to his “barony,” and maybe even Brindol some day.
Read more about Elsircross here.
In the high foothills of the Wyvernwatch Mountains lie the Hammerfist Holds, a half-dozen dwarf clanholds that sometimes trade with the humans of the vale. Each of the holds is a hamlet or village, home to a hundred or more dwarves.
A dusty flyspeck of a hamlet located in the northern part of the Brown Hills, Hillwatch is primarily populated by shepherds and cattleherds. The town has no inn or tavern; travelers often stay at the home of Jerossil Indo, a well-off rancher who takes a few coins to board strangers for a night or two.
Located in the shadow of the Marth Forest, this small town thrives on woodcutting and catering to traders on the Dawn Way. In the hills nearby lie a number of ancient barrows and stone circles of the long-vanished druidic folk who once dwelled in these lands. Marthton is governed by Lord Erethal Rethrew, an old miserly man who lays heavy taxes on the folk of his small domain.
A tiny hamlet located at the place where the Dawn Way descends out of the Nimon Hills, Nimon Gap grew up around a large walled inn known as the Cross-Eyed Cockatrice. The folk of Nimon Gap grow apples, pears, and chestnuts in orchards sheltered below the hills, while shepherds and goatherds keep their livestock in the heights.
Read more about Nimon Gap here.
A village located about halfway between Brindol and Hillwatch, Prosser is a quiet little place where the adventuring band known as the Six Blades retied some years ago. The former adventurers cleared a number of troublesome monsters from the woods to the west and brought a new prosperity to the town. The wizard Sardith is recognized as the leader of the band, but he usually leaves most affairs in the hands of Deillyr Starcloak. Deillyr runs the town’s taphouse and serves as the chief constable, judge, and troubleshooter.
Rich copper veins in the high foothills of the Giantshield Mountains eventually gave rise to the rough-and-tumble mining town of Red Rock. In addition to the copper mines, Red Rock also serves as a trading post for trappers, hunters, and prospectors who wander all over the southern flank of the mountains. A number of dwarves and half-orcs live here, with no small amount of bad blood lost between them.
A small town to the west of Brindol, Talar is governed by Lady Celiira Nesten, a high-spirited young woman who lately returned home to take up her father’s title on old Lord Nesten’s death. Her impulsive ideas are tempered by an old and conservative town council, whose members grew accustomed to running things during the old lord’s long decline.
Read more about Talar here.
The western end of Elsir Vale is drier and more sparsely settled than the eastern end. Terrelton is a dusty town that gets by on the livestock and leather trades; several large, foul smelling tanneries sit in the hills east of town. The town is governed by a Merchant’s Council shot through with connections to various gangs of brigands and highwaymen, but a crusading cleric named Leille is working to clean up the council by exposing the misdeeds of the criminal members.
A large village located at the ford of the Witchstream, Witchcross is ostensibly governed by a council of elders. However, the elders make no decisions without consulting a circle of Witchwood druids known as the Keepers of Eth. Adranna the Young is the Eth Speaker, or leader, of the circle.